Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dark Days Challenge/Taco potatoes and broccoli

Last night we had taco meat over baked potatoes and steamed broccoli. The ground beef, potatoes, garlic, onions, beef stock and broccoli were all local, so although the corn flour and most of the spices aren't, we think this qualifies as a 90% local meal. I wish I'd taken a photo, but we ate late and everyone was starving.


  • 1 1/2 t corn flour
  • 4 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t seasoned salt
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • 1/4 c grated onion
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup beef stock
  1. In a small bowl, combine the corn flour, chili powder and spices.
  2. Crumble the ground chuck into a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until browned.
  3. Stir in contents of seasoning bowl and beef stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked away, about 20 minutes.
To serve, pour over split baked potatoes. If desired, top with sour cream or shredded cheddar.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Find your 100-mile diet

This cool little mapping tool from the 100-Mile Diet site will let you enter your zip code and click to see a map centered on your zip with a 100-mile radius drawn on it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Defining local and regional foods

There's an interesting post by Gary Paul Nabhan, one of the earliest proponents of local eating, in the must-read blog EatLocalChallenge. He offers suggestions on how to define local and regional foods:

1. Local means from a farm, ranch or fishing boat that is locally-owned and operated, using the management skills and the labor of local community members. A farm that is owned all or in part by an extra-local corporation, and which uses migrant workers who live outside the community does not benefit its community economically or culturally as much as it should.

2. A regional food is one that has been tied to the traditions of a particular landscape or seascape and its cultures for decades if not for centuries. If the same mix of mesclun greens is grown in greenhouses across the country and sold in every farmers market from Maine to New Mexico, it is more like a franchised product (from a seed company) than it is a local or regional food. Yes it may be produced five miles from your home and thereby reduce food miles, but its seeds are not saved and adapted to local or regional conditions, they are bought from afar every year.

3. The miles a food travels (“food miles”) must be placed in the size and volume of the mode of transport, its source of fuel, and its frequency of travel. Using biodiesel in a larger truck may be more efficient, and leave less of a carbon footprint than using leaded gas in an old clunker. One in every five kilocalories in the American food production and delivery system now underwrites transportation, as well as packaging and cooling while in transit, so this will be an increasingly important issue to solve by using alternative fuels, cost-efficient volumes, and ensuring that vehicles holding their full capacity in both directions, perhaps by carrying compost back to farms where the vegetables originated.

4. On farm energy and water use matter. If a farm near Tucson Arizona is irrigated from a canal that transports Colorado River water hundreds of miles (and at high ecological cost to wild riverine species), or if it uses fossil groundwater set down during the Pleistocene pumped by fossil fuel set down in Iran during the Pennsylvanian era, what is to be gained by promoting its food?

5. Other on-farm inputs matter just as much. Where are the sources of hay for livestock, compost for garden crops or nitrogen for field crops? They should be locally if not regionally-sourced. Why call lamb locally-produced in Idaho when its flock has wintered part of the year in California and its hay comes in from southern Colorado?

6. Fair-trade with other cultures, localities and regions is fair game. Circumvent they globalized economy for the items you truly need from other regions by establishing fair-trade exchanges. It is not that we don’t care about farmers and ranchers elsewhere, we simply don’t wish to see middlemen gaining more of each consumer dollar than the producers do. Producers inevitably plow money back into their communities and lands, intermediaries seldom do.

7. Invest in the foods unique to your region that cannot or should not be grown anywhere else. The attached RAFT map (pdf) reminds us of ancient food traditions based on climate, soil and culture, involving both native and immigrant foods that have adapted and been integrated into particular places. Because the U.S. currently lacks the geographic indicators such as denominations of origin that reinforce the links between place, culture and genetics of a particular food, these place-based foods are truly threatened by globalization. Invest in them and their original stewards.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007 Farm Bill -- this time with feeling.

