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GardenSMART Episode

Show #45/7406. A Farm-To-Table Feast

Summary of Show

Idea For The Barn
Eric catches up with chef Kristin Jorgensen to take a walk through her garden and kitchen and discuss the many ways she makes her food shine with what she finds in the garden and the forest. Eric thanks Kristin for joining GardenSMART, welcome to the show. What a magical place, he wants to know how she came by THE IDEA FOR THE BARN and then found this place. What's the story? Kristin thinks the story is pretty cool. Her grandparents bought the barn about 30 years ago when it was actually a barn - no windows, no doors, no floors, very rustic. They took about 24 summers, coming up every summer and doing absolutely nothing but working on this place. Her grandfather is a pretty amazing woodworker and had this passion, probably a lot of his adult life, of buying an old barn and renovating it.
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Keep It In The Family
But about eight years ago, they started talking about selling it and that's when Kristin started thinking about buying it. At the time she was living in California, working in the restaurant business and decided she needed to KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY. The task was to see if she could figure out a way to use her passion for food, entertaining and gardening and turn this place into something she could share with people. An occupational chef, which is a super exciting career, is often a very difficult way to make a living, it's not easy work. Eric understands, that's an understatement, it is very hard work and she was looking for a way of pursuing that passion, but then taking a step back from the rigors of back-of-the-house life every day. That was exactly Kristin’s mindset, when she started thinking about buying the Barn and doing renovations she contemplated what she was going to do with her life when she moved back up here.
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Herbs Kristin Grows
Eric would like for Kristin to talk about some of the HERBS SHE GROWS. And he would really love to know the ones that are her favorites especially for container cultivation. What does she like to use in her food and which herbs provide the least amount of fits? Basil is obviously, one of her favorites. She loves to cook a lot of Thai food, thus has a lot of Thai basil. Regular basil like the Italian basil - has some great growing years, some years, terrible. She grows a lot of things like fennel, but not for the bulb, just for the fennel tops. It's similar to using dill, but, for some reason, up here, maybe because of all the rain they get, dill is a little sketchy as far as her success with it. The fennel goes crazy and she loves to use that interchangeably, like you would with dill. She grows a lot of edible flowers like nasturtiums, marigolds and lavender.
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Selecting The Herb You’re Going To Grow
Even if you have one tiny pot, pick the HERB YOU’RE GOING TO USE the most, maybe something like thyme. A little bit of thyme goes a long way. Most of these herbs have a really high oil content, so, just a regular 12-inch terra-cotta pot of thyme is a lot of thyme and it grows back pretty fast. Eric notes there's so much diversity. Kristin was talking about, three, four or five different kinds of thyme and someone may ask, well, why would you need that many different kinds of thyme? Well, lemon thyme and silver leaf thyme don't taste even remotely similar, they're completely different ingredients.
For More Information Click Here

Foraging
Eric thinks one of the most exciting things that we can do as people who love nature and love food is to start putting your toe in the water of FORAGING because there are so many things, more than what most people would imagine, that are literally just right out there. And, oftentimes, they're the most delicious ingredients we could incorporate into a dish. Many people stay away from foraging because they feel like it's dangerous or it just takes a substantial amount of education to get into it. We shouldn't do it blindly, for sure. There are many, many mushrooms that are not good to eat, but, with a little bit of knowledge and with help from other foragers, who can point out things that are native to your area, there's just an abundance of wonderful wild herbs, mushrooms, things that grow throughout the forest and the prairies that are great to incorporate into our food.
For More Information Click Here

Kristin Started With Greens
They STARTED WITH A LOT OF THE GREENS, which always felt very safe to Kristin and then really started learning a lot more about the mushrooms. She still sticks with the ones you can't go wrong with, like chanterelles. We're going to have wine caps in the meal that she's going to cook today and with those you really can't go wrong.
For More Information Click Here

