Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cincinnati Locavore on FoodBlogSearch

CincinnatiLocavore has been tapped for inclusion in the exclusive database of Food Blog Search, an online search engine for food, recipes, and dining.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pasture-raised cows produce healthier milk

A UK study of milk from conventionally-raised vs. pastured cows has discovered that the milk from pastured cows contains more antioxidants and vitamins than that from conventional dairy farms:

An al fresco diet in cows results in milk with up to 60 per cent higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA9) which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, according to research from Newcastle University. The same study found 39 per cent more omega-3 fatty acid and 33 per cent more vitamin E, which are also thought to reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Grazing provided 84% of food for cows on organic farms during the summer. In winter, when pastured cows in the study weren't able to graze, the differences between their milk and that from conventionally-raised cows was smaller.

U-pick Strawberries

Strawberries are ready for U-Pick at Branstrator Farms in Clarksville and at Bergefurd Farms in Wilmington.

For up-to-date U-Pick info for Bergefurd, call 937-383-2133. Bergefurd strawberries are also available at Hyde Park Farmer's Market (Sun 10am-2pm.)

For up-to-date U-Pick info for Branstrator, call 937-725-5607. Branstrator strawberries are also available retail at Lebanon Farmers' Market (Thurs noon-5pm), Wyoming Farmers' Market (Tues 3-7pm), Pipkin's in Blue Ash, Schucter's Farm Market in Morrow, Spaeth's Farm Market in Mason, Madison's at Findlay Market and for retail purchase at the farm at 885 North George Road in Clarksville.

Farmers' Markets May 31 - June 6

Here is what you can expect to find at local farmers' markets this week. Things do change due to weather and other factors, but as of the time of this post this is what the vendors at each market think is likely they will be bringing this week to market. As information comes in, I'll update.

Oxford Uptown

Saturday 7am - noon
Uptown Oxford

Lamb, chicken, beef, pork, breakfast sausage, eggs, goat cheese, strawberries, arugula, sunflower sprouts, red leaf lettuce, red romaine, buttercrunch, spinach, tat soi, Mizuna, red mustard, radishes, green onions, kale, broccoli, cut & dried herbs, canna lily bulbs, herb plants, tomato and pepper plants, honey, apple cider, popcorn, jellies, breads

Findlay Market Farmshed & Grow West
Saturday 8am - 6pm
1801 Race St

Back Acres Farm: Eggs, beef, pork whole-hog sausage, farmstead cheeses, ice cream
Bauer Farm: Cut flowers
Kist Greenhouse: Bedding plants, both flowers and vegetables, hanging baskets
Margaret's Garden: Herb plants, forget-me-nots, perennials, rosebushes & cut flowers
Neltner's: Hanging baskets and bedding plants, butterhead lettuce, early tomatoes
Northgate Greenhouse: Spring bedding plants, hanging baskets, planters, perennials and landscape plants
Shady Grove: Green garlic, arugula,lambsquarters, baby kale & mizuna, limited asparagus & rhubarb, & 8 or 10 cooking herbs. Field-ready tomato plants, basil (Sweet, Thai, Opal, Lemon, Lime, Cinnamon & Lettuce), edible/ornamental hot pepper seedlings, fragrance roses

Batesville Village Green
Saturday 8am - 11am
George & Main Sts
Batesville IN

West Chester
Saturday 9am - 1pm
The Square at Union Centre

Simon Kenton
Saturday 8:30am - 2:00pm
Simon Kenton High School
11132 Madison Pike
Independence KY

Hyde Park Opening Day!
Sunday 10am - 2pm
US Bank parking lot

3424 Edwards Rd

BD Goats: Goat's milk ricotta, spreadable goat's milk cheese, goat's milk fudge, rosemary raisin sourdough bread, goat's milk lotion
Bergefurd Family Farm: Strawberries
Home Grown Bazaar: plant starts, potted herbs & vegetables, container gardens
Organic Farm at Bear Creek: Spring mix lettuce, cut oregano and thyme, pepper and heirloom tomato plants, salsas, sauces, soups, dressings, jams, blueberry sauce
RJ Veggies: lettuce,radishes,green garlic,tomato plants sweet bell plants, hanging cherry tomato plants, hanging flowers, herbs, green onions, ruhbarb.
Eaton Farm: strawberries, radishes, green onions, salad greens
Walnutridge Acres: gourmet salad mix, arugula, baby spring bok choy, tatsoi, komatsuna
(asian green), red chard, fresh garlic chives, romaine, green garlic, garlic scapes, green onions,
radishes, potted herbs, vegetable plants and heirloom tomato plants.
Mohr's Animal Acres: fresh beef and chicken, pork, lamb, goat, goat's milk feta, cheddar, pepper jack, and mozzarella
Farm Beach Bethel: radishes,rhubarb, Italian dandelions, lettuce, and a delicious wild-crafted edible greens mix.
Sheltowee Farm: organic mushrooms, local raw honey, asparagus
Linwood Sausage Company: handcrafted homemade sausages and sausage sandwiches.
Plus: Embrace Sweets, Taste of Belgium, and Madisono's ready-to-eat items

Tuesday 3 - 7pm
Wyoming Ave and Van Roberts Place

Back Acres Farm: Eggs, grass-fed beef, whole hog sausage, farmstead cheeses, ice cream
Branstrator Farms: strawberries, jams, maybe asparagus
R.J. Veggies: Lettuce, green onions, herbs, hanging flower baskets, hanging cherry tomato baskets, and tomato and bell pepper plants. (This vendor accepts WIC.)
That Guy's Family Farm: organic lettuce mix, mesclun mix, green onions, fresh-baked boule bread, daisy bouquets.
Walnut Ridge Acres: Micro mix, radishes, green onions, herb and vegetable plants.
Also: La Terza coffees, Sweet Miss confections

