Archive for the ‘Urban Farming’ Category
It’s time to celebrate all about agriculture in the month of March. Taking time to appreciate how food and fiber are produced and recognizing those who do the work. Without agriculture, where would are country be? What a great opportunity to get back to our roots and celebrate the bounty before us, no matter where you live in this nation. Check your local agriculture department for events in your area. National Ag Day is March 25, 2014. Mark you calendars and go out and support our local farmers and what they provide for all of us all year round!
Whether home is the rural countryside or the population dense metropolis, California agriculture affects us all. This leads to the importance of educating consumers and how agriculture enriches our daily lives. The smell of livestock wafting down L Street can mean only one thing: It’s Agriculture Day at the state Capitol. Festivities get under way at 10:30 a.m., when lawmakers and their staff are invited to explore the booths (and tractors) around the Capitol grounds near the west steps. The public gets to meander through from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed.”
National Agriculture Day is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.
The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
- Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
- Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
- Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
- Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.
We tour all around different cities looking for what might be a winner and hot topic to talk about with our food tour participants. Trying to stay ahead of the kitchen mallet as to what is trending compared to what is here to stay in the culinary arena has its perks and challenges. Local Roots Food Tours has compiled their top finds on what you might experience in 2013 while on your “foodie adventures.”
Top 10 Culinary Trends For 2013:
1. Chef’s behind closed curtains is a thing of the past. 2013 will continue to bring celebrity (as well as local chefs) front and center hosting special themed culinary events, symposiums and contribute to hands-on cooking classes. No more hiding behind the frying pan – their talents and passion will continue to be exposed with many culinary events. We are looking forward to seeing more of our local executive chefs come out and support Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Capital of America efforts by offering some pretty awesome cooking events in and out of their kitchens in 2013.
2. Restaurant gardens – Whether it be in back alley gutters or a transformed back lot, gardens are popping up all over the nation. Chefs cite many logical reasons why restaurant gardens are a good idea: cost, convenience, control, sustainability. The concept of in-house farming is hardly new and the trend has hit far and wide—there are countless restaurants tilling their own soil and planting the seeds for vegetables that will eventually appear on a customer’s plate. A small farm adjacent to an eating establishment keeps that path from farm to table about as short as it can get. One example we love is share is Mineral Restaurant in Murphys, CA. Executive Chef Steve Rinauro and partner/co-owner Maya Rinauro have been busy planting, weeding, watering and harvesting their restaurant garden in 2012. Their farm to table philosophy is lived vivaciously every day in their vegetarian menu. For those restaurants who don’t have the option of a garden out their back door, buying plots of land in local farms creates a great option. One local farm in Sacramento, Feeding Crane Farms offers such plots to local Sacramento chefs…..the next best thing to offer local farm ingredients.
3. Nordic food is out – Peruvian and Korean food is in for 2013.
Click to continue!
Farmers Markets are popping all over the country this time of year. Keeping it local and exploring your palate each and every week has its perks. Here are 10 reasons why its a positive experience by shopping at your local farmer’s markets:
1. You can Taste The Difference! Most of the produce has been picked within 24 hours (supermarkets could be as long as a couple of months!). It comes to your table ripe, fresh and full of flavor. The produce is at its “prime”!
2. You are giving back to your local community. “Keeping it local” is a common trend in urban and rural areas today. In areas with strong local markets, the family farm has been given new life.
3. Discover New Flavors! Ever wonder what the long white root vegetable is and what it is used for? Flabbergasted by how many varieties of pears you can find at the market? Shopping at local markets helps you think outside of the supermarket bins and explore your palate with so many varieties of flavors. Small farms are keeping alive nearly 300 other varieties of particular produce; offering heirloom varietals and the good old fashion beef steak tomatoes!
4. Helps to Boost Local Economy! A US study showed that almost twice the contribution of a dollar stayed in the local economy when spent at a local food business compared to a supermarket.
5. Save the World! A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a diet based on food shipped across the country! With gas prices on the rise, who wants to pay for transportation fees to a supermarket bringing in un-ripened fruit and vegetables when one could drive down the road and buy from Farmer Brown?
6. Meet Your Neighbors and Farmers! Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmer’s markets have 12 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket. Sometimes shopping at your local farmers markets turns into a half day affair with all the friends and locals you run into. Bring your chairs and make a day of good old fashion community fun!
