Tuesday, September 30, 2008
So way back in August I signed up for an October Eat Local Challenge with http://www.eatlocalchallange.org/. Thankfully Erin decided to join me. Like Erin, I was a little overconfident in how easy this would be. October is also a trying month for me. My work as a gardener means that in October I am almost exclusively digging, tilling, hauling, and planting all day everyday. After 8 hours of all that I know I am usually way too tired to come home and jump into the 2hours of cooking usually required to produce a full scale meal which is what my husband (who also has a labor based job) and I require. A sandwhich, salad,or scrabbled eggs and toast is just not enough for him, or often for me. Working outside all day also means I need portable foods. For the last week my morning time from 5:30 when I get up, until 12:00 when I have lunch consist of a slice of prarie grain bread, with local peach preserves, one apple,and one asian pear. So far this has served me just fine, but for sure when 12:00 rolls around I am ready for a hearty lunch.
So Here is my long lists with all the nitty gritty details for those of you who are thinking of trying such a challange and want something for comparison...
We are following the Eat Local challenge site's recommendation to adhere to the "Marco Polo Rule" which allows exemptions for anything that has been widely traded for centuries. So Under the Marco Polo Rule I have forgiven myself...
4. Cinnamon and some other spices such as salt and pepper, what about buying those processed at the Sauers Factory on Broad St.
6.Chocolate in great moderation
So now... In addition to the above I have also added some raw basic ingredients that will make many a home made meal possible...
7. Wheat flour ( I know of a couple sources for locally grown wheat, one I would have to purchase in the spring and grind myself, and the other is out of Suffolk). If anyone knows where I can find some let me know please. So for now I am sticking to Employee owned King Arthur Flour and My locally made Prairie Grain Company Breads and I'm sure some other breads and perhaps pasta from the farmers market.
I have reservations about things such as the pasta...where does the vendor get their ingredients, eggs etc. But, for now I am leaving this option open.
8.Some nuts etc, I have already in my fridge (and no I did not run out and buy them last week! )
10. Parmesana cheese
11. Fresh Mozzarella ( My mother-in-law has been making this and gifting some to me and I got a lesson in Mozzarella making from her with mixed results, but "local" mozzarella depends upon my local milk source. I have made and frozen several dishes using our homemade motz. in preparation. We'll see.
14. Perhaps a couple onions Since the ones in my garden are the size of large marbles and I haven't seen any at the farmers markets for the last couple of weeks.... I have not had any luck with keeping onions for any period of time. Any suggestions on keeping onions?
So this list seems very long and at this point if you are still reading you are probably thinking "Where exactly does the 'Challenge' come in?"
Well, we'll see I guess.
Like miss Kingsolver said I will not be eating roadside weeds... although some weeds from my own yard will probably make their way into my salads.
So here is a quick list of all the things I have saved and put up in preparation for October and for This winter in general... This is what makes eating local doable and affordable. Having a garden of your own and a great network of friends with their own gardens makes all the difference. If you don't have a garden or a space for one I highly recommend looking into a community garden, or median plot, or as my parents have done.. offering to do all or a large portion of the work in exchange for a chunk of their neighbors yard. The non-gardening neighbor gets free produce and my parents get a place to garden.
Okay, okay, here's my list...
- Garlic -we grew our own and we started with 90 heads of garlic.. the stock pile is dwindling. We do use a lot, but I certainly have enough left to get through the next few months.
- 14 quarts of tomatoes. Most of these came from my own garden as well.
- 1 quart of mixed pickled hot peppers, also from my garden
-Some dried hot peppers from my garden
- 1 quart of pickled sweet peppers
- Various bags of dried basil (sweet, Thai, lime) and other herbs (thyme, marjoram, sage, chives) from my garden
- 1 quart of tomatillos
- 6 quarts of pickles
- Several 1,2 and 3 serving bags of blanched green and wax beans from Pleasant Fields Farm.
