Friday, February 27, 2009

Cincinnati's Urban Gardening Program Launches

The City of Cincinnati is offering an urban gardening pilot program to transition vacant, city-owned parcels of land into food production areas. For 2009 approximately 15 parcels of land in 11 neighborhoods have been identified that can be rented out.

If you're interested in participating, there will be a public information meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall (3rd Floor, 801 Plum Street, 45202) on March 9 from 5pm-6:30pm.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wine Pairings Event in Louisville

Louisville's 610 Magnolia, which sources locally throughout the area, is offering a wine pairings event featuring James Beard Award-winning Chef Celina Tio and The Wine Advocate’s David Schildknecht.

This event will feature a champagne tasting paired with canapés from the 610 Magnolia kitchen followed by a 5-course wine dinner Wednesday, March 25th.  $120 per person.  Reservations are required.  RSVP to Chuck Korson at 502. 636.0783.  For more information, visit the restaurant's website.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And another thing Greater Cincinnati needs: a Community Cannery

Here's another great idea: Schoharie County (in upstate New York) with help from the Cornell Co-operative Extension is in the planning phase of developing the Schoharie Co-op Cannery, which will be available for growers of all sizes (from backyard gardeners to local farmers) to process their produce in a commercially-licensed kitchen. There used to be such canneries all over the country; the growth of industrial food closed them as many people decided it wasn't worth the bother to can one's own green beans when commercially canned beans were cheap at the supermarket. Now that many of us are reweighing the amount of bother vs. eating organic, sustainably-grown food, the canneries are long gone.

We actually have something a bit like this available to us now: up in Lebanon, Jelly Lady Sonya has a custom-built canning kitchen which can be rented out when she isn't using it. (She also gives classes in beginning to advanced canning.) The biggest problem with using Sonya's kitchen is that during the height of the harvest season, she's using it every day from 6am until midnight.

What we need is something along the same idea as Sonya's kitchen but centrally located and available for use by the community year-round. We need a Community Canning Co-op.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ohio, Kentucky Losing Farms

The 2007 US Agricultural Census, released this week, reported that Ohio and Kentucky lost farms between 2002 and 2007.

The legend isn't easy to read in this graph, but the cream and yellow states all lost farms. The lighter the coloration, the more farms lost. States colored light to dark green gained farms, with the darkest green areas gaining the most farms. So while there's good news for the country as a whole (39 states saw numbers of farms increase) and particularly for New England, for our area the news isn't so great:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here's What Greater Cincinnati Needs

Here's a great idea: the Lost Arts Kitchen in Portland OR offers classes in traditional food arts. The woman who runs the kitchen says that with planning and training, families can eat locally, organically and ethically without breaking the budget or overwhelming the family schedule.  A similar effort in Virginia, dubbed Home Skills University by its organizer, runs free classes in everything from breadmaking to meadbrewing. 

There are many cooking schools here in town, with classes teaching everything from complete dinner-party menus to specific culinary techniques.  But who's teaching us to pickle, can, ferment, make cheese -- all the processes our great-grandparents used to store foods safely?  Parents stopped teaching these things to their children decades ago when "Better Living Through Chemistry" wasn't intended as sarcastic commentary.   We've gone from using convenience foods as a supplemental resource to being completely dependent upon them.  Canning is the most basic, easy, fast, and inexpensive way to preserve the harvest, and yet many under-30s have never canned anything or even seen anything canned.  Heck, many under-50s haven't.  And lactofermentation?  Most people, even many foodies, don't have any idea what it even means much less how to accomplish it.   

We need our own Lost Arts Kitchen.  I can teach canning, both water bath and pressure.  What can you teach?  (If someone can teach me to make a loaf of bread that will rise in the oven, I'll be eternally grateful.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

LocavoraCinciPalooza at Mercantile Library

As part of their Hearth & Home series, the Mercantile Library (414 Walnut Street, Cincinnati 45202) is offering LocavoraCinciPalooza, a panel discussion on local food. Mary Stagaman, founder and board chair for The Corporation for Findlay Market, will moderate a panel including Chef Jono Fries of Boca Restaurant Group, “Cincinnati Magazine” food writer Donna Covrett, Turner Farms Garden Manager Melinda O’Briant, writer for Robert Parker’s “Wine Advocate” David Schildknecht, and yours truly. Mon, Mar 23rd at 6:30 PM in the Merc's Reading Room. $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers. For more information, call the Merc at 513.621.0717.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lamb at GreenAcres Monday

GreenAcres will have fresh lamb on Monday; call or email Peggy at 513 891 4227 to place an order.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nose-to-Tail Dinner at JeanRo Bistro

JeanRo Bistro (413 Vine St. 45202) is offering a Nose-to-Tail dinner (an idea popularized by Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail Eating) Monday February 23rd at 7pm.

