Wednesday, July 29, 2009

America's Favorite Farmers' Markets

From American Farmland Trust (http://www.farmland.org/default.asp):

Farmers markets across the country are in full swing and market tables are laden with the beautiful fruits of summer. Since June 1st, thousands of people have cast their vote through the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest and told use about their favorite market! Have you voted for your favorite? Cast your vote today!

“I love the feeling of shopping and visiting with my neighbors while buying locally grown food. It's a great way of connecting with people and connecting with the land. And the produce is terrific, not to mention the farmers!” America’s Favorite Farmers Markets voter.

With Only Two Weeks Left We Need Your Help to Get Out the Vote!
Send an E-card, Win a Cook Book
Since there are so many dedicated farm and farmers market supporters out there, we decided to create a contest just for market advocates. Five people who send the most e-cards inviting people to vote in the contest will win a signed copy of the Local Flavors cookbook by Deborah Madison.

Take a Look at America’s Favorite Top 20 Farmers Markets
Small, medium, and large farmers markets have been working hard to get the word out about the contest and rally their customers. Now you can see which of the more than 700 farmers markets participating in the contest are currently leading in votes. Visit our new Top 20 Farmers Markets display to see who is in the lead and how many votes your farmers market needs to make it to the top twenty. This list updates each time you refresh, or visit the page, so that you can have up-to-the minute information on the top markets.

Make a Gift to Help Us Spread the Word
Want to help us spread the word about the importance of farmers markets to our communities and for their role in keeping farmers on the land? Make a donation today, and we will put it to work to push for effective policies that protect farmland and support farmers so they can continue to provide food for our tables.

Get Your Community Involved
Make sure your local paper knows about the contest and supports your local farmers market this summer! Write a letter to the editor about the contest and how your vote supports your local farms and farmers markets. Check out more ways you can spread the love for farmers markets.

Sincerely,


Gretchen Hoffman
Communications Coordinator
American Farmland Trust

Monday, July 27, 2009

Westchester Blog-A-Thon

I was invited to participate in the Westchester Farmers' Market Blog-A-Thon in August. I will be posting about my farmers' market finds often that week.

Two of my fellow local bloggers are:

Rinku whose URL is http://cookingwithrinku.blogspot.com and Reginald from www.ceramiccanvas.com. Check them out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My son's video commercial contest entry

My son could win $5,000 and a camera to continue his videographer pursuits. To support him, creat an account at www.if.net and vote once a day until the contest ends. Thanks!

Chilled Curried Zucchini Soup

Noah Sheetz, Executive Chef of the Governor’s Mansion in Albany, New York appeared Saturday at the SUFFERN FARMERS’ MARKET (www.suffernfarmersmarket.org). He prepared the following recipe and more using local ingredients.


Chilled Curried Zucchini Soup


4 cups water
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small white New York state white potato, like Kueka Gold or Salem,
or ½ russet potato, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon white vinegar
¼ yellow onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 zucchini, diced
1 handful fresh spinach or (any leafy green in season may be used as a substitute)
1 cup heavy cream

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the potato, salt and vinegar. Cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the potato is tender. Melt the butter over low heat in a sauté pan. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Stir in the curry, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne. Continue to sauté over low heat for another 30 seconds. Add the onion-spice mixture to the potato water. Add the zucchini and spinach and cook for another 5 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Puree the soup in a blender for 3 – 5 minutes until it is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the cream. Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and pepper if needed. Chill the soup over an ice bath or in the refrigerator for several hours before serving.


Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicken Rolls with Spinach

I was looking for a use for the overabundance of spinach that I have growing in my garden. I gave some to the neighbors - twice - and then decided to feed my own family with some of it. Last night I made chicken stuffed with spinach, basil and cream cheese. The recipe is simple:

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Rolls

For the stuffing mixture:
One cup fresh spinach leaves
Half an 8 oz. package cream cheese
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp pecorino romano cheese
2 fresh basil leaves

8 - 12 thin sliced chicken cutlets
1 egg
Half cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place stuffing mixture ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. spread over one side of each cutlet. Roll and secure with toothpicks. Spray a baking dish and place rolled cutlets in the dish. Brush tops of rolls with beaten egg and spread bread crums over the top. Sprinkle with grated pecorino romano. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Monday, July 20, 2009

FoodprintNYC Call-In Day to City Council representatives

Tuesday, July 21st is FoodprintNYC Call-In Day to your City Council representative!

On June 30, NYC Council Member Bill de Blasio introduced a groundbreaking resolution in the City Council that calls for a citywide "FoodprintNYC" initiative to create greater access to local, fresh, healthy food, especially in low-income communities as well as city-run institutions (see resolution background below).