Sayler Park
Tuesday 4 - 7pm
Town Square Park
Parkland and Monitor Aves

Lettuces, herbs, carrots, perennial and native plants, homemade granola

Northside Opening Day!
Wednesday 4 - 7:30pm

Hamilton & Lingo

The Dixie
Thursday 2:30 - 6:30pm
Erlanger Baptist Church parking lot
116 Commonwealth Ave

Flowers, vegetable plants, baked goods, jams

College Hill
Thursday 3 - 7pm
5742 Hamilton Ave

Friday 3:30 - 8:00
110 Main St
Brookville IN

Boone County
Daily 9am - 6pm
Burlington Pike

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Elk Creek Vineyards announces summer concert series

Elk Creek Vineyards in Owenton, KY, has announced their summer 2008 outdoor concert series which includes a Blues Festival, a Jazz Festival, and a Motown Revue & Fireworks show.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Toll Gate Cafe opens in Loretto, KY.

Makers' Mark in Loretto, KY is opening the Toll Gate Cafe in an old tollhouse on the distillery grounds. It'll be open every day 11:30am - 5:00pm (noon to 5 on Sundays) and will feature "bourbon-inspired foods with seasonal sandwiches, salads, desserts and beverages, and using mostly Kentucky products." You can tour the distillery while you're there. For reservations or directions, call 270.865.4982.

Local farm stores, u-picks, and farmers' markets

Today's Enquirer has a terrific rundown of where to buy local foods in season.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New resource: seasonal ingredient map

Epicurious is offering this (somewhat incomplete, but I'm sure they're working on it) Seasonal Ingredient Map. According to Epicurious, all we have available here right now are asparagus, collard greens, peas, spinach, and strawberries. Well, yeah, but we also have sorrel and green garlic and garlic scapes and lettuces and rhubarb and...

But it's a nice start.

Store Wars: May the Farm be with you.

Very cute short (5:45) Stars Wars parody starring Cuke Skywalker, ObiWan Cannoli, and Chewbroccoli.

Thanks to Jim Schwartz at BackAcres Farm for the link!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Germany bans pesticides linked to bee deaths

After the death of millions of honeybees sprayed by a misapplied pesticide earlier this month, Germany has temporarily banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

Bayer CropScience, the maker of the pesticide clothianidin which is sold in Germany and the US under the brand name Poncho, blames an application error. The pesticide, which was sprayed in the field on seeds of sweet corn that had just been planted near the Rhine river, was supposed to include a glue-like substance to make the chemical stick to the seeds. Instead the pesticide became airborne, killing the bees and presumably any other insects it came into contact with.

In a press release last week, Bayer CropScience says, "We are saddened by the loss of the bees." Bayer CropScience is a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Bayer (whose corporate motto is Science for a Better Life) with annual sales of EUR 5.8 billion (about $9.4 billion.)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Slow Food and LocalHarvest partner up

I love seeing synergy instead of everyone off reinventing their own wheel. LocalHarvest, which maintains a terrifically useful database of small farmers and producers across the US, has partnered up with Slow Food USA, which maintains Ark of Taste, a database of producers of difficult-to-find traditional foods that are in danger of disappearing. Ark of Taste foods are now being added to the LocalHarvest database.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Linwood Sausage Company

With Cincinnati's strong German heritage, it isn't surprising that you'd be able to find some great artisanal sausage here. I met Jose Almeida of the Linwood Sausage Company last year at the Hyde Park Farmers' Market (Sundays starting June 1st, 10am - 2pm at the US Bank parking lot, 3424 Edwards Rd) where he and his wife Susan sell their handmade sausages. Each week they bring four different sausages to market and offer samples of each type they're selling that week. This year, thanks to the efforts of MaryIda Compton and Judy Williams in obtaining a mobile teardown license to meet Hamilton Co Board of Health requirements for selling ready-to-eat food, they'll also be selling sausage sandwiches grilled onsite in addition to their frozen packages.

Jose makes most of his sausage in a USDA-inspected commercial kitchen in small batches of 20 pounds, which gives him great control over his ingredients. He hand trims and hand grinds his locally-sourced hormone-free pork, chicken, lamb, and turkey, uses fresh organic herbs whenever possible, and as he sells his product frozen he uses no nitrates/nitrites or other preservatives. Jose and Susan, both of whom are professional chefs, make around 7800 pounds of sausage a year. Currently they only produce the sausage during the summer months and sell almost all from the Hyde Park Farmers' Market, but they're hoping soon to also be distributing through local retail groceries year-round.

He also occasionally makes even smaller batches at home in his kitchen with a small 5-pound sausage press. When I visit, he's making Chicken, Apple & Tarragon sausage.

When I arrive at Jose and Susan's Linwood home, he'd already fed the hog casing onto the stuffing horn and loaded three pounds of seasoned ground chicken into the press.

As I watch, he cranks the handle to feed the meat smoothly into the casing. I've tried this at home, and it's not nearly as easy as he makes it seem. Exactly the right amount of pressure and an artful touch feeding the casing along the horn produces a firmly-packed casing that isn't so full it will burst during cooking.

He moves back and forth between the crank and the emerging cased meat, evening out any minor bulges and evening the sausage into a tight roll.

Within about ten minutes, all the meat is cased and he clips the casing.

Here's the cased meat, ready to be twisted into links:

Jose carefully measures out 6-inch sections, using a ruler each time, and twists them off to form consistent individual links.

He takes a pin and pricks any bubbles that have formed during the linking process so that the finished links will cook evenly.