Farmer’s Market
But Kristin comments as much fun as it is to forage, sometimes she gets so busy that she will miss out on chanterelle season, but if you go to your FARMER’S MARKET each market has a handful of professional foragers and they've done all the work for you. And, that's also another way to be able to identify items in your area that you can forage for if you're buying them from somebody who knows what they're doing.
For More Information Click Here

Transplanting
And that brings Kristin into things that are really sought after like wild ramps. She TRANSPLANTED a bunch of ramps from her secret ramp patch on a friend's property back to her property. It’s now been five years and every year her ramp patch gets bigger, it keeps growing. So one can kind of fake your foraging. Ramps, what an amazing find when you come around a corner and you have a beautiful stand.
For More Information Click Here

Abby - Mixologist
Eric next meets Abby Powell, the beverage mixologist and comments no great meal is complete without its COMPLEMENTARY BEVERAGE. Beverage and food are intertwined, they can play off each other. Thinking about them as a pairing component, adding layers of flavor to what we're experiencing is so important. It really elevates the whole dining experience. One of Eric's favorite components in any meal is a well-made cocktail. Eric knows that's Abby's specialty and that she has put together a beautiful cocktail. Please talk our viewers through how you made this wonderful drink. One thing they love to do at the Barn is eat outside and have wonderful picnics. Abby thinks the perfect thing to serve at a picnic is a summer sangria. Here she made a tarragon herb syrup.
For More Information Click Here

The Meal
Kristin, Abby and Eric sit down to THE MEAL. He comments this looks absolutely amazing and is sure it will taste even better. All of these elements, everything on the table is local. It's basically a celebration and an expression of the place, all of these were farmed or foraged or baked or fermented with care. That's something that Kristin always says about living here and how special western North Carolina is. They have access to probably some of the most beautiful ingredients in the south, anything from brewers, winemakers, butchers, farmers, you name it, they have access to all of these beautiful things. Trout is easily one of her favorites. She utilizes purveyors located in western North Carolina. They're a family of trout farmers that started in the late 1800s here in Cashiers - Sunburst Trout Farm.
For More Information Click Here

LINKS:

The Barn
The Barn

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List

Show #45/7406. A Farm-To-Table Feast

Transcript of Show

In this episode GardenSMART fires up the stove while harvesting the garden for a farm-to-table feast. Eric loves spending time in the kitchen. In so many ways, exploring food is one of the most tangible ways to enjoy the garden. Whether it's a tomato picked at just the right moment or exploring all the amazing flavors that can be found in fresh herbs, taking an active role in growing what we eat is an amazingly satisfying endeavor. So much of what we find in the grocery store has been grown on impoverished soils and picked unripe and the resulting fruit is underwhelming to say the least. When we grow food in a rich garden soil and allow what we are harvesting to fully ripen, we're able to experience the full splendor of that ingredient. Whether you have an estate or a small patio, it's easy to start incorporating the garden into our everyday menus.

Eric catches up with chef Kristin Jorgensen to take a walk through her garden and kitchen and discuss the many ways she makes her food shine with what she finds in the garden and the forest. Eric thanks Kristin for joining GardenSMART, welcome to the show. What a magical place, he wants to know how she came by THE IDEA FOR THE BARN and then found this place. What's the story? Kristin thinks the story is pretty cool. Her grandparents bought the barn about 30 years ago when it was actually a barn - no windows, no doors, no floors, very rustic. They took about 24 summers, coming up every summer and doing absolutely nothing but working on this place. Her grandfather is a pretty amazing woodworker and had this passion, probably a lot of his adult life, of buying an old barn and renovating it. They did all of the work themselves and one sees a lot of that love in the barn with great touches like beautiful wide, wood floors and all the pretty woodworking in there.

