Thursday, March 31, 2011

UPDATE- Free 'Grow Biointensive' Workshop NEXT Saturday April 9th

Reporting Error!! The 'Grow Biointensive' Workshop is not this Saturday! It is next Saturday April 9th. Thanks to Suzanne for reading our blog, and discovering my mistake. I hope to be there NEXT week. Thanks Suzanne! Suzanne also adds..."Come for the workshop, stay for the event—there will be rain barrels and composters for sale, plus many eco-activities for kids and adults. John Tyler teams with Chesterfield County; last year we had 5,000 attend!" This From the John Tyler Community College site... (As part of their Fool for Art event) "Cindy Connor, Keynote Speaker at 11:00 a.m. (A113-115) Feed your family with your own mini-farm! Organic produce from your own backyard! In the GROW BIOINTENSIVE workshop, nationally known speaker Cindy Conner shares techniques for the backyard food gardener. Conner founded the Sustainable Agriculture Program at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and produced two DVDs (Develop a Sustainable Garden Plan and Cover Crops and Compost Crops in your Garden.) No tractor required! " At John Tyler Community College, Saturday April 2.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Byrd House Renegade Market Tonight

The Byrd House Renegade Market is tonight and by the looks of it they should have beef, chicken, mushrooms, spring greens and more. Tonight they are also hosting a seed swap, just in time. 224 South Cherry St. Also tonight is the Tricycle Gardens Farm Stand!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Robyn O'Brien at Tedx Austin

My brother got to attend Tedx Austin a couple of months ago, and was really impressed by Robyn O'Brien's analyst mind and her work on improving the food system. Great talk- Check it out!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tricycle Gardens' New Farm Stand

This Thursday I checked out the re-opened farm stand for Tricycle Gardens. A white tented table was well stocked with beautiful crates full of kale, collard greens, radishes, turnips, watercress, and swiss chard. Surrounding the table were flats of healthy looking cool season crops, and raspberries to plant at home. The new location at the Tricycle Gardens headquarters on Jefferson Ave. in Church Hill is opening up opportunities for all sorts of great additions. In the near future they hope to augment their great produce with items like Lamplighter coffee, fresh baked goods, eggs, and goats milk shares. Nice!
Tuesdays and Thursdays 4pm-7pm. (Hours will extend as the days do.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy spring!

Just wanted to take a second to celebrate the beginning of the most beautiful spring in my recent memory. The reprieve from the chill and dark of winter was certainly means for some kind of commemoration, so we brought out the last bottle from our ill fated wine club membership with Kluge- a rose champagne which was a perfect match for our brunch. It also might have been the reason I forgot to take photos of the food table. You'll just have to trust me that the quiche, and fruit and cheeses and jams and breads were all just beautiful. Casey even brought some gorgeous lettuce from her garden, which she grew under a hoop all winter long! Very inspiring.

We got to tour Shannon's garden, which because she is a horticulturist at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, is incredibly beautiful. It doesn't hurt that her husband is a fantastic carpenter, and made envy- inducing cold frames for their early season crops. Here we are, peering in:

Shannon and Matt also have an asparagus patch, which is now three years old. That means this is the first year the asparagus can be harvested! We ate the mini crop right there- fresh asparagus is a lovely, lovely thing.
I got so inspired, I went home and weeded the median garden, finding that the onions and garlic I planted in the fall had sprouted! I even found some rogue carrots, lettuce, and sunflower sprouts which had re-seeded from last year's garden. I threw in some cilantro seed, peas and some arugula, and planted some blue pansies for fun. Now Clyde and I will just have to see what comes up.

Happy spring, and happy gardening all!

Farmer's Markets in April

There are a number of area Farmer's Markets starting up, or gaining speed in April. Fresh, local foods for all!

The Chesterfield Farmer's Market- April 1 - December 30, FRIDAYS from 9am-1pm. At the Chesterfield Towne Center.

