Sunday, May 30, 2010
Here's what I got....
Strawberries: Two Quarts for $10, Agriberry
Asparagus: 1Lb for $5, Agriberry
Sweet Cherries: 1 pint $5, Agriberry
Blueberries: 1 pint $5, Agriberry
Yellow Squash: $4 for a pint stuffed upright like little squash soldiers, Fertile Crescent
Snap Peas: $2.50 for a stuffed standard size zippy bag, Thistledown Farm
Radishes: $2.50 for a giant bunch with greens, Fertile-Crescent
Red Cabbage: $2.50 for a mid-sized head, Victory Farm
Carrots: $3.00 for a good sized bunch with greens, Victory Farm
Green beans: $3.00 for a quart, Bill's Produce
Broccoli: $2.50Lb (which came out to $1 for a large head), Bill's Produce
Red Skinned Potatoes: $2-3 a quart ( I've forgotten which), Bill's Produce
Here's some of the other really nice looking produce I saw at the Market this week...
Fresh Red Onions
Kale, Curly and Tuscan
Indian Cucumbers (they are yellow to a brownish green, but taste "just like a cucumber". )
Fennel Bulbs (Got these, plus some bulbing fennel plants last week as well)
Beets, red, orange, golden
Of course I'm only talking produce here and haven't even started on all the meats, breads, jams, jellies, herbs, pastas, plants etc. That will have to wait till next time. If you've spotted something new at your market let us know. With all the new Markets, and new vendors out there it hard to keep up!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Started by two guys with interesting and impressive bios... Ivan Fehrenbach, and Shane Emmett , The United States of Food will build, plant, and ship you any of their 'stock' bed designs ranging from a soil filled wine barrel to a 4x8 raised bed. Pine seems to be standard, but you can choose ceder for extra money. Victory Farms has announced that The United States of Food, is now using Victory Farms own compost in their garden soil mix. They will custom build gardens for Restaurants on site as well. If chickens are your thing they can also build you a custom coop. The price for the 4x8 garden is $695. The price of convenience. The website tries to balance this cost by showing you the potential value of the food that could feasibly be produced in the plot over a two year period.
I had questions about what plants are in their selectable planting options. With names like 'The Presidential Plot', and 'The Southern Supper' I couldn't find any sort of actual plant list. Interested? Check out their 'how it works' page. Have questions? If your in the Richmond area you can visit them at the Bryan Park Market on Tuesday Afternoons.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
From the Tricycle Gardens E-mail........
Ecological Policies for an Ecological Age
Guest: Jonah Fogel-Government policies play an important role in fostering technological innovation and economic growth. How can local, state, and federal policies help encourage sustainable development? How can trade agreements, farm legislation, and transportation policies support green business practices? How do we create a business model that rests firmly on ecological principles, including concern for long-term growth and sustainability? TG Headquarters, 7-9pm $20
Finally, after years of living off of pizza and soft pretzels from food trucks in Philly I was so sick I could only think to come home and focus on taking care of myself.
All that information, too much perhaps, leads me to say that I have eaten fast food exactly once in the last 6 years, if you don't count the occasional break down for some take out pizza that happens about twice a year. Oh yeah and those nachos I had at Northside Grill... anyway... I am totally out of the fast food loop. So earlier this week I was surprised when my husband handed me a brown paper napkin from Arby's that read GRASS-FED BEEF in bright green letters. I now realize I am way behind the times as RVA News , and Richmond Times Dispatch have both already reported that as of March 1, 2010 all 19 of the Richmond area Arby's will use all grass-fed beef on all of their sandwiches. Yeah! Go Arby's. So now my husband can enjoy the occasional fast food lunch, and maybe enjoy it a little more. At the same time, grass-fed fast food is still mass produced, fast food. Truly healthy, humanly raised meat doesn't seem possible if it has to be on a scale great enough for Americans to continue to eat it three meals day.
It may seem to some that the switch to grass-fed is an obvious, no brainer of a decision. However, The Restaurant Company, that owns the Richmond area Arby's made a big leap here. They didn't just provide a grass fed option, but changed to grass-fed for all of their sandwiches. Chipotle, has opened the door for fast food venues to opt out of the industrial food model to some degree. However, there is already at least one person who has started a facebook page just to bring back the old conventionally raised beef. The smattering of comments on that page range from the likes of "The beef taste like Grass" to "Perhaps there was a Government takeover of Arby's. The Government seems good at screwing stuff up." Meanwhile, I've been doing Internet searches to try and determine where exactly this grass-fed beef comes from. No luck yet.
Ah well, I say good luck to Arby's, it seems like they've always been a step above and a step ahead, and I for one hope they don't step back.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
For my mother's day brunch contribution I am making a simple side of strawberries with local honey and fresh pineapple mint. (This is my untested plan anyway.) I bought two types of mint plants from A Thyme to Plant herb farm.
I also talked with the folks at Blanchards Coffee. I love their 'Dark as Dark' and knew I could always get it from the special bulk bins at the Forest Hill Ukrops. Now that Martin's has officially moved in the Blanchards Coffee has been relegated to bags on the bottom shelf of the coffee isle. Hard to find even when your looking. However, the person I spoke with at Blanchards tells me that they should have some form of bulk bins back in the bakery section of the Forest Hill Martin's in a few weeks time.
