Will the unwashed go grass-fed?

The other day, I brought up the new food movement I see emerging with the likes of Michael Pollan and Sally Fallon Morell with my mom. I mentioned that trailing their keystrokes and bean soaks is a sense that meat is okay.

“Really?” she said. “But how can they say that, when meat eating is responsible for so many problems?”

Although still a staunch vegetarian, I felt compelled to defend them. I explained that the new thinking about food advocates small amounts of meat and dairy, and stresses local, grass-fed products. The animals should be treated well, raised on small farms close by, and fed a healthy diet. And raw dairy rocks.

My mom had trouble with this. This is a woman who inspired my love of vegetables, introduced me to CSAs, and hinted that artificial coloring can be fatal. She eats small amounts of quality, sustainable chicken and fish, and occasionally other kosher meaty things. But I guess she didn’t think the Great Unwashed should get the go ahead to eat meat at all. They couldn’t be trusted. Continue reading

Travelogue Part II: Sustainable Booze

 

IMG_1452 2 by you.

 

How do you move a 500-pound barrel of bourbon? Roll it downhill, of course! This is what Woodford Reserve does, and has done for years. No fossil fuels or electricity required.And how about getting that sweet flavor and striking amber color in the booze? Could it be some processed corn-derived sweetener? Or lab-produced tint? Nope. Just caramelized oak.

Same idea for the aging process. Mustn’t they consume kilowatts upon kilowatts of energy to regulate the temperature of the warehouse maturing rows of barrels in wooden bunks? As it turns out, the bourbon needs the changing seasonal temperatures to do its thing. Only rarely does Woodford turn on the AC or the heat to adjust what Mother Nature gives them. Continue reading

Travelogue Part I: Mass Movement

Last weekend, I was in Massachusetts for the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s annual conference.

What did I see? Well, first we made a stop at Ellen’s parents’ farm. The conference springs forth pretty much entirely from an office just above the basement greenhouse where the seedlings come to life each year. Outside the control room, family photos, country wall paper, and the smell of the wood stove that cooks the food and heats the water…

 

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Brushes with Fame

So you know that picnic I mentioned in the last post? It was for the birthday of Ms. Abbie Turiansky, who CNN just happened to feature in a segment on Clagett Farm’s CSA last week. It’s nothing new for me to have a friend on the news because, you know, I associate with so many local foods activists and television stars. But I thought I’d pass it on.

And this photo? I took it on that farm. Yeah–I was there, where all the magic happens, just yesterday. No biggie. Just rubbing shoulders with the news makers as always.

Everyday World Saving

It’s happening at Oberlin, and you can do it too! Check out the article on this sustainable house at my alma mater. I had the privilege of touring the place during my college reunion this past weekend. It’s nothing radical–no solar panels or automatic gray water recycling system–but perhaps that’s the charm.

I especially liked their vermiculture. To the untrained eye, it’s just a plastic bin nestled in their kitchen. But a closer look reveals that it’s compost teeming with earthworms pooping out agricultural gold. And it’s true that it doesn’t smell one bit.

Be sure to watch the video, too, and try not to drool at the abundance of ramps in their walk-in! (Sorry, Mr. Brown — those are not leeks!)

Bike Fuel

Last Friday morning, a reporter stood in Freedom Plaza holding a microphone in one hand as he steadied a road bike with the other. “I never considered riding a bike to work, but with gas approaching four dollars a gallon, it’s getting more appealing these days,” I think I caught him saying.

It was Bike to Work Day 2008, at a rally that was rain-soaked but surprisingly packed. The news folks had to keep doing new takes as streams of cyclists constantly wandered between the camera and the reporter. Continue reading

What Makes Mama Happy, part I

Big Mama’s been happy this past week or so. Food adventures abounded, from the ground to the table, and most importantly to my mouth.

Yes, this is the closest I come to a Mothers Day post. I could talk about the breakfast in bed we used to make my mom, garnished with the pink crab apple blossoms that always popped open at the right moment, but, well, I decided radio personalities and wild ingredients are more exciting–and, perhaps most importantly, mush-free.

Here’s what’s been doing:

Gardening at the community garden! And finding a tiny garlic bulb no bigger than the tip of my index finger just hanging in there in the tilled soil. Continue reading

The good goods

Greater Goods logoZero impact non-consumption is the trend of the day among green folks. But sooner or later you’ll have to buy, and at that moment you should get on over to Greater Goods.* It’s a one-stop shop for greener stuff and a cleaner conscience. I’ve been aware of it since the owner came to Gallaudet’s Focus the Nation Green Fair, and had seen mention of the store here or there.

When I stopped in over the weekend, within a few minutes I was able to solve both my worries about my plastic water bottle leaching polyethylene into my beverages and plastic bags leaching evil into the universe. Continue reading

Films you’ll want to lick

PopcornBefore we even stepped into the Letelier Theater’s cozy lobby, the smell of apple cider had met our noses. We entered, picked up our tickets, accepted our free copies of Real Food, and headed to the bar for a free drink. Patrons chose between the sweet-smelling cider and wine (my friend and I went for the latter–it had been a long, cold day), and then the owners of Dolcezza Gelato asked if we wanted a hearty scoop-sized sample of a citrusy avocado sorbet or mascarpone-berry gelato. I knew we were entitled to a drink and organic popcorn, but the frozen desserts were a surprise. I decided I wasn’t all THAT cold and took the mascarpone.

This event, FRESHFARM Markets’ recent movie night, fed all of the senses. It gave a smell, taste, and vision to local food ideals, and it motivated viewers at any level of involvement to take eating local into their own hands. Continue reading