May 2009


GlobalWarmingThe debate continues on whether global warming exists or not.  Is it caused by humans?  Is it nature just going through its phases?  Or is it a little bit of both?  Whether you believe in global warming or not, it’s no secret that we create a lot of waste and then dump it on other countries.  According to The National Geographic, the average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash every day.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 27 percent of our trash is food waste, which creates methane in the landfills.  This carelessness is becoming expensive, especially during these penny-pinching times.  So global warming or not, how can we help the environment and save some money?

  • Compost your food scraps/waste or feed it to animals.  You would be surprised at how many dogs and cats love veggies, and chickens will eat just about anything.  You can bring your compost to the Hollygrove Market’s compost bin, or you can feed them to the newest Hollygrove residents — our hens!  Make sure that you don’t throw into the compost pile any bones, meat or oil-based substances.
  • Eat more veggies!  According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a meat-based diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day.  A plant-based diet requires 300 gallons per day.  You still crave that meat?  Reduction in meat and balance between the two is always a safe bet.
  • You’re already doing this one – buy locally!  On average, produce travels 1,500 miles before finding a tummy.  Buying locally ensures that the produce is fresh and more nutritious since it is picked when ripe, and it supports your local economy!

Here are some other non-food tips:

  • Set your refrigerator to 37-40 degrees.  This will keep everything cool enough without wasting electricity.  Along the wall or in the back is the coldest area for items that require cooler storage.  If it’s time to purchase a new refrigerator, look for an Energy Star rated-fridge.  The 2009 version uses 40 percent less energy than the conventional refrigerator in 2001.  They also consume 20 percent less energy than required by the federal standards.
  • If you have a convection oven, consider using that over your traditional oven.  If you don’t have one, consider getting one.  They cook 25-30 percent faster.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it is full.  This can reduce your water usage by up to 35 percent, not to mention savings on your energy bill.  Here’s a tip that you may not have known: running the dishwasher at night saves even more energy.  Power plants generate electricity more efficiently during off-peak hours.

Above all, eat your food!  We’re all guilty of the need to slow down our schedules so that we not only enjoy our food but also to eat it!  So sit down with your family, call a friend, or have some alone-time and eat your Hollygrove veggies!

And now for your weekly recipe and the Farms Map:

Recipe: Roasted Fairy Tale Eggplant

Map: Farms

Advertisements

IMG_0553Makin’ Groceries nowadays is a tough thing to do. Walk into any local grocer and you may find yourself feeling like you are in a horror movie: contorted faces and a few sighs or even gasps. All the drama you may be witnessing is over the cost of food and other necessary household items-maybe even you catch yourself having those exact same mannerisms like we do sometimes.

According to the media this past week food prices are on the rise again. There several reasons for spikes in the economy of food supply and demand. Some predictions are that long after the recession is ‘over’ the habits we have changed during this (that) time is expected to have a lasting effect.  However, it seems that watching or reading the news is like being on an emotional rollercoaster. Do this but don’t do this. Grow your own food but worry about lead which by all means is important concern but the recent NY Times article bounces back and forth between:

“Harmful even at very low doses, lead is surprisingly prevalent and persistent in urban and suburban soil. Dust from lead-tainted soil is toxic to inhale, and food grown in it is hazardous to eat.

Thanks in part to the influence of the local-food movement and to economic considerations, more households in the United States plan, like the Obamas, to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries this year. . . seven million more households than prior years. . .

Soil is likely to contain high levels of lead if it is near any structure built before 1978, when lead-based paint was taken off the market, or if a building of that vintage was ever demolished on the site. Pesticides containing lead were often used on fruit trees, so land close to old orchards is also of concern. And beware of soil around heavily trafficked roadways; it, too, is probably laced with lead. But environmental engineers and soil experts said any place is potentially tainted.”

That’s just the first page. It almost felt like we were re-living the last eight soil_art_workyears of lives: be afraid, be very afraid.

Okay so now we are afraid what are we supposed to do?

Continue to pay high prices for food with what seems like an ever shrinking wallet?

Grow your own food but be certain that somewhere lead or no lead there may be some other contaminants. Amendments will have to be made–requiring more work and learning about how stirring up the soil in your backyard may be potentially harmful to your children is enough to send anyone over the edge.

One answer may be to make better informed decisions (from sources you may not even like or trust but will help in the decision making process; digesting both sides of the story), make time to learn about gardening, cooking, and eating the food you may have grown or purchased. All of the work it takes to making and applying those decisions are much harder than going to the store to purchase your food.  Sometimes you have to remember there is no such thing a perfect or ideal environment and right now the American public demands control with transparency especially when it comes to food.

Fear and the media’s use of fear is a highly motivating factor so now is the time to take things into your own hands and Get Your Dig On!

For more thought provoking articles check out:

The Jew & the Carrot’s post about Planning Ahead for Sustainability’s Sake.

NY Times: Food Prices: Myth vs. Reality

NY Times: Glorious Food

And now for your weekly recipe and the Farms Map:

Week 31 Recipe:Mushroom Ragout

Week 31 Map:farmer map wk31

If you had a chance last Saturday to come and pick up a box you had one the most eclectic boxes since the start. We thought that getting through the Winter to Spring (if there is one) might have been a difficult transition–the onset of Spring directly into Summer has been interesting and surprisingly beneficial. Our box ranged from green beans to English peas to yellow onions and finishing with mixed squash. Summer has arrived and you can look forward to having more amazing produce coming in throughout the summer.

