Monday, July 27, 2009

Tomato Canning Class from Slow Food Cincinnati

Slow Food Cincinnati and Turner Farm are offering a hands-on field-to-pantry canning class with home canning expert Lydia Hirsh.  Participants will harvest organic tomatoes straight from the vine, peel, dice, pack, and process the tomatoes, and leave with 3 wide-mouth pint jars of chopped tomatoes.  All necessary equipment along with step by step instructions provided. 

$35 per person.  8:30am - 1pm, Saturday August 22nd.  Turner Farm, 7400 Given Road, 45243 (Indian Hill.)  For more information or to reserve space, call 513-561-7400 or email

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

At Wyoming Farmers' Market this week

From Wyoming Farmers' Market:

Nancy Ellwood from the MSD of Greater Cincinnati will be at Market this week with a team to survey Market goers interest in a rain barrel program. The survey is short, just 3 questions, and you can learn about using a rain barrel to water your garden.

The Market book group meets at Gabby's tomorrow night at 8pm to chew over Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin.

Be sure to see our farmers this week:

* Mohr Animal Acres—Chicken, beef, pork, goat, lamb, eggs, goat’s milk fudge, cheeses, goat’s milk soaps and lotions.

* RJ Veggies— Sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onions, sweet peppers, hot peppers, green beans, new potatoes, kohlrabi, fennel, herbs, kale, collard greens, beets. We checked the watermelons today and some are ready. We will have some flowers.

* Walnut Ridge—Tomatoes & Cantaloupe-will be available at the Market tent, they are taking care of family today.

Don’t miss our cottage vendors:

* Blackbird Pond—Soap, shampoo bars (great for traveling!) sachets, facial steams, herbal foot bath, potpourri, lavender bath salts and sachets, and moth repelling sachets.

* Blue Oven Bakery-A variety of artisan breads baked in a wood-fired oven.

* Donna's Gourmet Cookies—A variety of cookies, brownies, iced cookies and granola. Assorted Quiches and croissants (chocolate, and ham and cheese).

* Five Star Foodies-prepared vegan entrees, soups, and drinks.

* La Terza Coffee—Whole bean and ground locally roasted coffee in half-pound and 1-pound bags. Indian Monsooned Malabar, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, New Guinea Purosa, Brazil Daterra Estate Villa Borghesi, Decaf Brazil. Will be taking orders for Cup of Excellence Columbian and naturally grown decaf-Brazil Daterra Estate Opus One. Espresso drinks on site.

* Sweet Miss Confections— In honor of National Junk Food Day, which is an opportunity to guiltlessly eat your favorite Junk Food, I will have tons of Carmelious Corn, new packaging, now using bio-degradable packages! Also;ChocolateTruffles, Shortcakes, made with Snowville Creamery Cream! Also Crazy Raisin Cranberry Granola.

* Taste of Belgium—Authentic Belgian waffles to eat on-site or take home.

Now Accepting plastic (the very reusable kind) !

A new terminal at the Market Information Booth will allow shoppers to swipe a credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or electronic food stamp card. Market tokens are 19 for $20; cash bonus, buy 19, get 1 free. Ohio Direction users may purchase any amount of tokens they need. No more worries about running out of cash!

Won’t You Be Our Friend?

Look for the Wyoming Ave Farmers’ Market’s page on Facebook and join our online community! Get up-to-the-minute updates on Market Day -- follow us on Twitter (WyomFarmMkt)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Michael Pollan at Xavier

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, will speak at Xavier University as part of their Ethics, Religion, and Society Lecture Series. 

Sunday September 27, 1 - 3 PM, Schiff Family Conference Center.  Free.  For more information, call 513.745.3279, email, or visit the website

Friday, July 17, 2009

Backyard Chickens at Civic Garden Center

The Civic Garden Center is offering Chickens in the City, a class on backyard chicken-keeping with instructors Tom Cail, Corina Bullock, and a panel of other chicken-keepers who will discuss choosing breeds, chicken care, coops, local chicken-keeping ordinances, and other topics.

