Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable’
The United States is the world’s largest producer of strawberries, accounting for 29% of global production according to AgMRC, and while our state may have some competition, Texas is definitely not lacking in strawberry pride. Spring is the onset of Texas strawberry season and small towns like Poteet have been supporting and creating a strawberry fan club since 1948, the first Poteet Strawberry Festival. Today, many small towns in and around Poteet are responsible for producing some of the most flavorful and sweet strawberries around, selling locally in order to preserve a fresh and flavorful taste.
Since we’re committed to seasonal eating and local sourcing, you’ll pretty much only find strawberries in our produce section when Texas strawberries are available, so you can imagine how exciting this season is for us. We’ve been known to carry Poteet strawberries, but right now we’re very excited to be sourcing some delicious berries from Fruitful Hill Farm in Bastrop, TX. This small family operation prides themselves in harvesting their berries mere days before delivery, and also chooses not to wash their berries, as this decreases their shelf life and deteriorates flavor. Fruitful Hill Farm practices sustainable agriculture, utilizing organically approved pest control methods only when necessary.
Aside from pies, jams, and salads, a common trick to draw out a strawberry’s natural juices is to macerate your strawberries by adding a touch of sugar and setting aside for 10-15 minutes. If your mouth is already watering, try this overnight breakfast mousse listed on Food 52 and provided by Lisa @ Healthy Nibs and Bits.
⅓ cup oatmeal
⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup yogurt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
jar or airtight container
*3 large strawberries, sliced
Except for your strawberries, mix together oatmeal, almond milk, yogurt, cocoa powder, chia seeds, and agave nectar or honey, adding more sweetener to your liking.
Place the mixture into ⅓ of your jar and top with sliced strawberries. Cover this layer with more of your oatmeal mixture and repeat with another layer until the jar is full.
Cover, refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next morning!
*For an additional burst of flavor, you can macerate your strawberries using brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, or balsamic reduction, setting aside before layering into your oatmeal, chocolate mousse.
Thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday for our workday in celebration of our garden’s third anniversary. We repaired a number of our raised beds and planted two varieties of sweet potatoes. Shout out to our friends at Joe’s Organics, Third Coast Coffee, and Yard to Market Coop for providing the compost, coffee grounds and chaff, and soil, respectively. Those sweet potatoes are going to be really happy! Thanks as well to Dripping Springs Ollas for providing an olla for one of our other boxes.
With an abundance of kale in our garden right now, Farmer Sue recommended taking advantage of the final days of harvest with one of her favorite snacks, the kale smoothie. After experimenting with kale from our garden and a few other signature ingredients sold in store, we created the Kale, Avocado, Ginger Smoothie! For those of you who weren’t able to taste it on our porch yesterday, here’s the recipe so you can create the magic in your own kitchen. Cheers!
Kale, Avocado, Ginger Smoothie
splash or two of almond milk
Two spoonfuls of White Mountain Organic Bulgarian Yogurt
Three tablespoons of Eden Organic Applesauce
½ an avocado
1-2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of honey
1-2 ice cubes
Wash your kale and cut off the stems, leaving only the leafy greens for blending. Place in a blender with the grated ginger, almond milk, yogurt, lemon juice, avocado, honey, and ice cubes and blend on high until the kale is completely blended into the smoothie.
Recently we reached 11,011 likes on Facebook (woo hoo!) To celebrate, we asked our followers to share with us the 11 reasons they love local food.
We are so blessed to be in a community that so wholeheartedly embraces the beauty that comes along with local, sustainable and seasonal food.
Y’all shared with us amazing lists (and photos!) that we can’t help put pass them along. Take the time to read why our community loves local food, and please feel free to share your lists. The more the merrier.
- in.spires the community to make sustainable decisions
- in.corporates small businesses into larger economies
- in.volves the local population in the worldwide food movement
- in.timidates the big food corporations
- in.troduces new ways of thinking
- in.centivizes local entrepreneurs to follow through on their ideas
- in.creases awareness of the impact food has on our environment
- in.cludes opportunities for the community to become more self-sufficient
- in.toxicates the locals with unbelievably good craft beer
- in.justice is exposed when local food proves there is a better way
- in.novation proves to be in.finite when it comes to using real in.gredients
- Keeps Austin Weird!!!
