Market Chef : Jann York

Market Chef : Jann York

August 3, 2011 |  by  |  Chef Demos

Click on the “about us” tab of the Cerigioli Gardens’ website (maybe you’re more on top of this stuff than I but this was a newsflash to me; dude, farms have websites now!) and you’ll find two things that immediately suck you in. First, super cute pictures of fuzzy baby chickies and puppies and second, a knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark mission statement that would make the CEO of Monsanto (whose name is Hugh Grant btw, I’m going to guess he’s not nearly as dreamy as that other Hugh Grant) reconsider his farming practices; “Borrowing from our family’s Italian heritage, Cerigioli Gardens’  aspiration is to nurture and enhance the soil while nurturing and enhancing the lives of our members as well as celebrate the traditions of the small family farm through shared labor, knowledge, and bounty.” If that doesn’t just about sum up every sentiment a person could hope for from a farmer, then I don’t know what does.

Jann York and Tony Chastain have been always been a couple blessed with solidly green thumbs, growing herbs and vegetables in their home gardens from day one. Both grew up in families where fresh food was part of life, a glorious daily given. Raised in California by an Italian family, Jann’s family celebrated holidays, special occasions and even just good quality time together with large, homemade meals – labors of love often built from seasonal ingredients freshly plucked from the garden. In 2009, after 15 years of tending a lush home garden, Jann and Tony took the farming plunge! Buying 10 acres of land in Estacada, they embraced the chance to not only live off the land themselves, but to build a farming cooperative that could bring great fresh food to lots of people around Portland.

Ms. York still works 40 hours a week at Clackamas Community College as the Student Services Coordinator, as job she enjoys, but says that the “highlight of my day is coming home to do farm chores”. This woman is a machine! Her favorite farming chore is leading their heard of St. Croix sheep, which, while not as relaxing as my preferred end of work day activities (peanut butter on the couch, Facebook, Gilmore Girls – don’t judge) admittedly does sound like what one might do all day in heaven.

All this work is fueled by a desire to live the best life, the healthiest, happiest life possible, and from all the smiling faces on the family page of the Cerigioli Gardens website, I’d say they’ve really succeeded. “The food industry is profit-driven. Farmers are food-driven” York says of her life and work, “It is a privilege to raise animals that will sustain others.” If more farmers could jump on Jann’s bandwagon (tractor?) the world would be a much happier, healthier place.

In the meantime, though, YOU can jump on board with Jann THIS Sunday at the Montavilla Market! Jann will be demonstrating how to get a weeks’ worth of meals out of just one of her fabulous happy healthy chickens – come on down!

Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken

2 1/2 chicken breast,
1 head bibb or Boston lettuce, separated into leaves
1 large tomato, sliced
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 red onion, sliced

1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/2teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper or red pepper flakes

Combine the dressing ingredients, shake and set to the side.

Separate the lettuce into leaves (or chop if you prefer) layer with the tomatoes & cucumber, return to the fridge.

Trim the chicken, removing the tenders, and slice on an angle into 3/4 inch thick pieces, trying to match the tenders in size. Toss the pieces in 4 tablespoons of the salad dressing (lightly coating the chicken). In a 10-inch grill pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add half of the chicken and cook, flipping once, until lightly browned and just barely cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, repeat with the remaining chicken.

When chicken is cooked add to the top of the salad. Drizzle with remaining dressing and toss.


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