7. Be Healthy! Eating fresh local ingredients with no processing, no additives, no pesticides…..the only end result is healthy eating! Cooking from scratch makes you feel better; you are eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and fewer of the bad products that have turned our country into an obese problem. Once you go fresh and local, you won’t want to go back!
8. Get in Touch with the Seasons! Many farming communities are lucky enough to have year round supply of fresh, local ingredients at their markets. When you eat locally, you eat what’s in season. You’ll remember the cherries are the taste of summer. Even in winter, comfort foods like squash soup and sweet potato bisque just make sense.
9. Create Memories! Bringing back those fresh local ingredients each week, breaking out the cookbook and exploring your passion while creating some excellent dishes is all about eating locally grown. Making jam, eating fresh local food and pairing it with a local wine with family and friends makes memories of a lifetime!
10. Explore your local community! Get out and about and visit local farmers markets. Become a tourist in your own back yard! One way of exploring markets is by participating in a organized tour. Follow a chef thru a market and learn about unique vegetables and fruits you normally wouldn’t even think of buying. Visit your local event calendar and find a farmers market tour and join in on the fun and education. You will be surprised how much little you knew about your local farmers and artisans until you get one on one time with them on a tour!
Keep Your Family Safe - Food Safety at Farmers Markets:
Farmers’ markets are the prime destination for fresh and local food, but they’re not immune to germs and bacteria. Farmers work hard to comply with state and federal food safety standards but patrons also have to keep their eyes peeled (and their produce washed). Use our tips to help avoid food safety pitfalls.
Whether it’s organically grown or not, produce needs to washed well. It’s a good thing that farmers’ market produce isn’t waxed like much of what you’ll find in the grocery store, but these local goodies are often covered with dirt. Rinse delicate items like berries, herbs and lettuces well just before use; rinsing them before storing them can cause them to get moldy or mushy. Sturdy produce like carrots, apples and potatoes can handle a good scrub. Thick-skinned foods like melons should be washed before you slice into them.
Some vendors turn their produce into drinks like apple cider. Look for pasteurized beverages, especially if you’re pregnant, elderly or serving them to young children.
Eggs and Dairy Products
Eggs and dairy (yogurt, cheese and milk) at the grocery store is almost always pasteurized, this isn’t always the case at the farmers’ market. Read labels carefully and if in doubt, ASK! Raw milk products and unpasteurized eggs are appealing to some folks but also carry a higher risk of food-borne illness from salmonella and listeria. Also, be sure that all dairy products are stored at the proper temperature – in refrigeration or on ice, especially on hot days.
Meats & Seafood
Fresh and frozen meats, meat products (such as bacon and sausage) and even seafood are popular farmers’ market finds. Use a specially designated shopping bag to avoid cross contamination and bring along an ice pack to keep everything cold on the ride home.
It’s become very popular for venders to give away tastes of their goods, especially prepared foods and specialty items. Baked goods, pesto and tomato sauce, jams and jellies, cheese, granola, yogurt, pickles, hummus, soups and grain salads are just a few of things you might come across. Bring along your own napkins (vendors never seem to have enough). Make sure perishable foods are kept on ice and have proper serving utensils before you sample them. Most importantly, beware of double dippers!
It’s that time of the year again….local farmers and artisan specialty vendors getting ramped up for the launch of their produce and goods at local farmers markets. Lucky enough, many farmers markets are year round in California. What lies ahead are some amazing spring vegetables, fruits, artisan meats and cheeses. The highlight of shopping the market experience is what you get to take home with you and create fresh ingredient dishes. Trying to find a market in your local community being offered once a week is the key to always having the freshness for your kitchen. We are lucky enough in Sacramento County where there is a certified farmer’s market almost every day of the week!
If you can manage to wake up early on a Sunday morning, make your way to the Sacramento Central farmers market where you’ll find many Asian produce. Shoppers will find great prices at this Midtown market, which is among the larger markets in the area.Guide Tip: Get here early. Since this is a popular market, on a few of my visits, some vendors ran out of food.
- Location: 8th and W streets, underneath Highway 80
- Hours: 8 a.m. to noon, open all year
Roosevelt Park is among two farmer’s markets along P Street. Along the perimeter of the park, shoppers can buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, herbs, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.