Saturday July 25, 3 - 4:30pm.  2715 Reading Road, 45206 (Avondale.)  $10, free for Civic Garden Center members. Register online or by calling 513-221-0981.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lunch On The Land: a Fundraiser for Findlay Market

Turner Farm is hosting Lunch On The Land, a fundraiser for Findlay Market.  A tour of Turner will be followed by a five-course gourmet meal prepared by local chefs Jean-Robert de Cavel, Julie Francis (Nectar), Joanne Drilling (Slims), Summer Genetti (The Palace), Jody Miller (Bouchard’s), Dave Taylor & Luke Radkey (Lavomatic), Victor Brown (Molly Malone’s), De Stewart (Herbs & Spice), Joshua Campbell (World Food Bar), Matt Madison (Madisono’s Gelato), Debbie Spangler (Yummy-issimo), and local food writer Rita Heikenfeld, prepared and served on site at Turner. Keynote speech by Amy Tobin (EQ Culinary Director) and wines chosen by Sommelier Jeff Hickenlooper (Vanguard Wines.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009, 1 - 5pm.  7400 Given Road, 45243 (Indian Hill.)  $125 per person.  Reserve online or by calling 513 665 4839.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Linda Lou's Sweet Pickle Chunks

Over on Gardenweb's Harvest Forum, canning expert (she's a Master Food Preserver) Linda Lou is famous for her sweet pickle chunks, a 9-day pickle that turns out so crunchy it almost seems supernatural. I recommend making a double batch, as along about Day 7 you're going to have a hard time keeping your family from stealing these out of the crock before you can get them canned. This is a great recipe for beginning canners. We demo'd this recipe at Hyde Park Farmers' Market July 5th.

Linda Lou's Sweet Pickle Chunks
Makes 8 pints

24 pickling cucumbers (choose slender 6-inch cucumbers of similar size and even shape, preferably picked within the past 24 hours.)
12 c sugar
6 c cider vinegar
5 t pickling and canning salt
3 T pickling spices, tied in a bag

Day 1: Cover cucumbers with cold water and discard any that float. Wash gently in several changes of water. Discard any that aren't firm and fresh. Cut 1/16 inch off of each end. Place whole cucumbers into a large sterile (I use a five-gallon food-grade bucket) container and pour enough boiling water over them to cover. Weight them (I use a dinner plate) so that all are completely submerged. Leave at cool room temperature (not above 75 degrees F.)

Days 2, 3 & 4: Drain water off cucumbers. Rinse well. Rinse bowl and plate. Pour fresh boiling water over to cover and weight so that cucumbers are covered. If at any point you notice a scum forming, don't worry -- just rinse the cucumbers well and wash and rinse the container and plate that day. If you see mold forming or the cucumbers develop a nasty smell, compost the batch.

Day 5: Drain cucumbers, rinse well, and cut into 1" chunks. Make a syrup by combining the sugar, vinegar, salt, and pickling spices bag and bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour syrup (along with pickling spice bag) over cucumbers and weight so they're covered.

Days 6, 7 & 8: Drain cucumbers, retaining syrup. Reheat syrup (with pickling spice bag) to boiling. Pour over cucumbers and weight so they're covered.

Day 9: Prepare pint canning jars. Drain cucumbers, retaining syrup. Remove pickling spice bag and reheat syrup to boiling. Pack chunks into jars and cover with hot syrup, leaving 1/2" head space. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ohio Proud's Kitchen-on-Wheels at Market on the Hill

The Ohio Proud Kitchen-on-Wheels is designed to educate consumers about products that are made in Ohio and grown in Ohio through cooking demonstrations. The kitchen travels around the State of Ohio promoting Ohio Proud products at fairs, festivals, trade shows and special events. It consists of a 24 foot trailer that has the look and feel of a home kitchen. Three large screen monitors will display the demonstrations to the audience. The outside shell of the Ohio Proud kitchen will be a traveling billboard showcasing a graphic wrap of Ohio agriculture.

