Category Archives: Food Activism

Garden Season: At 100 degrees

Ann Arbor Food

Chard

Man. It has been a crazy hot year for gardening.

I got in late this year, but it worked out because I was able to get a two garden plots at the new Project Grow Gardens on Platt Rd.

This week’s Harvest will be kale, chard, collards, arugula, radish and basil. It will be my first official harvest of the season.

I am looking forward to green beans and spinach if it does not bolt.

Ann Arbor Food

Radish

Below is a close up of my garden set up. I tend to favor a simple design of slightly raise beds 2-3 feet wide. I plant in 1, 2,  or 3 rows per bed depending on the plants.

When planting seeds, I use chop sticks to mark my rows.

A basic rule is that a seed package will provide enough seed for a 1, 2, or 3 rows the length of one of my arms span for a good seeding.

For bigger plants like cabbage, broccoli, kale and tomatoes, I plant in two rows with each plant places off center from from the row over. (see the Kale pictures, which might be hard to see because they are now bushy.

Sometimes I use straw in my rows, but most of the time I don’t and hoe the weeds (It has been, so hot that I am a little behind as you can see.)

Row by Row: Turnip, Mustard, Arugula

For those who have read about my potato fiasco last year, I am back to the traditional method of digging a trench and hill up with dirt.

Ann Arbor Food

Potatoes beds and seeds

Happy Hill-ed Potatoes

I will be posting other garden designs from follow community gardeners soon.

So What am I growing?

Green beans
5 kinds of Kale
Collards
4 Kinds of Potato (Salad, Fingerling, yukons
Sweet Potato
Watermelon (baby and large)
Cantaloupe
Cucumbers (Pickling, standard, english and Armenian
Mustard Greens (Mizuna and Purple)
Arugula
Spinach (If it does not bolt)
Onions
Eggplant (Japanese and Large Purple)
Peppers (Red sweet, Cayenne
tomatoes (Not sure, I inherited some of Project Grows plants…20 plants)
Radish Three Kinds (breakfast, red ball, diakon)
Turnips (Big and white Japanese)
Kohlrabi
Broccoli
Cabbage
Winter Squash (Butternut, Buttercup, acorn)
Flowers (Mix)
Herbs (Parsley, rosemary, thyme, hyssop, basil,
Giant Snow Peas (If they grow in this heat)
Beets
Corn
Chard
Celeriac
Radicchio
Carrot

My Garden. It goes all the way up the hill 25 x 60

Ann Arbor Food

Kale: Dino, White, Red Russian, Green, and Curly,

Bona Sera Kickstarter

Please help support Bona Sera’s Kickstarter to help them start up their new place.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/164888723/bona-sera-above-ground/widget/video.html

Ann Arbor Wood Fire Pizza Cart

Nick Wilkinson A2 Pizza Pi Wood Fired Pizza

Nick Wilkinson, an Ann Arbor native started A2 Pizza Pi (as in the symbol for pi), a wood fired pizza food cart. You can find him manning the wood fire oven at Mark’s Carts.(directions)

This the second season for the Mark’s Carts and the first season for A2 pizza Pi.

A2 Pizza Pi Ann Arbor Wood Fire Pizza

Nick got help starting his business by running a successful Kickstarter.com fund raiser raising over $10,000. I contributed to his fundraiser, which include a pizza for my support.

Nick strives for locally sourced organic ingredients for his pizza including local flour, sausage, fresh herbs and veggies.

He features seven different pizza, but will customize.

A2 Pizza Pi Wood Fire Pizza Menu

The pizza I tried was a Margarita with the addition of sausage.

Wood Fire Sausage Pizza

The heat of the oven gets around 700-800 degrees, which makes for a thin crust pizza cooked in a little over a minute.

Nick At the Oven

An interested feature to his oven is that he uses wood, which has been infected by the Emerald Ash Borer. The wood can not be taken outside of the area and it can only be disposed of by burning.

Ash Wood with Emerald Ash Borer groves

Mark’s Carts
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Pizza
Price Range $ (0-10)
Hours
Tue – Sat: 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Specialties

Lunch
Dinner
Services

Walk-Ins Welcome
Good For Groups
Good For Kids
Take Out
Outdoor Seating
Parking
Street

Contact Info
Phone 1 (734) 834-9775

Eat Your Garden Veggies

Garden season is here again and that means veggies.

One of the good things, yet challenges with gardening is the amount of fresh veggies that seemed to all come in at once.

I have been thinking about this dilemma ever since I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) and I found myself with a random section of veggies that I had to figure out what to do with.

I needed a way to get a variety of veggies into my meals before everything went bag (and to make room in the frig for the next CSA BOX)

Out of this came what I call: 

Gardeners Essential Veggie Recipes/Techniques.