- 4 quarts of Tomato, kale and bean soup I made with kale, tomatoes, garlic from my garden and onions and black eyed peas from the farmers market.
- Several servings of Eggplant Lasagna I've made from eggplant from my garden, tomato sauce I made from my tomatoes and Mozzarella from my mother-in-law and from my one lesson in Motz. making. I love this dish, the Eggplant is used IN Place of pasta!
- Many bags of frozen blueberries from my blueberry picking outing early in the summer
- Ditto for strawberries
- A couple bags of peaches
- Too Many tubs of Pesto from basil from my garden, some made with sunflower seeds, others with walnuts.
- also bags of frozen deseeded hot peppers, bags of chopped sweet peppers for chilies etc, a jar of peach 'freezer jam' thanks to my mother in law, a jar of fig preserves thanks to Natalie, a jar of butter pickle chips thanks to my sister-in-law, and hopefully some other stuff I have forgotten.
So eating all local right now is not an option it seems, but what you can't see here are all of the many 'Cheats' I've allowed myself for the last year that are now cut out. It's definitely a work in progress. I still hope to find local peanut butter... (What's up? we Are in Virginia?!), and local pecans...and on and on.
The Center for Rural Culture is very happy to be able to offer this fantastic event. RFC will be there and we hope you will be able to join us!! It sounds like a nice way to spend an early October Thursday... a night of food and drink, friends and education all rolled into one.
Here is the e-mail that was sent out....
"The Center for Rural Culture and Whole Foods Market® Present: AN AUTUMN HARVEST TASTING & SEED SWAP Taste the Bounty of Our Local Harvest and Buy/Sell/Trade Seeds for Next Year!
Sample delicious, local, seasonal foods
· Meet and talk with local farmers
· Learn about the nutritional advantages of fresh, local food
· Discover the value of seed saving
· Buy/Sell/Swap seeds with others
· Sample local wines
· Learn, Have Fun, Connect with Others!
Date: Thursday, October 2nd
Location: Grace Episcopal Church Parish House, 2955 River Road West, Goochland, VA 23063
Cost: $12 at the door, includes wine tasting. Save $2 by registering ONLINE today @ www.CenterForRuralCulture.org/events.php. CRC members $8 (must pay at the door, or email admin@CenterForRuralCulture.org to receive a registration form via email.Call: 804-314-9141 for more details.
This event is brought to you by Whole Foods Market®, 11173 West Broad Street, Short Pump"
Monday, September 29, 2008
Swift Creek Berry Farm -
Shannon's spot for picking Blueberries
Mt. Olympus Berry Farm
The Berry Patch : Gallmaeyer Farms
Strawberries, produce more.
See our post Here.
Carter Mountain Orchard
Apples, Pears, Asian Pears, and o' course donuts, cider, apple butter etc.
Virginia Gold Orchard
Organic Asian Pears
See our post Here.
Chesterfield Berry Farm
Strawberries, Blackberries, Pumpkins
How to Cook Your Life http://www.cookyourlifemovie.com/
The Garden http://www.thegardenmovie.com/ The largest urban garden in America was created in the wake of the L.A. riots. This is the story of the people who used that garden and of those who saw other uses for this vast strecth of L.A. A really amazing documentary film.
Homeplace Earth DVD http://homeplaceearth.com/ : This website provides information and the link to purchase Cindy Conner's instructional video on sustainable agriculture.
Our Daily Bread
Friday, September 26, 2008
So we arrived about 3:30 and were disappointed to find no "market." However we headed on inside drawn by the promise of fresh local meats.... what I was after was Polyface ground turkey and locally produced pastured turkey sausage. As far as meat goes, I only eat poultry and fish with one caveat, sausage casings. For me a turkey sausage with my eggs or blueberry pancakes, or a chicken sausage with peppers and onions is a welcome treat. So far however, I have been unable to find anyone who provides these at the farmers markets. Also, ground turkey for meatloaf, turkey burgers, chili and stuffed peppers makes for great common ground (no pun intended) meals for my husband and I. So we stroll into Ellwood's and I was disappointed to find that while they had other local meats they had no local pastured turkey sausage or ground turkey ( we had, I believe, been able to get some this past winter).