- Location: 9th and P streets
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Just down the street from Roosevelt Park is Fremont Park. Vendors are spread along the perimeter of the park.Guide Tip: Finding a parking space can be a challenge at both of these parks. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a metered spot. Remember to keep track of the time to avoid getting a ticket.
- Location: 16th and P streets
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Caesar Chavez Memorial Plaza is abuzz with shoppers from area office buildings at this downtown market.
- Location: 10th and J streets, in front of City Hall
- Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October
Capitol Mall Market
- 6th Street and Capitol Mall
- Hours: 10am – 1:30pm, from May through September
Downtown Plaza Market
- 4th and K Streets
- Hours: 10am – 2:00pm, from May through September
East End State Capitol Park
- 15th and L Streets, (Between L & N Streets)
- Hours: 10am – 1:30pm, from May – September
Oak Park Farmers’ Market
- McClatchy Park, 35th Street and Fifth Ave
- Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Sunrise Station Market
- Folsom and Sunrise Blvds, Rancho Cordova – Light Rail Station
- Hours: 8:00am – 12:00pm, Open Year Round
Experiencing a Farmer’s Market through a chef’s eyes is an incredible experience. Being introduced to local farmers and artisans. Tasting, touching, smelling….it all is about growing your knowledge on how to pick out seasonal produce, how to use that produce in your home and receive some creative ideas on using the benefits of the produce to your advantage. Sound too good to be true? A new tour is being launched in downtown Sacramento by Local Roots Food Tours; Market to Plate Executive Lunch Tour. Beginning May 2nd and offered every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the spring/summer growing season, participants have the opportunity to be treated to a VIP Farmers Market Tour followed by a 4 course lunch with a wine pairing. 2 popular executive chefs will be taking fresh local ingredients from the morning’s local market and creating a wonderful lunch for all participants. Get up close and personal with these two chefs. Learn tricks and trades on how to pick out the best produce and fruits at this year’s farmers markets and receive recipe ideas to use in your own kitchen. For more information on how to be a part of this unique and inspiring walking food tour please contact Local Roots Food Tours: 1-800-407-8918 or visit their foodie friendly website at: http://www.localrootsfoodtours.com
Purple carrots, white strawberries and cucamelons?
No, I’m not going crazy, I’m talking about heirloom produce. I’m sure that you’ve heard of heirloom tomatoes, but what does the ‘heirloom’ prefix mean? An heirloom plant or vegetable is a crop that was commonly grown during earlier periods in history, but is not used in “modern large scale agriculture.”
More and more Farmer’s Markets are offering Heirloom produce. The heirloom seed market is growing rapidly as well. Many website offer a large variety of seeds for you to “grow your own” heirloom produce. Everything from black corn, chocolate colored sweet peppers and Merlot lettuce. (yes it’s deep wine colored!) One specific heirloom variety watermelon is a cucamelon. It is a light green fruit whose flesh is white, crisp and crunchy with a lemony tartness. The flavor is similar to a cucumber. People chop them up into summer salads or add them to a simple salsa. I personally eat them like pretzels or chips! Just add a tiny salt and pop them in your mouth! Delicious.
Food should be fun, interesting and enjoyable. Adding color, shapes and new varieties of produce is a simple, easy and great way to develop your palate and knowledge of food! Why bother with heirloom vegetables? Well, first of all, they’re something different. Who expects a blue pumpkin or a yellow tomato? Second, the taste. You might be surprised by how much more flavorful an heirloom vegetable is when compared to one of its modern equivalents. Third, most respond very well to organic treatment. This isn’t surprising, since most were developed long before chemical agriculture became the norm! Fourth, it maintains biodiversity. You never know when we’ll need those genes carried by heirloom produce.
Some heirloom veggies may seem quite odd by modern standards. We get so wrapped up in our expectations of what a certain type of vegetable should look like that we tend to forget that it took a while to breed our modern food plants to the standards that we now enjoy. For example, did you know that some heirloom cultivars of pumpkins are red, white, and even blue, rather than the standard orange? Similarly, carrots can be red, white, or black, and round instead of cylindrical. While a few unusual versions of both vegetables have made it into the modern seed catalog, they’re rare.
What about a simple, delicious and easy heirloom carrot recipe?