The Souther of the James Market- 4910 Forest Hill Avenue (Next to the old Blockbuster Video). This Market is retaining their SATURDAY hours through April, (10 am to 12 pm ), but is also adding Wednesday Hours as of April 1st.
WEDNESDAYS from 9 am to 7 pm (April 2011 - October 2011) This new Wednesday market is operated by the Market Umbrella, and is in lieu of the North of the James Market that will not be taking place this year. The South of the James Market (sans the 'er') will open May 7.

The Byrd House Renegade Market
Tuesdays from 3:00-5:30pm
Through April

The West End Market will start it's SATURDAY markets on April 30, from 8am-Noon. Their Wednesday market will open May 7.

The Tricycle Gardens' Farm Stand: Every TUESDAY and THURSDAY March 22-at their headquarters, 2107 Jefferson Ave. Church Hill.

The Lakeside Farmers Market: This market opens April 2, and runs through December. They have both morning and afternoon markets on WEDNESDAYS, 8am-12pm, and 3pm-7pm, as well as SATURDAY Morning Markets from 8am-12pm.

The Williamsburg Farmers Market
Saturdays 8:00am-12:00pm

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tricycle Gardens' Farm Stand Opens Today, March 22!

This From the Tricycle Gardens newsletter..... So many great things!!

"Farm Stand is Re-Opening TODAY - March 22nd
- at our Headquarters located at 2107 Jefferson Avenue, Church Hill.
We'll be there from 4:00 – 6:00 pm every Tuesday and Thursday.
Note: Hours may be extended later in the season.
Items available include:
Veggie Seedlings to Plant: Mustard greens, Kale, Broccoli, Lettuce – grown in Tricycle Gardens’ greenhouse & Baby Raspberry Transplants potted from the Farm!
Veggies to Eat: Arugula, Broccoli Raab, collards, Cress, Kale, Mizuna, Radish, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Sprouts (sunflower & pea) in flats - you can cut them as you need them!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Erin's Western Adventure, Part 1: Eating in Austin

One of the best ways to shake off the airport funk is to head straight to a bar after landing. My good brother Alex knows this. And so began the great western food adventure- day one in Austin, TX. We were welcomed home at Lustre Pearl, a super fun bar patio, lying in wait for the inevitable descending masses of SXSW. And yes, there were hula hoops.

I do love that my brother will try anything- As he has gotten older, the choices become more unexpected. Who knew that this time there would be a juicer in the mix?
We made, (or should I say, he made) the most gorgeous juices. They were the first thing I thought about when I woke up each morning in Texas. Apple, kale, ginger, beet? How about pure grapefruit? Citrus is cheap in Texas. All I know is that I felt like superman after drinking one.

No food adventure would be complete without a trip to the local farmers market, of which Austin has plenty. We went to the Wednesday farmers market at the Triangle. Most of the markets are managed by the Sustainable Food Center- a most amazing place. (We were so impressed with their work that we went to their offices the next day- more on that later.)

Alex and I wanted to have a pizza party that night, so we focused on picking out toppings and sides for pizza at the market. Roasted garlic, three kinds of mushrooms, hydroponic tomatoes, and spring onions made for interesting individual pizzas, though most people wanted some of everything. Alex cooked the pizzas in his grill- which was really a smoker. Pure fire power.

I am not going to lie- I am envious of the sheer volume of food trucks in Austin. There is no telling when you will wind up at one. A food truck at every bar- that is my kind of town.
Obviously this taking pictures of your food thing runs in our family.

At midnight the next night, we got to have martinis and milkshakes at 24- a diner that sources everything locally. Well, maybe not the martinis.

