February 15


Tricycle Gardens:

  • Collards
  • Magenta French Crisp lettuce

Urban Choice RVA:

  • Oyster mushrooms

Local Food Hub:

  • Carrots (Van Dessel Farm--Accomack County)
  • Granny smith apples (Crown Orchard--Roseland)

Albert's Organics:

  • Fennel (Cal-Organic--California)


From Martha Stewart Living; modified for fennel


Mushroom-and-Fennel Salad with Parmesan Cheese

Serves 6


6 ounces fresh white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 ounces fresh oyster, thinly sliced

1/2 fennel; bulb and stalks with fronds removed

4 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

4 ounces mixed baby lettuces, such as mache and mesclun (Use that beautiful and perfectly crunchy head of Magenta crisp lettuce!)

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese



Lay mushrooms on sheets of paper towels; cover with clean, damp kitchen towels. Thinly slice fennel bulb lengthwise and fennel stalks crosswise, and transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic. Refrigerate.

Stir together lemon juice and shallot. Let stand at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours. Whisk in oil until emulsified, and season with salt and pepper. Toss mushrooms and fennel with dressing; let stand 10 minutes. Divide lettuce among plates, and top with mushroom mixture. Shave cheese with a vegetable peeler over tops.


From Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard; modified for fennel and chicken breasts


Healthy Soup

Makes 6 cups


1-1 1/2 to 2 pound chicken breasts (Substitute with thickly sliced oyster mushrooms plus another firm mushroom (i.e. crimini) for a vegetarian option!)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split 

5 garlic cloves

4 sprigs of thyme

1 TSP dried oregano

1/4 TSP chili flakes

1-2 bay leaves

6 cups of water

1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1/2 cup diced fennel, stalks and bulbs

1/2 cup diced carrots

1 TSP salt, divided

1 cup canned tomatoes

2 1/2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds (optional; will add additional flavor to soup) 

1 bunch collards, large stems removed, leaves cut into 1 inch squares

1 TBSP light brown sugar

Pinch of black pepper



Rinse the chicken and place it, breast-side up in a 6 to 8 quart Dutch oven*. Add the peeled onion, garlic, herbs, chili flakes, bay leaves, and water. Cover and bring up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or until the chicken is falling to pieces (If using oyster mushrooms, cooking time may vary. Mushrooms should get tender and not rubbery). Let the chicken cool in the broth for 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed plate. Pluck out the herbs, bay leaves, and onion (but feel free to leave the garlic) and pour the broth into a bowl. 

Wipe the Dutch oven dry and add the olive oil. Over medium heat, sweat the diced onions, fennel, and carrots with 1/2 tsp salt for 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, and Parm rinds to the pot. Cover and bring it up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until veggies are just tender. 

Meanwhile, pick the meat off the chicken and get the collards ready. You want these collards spoon-friendly so make sure you cut them into squares not ribbons. 

After 20 mintues, remove the Parm rinds and add the chicken, collards, remaining salt, 1 TBSP sugar and black pepper. Cook for 20 more minutes. 

Serve warm as is or with a dollop of pesto. 

*If you do not have a Dutch oven, you can easily make this recipe in a crock pot for 6 to 8 hours low (3 to 4 hours high). If using chicken, remove chicken 1 hour before the finish of cooking time and shredded the chicken with a fork and place back in crock pot.