I felt all gardens needed to know them to best use their veggies. The list is not complete, but here is a start.

Recipe will follow in later posts.

Cole Slaw

Veggies: (Cabbage, carrot, radish, onion, scallion, beets, turnip, apple etc…)

Cole Slaw is not just green cabbage and mayo. In fact, you don’t need to use mayo at all. I prefer an Asian slaw made with a soy vinaigrette. The great thing about a slaw is that it will keep for a few days and you can use a food processor to prep the veggies.

Curry

Veggies: Root veggies especially potato, squashes, green beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower, onion, peppers, broccoli, spinach and leafy greens, mushrooms

There are a number of types of curry like Indian and Thai. Serve over rice, with meat, seafood or in a soup

Pizza

Veggies: Tomato, onion, pesto herbs, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, spinach, etc…

Pizza is one of those great way to sneak veggies into a meal for kids

quiche

Veggies: Spinach, dark leafy greens, broccoli (kale, collards, mustard greens, beet greens, chard), onion, tomato, root veggies, peppers, corn etc..

Quiche is a two-fer because it also allows you to use up all of those eggs on a CSA or if you have chickens. They also freeze well. They are a great way to use up all of those dark leafy greens you have especially late in the season when your kale is on the tougher side.

Roasted root vegetables

Veggies: Potatoes, Onion, garlic, carrot, celery root, sweet potato, radish, turnip, squashes, parsnip, parsley root, beets, rutabaga, pumpkin, corn

Roasted root veggies make great leftovers, so make a big batch. They can be a huge mix of veggies. I rarely use just one veggie anymore. This is my go to when the veggies start pouring in. And it works with a ton of meals like chicken, steak, fish, tofu, sausage etc.

Stir Fry

Veggies: broccoli. carrot, celery, peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbages, eggplant etc..

Stir fry is similar to curries. It is served over rice or noodles. A huge number of veggies can work in one dish. The trick is timing when you put in the veggies, so they are done at the same time.

It can be all veggie or served with beef, fish, chicken or tofu and top with nuts and seeds for a more satisfying vegan meal.

Salad Dressing

Veggies: Fresh Raw veggies, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, in slaw, etc…

Lets face it. Most of our fresh veggies are going to be washed, cut and eaten raw, so having a list of some basic salad dressing and stocking the frig is an order of the season. A basic vinaigrette of good olive oil, vinegar (or citrus) salt, pepper, red pepper flake and fresh chopped herbs is my go to.

Mashed Veggies

Veggies: Root veggies

Mashed veggies are an alternative to roasting. The veggies are boiled until tender and mashed. You can selected a combination of veggies or just one. Add butter, salt and pepper and a touch of maple and honey and you are good to go.

Others:
Omelettes
Pot Pie
Soups

 

Real Time Farms Rock

Here is a great video of Cara Rosaen of Realtimefarms.com, a great resource to find out where our food comes from.

Paula Dean: The Rise and Fall

For people in the foodie world, the news is out about Paula Dean, the queen of fried and southern comfort food.

The News: Dean has type 2 Diabetes…and she had been hiding it for three years, while selling her brand of high calorie, fried, EVERYDAY FOOD.

She announce a big money drug endorsement deal to boot and has her son playing a little cover with his new show “Not My Mama Meals,” which is supposed to feature healthier food.

From:

Of Mouselike Bites and Marathons, by Frank Bruni, NYT

What’s more, she [Dean] had waited three long, greasy years since her diagnosis to come out. During that period, she promoted the deep-fried life without acknowledging her firsthand experience of how a person can be burned by it.

That’s a profound, unsettling act of withholding. But it’s mirrored by many smaller, less calculated, more innocent ones in the world of food celebrities and food celebrators, including those of us who have written orgiastic accounts of sumptuous dinners. Deen’s revelation jolted me in part because people in the business of peddling gastronomic bliss rarely draw such a bold connection between indulgence and its possible wages.

So are the food celebrities the food gluttons that we tend to believe they are or are they good at hiding it like a skilled under cover cop on a drug beat?

The issue I have with Dean, having never made any of her food and found her recipes and show more of an outrageous food laugh line than cuisine, is her lack of damage control.

She should have fessed up after her diagnosis.

But the larger issue is that the whole industry of food TV/publishing/Media.

People are cooking less and these food writers are running marathons and going on juice fast to have made-for-TV bodies that do not come from the food and indulgent lifestyle they promote.

We can point to Dean, but it did not start with her.

But what gets me about Dean is that she promoted her food as everyday, not special occasion fare.

Maybe more food celebrities should out themselves about how they eat and then maybe we can have a food media that reflects a lifestyle that will not promote obesity and Diabetes.

Join the Eat More Kale campaign

I am not sure when I came into my Eat More Kale sticker. It was a few years back and I put it on a journal notebook. It was my Eat More Kale notebook and I thought the slogan was pretty cool.