When he's formed the entire casing into 5-oz links, he trays them and rests them half an hour in the refrigerator before cutting them into individual links, quick freezing them, and vaccuum-sealing them into packages of four. Most of the sausages he sells for $10 for a 20-oz package of 4 links, with a smaller number of premium sausages sold at $15 for a package of 4.

Jose produces nearly twenty different varieties, but only four are available each week at the farmers' market, except by special order.

These, from the left, are his Chicken, Apple, & Tarragon, Fresh Polish Kielbasa, Moroccan Lamb (the recipe includes pomegranate juice, which gives it its deep color) and Hot Italian. Other varieties include Szechuan Chicken, Italian Luganega, Bavarian Bratwurst, Tuscan Sun Dried Tomato & Herb, Japanese Shiitake Mushroom, Sweet Fennel, Turkey with Grand Marnier, Duck Sausage, Andouille, Thai Chicken, Hunter's Sausage, and Greek Loukaniko.

They'll have an official website soon, and as soon as it's up and running we'll post an update and add them to our list of local producers. In the meantime, you can find Jose and Susan and their sausage at the Hyde Park Farmers' Market (opening day is June 1!) or place off-season or special orders with the Almeidas directly by calling (513) 679-1293.

New at Findlay

Couple of new things at Findlay this morning. (Which, by the way, was really hopping -- we showed up at 8:06am and had to hunt for a parking spot, and by the time we left 1/2 an hour later there was a line of cars waiting for openings in that lot.)

Jim and Pattie Schwartz of BackAcres Farm (currently in the farmshed, but they'll be moving to the outdoor stalls once Turner Farms starts attending market) are carrying farmstead cheeses (cheeses made at the dairy farm) from their cheesemaking mentor, Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese from Defiance. They had four cheeses with them today and were offering samples, and this is good cheese. Jim and Pattie are planning to make their own raw milk farmstead cheese as soon as they can get that ball rolling, so this was their way of introducing farmstead cheese to their customers.

And Michael Brown of Just Cured was there with his delicious European-Style Smoked Salmon. He was handing out samples, too, and the texture of this stuff is like butter. He uses EU-certified organically raised salmon from a producer dedicated to sustainable aquaculture. He's going to be distributing the salmon at Findlay through Luken's.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Farmers' Markets May 24 - 30

Here is what you can expect to find at local farmers' markets this week. Things do change due to weather and other factors, but as of the time of this post this is what the vendors at each market think is likely they will be bringing this week to market. This post will be updated as information comes in.

Oxford Uptown

Saturday 7am - noon
Uptown Oxford

Honey, apple cider, garlic, green onions, lettuce, kale, radishes, strawberries, leeks, oregano, lamb, rosemary, sage, basil, spearmint, thyme, marjoram, parsley, arugula, sunflower sprouts, tomatoes, peppers (not sure whether this means hothouse fruit or seedlings), cauliflower, goat cheese, eggs, breads, jelly.

Findlay Market Farmshed & Grow West
Saturday 8am - 6pm
1801 Race St

Batesville Village Green

Saturday 8am - 11am
George & Main Sts
Batesville IN

West Chester

Saturday 9am - 1pm
The Square at Union Centre

Simon Kenton
Saturday 8:30am - 2:00pm
Simon Kenton High School
11132 Madison Pike

Tuesday 3 - 7pm
Wyoming Ave and Van Roberts Place

Back Acres Farm: new this week: Quarter-pound burger patties ready for your grill, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef and whole hog sausage. Beef raised with no growth hormones or routine antibiotics
Branstrator Farms: strawberries, jams and asparagus.
R.J. Veggies: ettuce, green onions, herbs, hanging flower baskets, hanging cherry tomato baskets, and tomato and bell pepper plants. (This vendor accepts WIC.)
That Guy's Family Farm: organic lettuce mix, mesclun mix, green onions, fresh-baked boule bread, and daisy bouquets.
Walnut Ridge Acres: micro mix, radishes, green onions, herb and vegetable plants.

Sayler Park
Tuesday 4 - 7pm
Town Square Park
Parkland and Monitor Aves

Carriage House Farms: radishes, carrots, lettuces, swiss chard, spinach, basil, potted dill, cut peonies
Fresh Flower Farms: lettuce, rhubarb, perennial plants in 1 and 3 gallon containers, heritage flower seeds
Also: strawberry pies, apple pies, banana bread, granola, freshly ground horseradish, hostas, begonias

College Hill
Thursday 3 - 7pm
5742 Hamilton Ave

Friday 3:30 - 8:00
110 Main St
Brookville IN

Rex Rosenberger: eggs, chickens (live, or place an order for frozen), rhubarb
Bill & Norma Rudicil: vegetables, corn meal
Richard & Melissa Putnick: wooden planters and benches
Darlene Kohlsdorf & Michelle Williams: ready-to-eat items
Pennington Hollow Farm: radishes, green onions, green garlic, triple-washed lettuces, heirloom tomato seedlings, pepper seedlings, herb seedlings

Boone County

Daily 9am - 6pm
Burlington Pike

Perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, bedding plants, hostas
Weekend only: strawberries, asparagus, beef, pork, fresh herbs, baked goods, jams, jellies

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All NuVo, all the time

In case you hadn't heard enough from me about NuVo today, I just discovered they've got their own blog.

Polly Campbell reviews NuVo

We managed to miss this when it came out last week, but Polly Campbell's review of NuVo in Florence has been published, and as we guessed from her cryptic advice a few weeks ago on The Foodie Report, it's next-best-thing to a rave.

NuVo serving Garden of Eden lamb

Eden over at Garden of Eden says Mark Bodenstein of NuVo in Florence is buying 15 racks of pastured lamb each week from her farm.

