Green – Mean – Cuisine
Tag Archives: local food
The blog is back in effect & with an added feature – Instagram! You can follow us @greenmeancuisine.
Comalicious will have plenty of updates. So stay tuned for upcycling tips, street art, farmers markets and local Georgia food news and seasonal dishes. Now check out our first day’s pics on Instagram.
Cheers, to your health!
You can’t have a Farmers Market without the land & crops getting an adequate amount of rainfall. However, conducting a market while it rains can prove to be a real challenge. During yesterday’s East Atlanta Village Market a storm hit the east side of town…hard. Heavy rainfall started only seconds after I had received my SNAP & Wholesome Wave tokens. Baby in tow, I rushed underneath Little Tart Bakeshop’s tent, alongside one of the market’s musicians, a violin player wearing her tip jar cleverly strapped as a backpack. What happened next can only be described as an accelerated storm front whipping across us, with continuous heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds, ripping on all of the vendors tents. Every now and then sunshine peeked in the distance, toying with the hope of all market participants that this could end any second now.
Peek the pictures of the treacherous down-pour:
Istill managed to buy a few items; thankfully & due to the help of various folks, who scrambled to get me a feasible umbrella, kept my baby & I entertained, dry & save for a couple of hours at the market, plus of course the farmers who nourish our lives!
Furthermore, did you know that you can use the same tokens from East Atlanta’s market at Grant Park Farmers Market on Sundays? If you ever forget a few items & have left over tokens to spare, you don’t have to wait a whole week to make use of them.
I thought my experience at the market was yet again a real testament to community and how well people can work together and stand their ground. It is certainly something we need more of in today’s times.
How many of us judge a fast food joint by their fries/sides, religious affiliations a la Chik-Fil-A aside? McDonalds’s reigns over Burger Kings’ & Checkers trumps Wendy’s – facts people! The most memorable meals have all star players, consistent quality across, from the main course to a simple garnish. When the salad dressing gets equal amount of love then the roasted Turkey, life gets infinitely sweeter.
Three unsung kitchen table heroes that could use a lil love & attention are the creamer in your coffee/tea, soup & salad dressing. You don’t have to have a super fancy mixer, such as the Vitamix to make the following recipes but that machine simply has the power to get ‘er done right. To an average person income, there are many ways to afford this item. The company constantly runs promos at major outlet stores (COSCO or Whole Foods), healthy lifestyle expos (I got mine from the Atlanta Alive expo) and on their website. You can even install a payment plan. As with everything, it pays for itself over time depending on how much you use it.
As ode to Hempseed, one of my favorite most versatile ingredients that has amazing nutritional compounds, I’ve located a couple of recipes with the superfood at their center. Furthermore, Blueberries serve as a seasonal food inspiration for the soup. So contemplate and feast on these selected recipes, composed by fellow foodie nerds.
Creamer aka Vanilla Cacao Hemp Seed Milk
- 3 cups water
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean powder or 1 TB. vanilla extract
- Stevia (NuNaturals brand) to taste
- 1 to 2 TB. of raw Cacao or Carob powder
Blend until creamy! Add to beverage of your liking or drink by itself
Next up Soup: Raw Blueberry Apple Soup
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- Juice of 1-1/2 limes
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp agave nectar
- 1/4 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate
- 1/4 cup nonfat plain Atlanta Fresh Artisan CreameryGreek yogurt
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
and last but not least the dressing: Green Goddess Dressing with Hemp Hearts
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into large pieces
- 3/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 3/4 cup fresh dill
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp sucanat
- pinch of cayenne
- (makes 3 cups)
Place all ingredients in blender with cucumbers at the bottom and grind until smooth consistency is achieved!
Now, please follow the links for more detailed directions but feel free to tinker and switch out ingredient as you like. Experimenting is part of the fun!
Cheers & to your health!
