Some quick things:
- Want to receive this list via email each week? Sign up here.
- We will be closing early on July 4th, but we will be open! Market hours are 7am-3pm that day.
- Tart cherries are here! These are what you want for most baking applications. Sometimes I just eat them. And zucchini mean it must be summer!
- If I told you last week that we were going to have
fava beans, I’m so sorry to say that our order fell through. We do have green beans and sugar snap peas! (And we’ll try again next week on the fava beans.)
- Parsley’s on sale! $2/bunch, rather than $2.50, and some of the bunches are probably a little bigger than normal. I maybe accidentally ordered too much. You win!
- Regular bread schedule is back on — fresh bread Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
- We’re hiring. Click here for more information. (This is for the stand, not the store — we’ll let you know when we get to store hiring!)
Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week!
This is a post about collard greens and chicken, partly culinarily, but partly just a little window into one of the quirks of selling food.
Chicken first. Thanks to those of you who participated in our little survey about chicken preferences. In order to have a more consistent stock of pieced chickens (that is, breasts, legs/thighs, etc), we’re now buying entire birds, and having them broken down into parts. This keeps our costs (and therefore your costs) lower because it’s much easier for the farmer. It also means the farmer isn’t taking on the risk that he or she won’t be able to sell all the parts of the bird. We’re taking on that risk instead. It’s not a big deal — by weight, chickens are maybe a little over half breasts, legs, and thighs; but demand is almost entirely for breasts, legs, and thighs. To account for this, the generally-accepted approach seems to be that you price those parts so that sales of them alone will come pretty close to paying for the whole chicken, and then you don’t have to worry too much if sales of wings or backs are lagging a little bit. We can do that math.
In our house, we eat mostly chicken legs and thighs. When we roast a whole bird, we eat the leg quarters for dinners, then shred the breasts to make chicken salad, then use the carcass for stock. I heard it referred to once as the three-step process in eating a chicken, and it’s definitely how I think of it. If we’re buying pieced chicken, it’s always legs and thighs — I can’t even remember the last time I bought chicken breast.
Now, I knew that my preference for legs and thighs was not exactly mainstream — I knew that the only reason breasts are more expensive than legs is because the breasts are in higher demand, but each chicken has exactly two of each. There’s even supply but uneven demand, and so the pricing is one of the ways (maybe the primary way) retailers try to balance out sales of the various parts. It always seemed crazy to me that leg quarters were priced so much lower than breasts, but I guess I never really thought about it. That is, I never really thought about it until I started buying whole chickens and trying to get the parts to all sell at the same rate; or at least trying to get the breasts and legs to sell at the same rate. Harder than it looks.
So we did a little survey to see if we could piece and pack the leg quarters in ways that would be more appealing. The answer is — there’s no consensus. The next round of birds we get will have the legs and thighs separated from each other, but will continue to be packed together. It may be a little while before that packaging hits the shelves! If we were a Big grocery store, we’d offer all the options, of course, but we’re small, and the farm/processor we’re using is small — one of the ways we can make it work is by keeping it simple. And one of the ways we can keep it sustainable is by doing what we can to move different parts of the chicken at the same rate.
Somewhere along the way in this R&R journey, we picked up a phrase, maybe from reading Zingermans’ work on customer service, or maybe somewhere else — “meet the customer where they are”. When we say it to each other, we mean something along the lines of, we’re not trying to change the world, we’re trying to be there as you change the world. One forkful at a time. We’ll keep working on ways to sustainably meet the demand for the different pieces of chicken.
On a culinary note, though, I do feel a need to say that I really think chicken legs and thighs are the best part of the bird. One thing I like about the uneven demand is that I can eat all the leg quarters I want without worrying I’m taking them from your mouth. It’s one of the few products where we don’t quite align with what the majority of our customers seems to want. So I’m taking a risk by saying this, but — you know how sheet pan dinners are all the rage? Are they still all the rage? Anyway — I have a pretty strong belief that legs and thighs are the best for this application. The skin gets a little crispy, the bone-in meat stays juicier, and, well, they’re just so freaking tasty.
I’m thinking some of those red new potatoes, a pack of leg quarters (probably separated for this purpose, but that’s easy to do), some rosemary, some lemon, maybe 400 degrees for 30 minutes? Steamed green beans on the side, right?
But wait! I said I was going to talk about collard greens, and here I am suggesting green beans. What do collard greens have to do with all this?
They became linked in my mind mostly because I was thinking about them around the same time — it’s not like we’re selling all the collard leaves and none of the stems. What does happen, though, is that we sell waaaay more collard greens in the fall and winter than we do this time of year. Not crazy surprising, except that the difference is greater for collards than it is for things like kale and swiss chard. And I thought, “Yeah, shrug, okay, I guess that’s how I feel, too.” But then I thought, “Why????” I make kale salads and slaws, and even kale pasta, which certainly has to be cooked, so there must also be summer-y things you can do with collards? And I went looking for them.
One of our favorite collards dishes of all time involves coconut milk, and we do make it in the summer (it’s awesome with some grilled pork chops with the Calicutts Caribbean seasoning which we do not have in stock right now but will sometime soon), but it does involve simmering on the stove for 45 minutes or so. But then one of the first things I found in my quest was this recipe for Coconutty Collard Slaw, I thought, YES. That link is to a recipe in Carla Lalli Music’s Where Cooking Begins, and we have that cookbook, and so it’s been sitting open on the dining room table since Saturday, just waiting for me to make it. I haven’t yet. This week has been interviewing potential new stand staffers, visiting farms (see the above pic of Dusty feeding a baby goat!), and having one of those summer colds that’s made me want to eat nothing but ramen (with homemade broth and lots and lots of slivered sugar snap peas). Maybe tomorrow. Maybe with some chicken thighs on the grill.
One of the features of Where Cooking Begins is that she gives you a base recipe, and then offers riffs on it to customize it for your tastes, what you have on hand, what you can find, etc. I’ll probably swap in toasted pumpkin seeds for the coconut flakes, and use some kind of Keepwell vinegar; maybe even go with the Keepwell Worcestershire instead of the fish sauce. But it turns out, the options for a collard slaw are endless, you just have to look! Join me on a summer collard green adventure?
P.S. Another thing I did this week was sign us up for a recurring donation to PASA (the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture). We have given to PASA regularly over the last few years (even before R&R existed!), but this moving note from Executive Director Hannah Smith-Brubaker really inspired me to make it more regular. Bonus: those hens she talking about taking care of? They’re laying the eggs you get from Radish & Rye. A farmer’s work tells a story that is unrivaled in its importance.
Beans & Peas
- Green Beans
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Collard Greens
- Green Curly Kale
- Lacinato Kale
- Rainbow Chard
- Lettuce Mix
- Romaine Lettuce
- Green Head Lettuce
- Fuji Apples
- Sweet Cherries
- Tart Cherries
Onions & Garlic
- Garlic Scapes
- Fresh Garlic
- Green & Red Cabbage
- Cheddar Cauliflower
- Fennel Bulbs
- Mixed Beets
- Beautiful Carrots
- Ugly/Juicing Carrots
- Red New Potatoes
- McGrath’s Original
- Sesame Original
- Irish Oatmeal Pan Bread
- Cinnamon Raisin
- Dill Onion
- Baguettes (frozen only)