Peggy Paul Casella, Resident Wordsmith (and Farmstand Associate) It's officially cookout season, and whether you're throwing your own get-together or bringing a dish to someone else's, we're fully stocked with everything you need. See below for a handy guide to crafting a delicious, locally sourced feast, from grilled meats and vegetables to salads, sides, and desserts.
ON THE GRILL
Burgers: We've got all kinds of ground meat for your burger-making needs--chicken from Griggstown; turkey from Koch's; beef from Buck Run, Landisdale, and Philly Cow Share; pork from Sweet Stem; lamb from Jamison; and goat from Stryker. Click here for basic instructions, and click here and here and here and here for extra inspiration. And see below for some tips for pairing cheeses with the different burger meats.
Chicken: The sustainably raised whole chickens from Griggstown and Meadow Run farms are ideal for cooking on the grill. Try your hand at beer can chicken or spatchcocked grilled chicken, both of which are super easy to make and impressively succulent.
Chops and Steaks: Grilled lamb chops (from Jamison) will blow your mind, and the bone-in pork chops from Country Time will also grill up beautifully, with lots of flavor and plenty of moisture (if you do it right). Plus, we've got all kinds of steaks from Philly Cow Share and Troutman that are perfect for the grill (see here and here and here for inspiration).
Hot dogs/sausages/brats: From Mosefund's Smoked Bratwurst and Country Time's game-changer hot dogs, to Griggstown's chicken sausage and Stryker and Sweet Stem's pork sausages and brats, you'll have no problem filling those hot dog buns. And to ensure that not a morsel goes uneaten, here's a handy guide to grilling sausages, via Serious Eats.
Shish kabobs: Start with a pack or two of beef cubes (from Troutman) or goat cubes (from Stryker), defrosted. Marinate the meat,* and then thread it onto skewers, along with onions or other vegetables that strike your fancy. Grill the kabobs for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the meat is cooked to medium-rare. *Try this recipe for goat or lamb, or this recipe for beef.
Vegetarian mains: If you or any of your guests are vegetarian, or if you're just looking for lighter grilling options, pick up some thick portobello mushrooms (from Mother Earth) or firm tofu (from Fresh Tofu). Marinated tofu is a delicious alternative to burgers and other animal proteins, and grilled portobello mushrooms have a deep, complex flavor that will satisfy even your most fervent meat lovers, too.
SIDES AND SALADS
Grilled vegetables: Definitely pick up some asparagus (green from Fifer Orchards and purple from LFFC) for grilling, and also some onions (from Tuscarora), scallions (from Trauger's and Eagle Road Farm), and radishes (from LFFC, Buzby, and Oasis).
Green salads: With Country Hill's lacinato kale and romaine lettuce, Gehman family's mixed-head lettuce, Landisdale's bagged spinach and arugula, Blue Moon's microgreens, Heritage Farm's arugula/mustard mix, and LFFC's watercress, we're pretty sure we've covered all your salad bases. Ask anyone at the Farmstand cheese counter for the best cheeses to add to the mix, and don't forget to toss in some fresh herbs, too (from Heritage and Oasis farms). Click here and here and here for homemade salad dressing recipes that will complement these amazing local ingredients.
Potato salads: Whether you're a traditionalist or an adventurer when it comes to potato salad, we've got you covered. Use new red or Yukon potatoes (from Country Hill) for American, German, or herbaceous potato salad. Or grab some multicolored sweet potatoes (from Landisdale) for this mustardy version or this one with herbs and arugula.
DRINKS AND DESSERTS
Beverages: First of all, make herbal or strawberry soda, and be sure to save the strawberry tops to make refreshing infused water. For stronger libations, pick up some lemon balm (from Oasis) for this or this cocktail; basil (from Bux-Mont) for this one; or experiment with rosemary and thyme (from Heritage) and other herbs in mixed drinks of all kinds.
Granitas and ice creams: You don't need an ice cream maker to whip up some awesome springtime freezer desserts. Here's a super-simple recipe for Strawberry Granita (from Epicurious), and here's a recipe for strawberry ice cream, both with and without an ice cream maker.
**Recommended burger cheeses**
- Beef: blue cheese; Ely Farm's Washington Crossing; Keswick's Wallaby or Frecon; Hidden Hills' Buttercup or Old Gold; Doe Run's Seven Sisters or St. Malachi; Connebella's Horseradish Cheddar or Sharp Cheddar; Wakefield's Bouche
- Chicken: blue cheese; Hidden Hills' Old Gold or Buttercup; Doe Run's Hickory on the Hill, Seven Sisters, or St. Malachi; Calkins Creamery's Smoke Signal; Parish Hill's Idyll; Clover Creek's Tussey Mountain or Mature Aged Cheddar; Cherry Grove's Buttercup Brie; Wakefield's Bouche
- Goat: Shellbark Hollow's Sharp Chevre; Yellow Springs Farm's Cloud Nine, Fieldstone, or Blue Velvet; Misty Creek's Kidchego; Meadowset's Camel's Back
- Lamb: blue cheese; Hidden Hills' Bolton Feta; Caputo Bros. Ricotta; Meadowset's Camel's Back, First Bite, or Last Straw; Parish Hill's Suffolk Punch; Ely Farm's Washington Crossing; Connebella's Horseradish Cheddar; Roundtop's Sheep Camembert
- Pork: Parish Hill's Idyll; Doe Run's Hickory on the Hill; Cherry Grove's Lawrenceville Jack; Goot Essa's Der Alpen Kase; Clover Creek's Tussey Mountain or Mature Aged Cheddar; Keswick's Frecon; Calkin's Cow Tipper; Wakefield's Bouche
- Portobello mushroom "burgers": Misty Creek's Kidchego; Meadowset's Camel's Back, First Bite, or Last Straw; Ely Farm's Washington Crossing; Caputo Bros. Ricotta; Connebella Sharp Cheddar; Wakefield's Bouche; Shellbark Hollow's Sharp Chevre
- Turkey: Clover Creek's Mature Aged Cheddar or Tussey Mountain; Connebella's Sharp Cheddar; Doe Run's St. Malachi, Seven Sisters, or Hickory on the Hill; Yellow Spring's Farm's Fieldstone; Hidden Hills' Bolton Feta or Old Gold
- Veal: Doe Run's Hickory on the Hill, St. Malachi, or Seven Sisters; Parish Hill's Idyll or Suffolk Punch; Clover Creek's Tussey Mountain; Meadowset's Camel's Back, First Bite, or Last Straw; Ely Farm's Washington Crossing; Misty Creek's Kidchego