Cooking Simply: The Harvie Way

By Simon Huntley Founder and CEO, Harvie

Good morning fellow eaters!

Buying a farm share from a Harvie farmer is a great first step to culinary adventures and eating healthier, but now you need to take that beautiful, farm-fresh produce out of the box or bag and put it to good use in your kitchen!

Our philosophy at Harvie is that cooking is not about intimidating recipes and elaborate meals. Our obsessions with food TV like “Iron Chef” and “Chopped” make us feel like only the professionals can make food taste good. False. You can do this. Any chef knows that the ingredients make the dish – whether it’s a simple omelette or beef wellington. The point is, the quality of ingredients matter more than the number of ingredients and in your Harvie farm share you have the best ingredients!

Each week Harvie provides recipes and cooking ideas (look at the bottom of your emails) based on what your farmer grew for you that week. However, even more important is to get in the right mindset.

Here is Harvie’s Cooking Philosophy:

Fresh, high-quality ingredients from your local farmer is a great start for a simple and healthy meal

Every great meal, no matter how simple or complex, starts with high-quality ingredients. I find the joy of cooking is turning simple foods into something incredible. A simple omelette using farm-fresh eggs, spring asparagus and local goat cheese isn’t out of your reach: it’s exactly the way nature intended us to eat.

Back to Basics

Food should not be complicated. Taking a minimalist approach to preparations and recipes not only saves you time and your sanity, it allows the taste of the food to shine through. Don’t worry about making an Indian curry with 9 different spices (unless you want to!).

For example, with my first farm share of the season from Rivendale Farm in the Pittsburgh, PA area, I cooked up my kale as a simple stir fry and served it over rice noodles.

Helpful hint: Stir-fry of any kind is a simple way to use up veggies you have on hand. The right sauce makes the dish. Here is a staff favorite for homemade stir-fry sauce

Be Flexible

Learning how to substitute different vegetables or make variations of the same recipes to achieve different results is a way to keep your taste buds happy and your food waste low. In the stir-fry example, you could substitute swiss chard or spinach for the kale, and swap out rice noodles for cauliflower rice, brown rice, or soba noodles.

Learn techniques over recipes

As you start cooking more, you’ll become more comfortable with going off the script of a recipe. Learn some simple preparations and techniques like how to make a salad dressing or how to make vegetable soup, then these techniques can be applied to anything you have in your refrigerator. Be creative, it’s OK to fail.

Helpful Hint: Coming in July, Harvie is teaming up with Cook With What You Have to bring you a monthly lesson in basic kitchen techniques. 

Embrace leftovers, cook ahead

Cook, wash, and prepare in bulk when you have time and put the leftovers in the refrigerator. For example, when I get my lettuce home from my farm share, I immediately wash a big bowl of lettuce and put that in my refrigerator and then every time it is time for a meal, I have lettuce ready to eat. This means I eat a lot more lettuce because it is convenient and ready to go.

Helpful Hint: Use this “How to Store Your Farm Share” PDF print out to help you organize and store your share!

Enjoy the process of cooking

Slow down and enjoy the physical act of cooking. So many of us work in front of computers all day moving around 1s and 0s in digital space, but with cooking we have an opportunity to feel the food, to hear the sizzle of an onion, and the percussive pleasure of chopping a carrot. Take a little time to reflect on that carrot: it was grown in a particular field, on your farmer’s farm, weeded, watered, harvested, and washed by a person and delivered to you. Each carrot ties us to the land and the farm and the earth. Cooking is a moment to slow down and enjoy these connections and the timeless art of nourishing our bodies. It’s not a chore, it is one of life’s pleasures.

If you really don’t like something, don’t get it

For me, it’s beets. I want to like to beets, I really do. And everyone tells me that I will love them if I just figure out how to cook them. I’ve tried everything and I still don’t like beets. That’s OK, I simply mark my beets as a “0” in my preferences in Harvie and I’ll get more of something else I do like.

So, get out there and cook!

Are you having trouble with a particular item in your share? Send me an email back and I’ll try to help!

Did you cook something delicious with your Harvie farm share? Post your photo on social media tagged with #harviefarms or @harviefarms and send me a link!

In the coming weeks, we will open a Harvie member community on Facebook to allow you to share your creations and help you when you are stuck, so look out for an email on that soon.