I know I've already mentioned this, but it's important, and here are three really easy links you can click to and send a message to your Senators and the Senate leadership. It's really important, and you can do it in about three minutes. Please do it. If you truly want local sustainable foods, this is one of the easiest ways you can help.

Issue: Leadership Support for Farm Bill Reform
Sign your name to an already-written message to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today. Or edit the letter any way you like -- it's up to you. Urge him to support the efforts of reform-minded Senators to bring meaningful payment limits, and increased resources for conservation, rural development, and beginning farmer programs to the Farm Bill. Click to write now It really will take 2 minutes! I promise.

Issue: Your Senators' Support for REAL Payment Limits
Whether or not the Senate Farm Bill includes real payment limit reform that finally brings an end to the million-dollar payments to the nation's largest farms could very well come down to an important vote on the Senate floor. Every single Senator will cast a key vote, and every single one will be important. Every. Single. One. And this year, there's an Ohio Senator on the committee. Write to your Senators today.

Issue: Support Rural Development in the Farm Bill
The Farm Bill should support all of rural America, and one way it can do this is by putting more resources into rural microenterprice development that will help entrepreneurs start and maintain businesses up and down main streets across rural America. This kind of help encourages young people to go into farming. Urge your Senators to support this legislation today!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cincinnati Locavore at yahoogroups

I've just opened a yahoogroup for Cincinnati Locavores. If you live in or near Cincinnati and are looking for local food sources (or if you are a farmer or producer of local foods) please join us and let's see if we can bring the food and the consumers of it together!

Dark Days Challenge/Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and salad

I just realized it's the end of the first week and I've neglected to post this week's official 90% local meal. I also neglected to take a photo, but next time I make this particular meal I'll photograph it.

Thursday night, we had:

Meatloaf (local ground beef, ground pork, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, yogurt, and bacon, along with non-local pantry items: olive oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, dried thyme, Dijon, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce, panko bread crumbs. I ought to be able to find a local source for the chili sauce, vinegar, thyme, Dijon, hot pepper sauce. Not sure about the sugar -- do they make brown sugar from beets? I could also use locally-produced bread and make my own crumbs, but I really like the panko crumbs in this particular recipe, so I'll keep using them. And Worcestershire -- no idea, there. I know it contains anchovies, though, so I'm thinking not.) The meatloaf was out of the freezer, and it was my last one, so I need to make up a new batch of five. I'll take pictures and post the recipe.

Mashed potatoes (local potatoes, butter and cream.)

Salad (local lettuce and microgreens)

Salad dressing (locally-bottled, don't know any more about it. I should try making my own. I make my own mayonnaise, how much harder can it be to add yogurt and herbs?)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today we freeze...ONIONS?

Yes, onions in the freezer. One of the nice things about onions -- an ingredient many of us use for nearly every meal -- is that they freeze beautifully with minimal processing. Unlike many vegetables, they don't need to be blanched before freezing. The thawed product can't be substituted for onions eaten uncooked (frozen and thawed onions have a texture similar to that of onions that have been sweated briefly) but the difference is imperceptible in nearly all cooked dishes.

We're nearly at the end of onion season here in Southwest Ohio, so this week I went out to Greenacres and bought all they had. The gardener said they might have a few more, so I'll probably head over again in the next few days and see what I find. In a month or so, when my fresh onions have reached the end of their storage life and everyone else is buying onions shipped from Texas, I'll still be using Ohio onions.


Peel and chop the onions into whatever size you find you use most often -- I generally do a 1/4" dice, as that's a fairly versatile size. Spread in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet and slip into the freezer for several hours or overnight.

When they're frozen solid, pack the frozen pieces into bags. If you use gallon bags, you can simply take out the bag, remove what onions you need (freezing them before packing means they don't stick together in a solid lump, which facilitates the removal of the exact quantity required) and put the bag right back in the freezer.

