In our work as well as in our lives, food is a common thread that connects us all. Here at the Boston Area Gleaners we are obsessed with how food is grown, harvested, cooked & shared. We have the extreme privilege of visiting many different farms and handling many different kinds of produce, from which we draw a great deal of inspiration.
At the end of many gleaning trips there remains a small percentage of produce that doesn't meet BAG's quality standards. Staff and volunteers alike are often challenged by the prospect of leaving behind the eggplant with one bad spot or the golf ball sized apple. We recognize that these items still hold value, nutrition and flavor if only prepared appropriately. When we are in a position to offer these items to volunteers as a reward for their hard work, there is usually a frenzy of activity as folks fill up their pockets or backpacks and discuss tricks for transforming their spoils.
Sometimes we wonder..... What ever happened to those golf ball sized apples? How was that ratatouille volunteers discussed as an option for split tomatoes? Does that trick actually work? Can we come over for dinner?!
We're realizing that housed within our collective of food enthusiasts is a treasure trove of preparatory magic. We have folks who know which weeds in a farm field are edible and those who know that the sweetest part of a daikon radish is the tip while the middle is better grated in soup. We also have folks that know corn is best kept simple and eaten raw right after harvest, with some chopped onions and cherry tomatoes. We want to chronicle your food knowledge, stories and recipes in your own words, in your own style.
Simple or complex, innovative or an old standby, we want to know what gleaned dishes you love!
Meet our cookbook coordinator: Miss Jeanie (aka Miss Gleanie)
Jeanie joined the BAG family last season when she began exploring the farming scene in the Greater Boston area. A Louisiana native and long time owner/operator of Miss Jeanie's Catering, she brings a deep love for food, creativity and community with her wherever she goes.
This winter she began work on a cookbook for a homeless shelter she volunteers at in New Orleans. The idea was to compile favorite recipes of the shelter's residents, in their own language and style, and in doing so offer a way to connect on a deeper level.
Upon returning to New England, Miss Jeanie resumed volunteering frequently with BAG and offered to help us compile a cookbook of our own!
Thoughts and specific guidelines for submitting.....
Your recipe doesn't need to be in classic or perfect recipe style
Include your ingredients and a description of how you made it in your own words
Include where you gleaned the food from
What struck you about the particular food you gleaned or the field/farm you gleaned it from
What inspired you to make the dish you made
How it tasted, how it made you feel or what it made you think about
Thoughts on food waste
To submit a recipe or to find out more contact Jeanie at missGLEANie[at]gmail.com