Friday, October 31, 2008

Local Eating, Delicious Eating

The Sierra Club's monthly meeting will feature Kristin Secaur speaking on "Local Eating, Delicious Eating." She'll cover the reasons local eating is important to your health and to the environment, how to find local food in the Cincinnati area all year round, and offer resources and meal ideas.   Monday Nov 3rd,  7 - 9pm at the Cincinnati State Workforce Development Center (10100 Reading Road, between Glendale-Milford Rd and Sharon Rd, enter from parking lot at rear of building.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blue Oven Bakery Winter Availability

Blue Oven Bakery will be at Tino Vino (3665 Erie Ave) Thursdays 4 - 7pm starting November 6th.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vines, Wines & Farms October 25

Several local wineries will be offering tastings at Southern Ohio Farmland Preservations Association's Vines,Wines and Farms: A Toast to Farmland Preservation event Saturday, October 25 11:00am - 4:00pm on Courthouse Square in Georgetown, OH.

Entry is $10.00 per adult and includes a souvenir glass and 7 tasting tickets, with additional tasting tickets available for purchase. Featured local wineries include Harmony Hill Vineyards (Bethel), Henke Winery (Cincinnati), Kinkead Ridge Vineyard and Estate Winery (Ripley), Lakeside Vineyard and Winery (Felicity), Meranda-Nixon Vineyard and Winery (Ripley), Renascent Vineyards (Georgetown) and Woodstone Creek (Cincinnati). Live music by Ely Beyer (bagpipes) and Ben Pedigo (bluegrass.) There will also be a silent auction with proceeds to benefit Southern Ohio Farmland Preservation Association.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Canning Report 2008

I finally finished up my canning for this year (unless over the next few weeks at market something grabs me or I find some late tomatoes) and my final tally is:

Chili Sauce 7 half-pints
Chile-Garlic Sauce 1 quart
Dandelion Capers 2 half-pints
Dilled Green Tomatoes 8 pints
Ketchup 5 pints
Linda Lou's Sweet Pickle Chunks 15 pints
Garlic Mustard Dill Relish 6 pints
Peaches 18 quarts
Pepper-Vinegar Onions 4 pints
Pickled Beets 6 quarts
Pickled Cherry Tomatoes 5 pints
Pickled Hot Banana Peppers 4 4-oz jars
Pickled Sweet Peppers 13 half-pints
Plum Jam 8 half-pints
Stewed Tomatoes 10 quarts
Strawberry Preserves 9 half-pints
Tomatillo Salsa 9 half-pints
Tomato Salsa 13 pints
Tomato Sauce 19 quarts + 9 pints

I had been hoping to get nearly twice as much tomato sauce put up; what I ended up with is probably enough for four months, which means along about April we'll be back to buying tomato sauce to make spaghetti sauce with. I processed maybe two bushels of tomatoes into sauce, another one and a half bushels into salsa, ketchup, and stewed tomatoes. So next year, I guess I'm going to need to aim for 5 1/2 bushels. Aiieee. I'm going to need a heavier-duty food mill.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Last week was the final pick-up for my CSA’s summer season. It’s always (I admit) something of a bittersweet time. It’s usually a bit of pressure, once school and all the fall activities start, to find the time to fully embrace the farm experience. And by that, I mean putting in the hours on the farm and putting all those vegetables to good use on the dinner table. (I love to cook from scratch, I love to eat what I cook from scratch, but, let’s face it, it’s a time killer!) I freeze whatever takes minimal processing at this time of year - tomatoes, soybeans, greens, pesto. I have yet to make the foray into canning – though next year is my year. I’m sure of it. Really.

Anyway. Many of the vegetables in my share at this time of year keep for a good while. As I sit here, I’m looking at two Amish pie pumpkins, one very nice-sized musquee de Provence squash (that's the pretty squash pictured above!), a pink banana squash, and three spaghetti squash of a variety known as Hasta la Pasta (just love saying that). I can enjoy those in the weeks, and months, to come. Turnips and sweet potatoes will stick around. So, there’s more to look forward to.

And yet, at last week’s distribution, I found myself lingering. Buying extra. Chatting. One of my fellow sharers remarked how much will have changed when next season starts up in May, 2009. So true. I am a simple person. I can tell when I need to turn off the radio and put down the newspaper. Stop trying to make sense of it all. And head to my kitchen – where things do make sense to me. Not to get too esoteric, but it feeds my soul to create something in the kitchen that looks good, tastes good, and IS good for me. For me, it’s an antidote to the craziness of our 21st century lives. Like I said, I’m simple.

So this year seems like a good year to join the Winter CSA at Turner Farm (it’s a smaller, informal, relaxed version of the summer CSA with mostly greens and root veggies). I have a feeling I’m going to need that regular connection to the good kind of dirt and what grows out of it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Northside Farmers' Market Announces Fall Markets

Northside Farmers' Market, which is scheduled to stop at the end of October at their Hamilton & Lingo location, will continue through November and December at the Village Green, 1415 Knowlton Street. Hours are the same: Wednesdays 4:00 - 7:30pm.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Woodstone Creek Now Available at the Distillery

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has created a new liquor permit, A-3a, which will allow microdistilleries to sell small batch spirits from their own premises.