I like to vacuum pack whatever I can because removing the air means less freezer burn and in turn longer storage life. I've never vacuum packed onions before, though, so I'll have to see how it works. They may end up sticking together a bit, but maybe if I slam the bag on the counter that'll break them up. I used a 6" vacuum bag rolls, cut a long bag and sealed one end using my handy-dandy Seal-a-Meal. Stuff it full of onions, seal the other end, and place it in the freezer. When I cut open the bag to take some out, I'll end up with a smaller bag but fewer onions and (I hope) have enough room on the new open end to make a fresh vacuum seal. (Sealing requires about 2" of unpacked bag end.)

I'm also saving and freezing the ends of today's onions for the end of next week's roast chicken. When the carcass is clean and I'm ready to make stock, I'll pull the onion ends out of the freezer. How frugal am I?

Eyes on Iowa

There's an argument to be made that as Iowa goes, so goes the future of American farming. Iowa produces more than its fair share of our feed crops and industrial food inputs. Nowhere has industrial agriculture been more important in changing the face of the countryside, and yet fewer Iowans than ever are actually farming, and diversified farms have for the most part gone the way of the VCR.

In a series of reports, Grist investigates what's happening in Iowa and what Iowans are doing to get Iowa -- and perhaps all of American farming -- on a different track.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) thinks we're just dumb.

Rep. Collin Peterson, Chair of the House Agricultural Committee, doesn't think farmers raising organic produce and grass-fed beef for local consumers needs any federal help. ‘It is growing, and it has nothing to do with the government, and that is good,’ he told a reporter for Financial Times. ‘For whatever reason, people are willing to pay two or three times as much for something that says ‘organic’ or ‘local’. Far be it from me to understand what that’s about, but that’s reality. And if people are dumb enough to pay that much then hallelujah.’

I went to Rep. Peterson's website to explain in words of two or fewer syllables that when we eat local and organic, we're supporting local small farmers and sustainable ethical food production, which in turn helps our community thrive and helps protect the environment. But he doesn't take mail from nonconstituents so I guess he'll just have to keep on thinking we're dumb.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Finally, the rain we needed in August and September.

It's raining again today, hooray! I've been assiduously watering my trees since mid-August and anxiously watching those trees that had no one to water them as they slowly turned brown. According to CincinnatiGreen, a blog written by a local arborist, trees can go dormant in a severe drought but whether the tree has gone dormant or has died won't be apparent until the next spring when the tree either leafs out or it doesn't. And even if it does survive, the effects of the drought on that tree can be felt for a decade after.

Here's a fascinating animated map showing the progression of this year's drought week by week. (If the animation doesn't work, click refresh to get it going.)

Well, fascinating to me, of course. To local farmers, it's just plain depressing. I have heard of local grassfarmers having to sell off their pastured herds because there's no pasturing left and the costs of bringing in organic hay are prohibitive in a down year. Other farmers simply gave up on entire crops this year, or opened dying crop fields as pasture for foraging cattle. A year like this can provide a final blow to a struggling small farmer, so it's especially important to buy local whenever we can.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sustainable Organic Local Ethical milk

When I decided I wanted to extend my local eating to local dairy, I discovered it wasn't going to be as easy as finding a local source for tomatoes. Most of us buy milk from some anonymous corporation which in turn has bought it from multiple dairy farms -- some of them megafarms -- and put it all into one big vat. It's impossible to know exactly where that glass of milk came from.

It may have come from somewhere not too far away. United Dairy Farmers' milk is local, if you consider the tristate to be our local area. Their 200 stores in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are supplied by a milk co-op that includes approximately 75 dairy farmers located throughout the three states. In the grand scheme of things, that actually seems pretty local to me.

But there's a further issue. When I walk out of a UDF with a half-gallon of skim, I have no idea which of those 75 farmers produced that milk, whether his farming methods are sustainable, or how the cow was treated. I also know that the farmer likely is making around $1.77/gallon for his product, which for a small dairy farmer almost certainly isn't enough to keep his farm going from one generation to the next.