Mark, chef and owner of NuVo, posted this to the Cincinnati Local Foods Group recently:

I am on a mission to be one of the only restaurants not only in Northern KY but the Greater Cincinnati area to be 100% local supported through farms and sustainable foods. I am currently working with a handful of farms to deliver me things such as produce, meats, dairy, cheeses and whatever else I can get my hands on locally, as well as working with the local FFA to get them to grow some things for us. We are currently working on a roof top garden and that should be completed hopefullly by the spring of next year. I shop locally at all the markets on a daily basis as well.

Add that to Polly Campbell's recent review of the newly opened restaurant:

This is one of the nicest surprises I've ever had reviewing restaurants.
I'm thinking it's time to head down to Florence, y'all!

Central Ohio Valley Local Foods Initiative website

CORV's website is now live. On it you can find pdf files of local farms and local farmers' markets. There'll be other content soon!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Solitary bees for pollination

Solitary bees, unlike the honeybee, are natives to the United States. According to ScienceDaily, as the honeybee crisis worsens solitary bees may be able to fill the hole left behind. The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station is studying the kinds of nesting boxes that will attract various kinds of native bees:

If you build it, they will come. Native bees that is. And when native bees do come, they may be a hundred times more efficient as pollinators than are honeybees, said Jeff Brady, research assistant with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

Solitary bees don't make honey or beeswax, but they do have advantages over the honeybee. They are adapted for pests and diseases present here in the U.S., and as they don't live in colonies they aren't vulnerable to Colony Collapse Disorder. Best of all, the average homeowner can host solitary bees without expensive equipment, time-consuming maintenance, or stings.

The gentle blue-black Orchard Mason Bee (Osmia Lignaria) is a solitary bee native to most of the continental U.S. and was pollinating fruits and flowers here for eons before European colonists brought the honeybee with them to North America. A few hundred Orchard Mason bees can pollinate an acre of apple trees.

Orchard Mason bees are even less likely to sting than the honeybee*, as they have no colony to defend. Bees are attracted only to flowers -- not to sweet drinks or food -- and when you're working in your garden they'll peaceably just work along beside you. Even if your yard is small, you like to entertain outdoors, or you have young children, you can invite Orchard Mason bees and most other native wild bees into your backyard without fear. Lisa over at Dry Ideas has a great post about how to Make Your Own Solitary Bee House, or you can buy a bee shelter and bees at Knox Cellars. Check out the Knox bee shelters in particular -- they offer replaceable paper liners that bring yearly maintenance time requirements down to nearly zero. I'm ordering one of these today.

* The honeybee- lookalike yellowjacket is the likely culprit in most backyard "bee stings," as unlike bees, the aggressive yellowjacket is attracted to sweet drinks, food, and garbage. That's the honeybee on the left, yellowjacket on the right. Stings from actual honeybees are almost always the result of venturing too close to the colony/hive (which may make the bees think you're attacking the colony -- especially if you swat at the bees when they come to investigate), stepping on a bee, or getting one caught in your clothing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Asparagus: the movie

A new documentary explores the importance of asparagus in Oceana County, MI and how policy changes of the U.S. government's war on drugs caused unintended results that area threatening the community.

According to Media that Matters:

This is the story of one rural American community scrambling to keep its proud identity and source of survival against impossible odds. Asparagus! Stalking the American Life journeys to the heart of asparagus country to discover why one little vegetable matters so much.

The film has won awards at various film festivals and is now available on DVD with a portion of the proceeds going to help Oceana County farmers. You can also watch a trailer on the site.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Farmers' Markets May 17 - 23

My apologies for the delay of this post -- some sort of computer glitch between my computer and the server which I didn't discover until this morning!

Oxford Uptown

Saturday 7am - noon
Uptown Oxford

Spinach, heirloom lettuce, spring mix, arugula, radishes, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, sausage, eggs, apple cider, apple butter, honey, baked goods and whole-grain products, goat cheese, bedding plants

Findlay Market Farmshed & Grow West
Saturday 8am - 6pm
1801 Race St

Back Acres Farm: Eggs, beef, pork whole-hog sausage
Bauer Farm: cut flowers & container tulips
Kist Greenhouse: bedding plants, many of them already in bloom.
Margaret's Garden: herb plants, pansies, violas, perennials, rosebushes & cut flowers
Neltner's: hanging baskets and bedding plants, butterhead lettuce and the first green tomatoes of the season!
Northgate Greenhouse: bedding plants, hanging baskets, perennials and landscape plants
Shady Grove: lettuce mix, green garlic, arugula & cooking herbs. Full selection of field-ready tomato plants, including heirlooms and basil seedlings

Batesville Village Green

Saturday 8am - 11am
George & Main Sts
Batesville IN

Early lettuces, spinach, asparagus, rhubarb, eggs, tomato plant sets including several heirloom varieties, perennials, annuals, hanging baskets

West Chester
Opening Day!
Saturday 9am - 1pm
The Square at Union Centre

Asparagus, lettuces, eggs, meats, herbs, honey, jams, baked goods, bedding plants

Simon Kenton
Saturday 8:30am - 2:00pm
Simon Kenton High School
11132 Madison Pike

Tuesday 3 - 7pm
Wyoming Ave and Van Roberts Place

Back Acres Farm: eggs, grass-fed beef and whole hog sausage
Branstrator Farms: green and purple asparagus and berry jams
R.J. Veggies: lettuce, green onions, parsley, basil, sage, chives, coriander, chamomile, chickory, endive, hanging flower baskets, hanging cherry tomato baskets, and pepper, tomato, broccoli and cauliflower plants
That Guy's Family Farm: mesclun mix, lettuce mix, green garlic, fresh-baked boule bread and flowers.
Walnut Ridge Acres: micro mix, gourmet salad mix, fresh herbs, herb and vegetable plants, geraniums, petunias, fern baskets, sunflower shoots, radishes, onions
Also: honey, baked goods, soaps and salves, freshly-roasted coffee, granola.
Special Event: This week farmers will be bringing lettuces for taste sampling, along with homemade dressings to try. Recipes for the dressings will be available on the Wyoming Ave FM website Tuesday morning.