Many thanks to sweet Al and the lovely Miranda for hosting my first trip to Austin. May there be many more! xo

P.S. George Michael rules the microwaves.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Really great stuff Coming Up at Lavender Fields

March is full steam ahead for garden preparation and for early planting. Lavender Fields, a local organic herb farm, is organizing an interesting 'Show and Tell' project for those with vegetable and herb gardens. Those who participate have will be considered for one of three $100 gift certificates their farm. They have lovely organically grown herbs and vegetables, as well as tools, classes, raised bed kits, and soil amendments. The contest calls for a photo of your vegetable garden from early March, the keeping of a gardening journal till the end of May, followed by a final photo at that time. If you are interested, check out their website for more information. It is clearly a good way for them to get information on the gardening needs of potential customers, but it could also be a great way for you to learn from your own gardening journal as well as those of the other participants.
Also, check out information on their one hour gardening Q& A on April 2, as well as a whole new series of vegetable and herb gardening classes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pancakes for everyone

It is because we like breakfast for dinner, and also because it is nearly Shrove Tuesday, but we had to have a pancake party the other night. We also had several different dietary needs to attend to- so we made three different types of pancakes, filled them with all kinds of fruits, nuts and chocolate chips, then served them with butter, maple syrup, strawberry spoon jam, bourbon whipped cream (what?!) sausage (vegetarian chorizo from Twin Oaks and maple breakfast from Keenbell Farm) and mimosas. It was a super fun party because everyone got involved in the cooking, and because there is something so comforting about breakfast foods eaten around a big table.

Good, Old Fashioned Pancakes
I really love making pancakes on Sunday mornings- especially during the summer when I can add fresh blueberries or peaches from the farmers market. This recipe from makes tasty, super fluffy pancakes, which hold up well with the addition of berries or fruit slices. Put enough fruit in and you won't even need syrup!

Vegan Pancakes from Vegan with a Vengeance

Straight up pancakes

1 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2 TBS canola oil, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup water
1- 1.25 cup plain rice or soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS pure maple syrup

Sift dry ingredients. In separate bowl, combine everything else. Combine wet and dry ingredients- do not overmix!

Gluten and Soy free
This recipe comes from my friend Sallie, who has developed a lot of food allergies as an adult. She came to visit a couple weekends ago, and I was so worried about not being able to feed her- but she taught me how to make these great pancakes one morning- so simple!

per person:
2 bananas
2 eggs
1/4 cup of peanut butter
1 tsp of vanilla

Blend in food processor until totally blended. Scoop about a third of a cup of batter onto griddle. Fry in coconut or olive oil.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pad Thai, or so I call it

One of my favorite comfort foods is a dish I learned from my brother Alex. We call it Pad Thai- though the only similarity it has to the Pad Thai I've had in restaurants is that both dishes contain rice noodles. This one is beautifully fresh, simple and like I said, great comfort food.

Last night, Shannon and I got a rare chance to cook together and we decided to make Pad Thai. This might be one of those dishes that has to be taught in person and not by recipe, but I thought I'd try to share in any case.

Chop: 1 bunch of scallions-divided into white (for frying) and green (for topping) parts.
1 large bunch of cilantro
Roasted, salted peanuts
Set aside for garnish at the end of the prep.

Soak in boiling water about 4 minutes:
1 package rice noodles (the wide ones)

Make frying sauce: This is the ambiguous part. You need a sauce to flavor the noodles as they finish cooking. I think it needs to have the elements of sweet, sour, salty and spicy, so I have used anything from ketchup to red curry to flavor it- which will not be strong once the noodles absorb it. This is not the time for subtlety. If you are not vegetarian, you'd probably use fish sauce. Last night, I used mirin, rice vinegar, honey, and red chili paste (heavy on the chili paste). Combine a mixture of 1/2 sauce and 1/2 water to make a total of 2 cups.

Chop: 4 cloves of garlic

Heat peanut (or other high heat) oil in large wok. Fry whites of scallions and garlic on high heat for just a bit- maybe 30 seconds. Grab noodles out of bowl with tongs and toss
in wok. Pour in about a third of the sauce at a time, letting the noodles absorb the sauce fully before you add more. You don't have to use all of the sauce- you just don't want the noodles to dry out.
Shift all of the noodles to one side of the wok. Crack 4 eggs in wok, one or two at a time, scrambling and tossing with noodles until cooked.
Serve in bowls, and top with Siracha, chopped cilantro, peanuts, greens of scallions and squeeze of lime to taste. You can also add Mung Bean sprouts, (but I never do).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's In Season