Part of my reason for wanting to eat locally -- a big part of it -- is that I want to know how my food is raised. I want to know my food dollars are going to support local farmers using sustainable, humane methods. When possible, I want to know the person who is feeding me. About the only way you can know who produces your milk and how it was produced is to buy it directly from the dairy farmer -- which means it probably hasn't been processed. It's raw. And here in Ohio, that's illegal. In Ohio, raw milk cannot be sold.

Which is why I bought a herdshare.

Under a herdshare agreement, the milk consumer purchases a portion of a cow, pays a set amount per month for that cow's board and care, and receives milk back as the owner's dividend.

I found a dairy farmer nearby who for $50 sold me 1/25th of one of his eight cows. I pay $22 a month for my portion of the cow's board, and in return each week I drive out to the farm and pick up a gallon of fresh raw milk, which works out to about $5.08 per gallon if you discount the original purchase price which I'll get back if I ever decide to sell my portion of the cow. My farmer* produces only raw milk -- an important distinction, as milk intended for pasteurization is generally handled very differently from that which is consumed raw. On my first visit to his farm, he took me out to his small sweet corn field where 'the girls' were eating the remains of the stand of corn that had been lost to this year's drought. They looked up when we came through the gate and came when he called, Cinnamon and the others, and they clearly expected to get petted for their trouble.

The farmer's wife told me on my last visit that they now had a waiting list. I told her they needed to buy another cow. She threw her hands up. "Don't tell him! That's what he's saying! We don't need another cow!"

* I won't reveal my farmer's name for fear of getting him in trouble. Herdshares take advantage of a loophole in Ohio law which has been treated differently by different administrations. The current administration is looking the other way, for now, but given that Big Dairy is a powerful lobby, that could change at any time. The previous administration had a policy of harrassment of herdshare offerers in what seemed a clear attempt to put them out of business by the simple but very effective strategy of requiring them to run up legal fees until they went broke.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

At the Hyde Park Farmers' Market

I joined the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge, which asks us to prepare one meal a week from local ingredients from now until the end of the year. I've been putting some apples and potatoes by, but I figured we were going to want something green for those late-season meals. Today at the Hyde Park Farmers' Market I found some beautiful kale at Running Creek Farms, so I bought 6 bunches -- all he had -- and I'm going to blanche it and put it into the freezer today. Also grabbed some sort of Japanese greens from Rising Sun Farms, a couple of pounds also for the freezer. I also picked up a half-dozen butternut squash to store in the basement, hoping to serve those once a week, too, and some more raw local honey from McGovern Bee Company.


Fill spaghetti cooker with water, salt lightly, and bring to a boil. Wash kale well (don't skip this step -- like many greens, kale tends to contain a lot of grit, which is not fun to eat) and trim by folding each leaf in half lengthwise and cutting through both sides of the leaf along the main vein to remove the tough vein. Place the trimmed kale into the spaghetti cooker's colander insert and into the boiling water for 2 minutes, then immediately into cold water to arrest the cooking. Drain well and squeeze gently to remove excess water. Separate into meal-size portions (I generally allow 3 ounces per person) and freeze.

If you process several batches of kale like I did today in the same water, consider saving the cooking water as vegetable stock for your freezer.

2007 Farm Bill at YouTube.

This from Oxfam on why it's time to call your Senator.

So that's why it's so hard to know whom to believe.

The New York Times this week offers a fascinating question: Is it possible doctors have succumbed to an irresistible pressure to agree that fat is bad for us when there's no such proof?

In Diet and Fat: A Severe Case of Mistaken Consensus, (Findings, October 9th) columnist and debunker John Tierney talks about why physicians such as former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop might have made dietary recommendations based on received wisdom rather than on actual evidence. Tierney presents evidence of a phenomenon social scientists call 'informational cascade' in which one person tends to agree with the opinions of trusted others rather than evaluating the evidence independently. As agreement on the issue builds, dissenters are ostracized until eventually an entire community of so-called experts may very well believe something that simply hasn't been proved.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cultured butter from kefir-cultured cream

I attempted my first cultured butter today.


