Here at Market Table, we care about our community. We’re committed to providing healthy foods and meal options for your family. We’re also committed to supporting local businesses and the Central Alabama food economy. Whenever possible, we buy our fresh produce from nearby farms. We’re proud to partner with Ireland Farms in Alpine, Alabama, a farm focused on bringing the best naturally grown ingredients to your table. Get to know the good folks of Ireland Farms below!
Text by Sarah Vice
Who is Ireland Farms?
Ireland Farms is located in Alpine, Alabama. It’s owned and operated by Scott Ireland, Hollin Williams, John Riddle, and Joseph Batistella. The farm began as a way to provide more local food options to the central Alabama food economy with an emphasis on naturally grown produce. Scott Ireland founded the farm with Hollin Williams in 2016 with a trial run for friends and family. Once the two men got a grasp on how to run the farm, it became an official business in January 2017. Then, they outsourced foods to local restaurants as well as selling on-site. Soon after, team members John Riddle and Joseph Batistella joined the crew. The four men share responsibilities on the 5 acre farm.
What is Ireland Farms’s Mission?
Ireland Farms wants to bring food to their community’s table while preserving the environment. They strive to bring healthy and natural produce to local vendors, restaurants, and individual buyers. This includes providing food to the Jimmy Hale Mission. When the crops are plentiful and won’t last throughout the season, Ireland Farms shares their gains with the Jimmy Hale Mission food bank.
What Does it Mean to Grow Crops Naturally?
Ireland Farms grows crops naturally as a way to help protect the environment and provide healthier soil for planting. They keep 6 greenhouses year-round and rotate crops during the winter months. Rotating different plants in different seasons eliminates the need for preservatives. During the summer months, Ireland and his associates cover the greenhouses in cloths to shade some of the plants. This provides cooler temperatures.
Ireland Farms Community Involvement
Scott Ireland not only produces food on the farm, but also helps teach a local middle school about agriculture. He’s given presentations on how to properly maintain food sources on a farm. He also helps the students with a small farm of their own. Ireland stated that the farm occasionally shares fertilizing resources with the school in addition to the farming lessons. Ireland Farms aims to help other generations grow food successfully and naturally.
The Future of Ireland Farms
Scott Ireland hasn’t made plans to expand the farm beyond local communities. There is a chance that the produce could make its way into the Atlanta market, because of the close proximity to the farm’s location, but nothing is set in stone right now. The farm was created to provide for a local community, and Ireland holds true to that idea for the future.
Fall is the traditional time to harvest fruits and vegetables. If you have your own vegetable garden, you may already know this. However, if you’re new to the in-season-produce game,trying to figure out the ins and outs of eating seasonally may be a little intimidating. Fear not! Here’s a step-by-step guide to seasonal produce.
What Does “In Season” Mean?
Simply put, “in season” refers to food that’s harvested at a particular time of year. This ensures that you’re getting produce when it’s at its very best. This produce will have all the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. Also, your produce won’t be treated with harmful chemicals, so it’s even more healthy for your family.
What’s “Peak Season”?
“Peak season” is the time of the season when buying a particular fruit or veggie is most beneficial. First off, it’s when the produce is most available. Next, since it’s in abundance during peak season, the produce is far cheaper than any other time of year. Another benefit is that the produce has the most flavor during this time because it’s been allowed to fully ripen. However, perhaps the most important reason to buy produce in peak season is that it also has the maximum amount of nutrients.
Why Buy Local?
Buying locally grown produce ensures that there are little to no chemicals used as preservatives. If you were to buy seasonal produce from a farm out West and you live in the South, it’s highly probable that the farm will treat the produce with preservatives. Also, local produce doesn’t have to be shipped from another location, cutting down on pollutants like carbon dioxide gas. You can either purchase produce directly from the farmer at a farmer’s market or from a nearby farm.As an added bonus, buying locally stimulates the economy in your area, which is good for everyone in the long run.
Not in the mood to shop and cook for produce? Here at Market Table, we partner with local farms and food distributors to make sure we use locally grown and responsibly farmed produce whenever possible.
If you’re still eating your food off of a plate, it’s time to get with the hottest new trend: bowls. Need further proof? Go search #bowl on Instagram, and you’ll see over two million pictures of food bowls. Even at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markel, reception guests ate various options of the food bowl. Though you probably won’t be dining with the Queen of England, you’re still going to want to get in the bowl game. Here’s why these aesthetically pleasing dishes are on the rise.
Food bowls may look too beautiful to eat, but they are definitely good for your health. This is why the trend is so popular amongst healthy eaters. You’re getting all your grains, proteins, and vegetables right in one main dish, and the heartiness of the meal will leave you full for hours.
This bowl trend also means there’s more healthy food options. Restaurants are competing to “out bowl” each other. More restaurants offer healthy bowl options, which is a win for you. Instead of driving across town for your food bowl, you’ll probably find a nearby restaurant that’s caught on to the new trend.
They’re Easy to Make
If you’re trying to save some money, food bowls are also simple to make. Another great thing about food bowls is that they’re infinitely customizable. You can mix and match bases, toppings, and dressings to your heart’s desire. This make food bowls great for meal preppers, lunch lovers, and picky eaters.
If you’re skeptical about joining the craze, just know that this is no fad. In fact, food bowls have been around for a long time. They get their origins from Hawaiian and Brazilian culture with the poke and açaí bowls, respectively.
Poke is a staple Hawaiian dish and traditionally includes raw cubed tuna. But, there are other options such as octopus, salmon or tofu. All of this is served on a bed of rice and topped with furikake, a Japanese seasoning equivalent to America’s salt and pepper. This dish has left the island and established itself as a popular food bowl throughout the rest of the country.