When a chef tells me, he or she prefers ingredients via a particular farm, I don’t just ask why but also quickly be-line to that farm stand. Chef Angus just purchased a few vegetables from Crack in the Sidewalk Farmlet, when I encountered him at the East Atlanta Farmers Market. Angus, who’s previously incorporated local farm goods from Many Fold Farms at Miller Union, has come up with a deliciously distinct late night menu for Octopus Bar in East Atlanta Village. Who says your taste buds don’t need indulgence at 3am!
While browsing the vegetable selection at Crack in the Sidewalk’s stand, bags of small leaved, dark green salad mixes, topped with wood sorrel flowers catch my eye. My senses tell me this is what I want! The wild edible salad mix includes next to Wood Sorrel, Henbit, Dead-nettle alongside other Georgia native greens. The flavors are so potent and nutrient dense it can be used as a garnish, mixed in with cultivated lettuces or as an added spice to soups, terrains, simply let your creativity run wild – pun intended.
Coincidentally, Chris & Isiah who run the 2 acre Farmlet are offering a Wild Edibles workshop the same weekend. The farm is nestled next to a golf course and an array of sporadically populated and foreclosed homes. The couple moved to the location roughly four years ago. Since then next to cultivating plants via traditional agricultural methods, the lands native plants have become part of their harvest. A quite genius approach to farming utilizes the adaptable strength of wild plants to create an ecologically balanced & diversified approach to winning food from the land.
‘With Foraging’ , as Chris explains, ’there is a significant amount of opportunity, to connect with the areas around you.’ Once you become aware of edible wild greens, berries, pecans etc. you can find them everywhere, even in downtown major cities, parks or the middle of neighborhoods. Miseducation throughout generations, however, has perpetuated the stigma of wild foods being poisonous and/or polluted. In reality the amount of poisonous wild edibles is rather small and wild foods that might even kill you are proportionally speaking even smaller. The advantages of wild foods next to promoting health and self-sufficiency, also include:
- Easier to cultivate due to plants strong sense of adaptability and resistance to bugs (seed saving)
- Incredibly nutrient dense
- Healing properties
- Young leaves are most tender and delicious
- Take little to no work
While nature creates abundance and can in fact include poisonous species, it is important to study plants in order to know how to identify them correctly. Nevertheless, the healing compounds of plantains for instance can aid bee stings or snake bites or consider the super food characteristics of Mulberries, which can literally be found anywhere in Atlanta, making wild foods a worthwhile study for the adventurous urban or suburban dweller.
Noring Farm is nestled at the end of a slender country road mainly populated by horse pastures. Newton county, as farmer Andrew Norman mentions, an agrarian county, provides a tremendous network. Neighbors are exchanging wheat straw, manure, advice – whatever fits their needs as they arise. During my visit a neighbor takes her dog for a walk down the farms’ long wooded driveway, a regular occurrence, illustrating further what a healthy, sharing community looks like. As simple as it sounds, coming from Atlanta , where people fight over parking spots & BBQ smoke, this strikes me as a small miracle.
The farm is in its second spring and soil amendments are still shaping up to their nutrient dense potential. Andrew grew up on a farm & knows well how to perfect the ground that not long ago served as horse pasture. I get a chance to try a few of his heirloom vegetables. Immediately, my taste buds are engaged by their savoring complexities. Heirloom produce reminds me of an exquisite handcrafted piece of chocolate. The purple asparagus I taste comes straight out of the ground and incorporates various flavors as you keep eating it. The original carrot, Andrew enlightens me, was almost black due to its nutrient dense pigmentation. Every vegetable you can think off has numerous sub-varieties, each with its own flavor, colouring and shape.
Noring Farms, however, doesn’t just harvest exotic plants and French Copper Maran chicken eggs but is also home to a variety of Georgia native fruit trees, such as the Mayhaw & Chicken Saw Plums. The unique character of the farm reflects the individuals who own it, show casing and preserving varieties that are inspiring to any chef, whilst incorporating an indigenous variation of produce along side. Check out the full interview & take a peak at the farm during its early spring planting face below.
~ Live Well & Be Merry ~
Arepa Mia‘s slogan resonates loud & clear with any hungry soul. For good reason, this simple scrumptious dish, prepared by Venezuelan Native Lisbet Hernadez, hits the spot every time!