Place your kefir grains into a flow-through bag (this will keep you from having to fish through the cultured cream, which is as thick as creme fraiche, the next morning to retrieve your kefir grains) and add the bag to a quart or so of raw cream in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir gently, then cover loosely with a clean cloth. In the morning, the bowl will contain cultured cream. (Which by the way is delicious -- far superior in both taste and texture to commercial sour cream. Use it in place of sour cream, or mix with honey and use in place of cream fraiche or whipped cream.) Fish out the bag containing your kefir grains, squeezing the bag gently to remove as much of your cultured cream as possible.

Place the bowl of cultured cream into the fridge until the temperature of the cream is 60 - 65 degrees. (I use a probe thermometer.) When the cream is at the correct temperature, snap the bowl into the blender and using the whisk attachment (and the shields!) whip on high until the butter comes. I scraped the sides down once after a few minutes.

Drain the butter into a sieve over a catch-bowl. In the bowl you now have cultured buttermilk, and it's delicious if you drink it immediately. If you don't drink it immediately, use it for cooking. If you have no culinary use for it, pour it over the dog's food. I've also used it to encourage the growth of moss in my garden -- moss loves buttermilk.

Place the butter into a small bowl and cover with cold water. (I fill it from the tap and add an ice cube.) With a wooden spoon, press the butter against the sides of the bowl. When the water becomes cloudy, dump it out and start with fresh water, each time using the wooden spoon to turn and press the butter against the sides of the bowl. Turn and press, turn and press, dumping cloudy water and adding fresh water (and if needed another ice cube) again and again until several minutes of turning and pressing don't cloud the water. This step is the most time-consuming and tedious, and it's tempting to stop too soon. Any buttermilk left in your butter will quickly turn rancid, ruining your butter.

When the water stays clear after several minutes of working the butter, drain and place on a cutting board. Work the butter a little longer to work the water out of it, then spread on the board and if desired, lightly salt, work a little longer to work the salt through, then pack and chill. I generally put the finished butter on to a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log, then chill. If it's intended for the freezer, I mark and seal.

On first taste, I don't actually detect much difference between the cultured butter and the butter made from fresh raw cream. I need to do a side-by-side taste test using a bland cracker or bread as the delivery medium. Or possibly I need to culture the cream for a longer period before making the butter to develop a stronger taste.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chicken stock into the freezer

I roasted a chicken from Greenacres on Monday. We had chicken for dinner Monday night, and last night I made chili with the leftovers. Today from the carcass I made stock for the freezer.


Place giblets, heart, and neck (I'd frozen these Sunday night when I brined the chicken) along with the carcass into a large stockpot. Add 1 T each allspice berries and peppercorns. Add a couple of cloves of garlic, a couple of bay leaves, and a piece of ginger. If there are any aging onions, carrots, celery in the pantry or fridge, add those. Fill with water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 - 2 hours, adding more water to cover when necessary. Strain and cool, then chill before freezing.

I got 18 cups of stock from this week's chicken, all frozen in 2-cup quantities. This will keep for several months in the freezer.

Ohio grown, Ohio eaten

An Akron couple focuses on local eating in this story from Ohio.com. Here is her blog about their experiences eating local in Akron this summer.

In Iowa, the extremes of sustainable agriculture

Grist magazine offers a fascinating look at two counties in Iowa. In Hardin county, the government has collaborated in allowing big business to destroy diversified farms. In Woodbury county, citizens have organized to construct one of the nation's most innovative and effective local foods programs.

Most sustainable diet? Include eggs, dairy and a little meat.

According to the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, researchers at Cornell University have determined that New York state can sustainably feed more of its population on a diet high in vegetable products but including some eggs, dairy, and meat than it can on a pure vegetarian diet.

That's because fruits, vegetables and grains must be grown on high-quality cropland. Meat, eggs, and dairy are produced on lower quality but more widely available land that can support pasture and hay. A large pool of such land is available in New York state because for sustainable use, most farmland requires a crop rotation with animal food crops such as hay.

