Posts Tagged ‘farmers’ markets’

Where do you, the eater, want your food to come from?

December 11, 2009

I think the question is: where do you the eater want your food to come from? A farm or a factory?

If the answer is farm, put down your fork and ask this question aloud:

Where did my food come from?

Then, go to an urban farm, community garden, working farm, or farmers’ market and ask the growers the following:

How do I either grow the food that I eat or how can I help you grow the food that we eat?

This is the beginning. This is the beginning of the food justice movement started by the people. The people that eat and grow the food. Join together and stop shopping, stop eating factory food, and start farming together. Start growing our food. Find out who your community organizers are and then help them get better organized. Demand farmers’ markets in every neighborhood. Ask for what you and your community need. Not tomorrow but today. Start fighting and fight hard and don’t stop until everyone, and I mean everyone is given, or has asked for, or demanded the freshest, healthiest local food that our bodies, all of our bodies, and minds, and spirits deserve and need in order to function and survive and thrive.

This is where the movement begins . The movement begins with the people. With our people. With us.

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Canning Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

June 30, 2009

I’ve been wanting to do some canning since at least last year. For some reason, I never got around to it. I think in part because I felt a little intimidated by the whole process. Putting food by doesn’t seem like the best thing to jump into as a novice. There are so many steps and to be honest sterilizing glass jars sounds like a daunting task to me. Luckily this year, I’m getting started early in the season and have a couple of friends who were willing to lend a hand in teaching me how the make strawberry & rhubarb jam last Friday night.

First, I went out to pick up a dozen Ball jars from my local hardware store in Brooklyn. I was able to get about a dozen pint sized jars for around $12.00. The pint jars are a good size but the hardware store also carries quart size and freezer ready jars as well. 

Ball Jars

The best way, in my opinion, to figure out what to can is to stop by your local farmers market and shop for whatever fruit and vegetables are in season. In this case, it was strawberries and rhubarb. Yes, the rhubarb is green and looks a little more like celery. 
Strawberries & Rhubarb

Pectin is another necessary ingredient when making jam. Brooklyn Kitchen carries it and sells it for $4.99/per box. Helpful instructions come with the box, so make sure to refer to them and follow them closely when trying this at home.

Pectin

While we were bringing the pot of strawberries to a boil with sugar, pectin, and calcium water, a few empty Ball jars and lids were boiling in a pot nearby. 

Strawberries

Then, it was time to can. The trickiest part was removing the extremely hot glass jars out of the boiling water with a pair of tongs, but somehow we managed to do it and ended up with at least 6 jars of strawberry jam and 6 jars of rhubarb jam.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

For more information on canning and a great article “Preserving Time In a Bottle (Or a Jar)” by Julia Moskin, check out The New York Times.

Last Saturday at Brooklyn Borough Hall

January 27, 2009

Last Saturday, I decided to head down to the Greenmarket at Brooklyn Borough Hall. With only three stands open, my trip was relatively short and made even shorter by the below freezing temperature and biting wind. First, I stopped at Bread Alone because I was in dire need of their nutty granola mix only to find out that an early-to-rise shopper had bought out all of their granola first thing that morning. 

I then headed over to Not Just Rugelach where I picked up some of their granola instead. Not Just Rugelach is at Borough Hall both Tuesdays and Saturdays and offers a wide array of savory and sweet baked goods. Highlights from the savory side included: Foccacia (available with three different toppings: tomato, tomato with garlic, and onion), knishes (potato, spinach with feta and dill, and sweet potato), quiche, pot pies, brioche, whole wheat, seven grain, rye, and challah bread. If you’re in the mood for dessert, there were: brownies, danish, old fashioned pound cake, carrot cake, pies, muffins, scones, cookies and donuts. In addition to the granola I had picked out, I also settled on a zucchini cake and an apple cider donut – which seems to be a standard farmer’s market offering.

I found the best offerings of the day at Wilklow Orchards, a family farm located in the Hudson Valley. The ample selection of apples included over one dozen varieties: Winesap, Empire, Jona Gold, Mutsu, Cameo, Macoun, Candy Crisp, Red Delicious, MacIntosh, Fuji, Golden Delicious, Rome and Honey Crisp. Wilklow also offered a nice array of baked goods: banana bread, pies, cream cheese poundcake, donuts, and muffins. Since I was already covered in the baked goods department, I picked up an acorn squash (the only vegetable/gourd I saw that day), apple cider, tenderloin, and bacon. Wilkow’s free range beef and pork menus are shown below and if you eat meat – they offer something for everyone.

