Monday, August 29, 2005

Ten Tips for Better Bread

I found a terrific blog recently that I think you will all enjoy called Farmgirl Fare. Susan writes about her experiences as an organic farmer and artisan baker in Missouri. The photography is lovely and the writing is about Slow Food at its best.

In particular, I recommend that you read her article, Ten Tips for Better Bread. If you're a baker, you'll love it. If you appreciate what bakers do, you'll love it. If you don't bake bread, you'll want to start! I haven't tried to knead bread in years because of my tendinitis, but I think I might try it again this coming weekend.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

naturally and humanely raised meat

Richard the Pig hangs out with his buds at Goat Lady Dairy farm

All right. I did it. I bought some baby back ribs this morning from Back Woods Farms at the Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market. Wes Peterson changed the name of his business to avoid confusion with a Peterson who is selling conventionally raised meat at the Piedmont Triad Farmer's Market at Sandy Ridge Road.

To understand the significance of this, you should know that I have boycotted pork since around 1996. I am enormously concerned about the effects of huge industrial hog farms on our state's environment and quality of life. Plus, I had a mind-meld with a pig on a truck in which he was in a complete panic. I won't tell you what he told me. It was a private thing just between us, and can't be articulated in human words anyway.

In the past year, as I have become aware of the changing conditions of our food supply, and the importance of buying locally on the economy and the environment, I have finally come to this conclusion. I am going to support the small farmers who make an effort to provide us with healthy, humanely produced meat, poultry, egg, and dairy products. As much as I would like to become a vegetarian, it is not going to happen any time soon. And if I can eat something that used to breathe, what's the difference between eating seafood and beef? Or pork? Or chicken? As long as these animals are raised in a pleasant environment in natural conditions and taken care of, they are better off than in the wild. My reasoning was that we'd be better off without pigs altogether than for them to be raised in horrible conditions. I still believe that is true, but it is not a practical solution. It won't happen. But we do have choices now.

Until recently, you couldn't get humanely farm-raised pork with no antibiotics or growth hormones unless you were buddies with a small farmer who raised his own. Now, with large companies like Niman Ranch and small farmers like Wes Peterson getting into the game, you can. It's a different market these days. More and more consumers are demanding meat products that aren't raised in filthy, disgusting conditions. You can also buy chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb. Deep Roots Market and Earth Fare carry organic, free-range, and antibiotic/hormone-free meats if you can't make it to the farmers' markets.

Now, I don't know if I'll be able to make myself eat these ribs. I've conditioned my mind against it for about nine years now, and you can convince yourself of anything if you work hard enough at it. My brain says, don't eat a pig. It's an intelligent creature whose only purpose in life is to suffer for our gain. But Wes is doing us, and pigs, a service here, and if I don't eat these, my husband will be happy to have them all to himself.

I highly recommend that everyone watch The Meatrix. What will it be for you, the red pill or the blue pill? The video starts up when you open the page.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

4th Annual Farmers Appreciation Day

Slow Foodies,

Mark your calendars, it's just around the corner!!

4th Annual Farmers Appreciation Day
Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market
Saturday Sept. 10, 2005

The market opens at 6:00 AM with a free breakfast of locally raised foods being served at 7:00 AM. Take some time this morning to hang out with others that love our farmers as well as the market. There will be information booths, live music and great fellowship!

We still need volunteers to help out. Call or email me for more information, Donna Myers 273-4371.

And don't forget, bring a friend!!

Donna Myers

Sunday, August 14, 2005

garden macaroni and cheese

My garden is a little behind the times - while others are harvesting tomatoes, peppers, corn and eggplants, I'm still harvesting broccoli! In this recipe, you can use whatever you have on hand from your garden or the farmers' market. Corn, mushrooms, and zucchini would all be good.

First, this note: please understand that since I can't follow a recipe, my own recipes often contain a certain amount of guesswork. For example, I buy my macaroni in bulk, so for this dish, I cooked twice as much macaroni as I thought I needed, used enough of it in the recipe to fill up the casserole dish, and the rest went into the fridge for another dish. Such is life in my kitchen. If you make this and think that it needs a little more or less whatever, it probably does!

