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A Veggies For All Inspired Recipe: French Onion Soup

A Veggies For All inspired recipe: French Onion Soup

The Veggies For All crew and volunteers are savoring the last days of summer and continuing with regular volunteer workdays every Tuesday morning from 9am to noon. This season, we’ve worked with 160 unique volunteers logging nearly 320 hours of service in the fields. We’re proud to report that we’ve brought in just over 10,000 pounds of produce so far this year which has been distributed to about 1,500 clients through 9 participating food pantries.

There’s still literally tons left to harvest, and VFA always welcomes volunteers! This season, VFA has worked with fantastic groups of helpers all season, from Hidden Valley campers to UMaine Medical students to Unity Barn Raisers volunteers, and we’re looking forward to having the Belfast Co-op Board join us to harvest beets and Unity College Sustainable Ag. students plant garlic with us in the coming weeks. If you’d like to join us in the field, or just learn more about VFA’s work, emails veggiesforall@mainefarmlandtrust.org

This has been a season of growth and change at Veggies For All. This season, the VFA crew swapped some old fields for new ones, piloted Pick Your Own gardens for clients, and supported the launch of a regional gleaning program.

Behind the scenes, the VFA crew has been busily working on a restructuring and streamlining process, too, due to some upcoming staff transitions. Last fall farm manager Tim Libby made plans to move on from VFA after founding the project in 2007 and has leading the field work for the past 9 years. To support that change, Khris Flack came on as Assistant Project Manager, a new position that mixes the seasonal field work of a farm manger with administrative, community engagement, and leadership work. Adding this dynamic and comprehensive position to the VFA roster has helped make way for other changes, as well.  VFA director, Sara Trunzo, recently shared her plans to transition away from VFA  at the end of 2016.

Despite these shifts, the Veggies For All project is stronger than ever, thanks to deep connections within the Waldo County community, a skilled and thoughtful crew, and an intentional transition that has been happening over the last several months. It’s quite an exciting and fresh time! What won’t change is the commitment we have to providing those facing food insecurity with healthy, fresh food nor our community’s commitment to us as we continue to serve. And there will always be tons and tons and tons of veggies…

Please join us to celebrate the harvest, welcome new faces and appreciate the old standbys, and mark the sweetness of the season at our ScuffleHoeDown on November 5 at The Hub in Unity (featuring live music with Hymn for Her).

Today’s Maine Fare recipe celebrates the full circle of the season at VFA — from the careful transplanting of thousands of tiny onions in the spring, to the bountiful harvest of beautiful, big onions now. This warming and comforting soup is incredibly easy to make and has a deliciously deep flavor even though it’s made with very few ingredients.

FRENCH ONION SOUP
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter

3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced

salt and black pepper, to taste

6 sprigs parsley

6 sprigs thyme

2 fresh bay leaves

a dash of ground sage or two sage leaves

2 quarts vegetable or chicken or beef stock

six thick chunks of bread of your choice (one per bowl)

a generous amount of grated cheese over each bowl (we used goat gouda for a unique twist)

INSTRUCTIONS

Over medium-low heat, sauté the onions in the butter and wine, adding salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and turn deep golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the stock and herbs to a boil over high heat in a pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Strain the herbs and remove from stock.

Add the stock to the carmelized onions and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.

While the soup simmers, spread the bread slices with the remaining butter. Toast in a skillet over medium heat, turning once, until golden, 5–7 minutes.

Add bread to each serving of soup (individual bowls), and shave hard cheese over the bowls, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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