The kitchen will make its only 2009 appearance in Southwest Ohio on July 25 at 'The Market On The Hill' farmers market located at Harmony Hill Vineyards & Estate Winery. At this event, Icelandic lamb, grass fed beef and free range chicken from Graceful Grazers and organic vegetables from Cundiff Farms will be prepared by local grillmasters, Page Block and Nancy Radke, and distributed as small samples for any visitors to Harmony Hill. 'The Kitchen' will open at 2pm and samples will be served until the food runs out. Do your part to support local farmers and producers.

Market On The Hill, 2 - 6pm Saturday July 25, 2534 Swings Corner Point Isabel Road, Bethel. No charge.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Forbes: Raw Milk, Pastured Meats among the "10 Healthiest Foods" has a new article out listing raw milk and grass-fed meats as among the healthiest foods on earth.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chickens for Montgomery on Facebook

On July 1, Montgomery City Council passed a new ordinance that criminalized the keeping of chickens, which have always been legal in Montgomery. The ordinance goes into effect August 1, but Planning Commission has recommended that land usage codes also be updated to continue to allow chickens with a few restrictions intended to keep them from becoming an annoyance to neighbors:
  • No more than six chickens
  • No roosters
  • Chickens must be contained
  • Coops and enclosures must adhere to the setbacks and property maintenance codes and not be visible from the street
Given that there are currently chickens being kept by multiple households in Montgomery with no complaints (the police say they haven't had a complaint since the 1970s, when a family in the Shadowhill neighborhood was keeping a rooster) we feel these limitations are a fair compromise between allowing chicken-keeping and preventing any problems with chickens.

If you're on Facebook and would like to show your support of efforts to keep chickens legal in Montgomery, please join the Facebook group Chickens for Montgomery.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Super Sunday Suppers at Granny's Garden School

Granny's Garden School, the largest and most comprehensive school garden program in the Midwest, is offering a series of three family-oriented Super Sunday Suppers, a unique opportunity to assist in the entire garden-to-table process. Guests will participate in every aspect of the meal from harvesting, cleaning and preparing the meal under the supervision of a local chef, gathering bouquets, setting the table, and cleaning up afterward. Each meal's menu is determined by what is ready to harvest that week from the school's gardens at Loveland Primary/Elementary.

JULY 12: Philippe Audax, Executive Chef, Thomas More College, will be joined by fellow chefs Spyros Gravas & Ian Sroufe and local food writer Rita Heikenfeld.

AUGUST 9: Mark Metcalfe, Owner & Chef, Veg Head

SEPTEMBER 13: Shawn Hobson, Chef, The Works

Sundays, 6 to 9 pm, 600 Loveland-Madeira Rd. $15 per diner (Children four and under free.) Seating is limited. For reservations email or call 513-324-2873, or make your reservation online.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Food Safety Enhancement Act HR 2749

What appears to be an extremely silly law is now before Congress.

HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act (FSEA) treats every food producer from Blue Oven Bakery, a small artisan bakery that sells at many local farmers' markets, to food industry giant Kraft as if they're the same: as if the food they produce presents the same risks of adulteration and as if the same preventive measures are necessary for both. This just isn't the case; small artisan producers are providing safe, healthy, sustainably-produced foods made by hand, often using traditional methods that have been in use for centuries and sourcing local ingredients from small farmers. Such foods are already safe, and in fact are the solution to our country's food safety problems. We should be encouraging these producers into the market, not erecting more barriers for them. This new bill will erect barriers, possibly insurmountable ones, to local artisan food producers.