So far 11 City Council members have signed on as co-sponsors. Make sure your representative shows their support!

Tomorrow, take action to support FoodprintNYC!

Calling your representative is fast, easy, and effective. You can call on your way to the subway, while walking your dog or on your way home from the office. Every call that you make in support of or against a policy issue gets recorded.

Calls are usually short and you are rarely asked questions, as staffers are busy and want to take down your position and get you off the phone!

Here are three quick steps to calling your representative and voicing your support for the FoodprintNYC resolution:

1) Find your City Council representative.

2) Find out if your City Council representative has signed on as a co-sponsor of the FoodprintNYC resolution.

3a) If your city council representative has not yet signed on as a co-sponsor of the resolution, please call their legislative office and urge him or her to support the resolution. Feel free to use the following simple script:

• Hello, my name is ______________ and I am a constituent.

• I live at/in ___________ (give street address or neighborhood so they know you are a constituent).

• I'm calling to urge Council Member _______ to support Resolution 2049 calling for FoodprintNYC.

At this time you'll likely get thanked for calling, and then the purpose of your call will be recorded. If they do ask for more detailed information, here are the key points:

• The resolution was introduced in the City Council by Bill de Blasio on June 30, 2009.

• It is the first resolution in NYC or any other US city to exclusively address climate change through our food system.

• It calls for a citywide initiative to create greater access to local, fresh, healthy plant-based food, especially in low-income communities as well as city-run institutions.

• Increasing availability and use of local, healthy food decreases significant pollution caused by the growing, packing, processing and shipping of food.

If you're calling after hours you can leave a message, state your name, where you're from, your phone number and that you'd like your representative to co-sponsor Resolution 2049 calling for FoodprintNYC.

3b) If your city council representative is one of the 11 members who have already signed on as a co-sponsor of the resolution, please call and thank him or her for their support. Feel free to use the following simple script:

• Hello, my name is ______________ and I am a constituent.

• I live at/in ___________ (give street address or neighborhood so they know you are a constituent).

I'm calling to thank Council Member _______ for their support of Resolution 2049 calling for FoodprintNYC! I am so glad to see the connection between food and climate change being taken seriously.

Thank you!!



FoodprintNYC background

It is estimated that globally one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions comes from agriculture and land use changes, and that approximately 12% of the total GHG emissions per U.S. household result from growing, packing, preparing and shipping food nationwide.

Resolution 2049 is the first ever to address climate change exclusively through our food system and proposes "FoodprintNYC," a citywide initiative designed to lessen the impact the City's food choices and production systems have on climate change through the launch of a public awareness campaign, greater access to local, fresh, healthy food, and the mobilization of the financial and technical support needed to sustain these efforts, especially in low-income communities as well as city-run institutions.

FoodprintNYC, pushed for by the NYC Foodprint Alliance, is meant to build on PlaNYC, which aims to reduce global warming and encourage environmental awareness, yet does not address food and farming. The resolution also builds upon the environmentally friendly policies and programs recommended in the Manhattan Borough President's 2009 report "Food in the Public Interest."

For more information: www.foodprintusa.org or nadia@justfood.org.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pay attention or we will all bee hungry

Just Food in NYC has an eat local event coming up in September. They also have a petition on their site to legalize beekeeping in NYC. I encourage everyone to sign it. http://www.justfood.org/jf/index.html

Pasted below is an article from the Journal News in Westchester County, NY on the importance of bees to our food supply:
Photos:
http://jukebox.lohud.com/photos/refers/index.php?gallery=Bee%20keeping%20at%20Pace%20University

July 3, 2009
Honeybees make sweet work at Pace
Greg Clary
The Journal News

A couple of years ago, when somebody mentioned to me that there was big die-off of bees that could be catastrophic for humans, my first response was "Why? Because we would have to live without being stung?"

Most everybody's had a run-in with a bee - but at the time I barely knew the difference between a honeybee and a bumblebee.

I thought all those little critters did was pollinate flowers and sting people.
Yesterday, I found out how much I didn't know.

"Honeybees are pretty passive, unless you get into their flight path," said James Eyring, the assistant director of Pace University's Environmental Center in Pleasantville. "They don't like you in their way."

Eyring started a beekeeping operation at Pace two months ago, at the suggestion of Nick Robinson, the school's environmental law legend and an amateur beekeeper himself.
"He said we should do it because it's the right thing to do," Eyring said. "It's also good for the students to get a close look at how nature works."

Watching and listening to Eyring, I found it pretty clear that honeybees are almost always working.

"We should get 100 pounds of honey by the end of the summer," he said, lifting up racks of worker bees turning pollen and sugar water into beeswax and the familiar golden liquid. "At four bucks a pound for honey and eight bucks a pound for beeswax, however, I wouldn't want to make a living as a beekeeper."