However, This past early spring is probably the last time I'd been in Elwoods and I really liked the changes they have made to there produce section since. The produce section was full of apples, tomatoes, mushrooms, swiss chard, kale, radishes, honey, micro greens, basil and more all from local farms and almost all included signage that indicated how many miles the food had traveled from farm to their store. Much of the produce came from Victory Farms and Manakintowne Farm. There were tomatoes from Amy's Organics and Mushrooms from Dave and Dee's. The prices were not much, if anymore than those at the market.
Ellwood's also carries locally made breads, and a nice selection of locally produced raw milk cheeses. The cheese man of the moment was Chris and he was very helpful and engaging. He started right off by offering me a sample of the wheel of cheese he was just cutting into. During our conversation he also happlily pointed out the Beer and Cheese tasting event they are holding October 2nd.
We exited with our bread, cheese, and beer in tow and found Avery Branch Farm setting up their sign board. It is now my understanding that Avery Branch is the only vendor outside of ET on Wednesday afternoons. I was hoping for some whole chickens... as it turns out to get whole chickens (and perhaps any other meat) from them at the ET location you must call or e-mail in advance and place an order.
So this day was a bust in the hunt for local pastured poultry.
Avery Branch also rotates Saturdays between the Goochland Farmers Market and the South of the James Market.
From the POP website:
The Philadelphia Orchard Project plants orchards in the city of Philadelphia that provide healthy food, green spaces and community food security.
POP works with community-based groups and volunteers to plan and plant orchards filled with useful and edible plants. POP provides the plants, trees, and training. Community organizations own, maintain, and harvest the orchards, expanding community-based food production. Orchards are planted in formerly vacant lots, community gardens, schoolyards, and other spaces, almost exclusively in low-wealth neighborhoods where people lack access to fresh fruit.
Friday, September 19, 2008
When: September 20
Where: River Farm, Alexandria, VA
For tickets and information, call 703.768.5700 ext. 119
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This sounds like an amazing opportunity for the right person who wants to learn and test their own skills at this very taxing trade before attempting to invest all of their own capital in buying or leasing land and starting from scratch.
Begin e-mail text...
I have been running a small CSA for the past three years and am now unable to continue it because of a shoulder injury that is going to require multiple surgeries and at least a year in physical therapy. I do not, however, want all of my hard work and the land that I have been working on to go to waste. Therefore, I am considering offering to the right person a creative and win-win relationship for us both.
I have the land, equipment and a waiting list a mile long for CSA subscribers (could just do farmer's markets and that would be fine). I also have a large library of farming books and an established relationship with the College of William and Mary for summer interns. I also have the tax id and established LLC to financially manage the farm. However, I do not have myself, which as I have discovered, is the wingnut of the operation.
The farm itself is small, but has an established 10,000 square foot bio-intensive garden with forty beds. This spring we put in a"postage stamp" farming tarp and irrigation system over a 150' x150' area. There is also a 100' x 40' area used for flowers and a 60' x 60' fenced in garden for herbs. The fields are irrigated by our own pond and pond pump.
We were Certified Naturally Grown last year, and we are associates with the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics and also use their preps on the farm. Future plans included two miniature Jersey cows to go into the barn to supply us with manure. We also have a flock of free-range Arucana chickens whose pastel eggs are sold at a local coffee shop when we're not putting them into subscriber bags.
According to the book, The Rebirth of the Small Family Farm, this property requires two full time adults to care for it. So couples or business partner buddies would be best for applying.
If you are interested in farming this property, I am interested in helping you to make and keep whatever you sell as your income. My benefit will be that I will not lose my progress while I am healing.
If you know the reality of the physical demands of farming and are still interested, feel free to contact me at CMFeirm@aol.com<mailto:CMFeirm@aol.com>
Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty
NO Pre-Registration Required!