- Love knowing the people who grew/raised my food
- It has taste unlike most mass-produced food
- The fresher the food the more nutrients I get in my body
- Support local economy
- Support people who are stewards of the environment
- Reduced carbon footprint
- No nasty GMO foods
- Opportunity for bulk purchases (as my salsa and canned tomato stash can attest)
- I have visited the farms and felt the dirt that nourishes me and seen for myself how the animals are treated
- Brings back good memories of childhood visits to my grandparents farm – sitting in the middle of the strawberry patch eating the berries straight off the plant (competing with my sister to see who would get through her row fastest), or shucking corn with my grandpa (and nibbling on a few ears)
- The friendships I have made with people I have met at the markets, at food swaps, and at restaurants and stores that carry local produce.
- Incredibly fresh
- Less fuel required for delivery
- Can meet your farmers!
- Supports the local economy& Supports small farmers
- Fosters a close relationship with local community
- Encourages creative business models
- Encourages creative approaches to cooking
- Allows you to experiment with interesting local produce (prickly pears! loquats!)
- Allows you ensure that everything you eat is ethically produced because you can trace the origins of everything on your plate.
- Local food = supporting local farmers/ local economy
- Less carbon in the atmosphere from moving around food!
- Local food is super fresh and delicious
- It ensures you’re eating only what’s in season.
- Fresh food is more nutritious!
- It’s a step toward food self-reliance.
- There is more variety!
- Is free of GMOs!
- Represents Austin’s food culture
- I love knowing where it came from, and visiting those places!
- Lastly, It feels great to make good choices about what you put into your body!
- Getting to know my farmers
- Often sustainably grown
- Fewer food miles (less carbon/water waste)
- Outdoor markets
- Supporting my home
- Fresh food
- Makes me food conscious
- Often it’s native to the region
- Supports education!
- The colors
- Low carbon foot print
- Meeting the farmers
- Eating in season
- The price tag
- Promoting it
- Teaching it
- Growing it
- Community it creates
- Farmers markets
- The people involved
Believe us when we say that you’ll want to get to know Lisa from Full and Content. As a true foodie, Lisa knows what it’s like to be the one at the table who only wants to talk (in detail) about what’s on the plate. With a true passion for good food, her blog is full of personal stories, beautiful pictures and recipes ranging from redneck sushi to Morrocan serpent cake (aka upper intestine cake– perfect for Halloween).
With a personal mission to eat a local, organic and humane diet, her recipes are the kind you can feel good about making. They are labeled vegetarian (V) and gluten free (GF) in a well organized recipe index, which makes her blog easy to navigate. All in all, we’re big fans of Full and Content.
How did you discover your love of food and writing?
The love of writing has always been there. I wrote a series of novels at age eight (all highly derivative of the Black Stallion novels… little girls and horses, you know), then I destroyed them shortly afterwards out of a sense of being overly self-critical of my work. My aunt was one of the only people I showed them to. She was an artist and a teacher and understood how to deliver feedback constructively. While still being encouraging, she gave me some direction that ended up being hugely influential. She explained how even though I could see an image or a scene in my head—the readers could not—unless I created it for them. I’ve always focused on the descriptive aspect of writing, of visualizing and providing cues for the senses when appropriate. My style has evolved a lot since I was eight, obviously, and there have been many other influences, but that is still key. For me, it’s about communicating a story or idea and translating an experience in as visceral a way as possible—without cluttering the actual storyline. This ends up balancing my tendency towards analysis and keeps me from over-intellectualizing. Hopefully, both the visceral and intellectual pieces coexist in a complementary way. That’s the goal anyhow.
The childhood novel experience was also an early lesson about the creative process: that you can’t be paralyzed by any frustration felt over the outcome not aligning with your expectations. You just have to do it, then process what you would have done differently, and keep on truckin’.
So that said, the writing for the blog is still evolving, and recently I’ve really begun focusing more on the story-telling aspect rather than the food itself. I think I just finally gave myself permission to do this. You can see that in some my more recent posts, like “G’Morning Snow’s BBQ”, “An Inside Look at Micklethwait Craft Meats“, and “Robert J. Lerma, Barbecue Photographer.” (It’s not intentionally reserved for barbecue posts, but I’ve been doing a lot of those recently.)
The whole idea of the blog is, “Life, as told through the story of food.” What we eat is a subtle but strong element in how we define both our selves and others, even if we aren’t doing it consciously. And as something that we structure our lives around, it’s the perfect avenue for capturing what goes on in our own personal world. It’s the framework for exploring other ideas, which are actually the more interesting and important elements of the story (in my opinion at least), and I try to keep that in perspective.
On a purely practical level, I’m pretty obsessed with food and obviously love eating, so it’s been a great outlet for me to blabber on about it as well as document what I’m doing in the kitchen for my kids. That’s an important goal for me as well. I wish so much that we’d captured some of my grandmother’s recipes/processes, even if she did cook by instinct and not by a set of instructions. I want to do that for my kids… regardless of whether or not they hate most of what I make right now. They’ll come around. Maybe.