 

Wilklow's Free Range Beef

Wilklow's Free Range Beef

Wilklow's Free Range Pork

Wilklow's Free Range Pork

I will report back on how the tenderloin turned out and think I will roast the squash and either make a soup or risotto with it. Which reminds me, I also decided to pick up a few apples in case I go with the soup.

Urban Folks

January 26, 2009

Wendell Berry’s article “New Year’s Revolutions: What city people can do.” featured in Edible Brooklyn’s winter 2008 issue (which I just dug out of my stack of articles to read) sets up thought provoking questions for the urban eater and then challenges us to move into a more active role in the process of eating. Are we merely consumers blindly feeding on what the food industry serves us? As city folk, why should we care to know where are food comes from? Have we lost the sense of connectedness to community and land? Since we do live in an urban landscape, is it realistic for us to then make the connections between farm to table? 

My response to Berry’s article (which you can find at www.ediblebrooklyn.net if you missed the issue) would be first to explore the year round farmer’s markets found in your neighborhood. For starters, there are four Greenmarkets operating year round in Brooklyn: 

Greenpoint – McCarren Park – Open Saturdays 8-3

Fort Greene Park – Open Saturdays 8-5

Brooklyn Borough Hall – Open Tuesdays & Saturdays 8-6

Grand Army Plaza – Open Saturdays 8-4

Check out the official Greenmarket website to download their locations map and schedule which includes information on Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Staten island. I know that it is the dead of winter and dreadfully cold outside, but I challenge you to get out there and find out what’s at your local farmer’s market. You might be surprised, and you might even enjoy yourself.

Tennessee Tendencies

September 9, 2008

 

Red Hook Community Farm

Red Hook Community Farm

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I was interested in embarking on a composting journey of sorts. Well, let me tell you, it has begun and composting at home is fun. Two weeks ago, I picked up a two and a half gallon composting bucket at the Red Hook Community farm. The suggested donation for a bucket of that size is a mere $4.00. They do offer a larger size bucket for a suggested donation of $7.00. Since it is just Jonathan and me, I thought the two and a half gallon bucket would suffice.

Transporting my bucket home that day on my bike required just a little bit of improvisation. I thought riding home with the bucket on the bike handle seemed like a likely enough solution, but then the lid fell off and I had to stop mid traffic and pick it up. Then, I decided to stop at the ball fields for lunch and thought it wise to lock up my composting bucket to my bike. Not sure why anyone would want to take such a thing, but then again, I didn’t want to lose that deposit!

my compost bucket

my compost bucket

 

Once home, I thought about the best possible location for the bucket. Turns out, right outside my back door is the most convenient spot. I just open my back door and there it is. I am lucky enough to have the benefit of an outdoor space in Brooklyn so I think it goes without saying that having an outdoor space to keep your compost bucket makes the most sense.

When I told my friends that I was composting at home, most of them replied first with a look of horror which was then followed by “Ooo, isn’t that going to smell.” Well, luckily it doesn’t really smell that bad and it really only smells when I open the lid. What was fun about composting for the first few weeks was figuring out what I could reserve for the bucket while cooking dinner and then feeling a certain amount of accomplishment when I threw in egg shells, corn husks, coffee grounds, and the discarded and unwanted greens.

Biking back to the farm proved more of a challenge. Balancing a full bucket on my bike handle was a somewhat terrifying experience, but luckily this time the lid stayed on the whole time. Once I arrived at the farm, I took my bucket to the composting area, and with a little help figured out what to. I added my bucket’s contents to the open tumbler and then added double the amount of sawdust, closed up the tumbler, and proceed to turn the tumbler a few times. I rinsed out my bucket and brought it home to start the process again. Composting is cause for pausing to think about what I am throwing in the trash and really taking a look at what can go back into the earth. While biking my compost to and fro might not be the best idea, so far so good, and I’m looking to returning to the farm this Saturday.

If you are interested in composting and live in or near Red Hook, Brooklyn, you can visit the Red Hook Community Farm to learn more. The farm is open for volunteers who want to help out on Saturdays. Just show up and I’m sure there will be weeding, composting, and not to mention shopping at the farmer’s market.

For more on home composting, why not check it out at www.grist.org and www.howtocompost.org.

A little something to inspire you to start composting is this quote of the week featured on thegreenhorns.wordpress.com:

“Composting is a lot like sex. It’s a healthy, natural process involving fertility, tumbling around, and– when it’s going right–steaminess. On top of that, some people call it dirty.”

– A to Green: Tips, tricks, and resources for everyday eco-living