An arepa is a traditional South American dish, originated in Venezuela, prepared & used much like bread. Instead of wheat, arepas are made from the base of ground corn and are often served in street side stands, restaurants or at home.
Liz Hernandez prepares her arepas by hand with locally sourced ingredients. The meats she uses come from Riverview Farms, vegetables are sourced via Woodland Farms among others. Learn more about Liz & the story behind her Arepas in the following clip.
~Live well & Be merry~
Many Fold Farm is located in Palmetto, Georgia in a beautiful country side with a total of 101 acres, 28 acres of which are dedicated to pasture. Rebecca & Ross Williams have run their farm near Fayetteville for about three years. Mostly East Friesian sheep are making up the herd at Many Fold Farm, along with 80-150 chickens, 150 adult sheep and their 75-80 (and more every day) lambs that get moved to a different field once a day.
The husband & wife team are in full swing of their lambing season at Many Fold Farm. They are getting ready to start a sheep creamery this summer, inevitably kicking the work load up a notch with milking the sheep every two to three hours.
A typical day starts out by feeding the chickens and moving the sheep. Emergency tasks arise as with any business, in this instance a waterline busted in one of the fields & needed to be fixed.
One of their biggest challenges is finding and connecting to the right vet that’s accessible not necessarily in the same area, although preferred but that could even be reached via skype while out on the field.
Farmer Ross Williams went to Warren Wilson College, right outside of Asheville North Carolina, a work college that in addition to class room studies offers 15 hours of work studies out on the farm. Farmer Rebecca’s family has had a garden ever since she can remember and she since then has jumped right in and learned everything she knows out on the field.
The farming system they incorporate can be described as grass based system, with some stacking of different type of life stock in a rotational grass zone. The grazing follows a pattern of disturb and then rest. First disturbing an area by letting sheep graze, followed by a rest period of many weeks or months to help maximize the grass and growing.
Sheep have their very own species specific characteristics and associated prejudices. What some people may mistake as meek or weak, sheep farmers call a timid curiosity. They are quiet animals that are very smart in their own way. Although smart as individuals, Farmer Ross tells me, they are really smart as a whole. Sheep, true hurt animals, operate as a unit when they come together.
What I found most intriguing besides the very calming ambiance produced by the chewing noise of the sheep grazing, is that the milk sheep produce is very rich in property, perfectly suited for certain skin type products and cheeses that I am only imagining to taste as of now. I will certainly check back once the creamery is in place and am looking forward to more Many Fold Farm goodness.
The very definition of the verb (to) coexist is to exist together or at the same time; also to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy. Our local food system coexists next to the dominant industrialized food production system in part as a matter of policy. This becomes especially apparent as I pass traditional livestock farm land, some of which has been foreclosed on or is for sale, on my way to Darby Farms in Good Hope, Georgia. The weather is beautiful, with temperatures again in the upper 60s. I couldn’t have wished for a better day. In the driveway, I am greeted by a couple of chickens and a curious black cat. Daniel Dover, owner and operator of Darby Farms is close to follow.
The farm is in its last weeks of off-season with preparations taking place for the 9 month on-cycle starting at the end of February/ beginning of March, Daniel Dover explains. He uses the three months off to adapt his malleable farming system and also to switch into a different mode. “Everything has its season”, Daniel tells me,” pastured poultry has its season really at the beginning of March.” The months prior, the weather is simply too crazy for laying hens. The fluctuations of temperatures and conditions stress them out. They tend to eat more without gaining much weight.
A lot of people may mistake farming for a constant overload of strenuous work. Darby Farms does run on a management intensive farming system but with more flexibility and a less rigid approach. He moves animals, trailers, fencing, composts you name it all for good reason, to not cause environmental damage and to diversify the land. Rotation of different species on the land is much like rotating different crops. Diversification simply helps keep the land fertile. Whereas, conventional farmers work day in and day out because they don’t feel like they have any other choice, locked in by loans for up to 30 years in some cases. Some commercial farmers have committed suicide due to the industrial farming standards, loan entrapment, or upgrades demanded by for instance the poultry industry that will cost them their contracts if avoided. Others bulldoze down their farms and sell off the scrap metal, once the loans have been repaid. Daniel Dover fittingly describes it as a system of indentured servitude; not a system anyone wants to particularly participate in but farmers just don’t know any other way to run their farms. Ironically most of these industrial farmers can’t make enough money farming, forcing them to go into construction or other fields to make up the difference. In short, it doesn’t make any sense.