Sayler Park
Tuesday 4 - 7pm
Town Square Park
Parkland and Monitor Aves
Lettuces, mixed greens, radishes, spinach, heirloom tomato plants, perennials, bedding plants, potted Genovese Basil, maybe beets
Special Event: Carriage House Farm will bring a nucleus beehive for show-and-tell.

College Hill
Thursday 3 - 7pm
5742 Hamilton Ave

Boone County
Daily 9am - 6pm
Burlington Pike

Perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, bedding plants, hostas
Weekend only: beef, pork, fresh herbs, baked goods, jams, jellies

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fresh beef at GreenAcres

GreenAcres in Indian Hill will have fresh beef next week. Email Peggy to reserve.

Madison, WI local eating map

Four University of Wisconsin- Madison students have created a terrific tool for their area's local eaters -- this interactive map which shows the location of food producers, restaurants, farmers' markets, and other local eating resources. Great idea!

Looking Nearby for Food: 2nd edition

Welcome to the May edition of Looking Nearby for Food, the carnival of local eating.

Inspired by the farmers' markets. Recipes for using what you'll find now at your local markets:

LaLaine in California finds some beautiful basil and tomatoes at her local farmers' market and makes Angel Hair Pomodoro with Garlic Shrimp at thecookmobile.

Chef Erik in New Jersey is using up the last of his winter-season parsnips in Roasted Parsnip Fries posted at Chef Erik.

Nichole in Colorado Springs, CO rediscovers rhubarb with Almost good for you: Rhubarb and Apple Crisp at Bad Human! Don't take chemicals from strangers!

Eating locally without leaving home. Take local eating into your own backyard:

Andrea in Paris, France presents AeroGarden | Fresh Herbs posted at Kitchen Elixir, saying, "Using aeroponics is a great way to grow herbs in your kitchen ready to be used in cooking. There is nothing like having fresh herbs on hand to add flavour to a meal."

Jessica in Montana makes wine from a variety of back yard and garden plants in Homegrown Wine at Practical Nourishment.

Traveling Locavores.
Want to keep eating locally when you're out of town? Here are some suggestions:

Christine in France introduces us to the Open Air Market in Barcelona, Spain at Me, My Kid and Life: An American Single Mom Living in France.

Robert in San Juan Alicante, Spain recommends visitors to the area not miss the local chocolate in Chocolate for Chocoholics in Spain at alicante-spain.

Sheila in Texas tells how to find local produce on the road in Alabama in Good eats in Alabama posted at Perceptive Travel Blog.

Linda talks about finding local food while travelling in Eating Well On Your Budget Vacation posted at The Eclectic Female.

Tips for eating more locally and sustainably.

Lane in Southern California talks about choosing sustainable foods as well as local foods in Vegan Eating Trumps Eating Locally at Vegan Bits.

Lisa in Massachusetts talks about her novice steps in eating more locally in The 100 Mile Diet | Greener Pastures: Personal Finance at Greener Pastures: Personal Finance.

Alison in Colorado discusses eating locally as a part of living locally in Living local: what does it really mean? at Green Me.

Foraging your local ingredients. Venture out into the woods and roadsides for local foods.

maybelles mom
in Cleveland, Ohio talks about the Farmers' Cheese Crepes she made with wild garlic, ramps, and dandelion greens she found on a friend's wooded land in My Friend's Mountain at feeding maybelle.

Melanie in Cheshire, UK, is making Wild Blackberry Leaf Tea from foraged blackberry bramble leaves at Bean Sprouts.

Past posts can be found at: Looking Nearby for Food: A Carnival of Local Eating index page.

Submit your local eating blog article
by June 12th to appear in the next edition* of Looking Nearby for Food: A Carnival of Local Eating using our carnival submission form. All submissions should cover some aspect of the topic of eating more locally -- truly seasonal recipes (please submit these as close as possible to the correct season for the main ingredients), your area's unique local ingredients, the current offerings at your local farmers' markets, small farmers and growers in your area, reviews of restaurants in your area that focus on sourcing locally, foraging, growing your own vegetables, canning and preserving the harvest, and many other types of posts are welcome! And if it's not obvious from your blog, make sure to let us know where you are located.

* we hope the next edition will appear as scheduled on June 15th. Cincinnati Locavore is going on walkabout from June 6 - 28, and while we're taking our laptop with us we aren't sure how often we'll have internet access or whether we'll be able to access our email. So if June 15th comes and goes with no blog carnival, be patient! It will appear as soon as possible.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Central Ohio River Valley Eat Local Food Guide

The Central Ohio River Valley Local Foods Initiative (CORV) will release its 2008 Eat Local Food Guide featuring 63 local farms and 30 local farmers' markets this weekend. The guide will debut at Findlay Market on Saturday May 17th and Sunday May 18th and at the Enright Ridge Urban Eco Village Home and Garden Tour on Sunday the 18th.

According to CORV organizer (and CincinnatiLocavore contributing author) Susan Miller-Stigler:

Eating locally grown and produced food has so many benefits - our food dollars stay in our local economy, I get to know the person growing my food and be sure of the conditions in which it was raised. When I buy local food I support the health of the environment and of my family. This guide makes it easier to connect with local foodsources.