For example: the bill requires every food producer to pay a $500 fee and undertake a "hazard analysis" to prevent their food from presenting a safety hazard to the public. So Blue Oven and other local artisan food producers such as Fab Ferments (which make fermented sauerkrauts and sells them at local farmers' markets) and Linwood Sausage Co. (which makes artisan sausages and sells them at Hyde Park FM) will pay the same fee as Nestle or Kellogg's and be saddled with the same paperwork burden. I'm thinking Nestle and Kellogg's won't miss the $500 and can probably absorb the costs of developing their "hazard analysis." I don't think the same can be said for Blue Oven Bakery.

Here's another example: Food producers engaging in "interstate shipping" must develop a "Food Safety Plan." Again, it doesn't matter how small or new a producer is or how they produce their food product. Capriole, a small goat cheese maker in Indiana who might want to sell at Ohio or Kentucky farmers' markets, is treated the same as Tyson, which ships tons of factory-farmed chicken to all fifty states. Under HR 2749, both will be required to develop a food safety plan including these elements:

  1. preventive controls being implemented;
  2. procedure for monitoring preventive controls;
  3. procedures for taking corrective action;
  4. verification activities for the preventive controls, including validation, review of monitoring and corrective action records, and procedures for determining whether the preventive controls are effectively preventing, eliminating, or reducing to an acceptable level the occurrence of identified hazards or conditions;
  5. recordkeeping procedures;
  6. procedures for the recall of articles of food, whether voluntarily or when required;
  7. procedures for the trace back of articles of food, whether voluntarily or when required;
  8. procedures to ensure a safe and secure supply chain for the ingredients or components used in making the food manufactured, processed, packed, transported or held by such facility; and
  9. procedures to implement the science-based performance standards issued.
I'm thinking this will put some of our artisan producers out of business.

It's always difficult to parse out the various reasons people are against any new law to figure out whether it's hysteria from those who simply distrust the government (though I have a lot of sympathy for these folks, too) or whether the provisions in a certain law are really as alarming as some would have us believe. For instance, I've seen headlines trumpeting that this law would "control home breadmaking." Uh, no, it won't, and such headlines just make those opposing this bill look like hysterical alarmists. It's easy to dismiss alarmists; let's dial down the hysteria. However, this bill, if passed in its current form, will make it significantly more difficult for small and artisan food producers to start and maintain a viable business. This will make it harder to find such foods. This bill, if passed as written, will actually make the food safety problem worse by eliminating sources of good, healthy, locally-produced artisan food products.

I believe small, new, and artisan food producers should be exempted from this law. At the very least, I believe that the compliance requirements should be as reasonable for Just Cured, who source and smoke sustainably-produced salmon, as it is for Hormel -- which means that Just Cured probably ought to pay $25 to register and be required simply to maintain records of purchases so that if a food safety issue arises, those records can be used to figure out what happened. But to require Just Cured or Blue Oven or Fab Ferments to jump through the same hoops as Pepsico and Heinz is not only silly but doesn't address the fact that Fab Ferments, which uses traditional fermenting methods to produce sauerkraut the same way it's been produced for centuries, isn't the source of the food safety problems we've seen over the past ten years. Artisans don't cause e.coli outbreaks. Industrial food giants do. Artisan food producers are the solution, not the problem. Let's ask our lawmakers to recognize that.

I'm not sure the answer is to ask our lawmakers to simply vote against this bill. We do need to address food safety issues in our industrial food supply. But we don't need to behave as if those same problems are inherent in all food production. They aren't.

Ask your congressperson to change this bill to exempt small, new, and artisan food producers. To email your congressperson, visit the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund's petition page, which takes you to a handy form where you can enter your address. Enter your message in the blank box, and it will be sent to your congressional representative. The message I'm recommending you send is this:
I believe small, new, and artisan food producers should be exempted from this bill. They are not the problem. They are the SOLUTION to our food safety problems. We should not be creating new barriers to entry and new compliance burdens for these small producers of healthy food.