Açaí is a superfruit with lots of health benefits. It gained its popularity through smoothie bowls, but it’s also a popular icecream flavor. Açaí bowls, or Açaí na tigela in Brazil, are fruit smoothie bowls topped with granola, bananas, other berries and syrups. These are the bowls you’ll see the most on Instagram.
If stepping up your Instagram game or the Royal family wasn’t enough motivation to join the food bowl movement, then maybe these benefits and cool origins will inspire you to join soon.
You may find yourself reading through the lists of strange-sounding words on a restaurant’s menu. One word that might pop up? Aioli. You might’ve heard that it’s similar to mayonnaise. But what is it, really? Aioli can be made many ways, all equally delicious.
Aioli Isn’t Just Mayonnaise
People tend to describe aioli as mayonnaise, but that’s not entirely true. Both sauces do contain similar ingredients: eggs, oil, and lemon juice. The difference lies in the way each sauce is made. First, mayonnaise is usually emulsified within a blender or food processor. Aioli, however, is traditionally made with pestle and mortar. When making aioli, chefs pound garlic into a paste. Then, they whisk the garlic paste along with egg yolks, lemon juice, and oil. The kind of oil makes a difference, too. While mayonnaise is made with canola oil, aioli is made with olive oil. The consistency of aioli can range from thick and paste-like to a creamy texture.
The History of Aioli
Aioli comes from the Mediterranean. Originally, aioli consisted of garlic salt ground into oil. In other regions, like France, cooks also added egg yolk and lemon juice. Current French aioli is closer to garlic mayonnaise than traditional aioli. The Spanish Catalan, however, don’t consider that true aioli. Instead, they only consider the eggless recipe to be aioli.
European Dishes That Include Aioli
Europeans traditionally serve aioli with fish or vegetables. The Spanish serve aioli with codfish and boiled vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and peppers. During the summer, they hold feasts where people bring their own fish and vegetables to dip into the host’s aioli. People in the Provence region of France celebrate a similar tradition. It’s called aioli monstre, or “grand aioli,” and it is, indeed, a grand celebration for foodies. Diners pile meats, fishes, and vegetables on their plate and then dip them in the aioli. Aioli is also a popular side dish during a French Christmas Eve dinner called the Gros Souper, or The Great Supper.
American Dishes That Include Aioli
In the United States, aioli is used as a catch-all term for flavored mayonnaise. This is especially true of garlic mayonnaise. In many fine dining restaurants, chefs use aioli on scallops and other seafood. Aioli can also be used as a spread on sandwiches in the US. Spanish food purists, however, would probably not consider this aioli. Still, the same basic ingredients ring true: cloves of garlic and canola oil.
You Can Make Your Own Version of Aioli
The main ingredient for today’s aioli? Creativity! Garlic and olive oil are the only constants in the recipe. You can add vegetables, like artichokes or beets. Or you can even add in meats, like fish or chicken. The best part is that aioli can be prepared well in advance of a meal. Wash and chop the ingredients, then put them in a food processor. And voila! You have a unique – and delicious! — dipping sauce for parties and other festivities. Serve up your aioli with steamed vegetables, meat, fish, or shellfish. A home-made aioli is a quick and easy way to add variety to left-overs, or create new and exciting flavor combinations along with prepared foods. For instance, this lemon-garlic aioli is delightful and delicious with Market Table’s pork tenderloin. Make orange peel aioli as a mouth-watering addition to Market Table’s smoked chicken. Finally, this savory jalapeñoaioli adds just the right kind of spice to burgers and beef dishes, like our seared flank steak.
The international avocado market blew up from 2012-2016. In fact, the exports increased as much as 30% in some areas — and no, it’s not just because of Millennials and their avocado toast. Here’s why the fruit (yes, we said fruit!) is so sought-after.
First: A Little U.S. History
In 1914, the US banned the import of Mexican avocados into the continental United States as a way to stop the seed weevil from destroying American farms. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange began growing and selling the fruit instead. However, they couldn’t keep up with the demand of the whole country. For decades, only states on the west coast with fresh fruit markets were able to enjoy the creamy fruit.
What’s in a Name?
In the years following the ban, the fruit became known as “alligator pears.” The thick skin was bumpy and various shades of green, like the reptile, and the shape was that of a pear. The California Avocado Grower’s Exchange worked to change the name to avocado, thinking that the exoticism of the name would lend to its reputation as a luxury fruit.
In 1997, the US started to slowly lift the ban. But there were still hurdles to overcome. Many Americans didn’t understand how to properly eat an avocado. So, the growers launched a campaign to educate Americans. One of the best facets of this campaign was the Super Bowl/Guacamole Bowl recipe contest. The growers’ PR firm asked various NFL teams for their best guac recipes. The firm suggested that the best recipe might predict the winner of the Super Bowl. The plan worked, and Americans fell in love with guacamole. In fact, we consume 8 million pounds of it every Super Bowl Sunday.
Studyafterstudy confirms that the avocado is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Just a 3.5 ounce serving contains Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, E, A, B1, B2 and B3. It also contains other nutrients, like folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc and phosphorus. There are 160 calories in this one serving, with only 2 grams of net carbs, 15 grams of healthy fats and 2 grams of protein.
Chefs love to use avocados in recipes. Their creaminess is great for balancing acidity or spice. The avocado flavor is delicate enough not to overwhelm any other ingredients.
And, of course, there’s avocado toast. It’s a simple, filling snack or breakfast food that is quick to prepare and scrumptious to boot. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and whatever other topping you’d like. A fried or soft-boiled egg would be perfect. Or if it’s too early to think about making your own, swing by Market Table for a breakfast featuring our tasty avocado toast.
From the way sales have increased each year, it is clear that, when it comes to the avocado, Americans have no problem in making up for lost time.