CORV is a grassroots effort to connect local community members with local farmers and fresh, healthy, local food here in the Greater Cincinnati area. In this age of fast food, factory farms and huge grocery stores that treat food as a mere commodity, CORV envisions a vibrant, ecologically friendly, sustainable local food economy that treats food as a gift of the land. The project had its start when individuals passionate about local foods connected at an event at Imago Earth Center. The project is funded by a grant from Community Friends Meeting (Cincinnati) and other sponsors. Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village is serving as the project's mentor.

Pick up a copy of the CORV 2008 Eat Local Guide at Findlay Market or Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village this weekend or request a copy from Susan Miller-Stigler. UPDATE: information in the guide is also available as a download in pdf format at the CORV website.

Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village 2nd Annual Home & Garden Tour May 18th

Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village in Price Hill is hosting a Home & Garden Tour this weekend. The eco-village, a project of Cincinnati urban conservation and earth education center Imago, is an attempt to build a sustainable community within the city and includes organic gardens. Here's a map and more information.

Time, Money, Recipes: Experience is the answer

For most of us, our first foray into local eating immediately reveals three problem issues: time, money, and finding appropriate recipes. For all three, experience provides the lion's share of the solution.

Time. No two ways about it, using local ingredients requires cooking from scratch, and cooking from scratch requires more time than using convenience foods. Time to shop for local ingredients from a variety of sources instead of simply picking up prepackaged items at the supermarket. Time to prep and cook. Time to clean up after prepping and cooking -- while a supermarket frozen lasagna requires only the cleanup needed to store the leftovers, a homemade lasagna can require cleaning up cutting boards, bowls, knives, a cheese grater, a pot for cooking the sauce, and the baking pan.

Time issues become less onerous as your experience increases and you learn to think ahead. For instance, if you're making a pot of lasagna sauce, why not triple the recipe and freeze the extra in two recipe-sized portions? And once you've found reliable sources of local ingredients and develop the habit of thinking ahead, your time spent shopping will decrease immensely. But even the most experienced shopper and cook will never be so efficient that scratch cooking equals the convenience of simply unwrapping a package and sticking it in the oven. If food is a priority for you and your family, experience will help but time will always be a required element.

Expense. Until you learn when food items are cheapest (hint: when an item is in season, there's a lot MORE of it available) and unless you're prepared to buy those foods cheap and store them for later, eating locally can seem more expensive than conventional supermarkets.

But once you learn you can buy fresh whole chickens for $2 a pound from late spring through early fall while the same chicken purchased frozen in winter is $3.50/pound, you can buy fresh all summer, stock your freezer late in autumn, and roast a chicken once a week year around. Using that chicken's bones to make stock each week will actually save you money as you no longer need to buy commercial chicken stock.

The same goes for produce -- the time to buy tomatoes is from mid-August through late September when farmers are practically giving them away. Spend a few hours canning (there's that time factor again) on a late summer day and you can put up enough tomatoes and tomato sauces to see you through next July when tomatoes once again appear in the farmers' markets in abundance. If you've got a lot more time than money, consider picking your own.

(A personal note on a related subject: I've found that paying the true cost of meat instead of the government-subsidized supermarket price has encouraged me to treat it more as just another ingredient rather than as the star of the meal, which is a much healthier way to eat.)

Recipes. Eating locally requires finding recipes whose main ingredients are either in season together in your local area (such as green garlic and asparagus, both of which are in season in spring here in SW Ohio) or are easily stored well into the next season (such as butternut squash, which will keep for several months and so can be paired with other autumn-ripening items and with late winter/early spring items.) But in an age when most people have lost the knowledge of what's in season when and most cookbooks ignore seasonality completely, such recipes can be few and far between. Instead, many recipes call for ingredients that are wildly out of season with one another in most areas of the country.

There's actually a lot of help out there at places like Seasonal Chef and River Cottage, and I've found a lot of help from vintage (pre-1940) cookbooks, but once again it's a matter of gaining the experience: as you build your collection of good seasonal recipes, you'll find it becomes easier to feed yourself using local foods.

Don't be daunted when you're first getting started. Plunge on in. Each step makes the next step easier, and each bit of new learning builds on the last. Visit a farmers' market. Buy what's there in abundance. Ask the farmer if he has any recipes -- many of them have a stack with them somewhere in their stalls. And be ready to learn to think of food seasonally, the way your great-grandmother did.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Review of Chalk Food+Wine at WineMeDineMe

WineMeDineMe has reviewed Chalk Food+Wine, which sources locally.

Oxford Uptown's new website

Oxford Farmers' Market Uptown has a new website with a lot of bells and whistles.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Farmers' Markets May 10 - 16

Oxford Uptown
Saturday 7am - noon
Uptown Oxford

Boulder Belt: asparagus, spring mix, baby lettuce, arugula, spinach, 2 kinds of kale, D'Avignon radishes, 5 kinds of lettuce, garlic, seeds, herb plants, popcorn, dried herbs, fresh cut herbs

Findlay Market Farmshed & Grow West

Saturday 8am - 6pm
1801 Race St

Kist Greenhouses: bedding plants
Northgate Greenhouses: bedding plants
Mockingbird Hill Farm: fresh cut flowers and bouquets
Charles Moore Farm: hostas and other plants
Maribel Farm: cut tulips
Shady Grove Farm: lettuce mix, Swiss chard, green garlic, fresh cut herbs including chervil, field-ready tomato plants and a limited number of basil seedlings
IMPACT Eco-Garden: micro-greens, early lettuces
Thistlehair Farm: spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, lettuce, parsley, green onions and honey
Back Acres Farm: eggs, meats
Lobenstein: bedding plants, hanging plants
Claddagh Farms: salsas, sauces, jams
Giant Spruce Mountain: container gardens, flowering shrubs

Simon Kenton
Saturday 8:30am - 2:00pm
Simon Kenton High School
11132 Madison Pike