The very first such permit has been issued to Woodstone Creek. Owners Don and Linda Outterson have been busting their butts for this change, which is a crucial step in allowing small spirits producers to compete with established (and hard-lobbying) liquor distributorships in Ohio’s liquor control system. Since 1933 Ohio's liquor control laws have required all liquor to be distributed through state outlets which buy from a small handful of entrenched distributors.

The new permit allows a distiller to sell his own products with strict (and as usual for Ohio liquor laws, arcane and protectionist) limitations. A single A-3a permit can be issued in any county with a population of more than 400,000 -- essentially limiting the entire state to three permits: one each for Hamilton, Franklin, and Cuyahoga counties. Woodstone Creek may sell two bottles of full-proof spirit to any single customer on any single day at state-regulated prices.

According to the Outtersons, the new licensing is not all they proposed, but it's a step in the right direction. They credit State Senator Bill Seitz for getting behind them early this year and providing crucial leadership in Columbus to finally get this project, which they've been working on for four years, off the ground.

From their press release:
Much remains to be done for artisan spirits to progress in Ohio. Currently, one other micro license has been issued in Clinton County, but this start-up will not be eligible for the self-sales permit under the recent change. Many other states have evolved with the growth of the microdistilling industry. Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky have already enacted more liberal changes. Nationwide, microdistillation is the newest growth segment in alco-tourism, which began with wineries and microbreweries. In 2004, the newly formed American Distiller’s Institute listed 50 microdistilleries. In 2008, the list had expanded to 220, with a concentration in California and Oregon, which have the most progessive alcoholic-beverage control laws.
Congratulate the Outtersons by stopping by the shop at 3641 Newton Avenue (off Dana between the Victory Parkway and Montgomery Rd) in Evanston, Saturdays 1 - 5, to buy a bottle or two. For more information call 513.569.0300 or email them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ground Beef 10 pounds/$30 at Green Acres

For a limited time (while supplies last) Green Acres in Indian Hill is offering their excellent 100% pastured ground beef at $3/pound for 10 pounds or more. For more information, contact Peggy at 513.891.4227, or email her.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Support of Child Labor

Kids on the farm. Communing with nature. Connecting with the source of their food. Frolicking with lambs, piglets, and chicks that may someday grace their dinner table.

Okay, not in my world. We fall somewhat short of that idyllic picture. I have to admit that I prefer to be by myself when I head to the farm. It’s wrong, I know. Part of the reason I’ve stayed a CSA member so long is in pursuit of that description above. But, man, is it more relaxing when I’m solo!

I had such good intentions on one particular ill-fated outing to the farm with all three of my kids. We have work days on one Saturday a month at Turner Farm. It’s a good time to make up hours and work on bigger tasks with other sharers. Usually, there’s a good job for kids. Well, this work day, it was a nice cool morning and the kid-friendly task was harvesting potatoes. The farm has a horse-drawn cultivator that brings the potatoes to the surface and it’s an easy, if not dusty, job to collect the potatoes just sitting there in the upturned soil. Great job for little hands.

Or so I heard. We didn’t quite make it to that first potato harvest. We (myself and my three, five, and seven-year-old kids) went to the second potato harvest. Happened to be on the hottest, most humid night of last summer. And, in a serious lapse of judgment, I did not bring a drop of water. The potato field is, of course, one of the farthest fields from the produce shed and the water faucet. Within seconds of stepping out of the air-conditioned van, we were covered with sweat. Within minutes, we were covered with mud, as the dust from the fields settled on us. The whining commenced. And continued for the entire time we were in that field. Other sharers harvesting potatoes gradually moved further and further away from me and my mud-streaked pack. I cajoled, encouraged, threatened, bribed. And eventually gave up. When we returned home, looking like a family of migrant farm workers, my husband had an ‘I told you so’ look about him, but wisely kept quiet. So much for that vision of my kids enjoying the productive and meaningful task of harvesting their own food. Did I mention I tend to be a romantic?

We’re making progress, though. My daughter attended a day-camp at Turner Farm this summer and loved it, even though she worked hard feeding animals, planting, harvesting. (By the way, I think it’s a brilliant move on the farm’s part to have us pay to have our kids work for them. I’m all for it!) The older they get and the more exposure they get to the produce, to being on the farm - it’s all good. The fact that my son actually asks for okra (okay, fried okra, but still!) brings a smile to my face. I just need to adjust my expectations and appreciate that any exposure to good food, soil, and fresh air is beneficial.

Shocking News from the USDA: Farmers' Markets on the Increase

The USDA (rather belatedly) began tracking farmers' markets in 1994. Although they're still not very good at it (a check of their database shows exactly THREE in Cincinnati which of course in reality hosts dozens every week) even with their limited knowledge of and connection with actual farmers (!) they're seeing significant growth in number of farmers' markets over the years.