[Lexington MA] PSA: leeks on sale at Wilson Farms

I am right now sauteeing a huge mess of leeks that I acquired for five bucks and change and that is only half my haul. Another huge mess of leeks on deck.

One of my pendemic cooking epiphanies is how much a spoonful or two of sauteed leeks adds to so many things, so having a whole bunch of them in the freezer is a Good Thing. And a leek and cheese omelette is heaven…

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I made the personal decision to stop shopping at Wilson Farm because of the family’s political contributions. I ask via email to stop getting their emails because I was no longer going to shop there. I got a message back that I was being unfair, and I should continue to shop there, only some family members were contributing to politicians I abhor. I didn’t like being told I was unfair. I deliberately did not blast them on social media. I just asked to be taken off the email list and explained why.
they have great produce or did in the past. I haven’t been since pandemic began but got an order from them via mercato.
Just wasn’t worth it to me. It’s a very personal decision. I don’t want to say more beyond that the response from them confirmed that I made the right decision for me.

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You are absolutely right. And it is very hard to be a principled shopper these days. For me, I have been shopping there my whole – long – life. My mother did a weekly run and taught us to choose produce there, in the early seventies. Once I got my driver’s license the weekly run was delegated to me (and how delighted was I, to get to drive the car!). Because of this I know that they have employed immigrants for decades, they are good employers who gave paid time off and healthcare benefits and so on long before other similar businesses did. There are in fact many employees who have been there for decades. So FOR ME it is a place I am pretty happy to give my food dollars to. And besides, I have nutty relatives too… But everyone has to make their own decision. I respect yours.

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@Madrid For me, it’s a struggle to shop completely ethically, although I try. But unfortunately, I buy gas every 2-3 weeks for my car, once in a while I shop at Stop & Shop/Wegmans/Market Basket/Walgreens/CVS and I have no clue about their collective political leanings but I gotta assume that most big businesses are financially conservative. We get our natural gas from eversource (though we signed up for 100% of this last year. Verizon fuels our lightening fast WiFi. Whole Foods, where I probably spend most of my grocery money, is lining the pockets of someone I despise (Bezos). And before Amazon bought WF, owner John Mackey was a bit of a nut job. I’m at Trader Joe’s once a week without knowing anything about the company’s politics, even though they project a liberal/fun image (I was shocked when they didn’t have employees wearing masks for several weeks in the early days of the pandemic). I turned a blind eye because they serve my food needs. I try to shop at my local farms and businesses as much as possible but I often compromise myself and I try my best to offset that. I love Bill Penzey and his crazy emails and buy all my spices there.

Even though I knew about Wilson Farms and the support of Trump, I was just there today, buying bulk tomatoes and cider doughnuts for Spring Onion. The support of Trump was a big topic of discussion amongst my food friends and I when it came to light. I never shopped there much anyway because 10 years ago I had heard about some unsavory things regarding their irrigation practices (edited). But I do break down and go there once in a blue moon.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a complicated world we live in. If I could live off the grid, Grizzly Adams-style, I would in a minute. (Wait, did I just date myself? LOL)

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Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi North (the Aldi business empire which started in Germany in complicated with Aldi North and South) and let’s just say that the Albrecht family (owners of Aldi) is politically known to be quite right leaning and also working hard to undermine workers rights and salaries in Europe (and now also in the US). I always cringe when I read when people write that they look forward to shop at Aldi which is one of worst supermarket chains anywhere for many reasons beyond just the low quality food.

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As Alan, my favorite bartender of all time (PJ Ryan’s, Teele Sq, Somerville) would say, “it’s all fooked up.”

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Returning to leeks, do you saute the full leek, or just the white-plus-pale green? In what fat?