The 8-course prix fixe menu offers an opportunity for the adventurous eater to try some dishes that don't often appear on local menus:

Veal Sweet Bread Torchon
Sauce Gribiche, Celery Leaf Salad

Lamb Heart
Roasted Golden Beets, Apple Quince Puree, Lovage Herb Salad

Corned beef hash of Corned Beef Tongue
Pommes Lyonnais, Red Wine Poached Egg, Bordelaise

Brined and Roasted Pork Belly
Spiced Oat Meal, Henderson Compote, Rioja Reduction

Fennel Sorbet

Lamb Brain Ravioli
Sage & Parmesan Butter, Lemon Zest

Hay Scented Ham
Bacon Broth Roasted Enoki Mushrooms, Baby Carrots, Scallions, Crispy Pigs Ear

24 Hour Braised Beef Short Rib
Sautéed Bone Marrow, Wheat Berry Risotto, Parsley Salad

Smoked Honey Gelato
Spice Cake Foie Gras Cotton Candy

8 courses for $80, with wine pairings $120. For reservations, call 513.621.1465

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More CSAs

If you haven't yet joined a 2009 CSA, here's an update to our earlier post.

Farm Beach Bethel
May through mid-October
Pickup: Hyde Park Farmers' Markets (Sun 10 - 2)
Work and no-work shares available
Home delivery option available

Fox Run Farm
May - September
Pickup at farm and locations in Northern Kentucky and Hamilton Co, OH
Home delivery option available
Email for more information

Mudfoot Farm
May 15th - Oct 30th
Pickup: Northside and other Farmers' Markets
Extended season shares available
Email for more information.

Monday, February 9, 2009

City Cellars Wine Dinner featuring Just Cured

Michael Brown of Just Cured will be the featured chef at City Cellars' (908 Race St, 45202) next Wine Dinner on Friday, February 27th from 7 - 10pm.

Michael's menu for the evening:

  • Roasted beet and goat cheese salad
  • Risotto with asparagus and asparagus puree
  • Just Cured half smoked salmon cooked sous vide, wild mushroom and cabbage sauté, pinot noir butter sauce
  • Milk chocolate pretzel tart
(A vegetarian substitute will be available for the salmon course; be sure to advise City Cellars when making your reservation.)

Price per person is $35; wine and beer can be purchased from City Cellars at retail prices. For more information or to make reservations, call 513.621.9463.

Slow Food Cincinnati's Sugaring Tour & Maple Syrup Tasting

Slow Food Cincinnati is offering a tour and tasting of Clough Valley Sweets' (5531 Clough Pike, 45244) maple sugaring operation the afternoon of February 28th. The tour will start at 3pm (exact and is free, but space is limited and you do need to reserve your spot.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fresh Beef at Green Acres Next Week

Greenacres (8255 Spooky Hollow Rd, 45242) will have fresh pastured beef next week. To place an order email Peggy, and she'll notify you when she has an exact pickup date.

They also have frozen items: turkeys at $2/lb while they last, soup hens at $1.99/lb, ground beef ($30/10lb), sirloin tip roast ($8.99/lb) and rump roast ($7.99/lb.)

Lamb will be available later this month.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Maple Syrup Making at Cincinnati Nature Center

Cincinnati Nature Center is offering interactive Maple Syrup Making sessions February 14th, 21st and 28th at Rowe Woods (4949 Tealtown Rd. in Milford, 45150.) Drop by any time between 9am and 4pm to watch the process of making maple syrup from sap. Sap collecting maple hikes start at the Sugar House at 10am, 11am, 1pm, and 2pm. CNC members free, nonmembers pay daily admission.

They're also offering a class class called Backyard Maple Sugaring: A Hands-on, How-to Workshop from 2 - 4pm February 14th at at Rowe Woods for those who would like to learn how to sugar from their own trees. The class will cover small scale maple syrup making including selecting trees, tapping, sap collecting, sap storage, boiling and canning. Spiles (tree taps) are available for purchase. $5 members, $8 nonmembers. To register, visit their website.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System

Raj Patel will speak about his book, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System in a free-to-the-public lecture at Hall Auditorium on Miami University's campus in Oxford, Tuesday Feb 10th at 7pm.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Maple Syrup Festivals

There are multiple maple syrup festivals in the area in the next few weeks.  Here are a few:

Hueston Woods Maple Syrup Festival
College Corner, OH 45003
March 7th, 8th, 14th & 15th
Admission: $5 kids, $6 adults
Pancake breakfast, demonstrations, sugar bush tours.

18th Annual Indiana Maple Syrup Festival
Salem, IN 47167
Feb 28th & March 1st, 7th & 8th
Admission: free
Pancake & waffle breakfast, sugarbush tours, demonstrations, live music.

National Maple Syrup Festival
Medora, IN 47260
March 7th, 8th, 14th & 15th
Admission: $4 kids, $8 adults
Live music, demonstrations, maple syrup bake-off, maple syrup taste-off, pancake breakfast.  We're not sure what makes this festival the "National" maple syrup festival and suspect many Vermonters would be surprised to learn it's in Indiana.  Perhaps it's just a marketing breakthrough, but if so they get points for pure hubris! 

If anyone knows of other local(ish) maple syrup festivals, let me know and I'll post them!