Atwood Family Farm: herbs, bedding plants, salad greens
Ewbank Vegetables/Sweet Virginia’s: jam, baked goods
Nature's Harbor Farm: eggs, honey
Peluso’s Produce: hanging baskets, bedding plants
PepperBirdie Farm: bedding plants, herbs, sprouts, eggs

Tuesday 3 - 7pm
Wyoming Ave and Van Roberts Place

Back Acres Farm: eggs, grass-fed beef, whole hog sausage
Blackbird Pond: soaps, foot bath teas, and a new southernwood moth sachet for putting away winter clothes
Branstrator Farms: green and purple asparagus, jams, strawberry lemonade
Donna's Gourmet Cookies: cookies, brownies, iced flower cookies, granola and Taste from Belgium waffles
La Terza Coffee: whole bean and ground, locally roasted coffee in half-pound and 1-pound bags
R.J. Veggies: lettuce, green onions, parsley, basil, sage, chives, coriander, chamomile, chickory, endive, hanging flower baskets, hanging cherry tomato baskets, and pepper, tomato, broccoli and cauliflower plants
Sweet Miss Confections: biscotti, breads, cookies, candies
That Guy's Family Farm: mesclun mix, lettuce mix, green garlic, fresh-baked boule bread, tulips
Walnut Ridge Acres: micro mix, gourmet salad mix, fresh herbs, herb and vegetable plants, geraniums, petunias, fern baskets, arugula, sunflower shoots, radishes, onions

Sayler Park
Tuesday 4 - 7pm
Town Square Park
Parkland and Monitor Aves

Carriage House Farm: 4 types of lettuce including blackseeded simpson, spinach, easter egg and white icicle radishes, cut herbs, basil plants
Susan's Garden: heirloom tomato plants including brandywine and zebra-stripe
Theresa's: homemade granola
Delhi Historical Society: perennials and annuals
Helena Cooper: Swiss Onion Pies

Boone County
Daily 9am - 6pm
Burlington Pike

Perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, bedding plants, hostas
Weekend only: fresh herbs, baked goods, jams, jellies

Honeybees: 36% of commercial hives lost since last year

That's since last year. This is only the second year the Apiary Inspectors of America has measured losses from year to year, but even without long-term data this can't be good. Last year's losses were 32%. Most of the deaths both years were due to Colony Collapse Disorder.

From a report yesterday from the Associated Press:

"For two years in a row, we've sustained a substantial loss," [Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the association] said. "That's an astonishing number. Imagine if one out of every three cows, or one out of every three chickens, were dying. That would raise a lot of alarm."
Honeybees are crucial to crop and garden pollination.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How to shop at a farmers' market

Shopping at a farmers' market is not the same as shopping at a supermarket. You'll enjoy the experience more and get a lot more out of it -- more than you're expecting, perhaps -- if you keep a few things in mind.

Get in the zone. The farmers' market is not Kroger. Knowing how your food was raised and buying fresher, tastier, sustainably-raised food that supports your local farmers is balanced with some things you might at first see as disadvantages: it takes longer, some items might be more expensive (especially at certain times of year), and you can't always find exactly what you're looking for. But after a while, if you're in the right frame of mind, you'll see that these are actually advantages, too. When you spend more time shopping, you tend to get to know the farmer and the food better. When you pay a fair price for food, you tend to start eating in a way that is sustainable (and healthier.) When you don't find what you were looking for, you tend to broaden your food choices and discover new food items you may not have used before. Shopping the farmers' market is part of an entirely different way of looking at your food, one that allows you to become part of the process rather than simply being the end-consumer.

Show up early. Especially if you're looking for something early or late in its season, as many farmers will run out right away as early birds snap up the less abundant items. Plus lines are likely to be shorter and farmers will be able to spend more time with you talking about their offerings.

Or, come late. Often late in the day is a great time to get deals on stuff the farmers don't want to take home, especially anything more perishable or difficult to transport.

Be prepared to spend some time. This isn't a supermarket where you zip up and down the aisles throwing boxes and cans into your cart. Here, you can ask about the items. The grower or producer of the item knows more about it than you might imagine -- after all, if they're growing it, they're almost certainly eating it. And the people in front of you want to ask some questions, too, so try to be patient.

Accept the seasons. You won't find apples or tomatoes at the farmers' market in May, or asparagus in August. One of the joys of eating locally is that the start of each item's new season is a cause for celebration. In May at the farmers' market, that gorgeous bunch of asparagus was probably in the ground a few miles away last night or maybe even this morning. During asparagus season you can have asparagus every night for a week and not get tired of it because you know you aren't going to see fresh local asparagus again until next year. Come September, an apple that was picked yesterday will spoil you forever for what you can find at the supermarket in June. You may just decide that picked-yesterday-ten-miles-from-here apple is worth waiting for.

Be flexible. If the spinach is all gone, consider kale or chard, which can often be used interchangeably in recipes. No Granny Smiths? Ask the farmer which of his varieties will make a Granny Smith eater happy.

Try something new. At a farmers' market, you'll often see things you'd never see at the supermarket. Pea shoots, garlic scapes, squash blossoms, green garlic, chive blossoms, sorrel -- for the most part these are too perishable or too difficult to transport to show up anywhere but at a farmers' market. Pick up a bunch and ask the farmer, "How do you use this?" He'll be happy to tell you how he likes to prepare it, and he may even have a recipe copied off.

Don't expect perfect beauty. The blemish-free produce at the supermarket was raised in a monoculture, sprayed to kill every possible threat whether present or not, chemically fertilized to encourage growth, and the variety was chosen for beauty and ease of transport, not taste. At the farmers' market you'll find varieties the farmer chose because they grow well in his particular conditions and he thinks they taste good. Most don't spray, or spray only when disease or insects are actually present. Most fertilize only with compost, not with chemicals. The end product doesn't always look exactly like the perfect produce you'll find at the supermarket, but it tastes better and is fresher, better for you, and better for the environment. There's a beauty in that imperfection.