Pace's powers that bee opted to fund the project - about $600 for the two working hives - because as Robinson said in an Earth Day speech, one-third of the U.S. food supply depends on bees.

"We need them to pollinate our crops, like the almond trees of California, where most of the world's almonds are grown, or the apples trees of the Hudson Valley," Robinson said. "The continued use of these chemicals is a threat to our food supplies and to our spring pollination."
Robinson cited ice-cream producer Häagen-Dazs' warning that 40 percent of its 60 flavors depend on fruits and nuts that are pollinated by bees.

I don't know about you, but when pesticide makers mess around with my favorite food, I start paying attention.

What's happening to bees is called "colony collapse disorder," and Eyring is one of many who believes the deadly plague is connected to the use of pesticides, most specifically a chlorinated nicotine based insecticide.

"The bees are in trouble. CCD is akin to the canary in the mine shaft," said Eyring, a Lake Carmel resident. "If we lose honeybees, we're in trouble. We're already losing production on our farms, agriable lands. It's scary to think of how wrong things have gone if we're losing honeybees. They should be a wake-up call."

If you don't think bees are important to your daily diet, consider that farmers truck in hives and rent them for two or three weeks during blossoming time, letting the beekeepers keep the honey as long as the bees work the plants. A bigger crop is the result and well worth the investment, Eyring said.

Look at the national facts on the matter, from the Environmental Protection Agency:
- Honeybees are essential for crop production, particularly for specialty crops such as nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables.

- They pollinate more than 90 commercial crops, so that the plants can reproduce and provide the abundance and variety of foods we enjoy.
- Pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value.
The other thing that struck me yesterday was how smart bees are as a group.
Everybody knows the queen is the hub of the hive - she produces the next generation, is served by the drones and workers, sleeps until noon ...
But what might be less well-known is that it is at best a constitutional monarchy, because if the queen's not doing her job in the eyes of her attendants, they depose her.
"They're all working with one goal in mind: the good of the hive," Eyring said. "If she's not doing her job, not producing properly, they either kill her or push her out."
There might be a civics lesson in that for us.

For the original article with photos:
http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009907030332

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quitter to appear at the Suffern Music and Arts Festival

My husband's band, Quitter (www.quitterband.com) has been selected to perform at the first annual Suffern Music and Arts Festival (www.suffernmusicandartsfestival.com) Sept. 6.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vote for Your Favorite Farmers' Market!

SUFFERN FARMERS’ MARKET MAY BE VOTED ONE OF
AMERICA’S FAVORITE FARMERS MARKETS

Suffern Farmers’ Market has entered into a national contest for farmers markets being held by American Farmland Trust.

The market is open Saturdays, June through November from 9:00am to 1:00pm, rain or shine in the Commuter Parking Lot on Orange Ave. at Lafayette. Available at the market are locally grown and produced organic vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, wine, cheese, yogurt, pickles, prepared foods, baked goods, coffee, maple syrup, honey, plants, flower bouquets and more. The market features live entertainment each week along with regular cooking demos and children’s activities

Farmers markets represent one of the great ways that food consumers can support their local farmers, farmland, communities, and regional economy. This summer, American Farmland Trust’s contest for America’s Favorite Farmers Markets, is a way for market customers to voice their support and take pride in their community. Farmers markets can register to join the contest by visiting, www.farmland.org/marketmanager. Customers across the nation will vote their market to the top on-line at www.farmland.org/vote. One large, medium, and small farmers market will win the title of America’s Favorite Farmers Market in 2009, and the winning markets will each receive a free No Farms No Food ® tote bag giveaway for their customers.

By partnering with farmers markets, American Farmland Trust is encouraging consumers to consider the importance of farmland and to support local farmers. Put succinctly, there is no local food without local farmland. Market shoppers can cast their vote in support of their region’s farmers, community, and market. To vote for Suffern Farmers’ Market simply visit www.farmland.org/vote.

American Farmland Trust—along with many local and state governments, and non-profit groups, is working to make “growing local” a reality for farmers, ranchers and consumers. Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, and Healthy Communities: It’s what America needs!

Find out more about American Farmland Trust’s Growing Local Campaign:
www.farmland.org/local

American Farmland Trust is a national nonprofit organization working with communities and individuals to protect farmland, promote sound stewardship of that land and improve the economic vitality of agriculture. As the nation’s leading advocate for farm and ranch land conservation, AFT has ensured that millions of acres of American farm and ranch land stays bountiful and productive. With offices around the country, AFT’s headquarters are in Washington, DC. The phone number is 202-331-7300.

embracing a sustainable lifestyle as a Locavore ... using locally grown and produced ingredients whenever possible ...

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