You’re an accomplished cook (although I still await a dinner invitation that will allow me to say for sure) and you may know all this already, but here’s something that may be of interest:

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I’m not @GretchenS and because I am still mega-procrastinating, I will say that I use every bit of a leek, dark green-to-white parts. Although some larger leeks have very tough dark greens sections that I cook and if they’re too tough to eat, I abandon (and tell B to set them aside) and put them in the composter. At least some flavor is getting extracted while cooking them (in soups or sautéed in olive oil), I guess?

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Thanks for posting that recipe @fooddabbler, very interesting!

For sauteed leeks I use the white and pale to medium green parts. The dark green parts I freeze and save for stock as they give stock the same flavor boost as the sauteed ones give to other savory applications – a lesson I learned from my aunt who makes the best stock ever.

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I, too, use the dark green for stock, except I haven’t the foresight to freeze. When I make chicken stock, I gently poach chicken (usually thighs and wings) for fortyish minutes, take the meat off the bone, and reserve [some for Comacho, our nearly 18.5 year-old cat], then throw the bones back in , along with alliums, including the dark green stuff, peppercorns, bay leaves and suchlike, and leave to simmer for as long as I have time.

Nothing original, but it works.

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keeping a constant freezer bag for stock is one of the greatest cheapass tricks I’ve ever learned as a home cook. Into mine goes stuff like the green parts of leeks, the stalks of parsley and other herb stems, those tougher outer white parts of onions, mushroom stems, leaves and the white bottoms of celery, bones from boned out chicken thighs , the white parts of scallions if I’m not using them for anything else. Also, every time I buy a 2 lb bag of carrots I peel and chop a couple of those and they go in too so I won’t find the last few hideous mushy carrots in my vegetable drawer a couple weeks later.

Every 6 weeks or so, I use all these scraps to make a stock for soup or to cook beans in. It’s so worth it!

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The way you spell out your procedure is so practical. I like that you stay ahead of the inevitable by preemptively chopping and freezing excess veg for stock—in your case, carrots.

Now that we have the freezer space to do this, I’m giving it a go.

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thanks & it’s so key for this. another great one is parsley–when you buy parsley for a recipe and it only uses half of it, all the extra goes straight into a freezer bag. no more chucking out yellowed parsley in a couple weeks.

the only drawback is sometimes the freezer bag gets a little onion heavy (I use a lot of onions). but the stock itself is then so simple–take bag from freezer, dump in pot, sweat for a bit with a tiny amount of water & white wine, add a bunch of peppercorns + a couple dried mushrooms, maybe some bay leaf and/or a couple garlic cloves. add water, simmer for 15-20 minutes, sieve it out mashing down the veggies with a wooden spoon. it’s done!

I do avoid the remnants of cruciferous stuff like broccoli or collard stems, as I hear that doesn’t really work. otherwise a lot of scraps are fair game.

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Agreed. We tend to get a lot of cruciferous vegetables in our CSA share. I don’t find the stuff agreeable in stock.

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@passing_thru I am henceforth going to channel you and be more intentional about my stock-making.

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I’m going to try to be more like @passing_thru, as well, but I know I will fail, as I I have failed at this before. The freezer in our household is chaotic, used as it is by three people, two of whom do not respect scraps. Many have been the times when I’ve opened the freezer and not been able to find the scrap bag. I start another only to lose it, too, under newly purchased frozen parathas (daughter) and an avalanche of ice cream (wife). I’m only able to hang onto and find my frozen thai chilies because they slip into a very small space been the ice tray and the front of the freezer drawer where nothing else will fit.

Still, I will try again. If only ziplock bags came in red.

@passing_thru: a question. Twenty minutes, even if you have chicken bones?

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Here in Waltham I’m turning to The Wagon Wheel now and then. I also want to have a chat with their produce manager to see if they might be interested in picking up some of the more diverse fruits and veg that we could find at Russo’s. They may not have the space or inclination, but I’d love to chat with them about whether they think there are opportunities for them to expand a it and get some of the Russo business. Does anyone know who owns Wagon Wheel?

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2