Monday, November 28, 2005

A Slow Food Thanksgiving

George had an epiphany about food this year. A Master of Arts of Liberal Studies student at UNCG, he has been writing about his slow food journey since this summer on his blog, Dirty George and I, along with about a dozen other listmembers, were in Charlie Headington and Steve Tate's "Slow Food in a Fast Food Nation" class this semester. I think that I can speak for all of us that we are very sad that the class is over, but we are all immensely richer for the experience.

The following is George's post about his first Slow Food Thanksgiving. He also writes about liberal politics and environmentalism on his blog, if you would like to check it out. The original post is here.


I'm really proud of this apple pieWell, Thanksgiving went REALLY well. I ended up cooking the free range turkeys myself, which I didn't know I was going to have to do (I've never done it before), but they came out great! Here are the photos.

my brother John cleaning one of the turkeysThere were about 40 people at my family's Thanksgiving meal this year. I have a HUGE family between my dad's family and my mom's family, and we usually combine them at my parents' house for Thanksgiving. I decided, after learning so much about the slow food movement and organic and local food, that I wanted to do a really healthy, environmentally sound meal this year. Slow food is all about food and family, right? So what's a better way to celebrate food and family than Thanksgiving?

mmm... free rangeWe got two Ebelry Poultry free range, organic turkeys from Earth Fare, and most of the vegetables, fruits, eggs, and even cheese and butter from the Farmers Markets in Winston Salem and Asheville. It was so cool that my mom got so into it! Even without much prodding from me, she called to reserve the turkeys without my even asking her to, and she and a few of my aunts and my grandmother spent several hours at the farmers market! She pulled out all the stops; I couldn't believe it when I got into town and she showed me the butter and farm cheese!

sauteed onions with curry powder for pumpkin soupI cooked for basically 24 hours from Wednesday to Thanksgiving day, if you don't include the 5 or 6 hours of sleep I had in between... and the breaks I took to enjoy some beer and whiskey with my brother and cousin. I cooked two turkeys, curry pumpkin soup (freakin' yum), two pumpkin pies, an apple pie, and a squash casserole. My dad and my brother John helped me clean the turkeys, and john actually made the pumpkin pie filling once I had the pumpkins cooked and the meat scraped out.

pumpkins ready to be prepped for pie and soupAside from a few ribs from my uncle about the meal being a "Hippy Thanksgiving" and another cousin joking about me "burning my bra," everyone loved the meal. Other family members got into the thing, even though I didn't want anyone to think that what they brought had to be any different than usual. One cousin's new wife, Brandee, brought an organic broccoli casserole. One of my aunts made an organic Greek salad. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few details, but the really great thing is that everyone got into the spirit, we had some good food and family time, and I planted some seeds in their heads about sustainable food. My mom especially surprised me. The whole thing was great.

Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska - Saturday

We hope you will join us for this program.

Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska
Saturday, December 3rd 10:30 – noon
Kathleen Clay Edwards Library
1420 Price Park Dr. Greensboro 336-373-2923

Wanda Urbanska host and co-producer of the Simple Living TV series on public television stations nationwide, now in its second season will share excerpts from the series about simple and sustainable living along with interviews with people about simple living in a program at the Kathleen Clay Edwards Library on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10:30 to noon. Wanda is coauthor with Frank Levering of Nothing’s Too Small To Make a Difference, Simple Living, and Moving to a Small Town and other books. Wanda will share her experience of simple living in Mount Airy where she is co-owner/operator of Levering Orchard. Her presentation will also offer ways for you to simplify your life around the holiday season.

The Simple Living Program airs on UNC-TV (channel 4) at 6 p.m. on Sunday nights.

Melanie Buckingham
Environmental Resources Librarian
Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library
1420 Price Park Dr.
Greensboro, NC 27410

Volunteers Needed for Deck the Hall Day on Dec. 3

Subject: Friends of the Market Update/Volunteers Needed for Deck the Hall Day on Dec. 3
From: "Alfano, Geraldine E."
Date: Mon, November 28, 2005 6:49 pm
To: "Alfano, Geraldine E."