But about eight years ago, they started talking about selling it and that's when Kristin started thinking about buying it. At the time she was living in California, working in the restaurant business and decided she needed to KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY. The task was to see if she could figure out a way to use her passion for food, entertaining and gardening and turn this place into something she could share with people. An occupational chef, which is a super exciting career, is often a very difficult way to make a living, it's not easy work. Eric understands, that's an understatement, it is very hard work and she was looking for a way of pursuing that passion, but then taking a step back from the rigors of back-of-the-house life every day. That was exactly Kristin’s mindset, when she started thinking about buying the Barn and doing renovations she contemplated what she was going to do with her life when she moved back up here. She thought - what really brings her the most joy in life, and even though cooking has always been her career, it's really being in the kitchen with friends, drinking wine, sharing a big meal and educating people about where their food comes from. She had this epiphany that she could do that at the Barn, share this place with people and also do the thing that she loves the most, being in the kitchen with people. What she loves about food and also what she loves about gardening is that both of those activities have so much capacity to bring joy. That's what she loves about cooking, but additionally gardening has so many parallels. Eric thinks the two subjects are just inextricably linked. And that's one of the main things that has brought her so much joy with the cooking classes here - educating people and inspiring them to eat more with the seasons. By doing that folks appreciate those things more and appreciate just how beautiful that ingredient is, plus the fact you're only going to eat it for a month out of the whole year.
Eric thinks one of the most impactful things we can grow are our own herbs, they make such a huge difference. The flavor of fresh oregano is not the same as dried oregano and it's something that's very practical to grow. Herbs love containers, one can grow them in very small spaces, very few of them take up a big footprint. Eric knows Kristin has a wonderful herb garden on the property that really plays an instrumental role in her cooking. Let's go take a look at that.

Eric would like for Kristin to talk about some of the HERBS SHE GROWS. And he would really love to know the ones that are her favorites especially for container cultivation. What does she like to use in her food and which herbs provide the least amount of fits? Basil is obviously, one of her favorites. She loves to cook a lot of Thai food, thus has a lot of Thai basil. Regular basil like the Italian basil - has some great growing years, some years, terrible. She grows a lot of things like fennel, but not for the bulb, just for the fennel tops. It's similar to using dill, but, for some reason, up here, maybe because of all the rain they get, dill is a little sketchy as far as her success with it. The fennel goes crazy and she loves to use that interchangeably, like you would with dill. She grows a lot of edible flowers like nasturtiums, marigolds and lavender. She uses a lot of those in things like salads. The lavender and the marigold make really great simple syrups for cocktails. Tarragon, people either love it or they hate it, or they think they hate it. Kristin particularly likes the herbs that come back every year, like rosemary and thyme. She grows three or four different kinds of thyme, like lemon thyme, it's really one of her favorites in vinaigrettes. And then a lot of the mediterranean herbs, marjoram as well as two different kinds of oregano. It sounds like so much when this is such a small place. Kristin believes the real inspiration for anybody growing herbs is just go to the grocery store and try to buy one of those packets for $3.

Even if you have one tiny pot, pick the HERB YOU’RE GOING TO USE the most, maybe something like thyme. A little bit of thyme goes a long way. Most of these herbs have a really high oil content, so, just a regular 12-inch terra-cotta pot of thyme is a lot of thyme and it grows back pretty fast. Eric notes there's so much diversity. Kristin was talking about, three, four or five different kinds of thyme and someone may ask, well, why would you need that many different kinds of thyme? Well, lemon thyme and silver leaf thyme don't taste even remotely similar, they're completely different ingredients. As a gardener and a cook, there's so many fun, new flavors that one can come up with. So skip the spice aisle. What one can do in your garden, in containers will elevate your cooking. Kristin thinks, over the years, when people ask her to talk a little bit about her cooking or what she thinks is the most important part of it, she would easily say fresh herbs. One can have a so-so dish and load it up with some fresh herbs and it's just going to get delicious.