Ask questions. Where is your farm located? Do you grow or raise what you are selling? (If you don't feel comfortable asking a farmer this, ask the market manager whether there are rules about this for farmers at their market -- there often are.) What are your growing methods? Can people visit your farm? Why did you choose to grow a particular variety? What's good today? Do you have any cooking tips? Do you know if anyone else here today might still have some radishes? Will you have tomatoes next week?

Develop relationships. If you visit a market regularly, you'll see the same farmers over and over. Some of them will be happy to save things for you next week if you've become a regular and they know you'll show up. Some farmers change their planting plans in response to requests from regular customers -- one farmer I know has developed a specialty in Japanese vegetables because he's developed relationships with several transplanted families. If you'd love to be able to find a certain item at the farmers' market, tell a farmer! You'll be much more likely to see it in his stall next year if you've developed a relationship with him this year.

Be prepared to pay the true cost of producing your food. It's not a garage sale, where you can expect to pick up stuff cheaper than at retail. Most farmers at farmers' markets are not producing on a large scale. They're not receiving subsidies on their products to help lower the price. They're operating small diversified farms, which is better for the environment. They are trying to do the right thing, but they still need to make a living. You can help by being willing to pay a little more for your food, especially early or late in the season. It tends to balance out in high season for produce. In August and September when everyone has tomatoes coming out their ears, you can buy tomatoes cheap. In late June, not so much. But for certain items -- mostly animal products -- you'll almost always pay a little more at a farmers' market. That's because raising animals on pasture without subsidized grain and water costs more than conventional CAFO'd meat, dairy, and egg operations. Learning the true cost of meat has encouraged my family to treat it as an ingredient rather than as the ingredient in our meals. It's better for us and better for the environment.

Bring a friend. Know a foodie who doesn't shop at the farmers' market? Or maybe just someone who is always saying, "Wow, I really should check out the farmers' markets, too." Offer to take them with you. Last time I took a friend she bought so much food I ended up with a dinner invitation.

Become part of the process. When you shop at a supermarket, you're simply an eater. You have a very limited part in the process of bringing food to your table. When you shop at a farmers' market, you have an opportunity to become part of the process, but only if you take advantage of that opportunity. If you treat the farmers' market like Kroger, you'll probably be disappointed.

This post was featured at Vegetarian CarnivalCarnival of Improving LifeMake It From ScratchFestival of Frugality, Homesteading Carnival and Carnival of Tips.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fresh chicken at GreenAcres Friday

GreenAcres in Indian Hill, which raises pastured chickens, turkeys, and beef, will have fresh chicken arriving Friday, May 9th. Whole roasters are $3.25/lb, cut-up whole chickens $3.50/lb. Email Peggy or call her at 513 891 4227 to have some put aside for you.

Harmony Hill Vineyards announces their summer entertainment lineup

Harmony Hill Vineyards out in Bethel has announced their entertainment lineup for the summer. You can sit on their patio, listen to some acoustic music, and taste their estate-bottled wines made from grapes they grow themselves. Winegirl visited last summer (that's a photo from her blog) and wrote a review. She says, "Folks, Harmony Hill is FUN." And speaking from my own experience, I've tasted Bill and Patti's wines and they are worth the trip into the country.

Sierra Club video: The True Cost of Food

The Sierra Club is offering The True Cost of Food, a fun animated 15-minute video which can be downloaded from their website* that illustrates the true cost of our food -- what our food would cost if water & farm subsidies, health & environmental costs, and waste were accounted for in the price of our conventionally-produced meat and produce as compared to the cost of producing food sustainably. Definitely worth a viewing, especially for anyone who thinks local, organic food is expensive.

Their recommendations for decreasing the true cost of your food?

  • Eat more vegetables, fruit, and grains and less meat. Look for meat that is produced in the least harmful way—grass fed, organic, antibiotic- and hormone-free.
  • Buy organic whenever you can.
  • Buy from small, local sources whenever you can.

They also offer a discussion guide and further suggestions for decreasing the true cost of your food.

The video would work well for use with kids (maybe eight and up) and would probably work in classrooms.

*The site offers three options for downloading the video, or you can order a copy. If you download it, the high-resolution version is worth the time it takes to download, but plan to start the download, then come back later to view it, as for me the sound didn't show up until I'd completely downloaded the video.

Monday, May 5, 2008

May's Lick Asparagus Festival May 17th

The 12th annual May's Lick Asparagus Festival will be held May 17th 10am - 6pm, rain or shine, in May's Lick KY which is ten miles south of Maysville and about an hour from Cincinnati.

Purchase fresh locally-grown asparagus, plants & crowns all day or until sold out. Visit an asparagus farm in downtown May's Lick to see asparagus growing in the field and learn to plant & harvest. Try everything asparagus from soup to dessert made with all locally-grown asparagus.

Plus: Trolley Rides & Hay Rides, Asparagus Hall of Fame, Asparagus Art Show, 5K Run for the Green, Tractor Show, Parade, Entertainment, Art & Crafts.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

NuVo: Polly says give it a visit now

Polly Campbell says she's visited Florence's NuVo, which sources ingredients locally as much as possible, and her review will appear in the Enquirer shortly.

Her advice?

All I'm going to say is--check out NuVo in Florence. My review won't appear for awhile, but since you're a loyal blog reader, I'm just going to let you in on that.

My guess is there's a rave in store and reservations at the restaurant may be harder to come by after the review appears.