What: Free public lecture open to the community, followed byreception and book-signing.
Who: Author MARK WINNE, national expert on developing local foodsystems and food policy
When: Monday, September 29th, 5:00 pm
Where: Campbell Hall (Room 153), School of Architecture, Universityof Virginia, Charlottesville
Parking: Culbreth Road Garage
Books Available at Venue
Sunday, September 14, 2008
"Celebration of Farming, Food and Community...a fun fundraiser for the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group
Saturday September 20, 3:00-8:00 pm
Dayspring Farm in King and Queen Co., VA
featuring a special dance performance by choreographer and dancer Heather Maloney.
and a delicious farm-grown dinner, dinner music, a U-Pick Raffle and a showing of one of Southern SAWG's renowned farm enterprise videos.
Dayspring Farm CSA member and professional caterer John Lowenthalwill prepare a delicious "locavore" dinner from produce and meatsgrown at Dayspring Farm, and by Jason at nearby Four Winds Farm. Astring quartet including another CSA member will provide live dinner music.
Stay after dinner for a showing of one of Southern SAWG's NaturalFarming in the South video series, offering a virtual tour of one of the South's most innovative family farms.
Registration for the celebration is $25 for adults and teens, and $15for children 12 and under. Funds raised at this event will be used to help Virginia farmers with limited financial resources attend SouthernSAWG's 2009 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference in Chattanooga, TN on January 21-24. This annual Conference is a unique educational and networking opportunity, attended by over1000 farmers, advocates and professionals from across the region.
Please pre-register by September 15. You can do so by sending a check, made out to Southern SAWG, along with your name(s) and numberof adults and children attending, to: Charlie Maloney, Dayspring Farm,942 Buena Vista Rd., Cologne 23181-4010. Or - call Charlie or Miriamat 804-785-9401 to let them know you are coming, and pay at the door when you arrive.
Dayspring Farm is located in King and Queen County, 6 miles northeast of West Point. Take Rt. 33 east until it merges with Rt. 14 east.Where Rt. 14 again splits off from Rt. 33 then turn right on Rt. 14east towards Gloucester, where it is also called Buena Vista Road.Continue one mile; Dayspring Farm is on your right at 942 Buena VistaRd.
Southern SAWG is the region's lead organization for sustainable agriculture, family farms and community-based food systems. Ourmission is: To empower and inspire farmers, individuals, and communities in the South to create an agricultural system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just, and humane.Because sustainable solutions depend on the involvement of the entire community, Southern SAWG is committed to including all persons in the South without bias."
By the time we arrived at the market it was probably just after 10:00 and perhaps things were winding down a bit, but the atmosphere was so relaxed, perfect for a Saturday morning. There were shoppers at all the booths, but parking was simple ( we pulled up along the curb and walked about 3 feet to the first vendor.) Held on the front lawn of Grace Episcopal Church at 2955 River Road the market has a nice setting. The day was hot, but the area felt protected by some trees and the soft green grass.
A musician named Broda, played guitar and sang towards the back of the market. She had a great voice and the music added a nice element to the market. This coming Saturday there will be a Blacksmithing demonstration by a professional Blacksmith who among other things,worked for Colonial Williamsburg. He and his wife are also produce vendors at the market! The Goochland Farmers Market is run by The Center For Rural Culture, and so it's site is also the site of some other great events such as the upcoming Seed Swap with wine tasting and dinner on October 2nd.
Unlike the markets in Richmond, this market specifies in Bold Print on their site that there are NO Dogs Allowed, please. I don't mind dogs at the market, but I love dogs.
Immediately we ran into our friends at Evans Family Collective. They have an eye catching booth thanks to the beautiful maple trees and conifers for sale around the entrance, and the Fantastic Homemade quilted Banner made by Evans family member, Summer. So this is the place I've mentioned before to go for all natural locally made lemon grass insect repellent. I've tried it in a wooded area in the evening and I am usually bitten up, but was totally fine. Unfortunately, our friend Bridgette who makes this item as well as homemade lotions and scrubs etc. had chosen today to start her biweekly rotation between the Goochland Market and the South of the James!