Has blogging changed the way you view food and cooking? If so, how?
Honestly, I really don’t think the process of blogging has altered my perspective on food or my cooking style. I just take a lot of photos of food now.
What is your favorite ingredient to use in the kitchen?
I wouldn’t say there’s a single one, but peppers of all varieties and spice levels appear pretty regularly.
What is your best memory in the kitchen?
This is not necessarily my favorite memory, but it is my most powerful and it was very formative.
My dad’s mom died when I was eight-years-old. She had a set of emerald-green, Depression glassware, and my immediate family ended up with only one of them. I hated drinking milk as a kid, but I would drink it happily at her house… but only from one of those glasses. I’m not sure what it was about the glass that made me like the milk, but there was a very specific smell when you’d tilt back your head and cup that glass over the tip of your nose while the milk ran down your throat. After she died, I continued the habit and would only drink milk from that glass.
She was the first person close to me that I lost. A couple of years later, I also lost my aunt (the one who had given me the writing advice). A short time after that, I started noticing that I was forgetting details about my grandmother, but when I drank milk from the glass I could feel the cool, silkiness of her droopy cheek as I “hugged her neck.” I could smell her White Shoulders perfume, and I could see the glisten that seemed to always be in her blue-blue-blue crystalline eyes. I could hear the distinctive crackle of her voice, and I started drinking the milk out of that glass not because I wanted milk, but so that I could remember her. Then one day I dropped it. And it broke into too many pieces to ever repair. And I just lost it right there in the kitchen, much to my family’s confusion. The whole “no use crying over spilled milk” expression took on a completely new meaning that day. I was terrified that I would never be able to remember her again as she was without that glass… and also that the same thing would happen with my aunt, that I would lose my memory of her details. And then it would happen with everyone else, one by one.
But that didn’t happen. Instead I learned the power of taste and smell to transport you back in time and open up your memory. All I have to do now is think of drinking milk from that glass, and I can see, smell, hear, and feel her. There are similar tricks with my aunt and with others I have lost since then. I just had to learn how to recognize the triggers and how to control them. And they are still with me through those senses. Food, taste, and smell are the engine of a time machine.
What is the best thing about your kitchen?
I don’t like having generic objects in my house. Almost everything has a connection to a person or an event or a place or I have assigned some kind of meaning to it, even the stuff form IKEA. My kitchen is filled with memories. I have an antique butcher block and several display items from my great-grandfather’s general store. I have all the mismatched serving dishes that my grandmother and my great aunts used for our holiday meals. The hand-spun ceramic pitcher that holds all my utensils beside the stove is one I made in college… lots of memories there I won’t into. College, you know. There is a collection of food-related artwork by family and friends on the wall, and things I’ve picked up on my travels. For starters.
What is your favorite meal to prepare?
Anything where I can stand there for an hour and zone out while drinking a glass of wine. It’s a very zen thing for me, and I don’t have a single favorite. I experiment a lot and like to try new things. Recipes shift based on what is in season and what I have on hand. But if I had to pick one I say Cold Peanut Noodles. Since I cook seasonally, by the end of each season I start anticipating all the produce that’s just over the horizon. As soon as cucumbers hit, there’s a cold peanut noodle frenzy. It’s one of the things I most look forward to each year. The recipe is insanely easy to adapt to personal preferences, and I can eat it for several meals a day for days on end before I get sick of it. Even my kids will eat it, kind of.
What does your dream kitchen look like?
More counter space. Robot dishwasher.
What 3 guests would you like to have at your dinner table?
Evel Knievel, Ernest Hemmingway, Teddy Roosevelt. No reason other than I think it would be pretty entertaining to see exactly how the room came to explode before the night was over.
What does the word “sustainable” mean to you when it comes to food?
Well, that’s complicated. It’s both one of the easiest and the most challenging areas where our personal habits and decisions can have an impact.
It’s easy because changing our habits on food consumption—both in terms of what we are eating and what sources we use for our food—has a ripple effect on so many environmental issues. Too many to even go into. And our food consumption happens three times a day, or more, for those of us who are lucky. That’s a lot more opportunity to make responsible choices than even basic consumer consumption, so the potential impact is pretty big.