I hope that you all have continued to enjoy the Farmers' Market as the seasons have progressed. Even though winter is approaching, there is still local produce available at the Market, as well as baked goods and handmade crafts. As always, it's a wonderful place to meet with and talk to the vendors as well as the other customers. After the first of the year, I will be scheduling a meeting of the Friends of the Market. I hope that you will be able to attend and contribute your ideas, as well as your talents, for making our market even better and more successful. This Saturday we will be having Deck the Halls Day at the Market. It will feature a pancake breakfast with apple cinnamon sauce prepared by Alex Amoroso of Cheesecakes by Alex (proceeds to benefit projects of the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market). We need your help to serve the pancakes (Alex will handle the cooking), beginning about 7 am until 10:30 or 11. Please let me know if you are willing to help out for an hour or two between 7 am and 11 am.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Planning Session

All members of Slow Food Piedmont Triad are invited to be part of a planning session at Charlie Headington’s home, December 7, 2005, Wednesday night at 7:00 pm.

We have had a good first year and we need to build upon it. How? That’s for us to decide!

We would like to talk about 1) activities and events for 2006 and 2) create several committees to oversee and do the work. We also could talk about 3) our mission and our priorities.

Please consider coming, talking, and taking a role in defining and realizing our vision of Slow Food. We need your input and energy if we are to be a sustainable organization and presence. We need representatives of all our Triad, and both city and rural communities. Together we can find creative ways to enjoy one another, the land and good food.

Contact Laurie to RSVP at She'll send it on to Charlie.

Eggs From Happy Chickens

Scientific proof that eggs from happy chickens make you happy too!

Check out the new Chicken and Egg Page hosted by Mother Earth News:

It includes a study on the nutritional content of free-range vs. confinement eggs.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Farms in Decline

The New York Times recently published an article about the difference between organic and sustainable farming practices which mentioned a dairy in upstate New York about twenty miles north of my hometown.

As a native of the Hudson Valley, where Ronnybrook Farm Dairy is located, it is shocking to visit and see the demise of the family farm. As a child in Dutchess County many of my friends were from dairy farming families. Most of these were very small affairs where one of the parents also held an outside job. Others were owned by the very wealthy who hired farm managers for the day-to-day business. Less motivating than the tax write-off was the desire for their children to grow up with the farm experience--hard work with intrinsic rewards that offset privilege. One notable gentleman farmer who always gave me a thrill when I saw him in town was James Cagney. He retired 'upstate' and personally raised Scottish Highlanders on his small farm. Another 'wanna-be' farmer was Meryl Streep. She bought a dairy farm near Amenia specifically to expose her children to a more healthful lifestyle. Within a month she sold all her stock. In a magazine interview she explained, 'I didn't realize that cows have an odor.' (That comment didn't make her very popular at the local grocery store.) To her credit, she does support the Connecticut Farmland Trust which is decently upwind from her NY property.

Notably, all of these farmers (excepting Meryl Streep) used some sustainable practices. A bike ride through the county from early spring to deep into the fall showed expansive hillside pastures dotted with meandering cattle, their black and white hides contrasting sharply with lush green or bright autumnal backgrounds. Cows, by the way, are incredibly resilient creatures. On warmer days in the winter and especially during the January thaw, they slogged through mushy snow and mud to soak in fresh 'dairy- air' and sunshine. (You can imagine, the Far Side was a favorite comic strip of my peers.)

While my mother was wary of 'raw' milk, my favorite dairy beverage was a fountain drink. We would line up in the barn--kid, cat, kittens, kid, waiting for an obliging older brother or cousin to shoot us a stream straight from the udder before hooking an ever-so-patient cow to the milking machine. My mother, by the way, was a wiz with laundry.

Because of its proximity to NYC, Dutchess County is now overrun with the affluent overflow of that megalopolis. With the influx of upper middle class professionals, the value of real estate skyrocketed. This had a two-fold effect on family farms. Acres of pastureland became hugely desirable to developers who cut up plots of land into tiny checkerboards of fractional acre lots. A small home in a bedroom community can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Secondly, the time intensive, backbreaking labor and financial costs of running a farm with a marginal profit at best became less attractive as the family farmers aged. Ronny, who took over Ronnybrook's Farms from his parents, is in a small minority. Very few children of farmers can afford to stay in the area.

I see the same thing that began in the Hudson Valley over twenty years ago happening right now in Guilford County. While I understand that financial health is very important and the availability of jobs that pay a living wage is necessary, at what cost? The old Dutch farming families from Dutchess County are gone--died off, their birthright sold, their children drifted away. I am just now appreciating how privileged I was to grow up healthy and strong from the wonderful foods and outdoor lifestyle my parents so graciously provided me. It's crucial that we pull together and support the local farmer, sustainable practices, and the agricultural lifestyle before it becomes so much dirt before the bulldozer.