***Try and find some different sizes, color and shapes of the carrots for extra flair!
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 bunches heirloom carrots, scrubbed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
salt and pepper to season
2 tbsp honey
1. Preheat oven to 400º. In a medium roasting pan, toss the carrots with butter, shallots, and thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Place pan in oven and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
3. Remove from oven and drizzle over honey. Toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
Want to eat healthy and look like a professional chef while serving “heirloom” produce?! Try:
Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Gratin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 pound baby Italian eggplants, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick
4 thyme sprigs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound goat cheese, coarsely crumbled (1 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush a large oval baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange the tomato and eggplant slices in a single layer of overlapping concentric circles. Scatter the thyme sprigs on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is barely tender and the tomatoes have exuded their juices.
2. Uncover the gratin and bake for about 25 minutes longer, or until the juices have evaporated and the vegetables are very tender. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I suggest your next trip to the Farmer’s Market you should ask the vendors if they have any delicious recipes or “new’ heirloom produce for you to try!
Be a part of National Can-It-Forward Day on August 13
On August 13, join millions of food lovers curious about canning to learn the ease of preserving fresh food as part of National Can-It-Forward Day.
Jarden Home Brands has teamed up with Canning Across America, a nationwide group of food writers, bloggers and cookbook authors united by a passion for canning, to create the National Can-It-Forward Day.
Gather your family and friends to celebrate the bounty of summer through home canning. Learn the ease of preserving fresh food through a day of home canning parties, online instructional canning videos and cooking demos, local events and more. We’ll help you every step of the way.
1. Host a Home Canning Party
Whether you are new to canning or a seasoned pro, canning is always more fun when shared with friends. So get a group and host your very own Can-It-Forward Day Home Canning Party. We’ll make it easy.
Let’s Get the Party Started!
Celebrate National Can-It-Forward Day by hosting your own home canning party. It’s easy and here are all the steps you need to get started:
Step 1: Mark your calendars for August 13 and pick a location to host your very own National Can-It-Forward Day Home Canning Party. Simply select any spot with a working stovetop and some counter space — your kitchen, community center, office break-room, etc.
Step 2: Spread the word – Invite Your Friends, Family, Neighbors and Co-workers for August 13, National Can-It-Forward Day! Twitter #canitforward
Step 3: Select Your Recipes. For National Can-It-Forward Day, we suggest Fiesta Salsa – it’s fun and easy and who doesn’t enjoy salsa made with fresh tomatoes?
Step 4: Decide how many jars of Fiesta Salsa you will be making at your party, just a few or a large batch.
Step 5: Download the printable Intro to Canning Guide, Party Tips Guide, National Can-It-Forward Day Regular Mouth Lid Labels, National Can-It-Forward Day Wide Mouth Lid Labels, and Party Games for hosting your own Can-It-Forward Day party.
Lid Label Directions: The National Can-It-Forward Day labels for the regular mouth jar lids are designed to fit AVERY 5293 Labels. The labels for the wide mouth lids are designed to fit AVERY 5294 labels. Simply download the PDF of your choice, insert the appropriate label sheet into your printer, push print and apply to your jars. Then show your friends and family what you created and listen to their oohs and aahs!
Step 6: Host your own home canning party and receive valuable coupons.
2. Can-It-Forward Day Web TV
Set your calendars and join us here for a full day of LIVE streaming coverage of National Can-It-Forward Day events taking place at Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
From 11 AM — 7 PM EDT/8 AM — 4 PM PDT, we will be airing live canning demonstrations by the experts at Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball® Home Canning Products and Canning Across America as well as recipe demos from top Seattle chefs. View demonstrations from the comfort of your own home or during a Can-It-Forward Day Home Canning Party! Ask our experts and chefs questions in our live Q&A.
Click here for the National Can-It-Forward Day Web TV broadcast schedule.
Click here for LIVE streaming video on August 13.
3. Participate in Person
Hey Seattle — let’s get canning! If you live in or are in the Seattle area on August 13, stop by Pike Place Market and participate in person! We’ll be celebrating with live canning demonstrations throughout the day, giveaways and sampling and more!
Here are some other recipes we will be celebrating on National Can-It-Forward Day.
Check them out for easy directions:
Second Saturday Farm Tour; Saturday August 13, 2011
|Come see where your food is grown! Farm Fresh to You (www.farmfreshtoyou.com), the organic produce home delivery service, invites the public to its farm in Capay in Yolo County for a farm tour on Saturday, August 13, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The farm address is: 23800 State Highway 16, Capay, Calif., 95607.