Daniel says, his farming style is more productive per acre than any industrial farm, due to him running multiple species over the same amount of land. Rather than focusing on efficiency and regarding human costs, including health insurance, as an adjustable variable, Daniel Dover doesn’t regard anything on his farm as a single use but multiple use application. He intentionally goes below market demand to ensure that he doesn’t sit on stock pile of goods in his freezers. Big AG. on the other hand constantly over produces , forcing them to go into other markets, shipping meat goods to China inevitably clouding the real cost of making meat.
A fellow farmer stops by during my visit. He raises next to chickens also cubbies of quail, hardly ever seen in the wild anymore, especially not as a cubby. The two farmers’ exchange of ideas and resourceful approaches seem to amplify once they start talking. I hope to come back to visit the cubby of quail and learn more about the species and its farmer. At this point a few of my previous conceived notions have been thrown out of the window. The farm including deep litter compost, meat compost, the animals and ground they live on smell earthy and natural to me. Farming seems ultimately rewarding, joyful and connected to the land, animals and people, keeping one intellectually engaged by having to find solutions and adaptability to problems that are sure to arise.
At the end I post the question “If you could envision anything for the future of the American Food System, what would that look like?” Daniel Dover swiftly replies: “Decentralization, spreading out the food system into the regions & the regions feeding themselves, not only would that create a greater more robust economy, we would have traceability on food borne illnesses.”
On my way back to Atlanta countless of semi-trucks are passing me by. I am too quickly reminded of the more powerful agricultural industry. The only difference is now I know there is room for other farming methods to not just make a viable living with but that enrich our bodies and communities – that coexist.
H&F Bread Co. runs a 24 hours operation involving scaling and measuring ingredients for making the bread dough.
This is one of their two industrial ovens that helps create the deliciousness called H&F Bread Co.
Here is the baker loading the ciabatta dough onto the trays for another round of baking. H&F in its current location only houses two ovens, hence the 24 hour work cycle.
A constant buzzing of work.
Every mother will tell you sleeping in is like a gift from God & the runner up well that’s coffee. In a week filled with WIC appointments, Farmers Markets visits & tax preparations discovering the deliciously wholesome Blue Donkey Iced Coffee made my week. It’s the little things they say & ‘they’ are right!
This past Saturday Blue Donkey Iced Coffee held a tasting at Urban Cannibals, a bodega grocery store run by a beautiful couple, the two self-proclaimed head cannibals Doria Roberts & Calavino Donati. The place is charming. You can pick up your CSA via Destiny Organics & Riverview Farms there, along with a quick bite to eat and other local items anything from candles to cleaning supplies. A one stop ‘loconomy’ shop.
Honestly, in this day & age I judge businesses by their online presence. Thankfully Urban Cannibals is on top of their social media game. It was their facebook page that alerted me to check out how delicious Blue Donkey Iced Coffee truly is. The tasting had me convinced as soon as the creamy, lightly coffee flavored & just enough sweetened substance hit my tongue. Blue Donkey’s products are simple. Three ingredients, coffee, milk & sugar – carefully sourced. Arabia coffee beans are roasted in a small-batch roaster at the company’s facility, combined with Sparkman’s milk and a little sugar – voila.
You can currently find them at Urban Cannibals and Candler Park Market. Surely it won’t be long until they’ll be right under your nose at farmers markets, co-ops & natural food stores. I am not going to tell you what to do or anything but in twitter terms:
Blue Donkey > insert can of popular soda.
live well & be kind to one another
C.H. – Real Time Food Warrior, Winter 2012