So On to the Star of the Show... The FOOD!
We saw some familiar vendors. The Dutch Oven Bakery, at Lakeside Market on Wednesday Afternoons, was there selling baked goods (we tried the pumpkin bread and a tray of chocolate chip cookies.) There was Pleasant Fields Farm , They always have a nice selection of produce and a beautiful stand with all the items tumbling out of large baskets turned onto their side on the table . For the second week in a row I bought a giant mixed bag of green and wax beans and blanched the majority of them to freeze for October and November. We also started stocking up on sweet potatoes here and got some of their delicious butter beans, all cleaned and ready to be tossed in the pot. These cost $4 and we got three servings out of the container.
We saw our old friends 'Manakintowne Specialty Growers'. I thought they had stopped going to markets altogether, but they still go to the Goochland Market most every Saturday. This week they were selling various herbs, a couple varieties of hot peppers, as well as golden beats, microgreens and arugula (both $5 a bag), homemade pesto, and homemade focciacia and pizza crust ($6).
We also met some Vendors that were new to us. Ault's Family Farm run by Steve and Chris Ault has been around for at least 10 years, which is when Steve finally left his job to work on the farm full time. Steve was great to talk with and was more than happy to answer any questions we had about their farm in Pamplin VA and their wide range of meat products. They carry Pasture Raised Poultry, including turkeys you can reserve for Thanksgiving! They also raise Pastured Pork and Grass fed Lamb. In addition to their stand at the market you can find there products at Elwood Thompon's and in delicious meals prepared (not inexpensively) at Edible Garden Restaurant For those who would like information on their farm you can go to http://www.aultsfamilyfarm.com/ or pick up a brochure at their stand. My husband got a package of pork spare ribs here and said they were some of the best he's tried.
Goochland Farmers market vendors could almost fill your full grocery shopping list. They had breads, meats, greens and vegetables, and then they also had Milk (well the possibility of milk) and cheese thanks to Avery's Branch Farm of Amelia VA. In addition to dairy they sell Pastured poultry and eggs.
Look At All the Great
Another other cool thing at this market was a vendor selling nothing but Honey. Honey of all Kinds, in all its forms... boxes of honey in the comb, creamed honey, creamed honey flavored with fruit, honey by the jar in various sizes, and great for kids of all ages (myself included), honey sticks. For these, she tell me, they have to send the honey off to a plant in Georgia where it is mixed with natural flavors and sealed in individual plastic straws to create flavors like ginkgo, lemon, lime, blackberry, and of course, 'clover'.
The Goochland Market Manager, Cricket, was friendly and it was fun to watch him announce the raffle drawing and shout out the winning numbers. He seemed to be having a good time. The prizes were handmade wreaths that were carried by a crafts vendor there. If you want to stop and relax while your out we spied what looks to be a very inviting coffee shop across the street from the Market. We saw some people sitting out on the front porch of the cafe' having coffee and some bagels or pastry.
My trip to this market represents just one Saturday out of many. Next Saturday there should be at least one additional produce vendor since some vendors were unable to attend the market this week due to the Powhatan farm tours. And there were a few other vendors here that I did not get to meet, including an additional baked goods vendor, and the Amelia Soap and Herb Co. which looked to have beautiful and very enticing homemade soaps and lotions. And although I am here to discuss local foods and not soaps.... I feel compelled to give mention of all the vendors I can that catch my eye, since I believe that the life of the market is about more than food.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
New Community Garden Forming in The Fan!
Are you interested in a building a new community garden?