We will be harvesting eggplant or summer squash. $8 for adults, $4 for Farm Fresh to You customers and free for kids 12 and under (no charge for tractor rides with this new fee structure).
No RSVP is necessary. Call the Farm Fresh to You office at 800-796-6009 for more information.
From the Bay Area:
|11 am to 3 pm|
|23800 State Hwy 16, Capay, CA 95607|
Prime melon season in the Sacramento Valley region is upon us and stretches into September.
There are some amazing melons to choose from. The varieties are bountiful when it comes to heirloom varieties.
Next visit to your local farmers market try to find these various types of melons and ask for a taste before buying!
Crimson Sweet: Crisp, sweet and mild with medium red flesh.
Mickey Lee: Red flesh w/ a clean taste and a slightly grainy texture.
Moon and Stars: Bright to pinkish-red flesh and a sweet-tart flavor.
New Orchid: Pale orange flesh and a rich, honey-like flavor.
Yellow Doll: Yellow flesh, slightly tart.
Muse & Late-Harvest Melon Family:
Ambrosia: Sweet, floral, and deeply flavorful orange flesh.
Canary: Dense green flesh with a sweet flavor that’s musky in a good way, like grapes.
Charentais: Deep orange and juicy with a flowery aroma.
Eel River: Super soft texture, gentle flavor, and elegant perfume; orange flesh.
Ha-Ogen: Chin-drippingly juicy, with slightly savory, tropical flavors and pale green flesh.
Honeyloupe: Hybrid that tastes and looks like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew; bright orange, sweet and juicy.
Galia: As sweet, juicy and succulent as a summer peach, with soft green flesh.
Green Nutmeg: Tiny, single-serving melon. A bit spicy, with bright green flesh.
Tuscan: Earthly, clean flavor with hints of cucumber. Rich, amber-colored flesh.
How to choose a melon:
Give it the once over: Is it symmetrical? Check. No bruises? Check. No soggy areas? Check.
Find the Couche (coosh): That’s the flat spot where the melon rested on the ground. If it doesn’t have one, it was harvested too early.
Locate the “full slip” or belly button, where the melon attached to the vine. It should be smooth and clean, a sign it was ripe enough to detach on its own.
Lift it: Does it seem heavier than it looks? Good! That means its juicy!
MELON TIP: If your melon doesn’t smell strong and fruity, let it sit a day or two to ripen before you cut into it. Watermelon doesn’t ripen after picking so you need to use the steps above to pick the ripest one right off the crate.
September 13, 14 and 15th @ the Sonoma County Fairgrounds
Come witness farmers, gardners, chefs and food organizations as they gather together in what will likely be the largest event for heritage agriculture ever held. Learn from America’s top growers and food celebrities! Dozens of seed companies and organizations will be present. Workshops, demonstrations and great music!
See over 4,000 varities of heirloom produce on display showing the diversity of heirlooms. You will be able to browse through over 200 exhibitors and purchase organic, natural and original food products, art and garden related items from many unique vendors.
You have the opportunity to learn from nationally renowned speakers, writers and farmers! Guest speakers will be sharing their wealth of information and experience throughout the entire exposition. Priceless knowledge and expertise with Dr. Vandana Shiva.
All profits from the National Heirloom Exposition will be donated to school garden projects and other food and garden-related charities.
For more information and further details visit: www.theheirloomexpo.com
Gardens are bountiful with zucchini this time of year. Zucchini can be used in many amazing dishes; appetizers, entrees, soups, desserts, drinks….you name it….it is a very universal vegetable and here is one more way to put it to good use in your kitchen!
- 3-4 medium/small sized zucchini
- 1 cup Chevre cheese or similar artisan cheese
- 1 cup porcini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 to 2 tsps white truffle oil
- 1 tbsp jalapeno, finely diced
- 1-2 tbsp each of finely minced fresh green onion/parsley (or whatever you feel like)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350.
Slice each zucchini in half, and hollow out the seeds with a spoon. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of salt, pepper and oil. Place in oven for about 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender, but not overcooked.
Take out of oven to let cool a bit and prepare cheese mixture.
Sautee mushrooms and jalapeno, until mushrooms have softened. In a medium bowl, add goat cheese, mushroom mixture, fresh herbs and salt and pepper. Mix and spoon into the zucchini boats.
Pop on your broiler, and broil until the goat cheese is melted.
Recipe could be used on the grill as well with some amazing results. Enjoy!