It’s challenging because of all the complex issues of availability, access, cost, education, and the simple but powerful emotional sensation of eating. I’ve already talked about it enough here. Food is memory. It’s lifestyle. It’s how we see ourselves and how we judge others. It’s reward, and it’s punishment. It’s denial, and it’s power. That’s a lot of stuff to sort out. You’ve got to be pretty dedicated to change your habits in a way that will have impact. You’ve got to be educated about the complexities of the issues and keep the learning process open as new information becomes available. You’ve got to have access to responsible food sources or be the squeaky wheel in order to change the system so that you do. You’ve got to have an adventurous attitude towards eating. And that last item is one or the other. There are people in my family I won’t mention by name (but I will tell you they are my brother… sorry, Bro) who have existed in periods of their life eating only bulk, frozen, fried cheese sticks from Sam’s Club. It’s a wonder those people didn’t get scurvy during that period of their life. But people like what they like. That’s a broader category for some than others. And many people would like to make healthier choices, but the options just aren’t there or they are out of reach. The immediate obligations of everyday life take precedence over the long-term. Making “sustainable” choices is a luxury many just can’t enjoy.
Speaking for myself, I do my best, and then I don’t. I have reorganized my finances and lifestyle gradually over time so that I allot more to food so I can buy the “good stuff.” I eat seasonal produce most of the time. I don’t buy factory meat, (though I don’t always ask at restaurants, and I assume if they aren’t touting it, that’s where it comes from). I barter and trade with people who grow or make their own food. I cook way more than the average person, and I preserve a lot of the basics for later. I blog partially because I realized what I was doing in my kitchen was influencing others. I eat a lot of vegetarian meals, and I promote Meatless Mondays and local producers and vendors. I’ve been using reusable bags since the mid-90s, which was very confusing for a lot of retail workers up until the recent past. I live in a place where I have been able to do all this, and I make just enough money to wiggle it around.
But… I won’t give up barbecue. I won’t. Not until I have to. In my world complete denial leads to a backlash, so I opt for moderation instead. We pick and choose. We all have our heroin. Personally, I try to balance it elsewhere. I’m sure there is tons of rationalizing that goes on for everyone. The point is to never be too self-satisfied and to keep examining our own habits and their impacts. And maybe only eat barbecue once a week.
Favorite Recipe to Date?
My Creamed Sweet Potato Greens with Bacon surprised me by how much I liked them. I’d had the greens in a salad but never cooked them before. I now crave these year-round, and all I can say is gigantic HOORAY that they are in season again!
What three recipes would you share with our readers?
My all-time most popular post is a collection of recipes and tips for how to use loquats. I got a little obsessed, and apparently there are a lot of people out there who are interested: Loquats, Here’s What You Do With Them.
My recipe for Broccoli-Beer-Cheese Soup is my next most popular one and also one of my own personal favorites. When broccoli season rolls around, this is the first thing I make. It’s easy, accessible, and completely decadent… don’t try to lighten this one. Just indulge.
Homemade Peaches and Cream Ice Cream, just like Mama used to make. For real. It’s her recipe.
Yep, the triple digit weather is here. The good news is we have Barton Springs, fresh local melons, and the ability to escape to air conditioning. August in Texas is sweaty, sticky and down right warm. The good news is that it’s Friday and we’re offering up a roasted peach and coconut popsicle recipe. If that isn’t enough to make you start drooling, we don’t know what will.
In just a few hours, you can hustle home, whip up a batch of these and dream of cooler days.
Roasted Peach and Coconut Popsicles
From: Katie Did
- 2 peaches
- Squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (we know, it’s hot… but this is worth it, we promise). Slice peaches into wedges, sprinkle with lemon juice and a touch of sea salt. Place in the oven and roast for about 25 minutes until they are beginning to caramelize. Remove from oven and dice into smaller pieces.
Whisk together the coconut milk and vanilla extract. Pour the coconut milk into the popsicle molds to fill them about half way. Stick in the freezer and allow to set for 30 minutes.
Remove molds and drop in the peaches. Try and evenly distribute the peaches into the popsicles. They should be full of peaches. Top off the popsicles with the remaining coconut milk until just about all the way to the top. Stick a popsicle stick in each and freeze for another 2-3 hours. Once they’re frozen, remove them from the molds. You may have to run the base under warm water to remove them, depending on your mold.
Plastic is pervasive.
It’s hard to live in the modern world and not encounter the stuff every single day. It’s in our clothes, our cars and our food. When walking through a conventional grocery store, almost every aisle is packed to the seams with food items wrapped in layers of plastic.
Matthew Spiegl, a writer for the Huffington Post, sums it up nicely in a recent article:
“While plastic has given us many breakthrough products and uses that have enriched our lives, it has also led to a single-use throw away mentality that finds us buried under an unsustainable and unbearable burden of plastic pollution today.