Tricycle Gardens is heading up the planning and development of a new community garden, in partnership with Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market and the Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities, located next to the Humphry Caulder Community Center, at the corner of Thompson St. & Patterson Ave. The first planning meeting will be held Thursday, September 11, 7pm, in the community center and is open to all! Please join us. Call 231-7767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Thank you Patrick for trying to keep me up to date!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
On the tour is also A-Plus Cattle. Open since 1996, they describe themselves as one of only two dairy farmers left in Powhatan County. They also grow a good deal of produce and raise chickens for Tysons Foods. This farm will only be open to the public from 12:00 -3:00pm on Saturday. In general, the tour is from 10:00-3:00, and with multiple farms on the list, including a Vineyard and Cedar Creek Farm which says it grows, wheat and barley in addition to corn and soybeans and raising cattle, you'll may have some tough choices to make as to which farms you would like to visit.
Click Here for more information.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Ron had a flexible gutter attachment on hand and was able to fit it to the existing gutter (which previously had dumped directly onto the wooden floor of his back deck), routing the end to the top of the rain barrel. The barrel we used is a commercial model from the Great American Rain Barrel Company. Ron had already bought this one and all it needed was setting up. It already has a threaded spout at the bottom for a spigot and additional spouts near the top for connection to additional rain barrels in a kind of chain. We could have definitely filled up more than one -- by the time we checked the barrel on Saturday morning, it was already full! Rain barrels are a great way to make use of a widely available natural resource, and are definitely the way to go when we're under mandatory water restrictions.
Here is a great video from HGTV on building your own rain barrel, and more info about why you should be using them:
You can also check out this tutorial for a set of pictures and instructions.
We connected a small piece of hose to the spigot and filled the can with water from Hanna. The pressure is low, so be patient when you're filling the can! If water won't come out, sucking on the end of the hose can help initiate the siphon of water through the hose, which often bends upward above the level of the spigot. Rain barrels are a sustainable way to water your garden and can help you save money on your water bill. They are also a resource we may need to take more seriously in the future as we face droughts and a possible decrease in the availability of potable water.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Don't you? The fruit is so amazingly gorgeous, and the flowers are even prettier. I had always assumed Pomegranates were delicate and tropical, something I would have to sacrifice in my quest to make my carbon footprint smaller. That is until I saw them growing at Lewis Ginter. How amazing that we can grow something so exotic right here, in zone 7!
Last weekend, I bought a dwarf pomegranate tree at the market from extraordinary plantsman, John Wise. My tree will only grow to be six feet tall, with perfectly edible fruit- ideal for an urban gardener. I am now looking to turn the space in front of my house between the sidewalk and the street into an edible perennial bed- Asparagus, blueberries and pomegranates. I have been further inspired by this week's Edible Landscaping newsletter article on Unusual Edible Berries.
So much to love...
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
So this week in there update a few things caught my attention like the fact that they now have a new selection of prepared foods like garlic fries and turkey burgers!!! Okay this is one of my all time favorite combinations and what a treat to shop at the market and not have to worry if your shopping time is cutting into your dinner prep time.
Or if your not into the prepared foods thing, My husband and I were always content with a meal of fresh baked bread, a big salad and some fresh fruit all from the market for a no cook dinner. O yeah, and some fresh baked treat from Simply Delicious for dessert!
Here is the text from today's Byrd House e-mail.....
"Most people consider an heirloom something special, to be held dear. Our growers would agree with you. Their heirloom veggies are grown from seeds of varieties from bygone days -- before industrialized farming made every tomato identical and tasteless.
Classical guitarist Alexander Rodriguez will also be reminding us of days gone by with his beautiful Baroque music. Great food, great music, and great friends are, historically speaking, the best combination.
Don't forget we now have prepared food to enjoy while you shop like Nate's tacos, Flynn's garlic fries and turkey burgers, and fresh sandwiches from St. Andrews Church. To learn more about what all our vendors are bringing, go to www.byrdhousemarket.blogspot.com
Activities Sept 2, 2008
4 to 6 p.m. - Face painting with Synergeo4:30 p.m. - Storyteller in the garden6 to 7 p.m. Alexander Rodriguez performs