Tempeh is made as a process of natural culturing and controlled fermentation binds whole, cooked soybeans into a solid, compact, white cake with dense protein comparable to meat or dairy products but no saturated fat or cholesterol. Common to Javanese cuisine, Tempeh offers more protein, fiber and vitamins than tofu but is just as flexible with a complex, subtle nutty, smoky, mushroom-like flavor of its own and the ability to absorb and reflect the flavors around it. It has a firm, tender-chewy, nougat-like texture that dices large or small, slices thick or thin without crumbling and grates like semi-soft cheese. It is made by hand in small batches in a certified kitchen in Columbia, Missouri entirely from organic, non-GMO soybeans grown in Boone County, MO. You can steam, fry, grill, poach or bake this versatile stuff and menu your creation as organic, vegan or vegetarian and, of course, very local.
While farmers seem congenitally predisposed to bitch about the weather under almost any circumstances, it has been a strange season. Lots of spring rain upset many a grower’s planting schedule and floods even took out some early crops. Then came drought and extreme heat that strangled Tomato blossoms and cooked Potatoes in the ground. But now! The rains have come, temperatures have mellowed, the days are weather-perfect and there is thrilling October baseball to be savored. The fall harvest, which should run right into December, is looking glorious! Beets and Turnips, Greens and hard Squash, Grapes and Sunchokes abound. Soon are coming late Lettuce, fall Broccoli and Cauliflower. The 2011 harvest season will consummate with a cornucopia!
Honeydew in history. Corn is kaput. There is a reason why they call this Peach variety “Encore” – it is the last variety to ripen around here. You can feel it in the morning – the season is changing – but the harvest is far from over. I just started with Apples and Sweet Potatoes; Winter Squashes aren’t far behind. There will be a fall crop of Lettuce, Radishes, Turnips, Beets, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage. Almost like spring again, but more romantic. Fresh Horseradish and Pumpkins! Time to re-do the menu, reconsider your seasonings and change the way you think about food.
Homegrown Cantaloupe – Not too big – 6 inches or so in diameter, not really too much to look at on the outside either. But in the eating, this “Goddess” variety from Roxana, IL is superb – rich orange color, heavy for their size with solid yet delicate flesh and super cantaloupness of flavor that lingers on the palate not from sheer, sticky sugars (although there is plenty of that) but from the clean, pure fruit flavor itself.
Here we are at the sweet spot of the growing season. Oh, the harvest will last another six months but to my way of thinking it’s the confluence of Homegrown Tomatoes and just-picked Sweet Corn that represents the agricultural (and hence the culinary) pinnacle of the calendar. The month of July is resplendent with daily Lucky-To-Be-Alive moments when the two can be enjoyed during a single meal. So take the glory of the season to your customers, many of whom may not even be accustomed to indulging in the high art of seasonal eating. What a gift you can give them.
You couldn’t miss the article in last Wednesday’s Post Dispatch, front page above the fold: ”Bottomland battle over development brewing in Maryland Heights”. Seems someone wants to “develop” a 191 acre “destination” shopping center to be called Maryland Pointe right smack dab in the Missouri River Bottoms at the intersection of Maryland Heights Expressway and the Page Avenue extension – a place now being used for vegetable cultivation by my friends and long-time suppliers Dave and Darrell Thies. The PD printed my letter of response on Sunday. But why do shopping center developers think they have to spell the word ”point” with an “e”?
Let the land feed us
Regarding “Bottomland battle” (May 18): Any realistic cost/benefit assessment based on the public interest wouldn’t allow even consideration of a Maryland Pointe “destination” shopping center in the Missouri River floodplain.
While shopping centers are downsizing and going broke all over the area because of speculative over-building, farmers markets and the demand for locally grown produce has skyrocketed. The property in question boasts some of the best farmland in the country — precisely because it’s in the floodplain. It should be zoned only for agriculture so that it can continue to feed us, provide flood protection and remind us of how good food used to taste before we started shipping it in from factory farms thousands of miles away.
Andy Ayers • St. Louis
Eat Here St. Louis