Monday, May 3, 2010
The bar was crowded, but our hostess was very helpful, and did not make us feel like she was too busy to answer any questions we had about the wine. I bought a bottle of the 2009 Monticello Pinot Gris.
Shannon aays: The Jefferson Winery was our first of what turned out to be four very different wine tasting experiences. The Jefferson is a popular winery for the large body of people who are just out to drink wine and hang out on a nice day. Our first sight was of a stretch limousine parked right outside the deck seating. A bridal shower group all in brightly colored dresses, shoes on, and off were bouncing about between the deck and the limo. We sought refuge indoors at the long tasting bar only to find it packed. After waiting politely for a few moments I gave up and had to pull a Saturday night bar scene shimmy, squeezing in sideways to get one shoulder into the bar space right at the sliding bar space used for loading in cases and allowing the staff entrance in and out. The man working behind the tasting bar ignored us completely, but we were quickly rescued by a really great woman who managed to make the whole rest of our experience a real pleasure despite the couple with their 4 small and understandably bored children who came up along side of us for a tasting. For a cost of $5 we each were given a decent size pour (when talking tasting) of 10 different wines. The tasting covered everything from dry whites and reds to dessert wine. Since I am part of the large body of people who just want to enjoy some wine and a nice day and Erin was driving, I drank every bit. The family quickly disembarked and our host had only us to tend to. She spent a good deal of time explaining (mostly to me since Erin actually knows some stuff) the differences in their wines, stainless steal vs. oak barrels etc. She pointed out the 2008 Petit Verdot should peak in 2011 (two years after it's release). This lead to a discussion in which she stated that virtually all American wines are made for instant gratification, meaning they don't age well so buy and drink up! We liked the 08 Petit Verdot, the '07 Mertiage, and Erin liked Pinot Gris. Our "free" wine glasses in hand we headed out.
We continued down (up?) Route 20, and found ourselves at First Colony Winery. To get here take a turn off of 20 and onto a small residential street that winds around past a good number of small country homes. Just as you think you really may have taken a wrong turn a sign appears pointing onward. Here we found only two other cars in the lot, and a charming landscape. The farily large main room has a small tasting bar towards the back where we found two couples finishing up their tasting. Erin and I quickly found ourselves completely along with the whole of winery and it's two staff members. Erin cut out early on this one saving her taste buds for greater things down the road. I, however stayed on for the 3 dry whites and the 4 reds, that included the 2006 Tannat. To the Tannat I actually had to say... Whoa! The Tannat is apparently a grape with very thick skins and there for a very high level of tannins. In Virginia this grape is usually blended with other red grapes like the Cabernet Franc to give it a fuller body. I skipped most of their semi-sweet and sweet wines I believe the tasting cost $8 and 12 wines were offered for tasting. If you buy three bottles the cost of the tasting is waved. I did just that and walked out with the '07 Rose, the 07 Cab. Franc, and the 07 Cab. Sauvignon. This last one has a fruity rich flavor that ends with a chocolaty finish. It tasted quite good to me who knows close to nothing about wine.
Just a bit up a hidden dirt road in the back of First Colony is Virginia Wineworks- home of Micheal Shaps wines, and wines sold under the Virginia Wineworks label. The Virginia Wineworks seems to be a hidden gem of a spot. Micheal Shaps actually makes the wine for a number of other wineries in the area. The Virginia Wineworks label is his sort of "everyday" label. Those carrying the 'Micheal Shaps' label are his higher end wines and they will run you between $32 to $50 a bottle. Our third winery was another varied experience. We arrived at the back of warehouse loading dock area. Harvesting crates stacked high next to us, a large metal rolling door was three quarters of the way up revealing shining steal machinery. We must of looked uncertain and the lone woman standing outside gave us a wide, friendly wave to let us know we were indeed in the right spot.
Erin says: We walked into the warehouse, resting wine in barrels to our left, harvest and bottling machinery to our left, and had the best time with some fantastic wines and our very knowlegable and generous hostess. I was so struck by their use of native yeast in the initial fermentation and the complexity of the single varietals that I bought two bottles of wine that cost over $35. I am now the proud owner of a Michael Shaps Viognier and 2007 Cabernet Franc. (What now?) Michael Shaps consults with many wineries in the area, and his expertise is evident in his wines. I also bought two of the Virginia Wineworks label wines, a Rose and the VA Wineworks Red,which are made with purchased grapes, and sell for under $20. This winery is really fun if you want to learn more about how great wine is made.
At Kluge, you can either sit outside in a peaceful grove with your flight of six wines, which always includes their amazing sparkling wine, or at the bar inside. We elected to stay inside, (ostensibly to learn something from the woman pouring our wine, but it was pretty late in the day for anything resembling education) and our bar quickly filled up with fellow travelers on the wine road. We learned a lot about the Kluges, (did you know the estate is for sale?) laughed a lot and enjoyed some very fine wines. The Albemarle flight is $15, which is refunded if you join the wine club. I swear, this sounded like a really good idea at the time...