Eric thinks one of the most exciting things that we can do as people who love nature and love food is to start putting your toe in the water of FORAGING because there are so many things, more than what most people would imagine, that are literally just right out there. And, oftentimes, they're the most delicious ingredients we could incorporate into a dish. Many people stay away from foraging because they feel like it's dangerous or it just takes a substantial amount of education to get into it. We shouldn't do it blindly, for sure. There are many, many mushrooms that are not good to eat, but, with a little bit of knowledge and with help from other foragers, who can point out things that are native to your area, there's just an abundance of wonderful wild herbs, mushrooms, things that grow throughout the forest and the prairies that are great to incorporate into our food. Eric knows that that's something Kristin is very passionate about and that she incorporates these elements into her cooking all the time. That is correct. She moved up here about seven years ago and one of the very first things she did was take a forging class. It was so inspirational because, the gal that led it made it seem really approachable. She highlighted a lot about the very first things one can identify that don't have similar poisonous counterparts, things that come up in the spring. For example, the nettles, basically a lot like spinach in flavor, but you can't confuse it for something else. Any of the wild herbs, they have wild peppermint that grows in the area, there are even medicinal things, like yarrow, things she never knew one could eat, like goldenrod, which also has medicinal properties. So it makes cooking with them a two-level way of experiencing their benefits.

They STARTED WITH A LOT OF THE GREENS, which always felt very safe to Kristin and then really started learning a lot more about the mushrooms. She still sticks with the ones you can't go wrong with, like chanterelles. We're going to have wine caps in the meal that she's going to cook today and with those you really can't go wrong. She still would recommend everyone double checking or asking somebody that is really knowledgeable to go with them, but thinks living in a place like western North Carolina, where every year that goes by that you're here, you can go to the same spot almost by calendar day. For example March 15th, the mushrooms are going to be right there. April, whatever, the nettles start coming up. Once you've identified it once, you really get a lot more comfortable with knowing where it is, knowing what it looks like, and then it's really fun to learn how to cook with them.
Eric thinks that's a great point, especially as far as mushrooms are concerned, you find chanterelles in this section of the forest or oyster mushrooms growing on this very particular red oak. With chanterelles, for instance, you know that two or three days after a heavy rain this time of year, you can almost peg where it's going to be. Just go pick your mushrooms. Eric learned a lot by going on trail hikes with friends who really, really understood mushrooms, and it takes a lot of the fear out of it and it's so worthwhile. When you have some chanterelles that are sautéed with butter along with some of your fresh herbs, nothing is better. Toss in some pasta, you don't have to get complicated. In fact with those kind of wild ingredients, it's best not to get complicated so that people can actually, truly experience that ingredient. Kristin highly recommends taking a tour with somebody you know. In the Asheville area there are a bunch of companies that do foraging tours.

But Kristin comments as much fun as it is to forage, sometimes she gets so busy that she will miss out on chanterelle season, but if you go to your FARMER’S MARKET each market has a handful of professional foragers and they've done all the work for you. And, that's also another way to be able to identify items in your area that you can forage for if you're buying them from somebody who knows what they're doing. Everybody wants the chanterelles, the ones that are fancy, but there are others like "chicken of the woods" that are everywhere around here. They taste just as good, and they're fun to cook.

And that brings Kristin into things that are really sought after like wild ramps. She TRANSPLANTED a bunch of ramps from her secret ramp patch on a friend's property back to her property. It’s now been five years and every year her ramp patch gets bigger, it keeps growing. So one can kind of fake your foraging. Ramps, what an amazing find when you come around a corner and you have a beautiful stand. And the fact that they're so sustainable, just cut the tops, then next year you've got twice as many. Nature is amazing.