Some of this amazing produce is grown right here within the city. Macon Fry ‘Garden Guy’ has an amazing plot only a few blocks away from the Hollygrove Market & Farm on 1020 S. Telemachus. The garden is full of tomatoes: Box Car Willies, Cherokee Purple and a few others. Let’s not forget Italian Roasting Peppers, Yellow Bell Peppers, and a few squash.

Marilyn Yank, one of the founding members of New Orleans Food & Farm Network, has a lovely little urban plot located in Mid-City called: Little Sparrow Farm (at the corner of S. Cortez St. and Cleveland Ave across from the Ruby Slipper). Recently Marilyn, Jeanette Bell, and Joesph Brock were featured in an article in City Business.

While our food supply is supposedly safer than 100 years ago and probably a little better than 10 years ago we still are seeing media coverage about how consumers are getting sick. From reports of a girl in Washington falling ill after eating at a salad bar and let’s not forget the outbreak of e.coli in spinach in 2006. Ever wonder why there are  expiration dates/use by dates on everything including water? It is because of handling, packaging, and transport time. Limited facilities to process items such as spinach and peanuts were once thought to have control over quality but instead has proven to be a game of Risk. Why?

There are several reasons: the handling practices, the processing, and if the item being processed is contaminated with enough of a bacteria and transported across the country with the infected food stuff sealed soundly in a bag — you have the perfect petri dish. By the time it reaches your table:

A) it is not fresh and the longer the amount of time from being harvested to consumption the foodstuff in question has less nutrients.

B) has had the right amount of time for the entire contents of said bag to riddled with potentially harmful bacteria.

President Obama has vowed to work on Food Safety issues and food safety begins with eating and purchasing local food items as much as possible, making sure to know (if you have chance) your grower and their practices, and respecting your food (& yourself) by handling it properly.  It is important to Hollygrove Market & Farm to work with smaller family farms, urban growers, and overall stewards of the land & ultimately our food.

Week 30 Recipe: Stuffed PattyPan Squash

Week 30 Farms: Map

If you have had a chance in the last month to make it out to the Crescent City Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays or the American Can Co. Market on Thursday then you might have run across Dan Esses’ handmade pastas and sauces. Esses Foods uses local farms seasonal produce to compliment the fresh handmade pastas which include: tortellini, ravioli, linguini, gnocchi, and paperdelle noodles.  The Hollygrove Market and Farm Staff frequents the CCFM and occasionally the Mid-City American Can Co. Market to check out all that is happening in food as well as researching the vendors with their foodstuffs for possible sale on the Hollygrove Market & Farm shelves once the store is opened.

This past Tuesday we had a chance to try a pasta and a sauce from the offerings of Dan’s tent at the CCFM: Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese Ravioli & Cauliflower Garlic Cream Sauce.

The ravioli and the sauce were served for dinner that night.

I haven’t thought about anything else since. The cauliflower cream sauce is simple with cauliflower, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, cream, maybe a bit of butter. It was wonderful: you could taste cauliflower– it stood up next to what might be expected (some think cauliflower has ‘no taste’) to taste like a plain Jane Alfredo, we served it with extra crispy bacon crumbles on top. The ravioli stood up nicely as well. The sharp almost acidic bite (lemon) of the goat cheese and chard came barreling through every chew.

If you want to find out more about Dan Esses & what Esses Foods is up to (and you should) look to our links and sign up for his newsletter on the site. Also in case you missed it, NOLA.com has an article about Dan, his background (professional & a bit personal) and a video clip available.

If you aren’t sure about fresh pasta or how to cook it click here. Remember because it’s fresh means a much shorter cooking time 2-5 minutes depending on pasta.

Bon Appetit

This past Buyers’ Club which I am not sure if everyone knows is just a few weeks over the 1/2 year mark.  We are now coming into fresh-vine-ripened-explode-in-your-mouth tomato season which will be followed by blueberries, peaches, plums, and maybe even raspberries from a small farm on the Northshore.

This Saturday’s offering gave you a few unique options which included a mixed box of squash: zucchini, golden zucchini, yellow straight neck, and Pattypan. Pattypan squash is a summer squash that resembles a scalloped flying saucer and can come in a variety of colours but the most popular is white. The name Pattypan, derives from “a pan to bake a patty.” Pretty redundant-but this odd shaped squash is known in French cooking as ‘patisson’ which means ‘a cake baked in scalloped mold.’ This could be an easy segway into linguistics and about the history concerning the naming of things but this is a blog post and not a research paper about answering the question, “What the hell do I do with this?”

The Pattypan squash is best eaten when it is only 3 to 4 inches in diameter and  most often the flesh is scooped out and mixed with garlic or other seasonings. Once the flesh is mixed with seasoning the squash is re-stuffed and baked. Sometimes the squash is simply hollowed out used to hold other foodstuffs; decoration. In general, you will find the squash is used in much the same manner as other varieties: blanched, sliced, battered in a light egg wash and flour, then fried in hot iron skillet. If all that sounds like too much work then check out the recipe for this week (see below). Remember that the pattypan is a rich in magnesium, niacin, and one cup contains (plain, no butter or bacon fat included in these statistics) only 20 to 30 calories and absolutely no fat. So that just may be worth the effort and the perfect blank slate in which one can experiment in flavor.

Week 29 Recipe: Tasty Herbed Flying Saucers & other Identified Squash

Week 29 Map: Farms