~Jacqueline Oates

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"3 Day Weekend"

Early in the summer I read that Turner South would be in the Triad filming their popular cable series, "3 Day Weekend". My first thought was that they should visit the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market. The love and dedication for this unique market is shown by the farmers that show up before dawn and the early bird shoppers that follow shortly after. It's also where I would take an out of town guest that is visiting Greensboro.

My thought had become a memory until I heard from Mark File, Marketing Director for Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels. As host to the Turner South crew, Mark emphatically suggested that they visit the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market on a Saturday morning.

Now, thanks to Mark and others at Quaintance-Weaver who support the market, Turner South will be filming at the Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market on Saturday November 12, 2005. What a wonderful opportunity to spotlight our community jewel that has long been a tradition to many families in the Triad.

Though the filming crew of Turner South has missed the busy summer season, the market is filling up with a bountiful fall harvest as well as local artist gearing up for the holiday season. I hope you will mark your calendar to visit us at the market and help us turn on the southern hospitality, naturally!

*Filming scheduled to begin at 7 a.m.

Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market
501 Yanceyville Street
Greensboro, NC 27405

(336) 574-3547


All year long.
6 am - noon

June - December
7 am - 1 pm

Simple Kneads Open House

Thursday, November 10, 6-9 pm.

Simple Kneads Bakery is having an Open House this Thursday night. Bill Snider has been baking luscious bread for the Piedmont community and wants to share his bakery with others for this night.

Simple Kneads is at 227B South Elm, down the alleyway next to Anne Marie's gift shop. There will be a sign on South Elm indicating the way.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Fast Action From Slow Foods

Last Friday I received my first issue of the Snail, one of the perks of being a member of the Slow Food Piedmont Triad Convivium. It could not have arrived at a better time. Located in the center of the magazine was a full page, black and white photo of a child looking straight at me. The opposite page began "YOU." Me? I read more.

"Congress is requiring that every public school district in America form a Wellness Committee and adopt a Wellness Policy by June 30, 2006," I had to read more.

"If you write the standards, you can ensure that children in America's schools will eat the healthy foods they deserve. If you don't write them, who will?" And now I am loosing sleep.

It was on the Center for Ecoliteracy website that I learned about the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorizing Act 2004 that would require
"local wellness policies designed and implemented at the local level, and authorize the Department of Agriculture to provide technical assistance, if requested by the school or school district, in implementing healthy school environments. The content of local wellness policies would be decided by local parents, teachers, administrators, school food service, school boards, and the public."

On Monday morning I went to the Guilford County Schools to inquire about our own, local Wellness Committee and Wellness Policy and by Friday I had a clear understanding of where WE stand in the process of creating a better nutritional future for our children.

After speaking with Nancy Routh, School Board Member At-Large and head of Policy Development, she explained that at this time the Guilford County Schools have created two new policies concerning medication distribution and peanut allergies. These were state mandated and the schools have yet to create the Wellness Committee or the Wellness Policy that is required by the federal government. I have two children in the Guilford County school system and have not received any information on parental or public input on the Wellness Policy. During my conversation with Mrs. Routh she encouraged me to contact Robin Bergeron-Nolan, Curriculum Specialist, and volunteer for any committees that might be formed. After contacting Charlie Headington, President of the Slow Food Piedmont Triad, Charlie offered full support from our local convivium to support the Wellness Policy.

I was able to pick up a copy of the Wellness Policy requirements and guidelines that local schools will use to assist in this exciting endeavor. The Center for Ecoliteracy has also created guidelines that can be used to help meet the new requirements.

For years we have been reading, hearing and watching the rise in childhood obesity and the onset of adult related diseases in today's youth. It was recently stated that the upcoming generation will be the first not to out live the last.
My son brought home a book about dinosaurs last year titled, The Monsters Who Died, by Vicki Cobb. It was frightening to read,

"Dinosaur eggs also show the decline of dinosaurs. Eggs 70 million years old and older have thick shells. The shells from the last 5 million years got thinner and thinner. Dinosaurs were not as healthy and it showed in their shells. Their egg shell did not provide good protection. Many young dinosaurs never hatched. The poor health of the parent affected the young."

This is a very crucial time for today's youth and for generations to come. It is important for those of us who have been supporting our local agricultural resources, whole foods, and our cooking heritage to stand up and support the needs of today's children.

The Slow Food Piedmont Triad Convivium will soon hold a meeting to address the Wellness Policy in our local schools. If you would like to receive more information and become an active participant in addressing the nutritional needs of our children, please send an email to If you are reading this from elsewhere in the United States EpiCourier would love to hear what your local, public schools are doing in regards to the Wellness Policy.

Our children depend on US!