Kale is a kick ass food because it is a dark leafy green. The battle cry of nutritionist every where is “Eat more dark leafy greens” and Kale had the goods, but unless you were from the Southern USA or had a taste for white beans and kale soup, most people did not eat the stuff.

So when I saw the sticker, I thought this slogan is really saying something.

So I was surprised when I saw a NYT article a few days ago about the guy who started the Eat More Kale slogan and how he was actually being sued by Chik-fil-A to block his trademark of his slogan because they said would be confused with their slogan Eat Mor Chikin. (Really?)

In defense, Bo Mulller-Moore has started a petition against Chik-fil-a.

Check out his website for info on Eat More Kale stuff and to sign the petition.

In the mean time, Eat More Kale. Your body will thank you for it.

CB

Occupy Ice Cream: Ben and Jerry’s hand out free Ice Cream to Occupy Wall Street in DC

I have been a fan of Ben and Jerry’s for some time, especially when I lived in Vermont. The have a progressive philosophy with business and they are just plan fun people. I used to attend their shareholder party/concert every year.

So it is no surprise to hear that they are showing up at Occupy locations across the country and dishing out free ice cream.

Ben And Jerry’s Duo Distribute Free Ice Cream To McPherson Square’s Occupy Protesters, by Hayley Miller

“Ben and Jerry’s has proved that a corporation can support the community and use its power to improve the quality of life for everybody and still make a profit,” Cohen told reporters at the event. “As our business supports the community, the community supports us back. … I think it would be great if other corporations could follow suit.”

There take on business as doing good for the community is in contrast to winner take all gambles with the community getting left holding the bag.

Although they are admittedly part of the 1 percent that the occupiers continuously criticize, the legendary ice cream entrepreneurs are touring the country in support of the anti-corporatism movement and have issued a statement on their websitesupporting Occupy demonstrators.

It seems like more and more of the 1% are with the 99% like Buffet and Gates and the Cohens. Now if we can only get more of them on board.

“I think that there’s a lot of people in the 1 percent that believe that the laws in our country have been rigged to support the wealthy,” Cohen said. “It shouldn’t be surprising that people are advocating for things that don’t necessarily help them, but help the community in general,” he said, adding that a constitutional amendment could “solve the problem”

I think more of the 1% would be open to paying more in taxes if there were policies in place, but they are not going to tax themselves right.

Occupy Wall Street: Winter Wonder Land?

We are the 99% protest sign in Down town Dayton Ohio with a season pumpkin stand

OK. I know this is mostly a food blog, but I have taken a little break to talk about the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which does have elements of Food Activism, with off shoot movements like Occupy Monsanto.

The big question is winter. Will the Occupy part of the movement be hindered by the cold winter weather?

I figure it will get harder and harder for people to stay out 24/7 on cold winter nights. Full time Occupying is both the strength and the challenge to the movement.

Not since the Hoovervilles of the great depression has mass Occupy protests been used.

Improvised Rain Shelter Container, Downtown Dayton

But the deal is that full time occupiers seem to be only a handful of people who support the movement like myself.

Ed Shultz of MSNBC’s, The Ed Show, calls the movement, the 99%, which takes the whole Occupy out of the equation to represent it as the angry 99% who have seen their portion of wealth stagnate as the 1% sky rockets thanks to lower taxes like capital gains and bail out of Wall Street.

On a trip to Dayton Ohio’s Occupy group, members told me that there are large groups on weekends in the hundreds, but only 4-6 full time occupiers with about 10 people there on daytimes.

Dayton Ohio Occupy Wall Street Protestor with a sign that could have been taken from the Tea Party

The Full Timers do get the attention (and the arrests) and for those in the movement the deserve our support.

For me it is about increasing numbers, which comes from the large group of weekend warrior types and participation in pre-planned large attended rallies and marches.

More Signs then Protestor on week days awaiting weekend warriors to carry them, Dayton Ohio

I say, lets get the large rallies happening where people come out in great numbers and make a loud noise for a few hours, gain momentum, network and then go home to keep it going on social media, youtube, blogs and to their friends at work.

This means bumper stickers, T-shirts, buttons etc…and flyers around campus along with pre-planning for schedule events.

See my Occupy Wall Street Shop at Cafepress.com

If you are going to college, start an Occupy Group or if you belong a to church, how about starting an occupy group on the grounds of your church or inside?

And lets not forget the Spring, Summer and Fall weather is a few months away with this next election season. Once the weather warms up, Occupiers will be in force occupying the beach heads the hardcore members have staked a claim too.

 

 

Occupy Wall Street: Occupy Wall Street T-shirts just a few more


click to buy above T-shirt
click to buy t-shirt above