Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bee Keeping

The very sad story about our dwindling bee populations (called Colony Collapse Disorder) has been a hot topic lately.  That is exactly why I chose to attend an educational session on beekeeping at the Georgia Organics Conference.  I though I would learn how it is done, a little bit about bees and maybe try and figure out how to bee keep myself.  Well, little did I know how ridiculously amazing these creatures are and how I may need to study up a bit more before diving in to actually keeping them.  I am still shocked at how intelligent and complex bees are, not only that, how they are a vital part of our food chain.  We must do what we can to help them out!
What are thought to be contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder are two major things: imported pests and use of pesticides.  
The thing that I know that I can do immediately, as I don’t see myself becoming a master beekeeper in the near future, is avoid buying anything but organic.  I know that this is not the answer for everything but what I do know is that if people do not support conventional farming and the demand for better practices in our food system is exhibited in our buying patterns, it can do nothing but good.  From the bees on up!  I understand more and more everyday how far the problems in our food system have gone and how every little thing in the circle of this process are affected.  Also, I understand that every little thing each individual does in order to better support our movement of better food, better environment, better community, better world, counts!  EVERYTHING counts!
The first and foremost thing that Mark Bradel of the Coastal Empire Beekeeping Association said in regards to beginning Bee Keeping was to get your neighbors on board!!!  Promise them honey!   Also, be willing to withstand beestings!  Aside from the building of the hive and harvesting of the honey, keeping the bees happy is most important.  They don’t require much but these are the things that are important for bees besides protection: location; one that is one near water, in a somewhat secluded area, near a good food supply (flowering plants), and not in direct weather (full sun or up on hill).  The personal equipment you will need includes: a bee veil, coveralls, Velcro, gloves and boots.  The equipment you will need includes: a smoker, hive tool, frame lifter, bee brush, hammer, Bees, hive, and courage!  He also said that they are willing to come to you and help set up hives and check on the bees periodically.  Pretty simple!  I am working on the courage part.
One of the things that struck me most about the bees is there incredible sense of community.  Their system is so complex and well oiled it is an inspiration to anyone.  We should take this inspiration and do what we can to help save the bees. Please.

Bee Facts:
-The old queen kills the new one
-The queen is the only one who eats royal jelly
-The queen can lay 1500 eggs a day and live from 2-5 years
-The worker bees only live from 4-6 weeks
-They make “bee bread” (a mixture of honey and pollen) to feed the babies!

Some good resources: Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston
               Backyard Beekeeper by Kim Flottum
               You Tube!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Go Grow Conference

It has taken me a few days to come down from the trip to Savannah to attend the annual Georgia Organics conference.  My head has just been spinning with information, ideas, and inspiration. My husband Matt said that “it sparked a fire” in me.  Although I am still processing everything there were things that I can comment on immediately.  Besides just the incredible energy that surrounds that kind of gathering of people with a common passion, the information and stories that were shared were none other than life changing.  The movie GROW that they premiered was the most moving (go see it!!!!).  I think I could have cried the entire time.  It shared the stories of the new face of farmers, our generation, of 20 farmers in Georgia and was just a beautifully shot piece.  It will make you want to become a farmer.  One of the farmers in particular struck me.  Her name is Arianne McGinnis of Hope Grows farm and she said that she sees her farming as her form of activism.  I think that we can (and should) all look at our lives and practices to see what could be our forms of activism and make it happen.
check this out:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Georgia Organics Conference

At the 14th Annual Georgia Organics Conference & Expo, every attendee will have the opportunity to grow in whatever form they choose.
 That's why the theme is GO GROW! We are all producers and consumers, teachers and students, growers & eaters - we are all intermingling in a system that, we hope, will become a balanced one.
We are traveling to Georgia Organics Conference. Keep tuned in for updates!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Recipes created from goods off the Farm Mobile

Winter Pasta with Kale, Sausage and Navy Beans
Serves 4-6

12 oz. Italian style sausage
 1 pound of short pasta, cooked according to package instructions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 pound of kale, cut into thin ribbons
1 can Navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons butter
Freshly grated Parmesan Reggianno
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of red chili flake
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Grill the sausages over medium-medium high heat for 6-7 minutes per side or until the reach 165-170 degrees.  Allow to rest then cut into 1/2 slices on the diagonal. 
Start the pasta and in large straight-sided skillet heal the olive oil on medium heat.  Once the oil shimmers add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and shallot and cook for a few minutes more.  Then add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the kale and stir to incorporate.  Add the navy beans butter and a good amount of Parmesan cheese and about a cup and a half of the pasta water.  Season with salt and a pinch or two of the red chili flake.    Finish with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and serve over pasta with parsley and more Parmesan.

Radishes and Salad Turnips with Herb Compound butter
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

1 bunch of French Breakfast Radishes, greens trimmed, and cut in half
1 bunch Salad Turnips, greens trimmed and reserved for another use, turnips cut into quaters
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 teaspoons dried tarragon
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Fleur de Sel for serving

Combine the butter, herbs and salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle and mix on medium speed until well combined.  Serve with Radishes, turnips, and Fleur de Sel.

Apple Lemon Cocktail
Serves 1

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1/4 apple cider
1/2 lemon, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup sparkling water

Combine over ice and enjoy, responsibly!

Yummy Juice
Serves 4

Handful of fresh Kale
4 medium carrots or 8 small ones
2 apples, stems removed
2 navel oranges, skin removed

Using a juicer, juice all the fruits and vegetables according to machines instructions.  Serve immediately.

Our first stop: The Farm Mobile.

What a fantastic idea!!!  Riverview Farms has brought the food to the people.  Having product even when the farmer’s markets were hibernating for the winter, Riverview Farms, decided to take it on the road.  They travel around the city and park in different locations for a few hours at a time and sell their goods.  Not only is the truck super hip (and about to run on solar power) it is chock full of delicious local foods, from meats and produce from Riverview to cookies and muffins from 13 Moons Bakery.  They also carry local made cheese from Sequatchie Cove Creamery, breads from Holeman and Finch, eggs from Gregg (a 13 year old boy running his own egg business, HOW AWESOME), to local made jams and pestos. The folks aboard are knowledgeable and friendly. It is a one-stop shop; you can get everything you need for a meal right there!

We purchased some incredible radishes and salad turnips, which were something new to me, and ended up being rather sweet and yummy (my mother would be proud!!!).  We also picked up some beautiful kale and Berkshire pork sausage.  Which we ended up making a wonderful winter pasta dish with these ingredients plus a few staples and pantry items.  We also made some Yummy Juice, my son Ethan’s favorite juice, with carrots, kale, apples, and oranges!  What a great food day! Thanks Farm Mobile!!!

Follow the Farm Mobile : 


Why a blog?

  I wanted to start this blog to help spread the word about eating well and eating locally.  I have loved food my whole life and now as a food stylist work with it everyday.  As I learned more and more about food I learned the importance of eating quality/organic, in season, and local food.  But when it really hit me was when my son was born.  I realized then that I had a blank canvas to work with and teach and utterly helpless person counting on me for nutrition and survival.  This heightened my awareness of what I was eating as well as what the rest of my family was eating.  Understanding the connection between what you eat and how you feel is a driving force for making better choices about your food.  To continue that thought, the connection between buying locally has many positive effects on the cycle of it all.  Not only are you supporting the small, family businesses you are supporting good environmental practices.  Knowing where your food is coming from and who is growing it is a very satisfying and safe feeling.  Family, health, community, earth.