Eric next meets Abby Powell, the beverage mixologist and comments no great meal is complete without its COMPLEMENTARY BEVERAGE. Beverage and food are intertwined, they can play off each other. Thinking about them as a pairing component, adding layers of flavor to what we're experiencing is so important. It really elevates the whole dining experience. One of Eric's favorite components in any meal is a well-made cocktail. Eric knows that's Abby's specialty and that she has put together a beautiful cocktail. Please talk our viewers through how you made this wonderful drink. One thing they love to do at the Barn is eat outside and have wonderful picnics. Abby thinks the perfect thing to serve at a picnic is a summer sangria. Here she made a tarragon herb syrup. She got the tarragon from the garden and made a simple syrup. Really, all sangria is is leftover wine and some yummy syrup and a little splash of orange liqueur. That's what she did here. She cut up some fresh seasonal figs, added peaches and grapes are always a nice addition to add a little crunch. Abby loves using a large ice cube in sangria because you can really see all the fruit and you don't get too much dilution. They always garnish at the Barn with fresh herbs, so added fresh tarragon from the garden and as well stirred in some nasturtium flowers. Eric thinks this is wonderful sangria. Sangria can sometimes get a bad rap, but that's not fair, not fair at all. Sangria can be delicious. Abby thinks the key is good ingredients - fresh herbs and your own simple syrups. One can craft their own syrups. Cheap wine is okay because you're adding more to it. And it really pairs well with fried chicken, potato chips, anything you might have at a picnic. Eric loves the way that Abby is incorporating the garden. The fresh ingredients are so important, they really do elevate a cocktail. It's just one more reason why we need to garden.

Kristin, Abby and Eric sit down to THE MEAL. He comments this looks absolutely amazing and is sure it will taste even better. All of these elements, everything on the table is local. It's basically a celebration and an expression of the place, all of these were farmed or foraged or baked or fermented with care. That's something that Kristin always says about living here and how special western North Carolina is. They have access to probably some of the most beautiful ingredients in the south, anything from brewers, winemakers, butchers, farmers, you name it, they have access to all of these beautiful things. Trout is easily one of her favorites. She utilizes purveyors located in western North Carolina. They're a family of trout farmers that started in the late 1800s here in Cashiers - Sunburst Trout Farm. They are doing the most beautiful farm-raised trout and trout products. They make trout caviar, which is definitely one of her favorite things. Kristin would put it up there with some of the fanciest caviar in the world. She thinks you can't go wrong with the whole trout. And is one of her favorite things to cook over the wood fire. The fire is almost more of a campfire style of cooking where you're doing it in a cast iron pan. You don't have to be so concerned with the trout sticking to the grill or falling through the little holes. She finds the combination of having the grill and then being able to cook over it in a sauté pan really takes the fear out of open-fire cooking. It could not be more simple. And, goes back to what we talked about earlier, when you get the most beautiful ingredients, you really shouldn't do much with them, because you really don't have to. This is just trout roasted over the wood fire with a little bit of lemon and a little bit of fennel. And she doesn't think anything would go better with it than some craft cider. She has some good friends that are making beautiful heirloom apple ciders in the style of Spanish dry cider. Their company is called Botanist & Barrel. What they're drinking today is a single apple cider. They drink more like a wine than what a lot of people might be familiar with, like the really sweet ciders that are on the market today. And then she doesn't think any meal is complete without beautiful bread. This bread is from one of her favorite little local bakeries in Franklin called Bent Willow. Then corn and wild mushrooms. The mushrooms are foraged, they're wine cap mushrooms. They eat very much like a portobello mushroom, something a lot of people might be familiar with. And then silver queen corn which, of course, is the epitome of southern corn this time of year. Kristin loves sweet corn, it's from Osage Farm which is just about 25, 30 minutes from here. Eric loves the simplicity of what Kristin has prepared. It allows the complexity of that simple ingredient to shine through and allows people to just experience those ingredients in their most raw form. If the ingredients are great, you can highlight those every single meal and there's so much to explore. There's so much to explore. Kristin thinks that's one of the main things they teach at the Barn - buy local, buy seasonal. Try to support your local farmers and your local artisans, give your weekly farmer's market a try and really try to support the people who really care about where their food comes from and then you honestly don't have to even do much to it.

Eric is ready. Let’s dig in. What a delicious meal. Starting with the best ingredients makes all the difference in the world.

Thanks Kristin and Abby this was a great meal. And it was delightful to meet, spend time together and get a behind the scenes look at how this meal came together.

LINKS:

The Barn
The Barn

Cashiers, North Carolina
Home - The Village Green Of Cashiers

Plant List


   
 
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