Cornell's Chronicle Online provides a layman's version of the research report.

King Corn

I find it ironic that a documentary exploring the ways corn has changed American farming has no scheduled showings in corn country.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Locavore vs. Localvore

The word 'locavore' was first coined during World Environment Day 2005 in San Francisco and quickly caught a lot of folks' imaginations. I've been hearing two different pronunciations (and spellings) of this term, 'locavore' and 'localvore.' I settled on locavore for reasons of simple laziness: it's easier for me to pronounce. But when I set up this blog, I wondered which version of the word was getting more use.

According to Wikipedia, the most commonly used version is locavore. 'Localvore' doesn't have a separate entry but is noted as an alternate spelling/pronunciation.

According to Blogpulse, which tracks the use of a given term on registered blogs, as of this morning locavore gets 309 hits while localvore gets 145.

According to Google (also this morning), locavore gets 192,000 hits while localvore gets 60,900.

Local, seasonal shrimp? In Cincinnati?

Yes, apparently so. This interesting blog by transplanted Northeasterners (that's Connecticut, not Cleveland) describes a visit to a local shrimp farm during the annual harvest. I'm marking my calendar for next September.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

2007 Farm Bill: time for action

If like me you're interested in eating locally, seasonally -- more sustainably -- then the time to act is now. I know someone is always telling you to call this or that representative, but this time we in Ohio have real power, because for the first time in 40 years there's an Ohio Senator on the Agriculture Committee. The Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has issued two action alerts on this issue in the past two weeks; if you're ever going to act, act now.

Please call the office of US Senator Sherrod Brown at (202) 224-2315. Ask to speak with Joe Shultz, Senator Brown's legislative aide for agriculture. Talk to him or leave a voice mail (including your name and phone number.)

Be calm and polite. You can say a very few words about yourself (for instance, I'm going to tell Mr. Shultz that like many people I've been trying to eat more locally but it's not easy because of how few small independent farmers are left in my area of Ohio.) But keep it short and stay on message:

I am a constituent calling to ask Senator Brown to support increased funding in the new farm bill for conservation, rural development, beginning farmers, local food systems, agricultural research, and sustainable bioenergy programs.

I also want Senator Brown to support new funding for the Comprehensive Stewardship Incentives Program (CSIP), including the new and improved Conservation Security Program. We need an increased commitment to conservation on working lands and an expansion of the CSP program. Without this funding, the 2007 Farm Bill can't succeed.

Call today. If you're interested in sustainability, this is important.

If you're just too shy to make a phone call, here's a page on Sen. Brown's website where you can fill out a form giving him your opinion on the issue.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Restaurants Sourcing Locally

Local independents sourcing locally.  For reviews, click on the Urban Spoon button beneath each restaurant's listing:

Chalk Food+Wine (Covington KY)

Green Dog Cafe (Columbia-Tusculum)

Greenup Cafe (Covington KY)

Lavomatic (Over-the-Rhine)

Local 127 (downtown)
Local 127  on Urbanspoon

Melt (Northside)

Mayberry (downtown)
Mayberry on Urbanspoon

Murphin Ridge Inn (Adams County)
Murphin Ridge Inn on Urbanspoon

Nectar (Mt Lookout)
Nectar on Urbanspoon

Slims (Northside)

Symphony Hotel Bed & Breakfast (Over-the-Rhine)

Vineyard Cafe (Hyde Park)

Virgil's Cafe (Bellevue, KY)

Wildflower Cafe (Mason)