3-4 c. cooked macaroni
3 T. butter
1 T. flour
1 c. milk
1 c. extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. salt
black pepper to taste
About 3 c. finely chopped vegetables - I used:
2 c. broccoli
1/4 c. green pepper
1/4 c. carrots
1/2 c. onion
4 large leaves of basil, chopped
a stalk's worth of parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt 2 T. butter. Mix in 1 T. flour until smooth, and cook for a minute. Mix in the milk until smooth, and bring it up to boiling slowly, stirring often. Add the cheese and seasonings, saving some cheese for the top. Take it off the heat.

In a skillet, saute the chopped veggies and herbs in the remaining 1 T. butter for about 5 minutes, until bright and crunchy. Mix in the macaroni. Put the combination macaroni and vegetables into a buttered casserole dish. Pour the cheese sauce over it and mix it all thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Here's a little tip: if you buy butter or margarine in sticks, save the wrappers to grease pans and casseroles. These work especially well for muffin pans.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Local Foods Dinner Supports Piedmont Land Conservancy

Forever These Flavors…a dinner event to celebrate over 11,000 acres of special places protected by Piedmont Land Conservancy. Come celebrate the intersection of the missions of the Piedmont Land Conservancy and Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants by attending a dinner of North Carolina foods, Piedmont-brewed beer and Yadkin Valley wines. Quaintance-Weaver buys over half of its produce from local sources and Piedmont Land Conservancy protects working farms so more farmers can keep their land in production.

The event will be held the evening of Sunday, August 28th at 6:00pm at the O. Henry Hotel and will feature a wine and beer reception followed by a three-course meal, remarks and dessert. The cost of $125 per couple will support PLC’s farm land protection efforts. Guests will choose in advance from a list of three entrĂ©es – Carolina Mountain Trout, Niman Ranch™ Spare Ribs, and Vegetarian Strata. Please call PLC at 336-691-0088 for more information or to reserve a spot (space is limited).

Lynne Dardanell
Piedmont Land Conservancy

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Local Harvest Dinner

August 25, 2005 (Thursday)
Local Harvest Dinner
6:30 p.m.
Tickets $100 per person
Advanced Reservations and Payment Required
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association invites you to the first Local Harvest Dinner. Celebrating sustainability in the field and on your table.

Come enjoy a splendid 5-course meal prepared by local chefs using the freshest of local ingredients served on location at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, NC. This event will be one to be savored and remembered. Be a part of it!

Featured Chefs: Hector Diaz of Salsa, Laurey Masterton of Laurey’s Catering and Gourmet-to-go, Mark Rosenstein of the The Market Place, John Stehling of Early Girl Eatery, Anne Everitt formerly of Elaines on Franklin and Lantern.

All proceeds to benefit the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the support and expansion of local and organic agriculture in the Carolinas.

Please RSVP by contacting the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association at (919) 542-2402 or If emailing, please include your name, address, number in your party, vegetarian meals if requested, and a phone number where we can reach you during the day.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Symposium Cancelled, More Events Planned

As you know we have been working hard to plan our Slow Food Symposium on Oct. 1st. Please note the Symposium steering committee has decided to cancel this event this year. We will analyze and redesign it and offer a new and improved version in the future. We did not get enough early registrations to warrant going ahead with the original plan. But we think we have some ideas how to make it better and more attractive to a wider audience in the future. In the meantime we have already had some great Slow Food events and our chapter leaders have many more in the works. Watch for news of fall and winter events.

Mark your calendars now for these two: Saturday, September 10 FARM FEST at Rising Meadow Farm (see an all day event ($5 per person) with demonstrations, food, artisans and music. And Sunday, October 9 GOAT LADY DAIRY Fall Open House, 1 to 5 pm. Free. Both events are great fun and educational for the whole family.

Steve Tate