We have become a society of convenience and exploited plastic without regard for the impact on our environment. We take for granted the fragile balance of earth, air and ocean that serves as our life support system. But what do we do to support it in return?
We need to remember that every piece of plastic ever produced on this tiny blue planet of ours remains in our environment forever; it won’t go away, it will outlive us and the Earth, or what will be left of our little planet, if we don’t change our ways.“
On June 14th 2013, Christian Lane, co-founder of in.gredients, accepted one of the awards for Most Promising Emerging Businesses at the Think Beyond Plastic awards ceremony. With this award, in.gredients staff was recognized for our work in changing the way people relate, use and depend on plastic.
As Lane put it,
“It’s been a collection of information, events and people that have inspired us to find a different way of buying and selling food. We’ve paid attention to the facts and figures and to people like our grandmother who lived through the Great Depression — she re-used everything. We’ve also paid attention to folks like Alice Waters, Michael Pollan and Rachel Botsman who have inspired us to craft a new approach.
Our mission is to minimize waste and promote healthy, sustainable lifestyles by selling local food with pure ingredients, package-free. There’s no waste in nature. Waste is a human invention.
As good stewards of our environment, our top priority is to reduce the amount of waste we produce and reuse what we have. Being package-free radically limits our waste generation. Our business will be waste free; your home can be waste free too.”
We’re a micro grocer in Austin, Texas, but we dream big.
Check out the Huffington Post article featuring Think Beyond Plastic and in.gredients.
There is something idyllic about Green Gate Farms. A historic piece of farmland tucked away in East Austin, it’s easy to miss amongst the RV park and new housing developments. Pulling into the long driveway I was surprised at the amount of cars packed into the parking lot. My surprise turned into delight as I was instantly greeted by children of all ages, offering to give me a tour of the farm and selling me fresh squeezed lemonade.
As it turns out, Green Gate Farms runs a summer farm camp for children ages 5-15. As I was led around by one of the campers, I was impressed by the ownership and pride these kids take in the farm. They have freedom to explore, catch bugs, pet pigs and help run the farm stand. Not only that, but they gain leadership skills as they lead farm tours and interact with the adults and volunteers.
Green Gate Farms is run and managed by Erin Flynn and Skip Connett. They’ve been running the farm for eight years, restoring a historical farm site to bring food, education and community to East Austin. On top of maintaining and running a farm (which is an incredible amount of work), Erin and Skip founded the New Farm Institute, a non-profit that exists to educate, assist and inspire the next generation of sustainable farms, especially those within 30 miles of medium to large cities.
Sitting down with Erin amongst the arts and crafts projects left behind by the campers, it was easy to see that Erin is passionate about what she does. “My husband and I are agricultural activists, we want to work towards a system where farming is made a priority,” Flynn said, “There’s always talk about how we need our police and firemen, I want there to be a shift so people start holding their farmers up in the same way.” As a part of the Sustainable Food Policy Board, Flynn goes above and beyond to be a part of the conversation and community that is working towards making small, family farms a priority, instead of a thing of the past.
“Small, family farms are endangered,” Flynn said, “We are a society based on convenience, and it’s time we stopped trivializing what farmers are doing. I want farming to be a year-long, lucrative profession. If it isn’t, we are going to lose our family farms.” The thought of our beloved Austin farms disappearing should make your knees start to shake. Farmers are some of the most resilient, smart and dedicated people in our community. They’re the people that stock our shelves with mouth-water produce, providing our neighborhood with real, local food.
Our conversation ended when one of the campers ran up with the tragic news that the lemonade was gone. With a smile, Erin excused herself to make sure her campers and visitors were well taken care of. I ended my trip to the farm by stopping at the farm stand. Open on Tuesday (3-6 pm), Friday and Saturday (10-2 pm), the stand is stocked with vegetables and flowers from the farm as well as meat and eggs from nearby.
“We have a vegetable, meat, egg and flower CSAs available,” Flynn said, “We work with farmers nearby that we trust, and only provide our customers with the highest quality products.” You can sign up for their CSA to receive weekly or biweekly shares that include approximately 8-10 seasonal organic vegetables and you can add flowers, eggs and pastured meats. With convenient pick-up spots around town (in.gredients included), there’s no reason not to support this wonderful family farm.
As two young girls gave me the run down on prices, I realized how special it is that I can drive ten minutes from my house and be at Green Gate Farms. Not only is it a farm, it’s an education center where kids can be outside, learn valuable skills and get closer to their food. Green Gate Farms is definitely worth a visit, and if you have a little one there are still week-long programs to join this summer.
Go ahead, take a field trip and connect with your food.