Local Food Sources

Alpine Berry Farm (Batesville IN)
Artistry Farm (Oxford)
B & D Goats (New Richmond)
Baricelli Cheese Co (Cleveland)
Bergefurds Farm (West Wilmington)
Boone Co Farmers Market (Burlington KY)
Boulder Belt Eco-Farm (Eaton)
Capriole Farmstead Goat Cheese (Greenville IN)
Carriage House Farm (North Bend)
Chateau Pomije Winery (Guilford IN)
Clough Valley Sweets (Anderson Twnshp)
Elk Creek Vineyards (Owenton KY)
Garden of Eden Farms (Mt Sterling KY)
Good Foods Coop (Lexington)
Gravel Knolls Farm (West Chester)
Greenacres (Indian Hill)
Greensleeves (Alexandria KY)
Harmony Hill Vineyards (Bethel)
Heirloom Beef Company (Adams Co)
Herbs & Spice & Everything Nice
Hyde Park Farmers' Market
Johnson Poultry (Wilmington)
Kinkead Ridge Winery (Ripley)
La Vigna Wines (Higginsport)
Little Cheese Shop (Tompkinsville KY)
McGovern Bee Company (The Plains)
Meranda-Nixon Winery (Ripley)
Milford Farmers' Market
Mohr Animal Acres (Urbana)
Moon Coop (Oxford)
Mt Carmel Farmers' Market
N Ky Regional Farmers' Market (Covington KY)
Nourishing Provisions (Oxford)
Organic Farm at Bear Creek (Felicity)
Oxford Farmers' Market Uptown
Pennington Hollow Farm (Brookville IN)
Red Sun Farm (Loveland)
Sheltowee Farm (Salt Lick KY)
Simon Kenton Farmers' Market (Independence KY)
Stonebrook Winery (Camp Springs KY)
Taste from Belgium
Thistlehair Farm (Union KY)
Turner Farm (Indian Hill)
Valley Vineyards (Morrow)
Woodstone Creek (Cincinnati)
Wyoming Farmers' Market

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hyde Park Farmers' Market

I generally make a weekly visit to a couple of farmers' markets. The Hyde Park Farmers' Market (Sundays 10 - 2, June thru October) is closest to me, so I show up nearly every week for that.

The market is held in the US Bank Parking Lot (3424 Edwards Rd.) It's a great location with plenty of parking. Lots of Hyde Parkies walk to the market (often with pooch in tow) and it gets crowded FAST, with long lines forming at several booths. I always try to get there just as the market opens and hit the long-line places first.

We're nearing the end of the farmers' market season, and I've been thinking about how to store local produce for the winter. It would have been a smart idea to think of this before now. I missed the opportunity to store spring and summer produce. It'll be autumn at my house all winter long.

Today the apples from Backyard Orchards looked great, and I know from past purchases that the Empires are better than any Granny Smith you ever bought in a supermarket. Plus the free sampling apples grower Dennis Sauerhage hands out are a great way to get in your Apple-A-Day on a Sunday morning. I bought a half bushel each of Empire (for eating) and Mcintosh (for cooking.) I've stored the Empires in the basement, hoping to keep them good for a few months. The McIntosh I'm processing today into compote for the freezer. I also bought about 50 pounds of potatoes from R&J Veggies, most of which I'll process into mashed potatoes for the freezer; winter squash (which should store for a couple of months in the basement), raw honey and eggs from Rising Sun Farm; ground beef and ground pork from Mohr Animal Acres; some beautiful lettuce from Farm Beach Bethel, a packet of four Thai Chicken Sausages from Linwood Sausage, and some shiitake-hazelnut pate from Sheltowee Farm. I managed to resist the Taste From Belgium waffles which are insanely good but which I suspect contain about 1000 calories each.


1/2 cup honey

1 6-inch stick of cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split
8 whole cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
20 apples

In a large stockpot combine the honey, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, cloves, and nutmeg. Quarter, core, and roughly chop the apples into the pot. (I leave the skins on, but the finished product does have large chunks of skin in it which makes for a very rustic dish.) Cover and place over low heat. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened but not mush. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and vanilla bean. Serve hot or cold as a side dish or use as a topper for potato pancakes, ice cream, waffles, pound cake. 20 servings, 1/2 cup each. This will keep several months in the freezer.