Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's contributor, Emilie Dayan, writes a weekly SFA blog series called "Sustainable South" about food and the environment, nutrition, food access, food justice, agricultural issues and food politics.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about urban agriculture and the solution it provides for sustainable and healthy living. The Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) in Birmingham, Alabama, however, is much more than an urban farm. Their vision is to educate 10,000 Birmingham children annually.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
When fresh fruit comes along, you must pick it. May 20 is National Strawberry Picking Day!
Nothing says springtime like fresh fruit, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as picking your own. This time of year fruit farms across the country open their gates to let the general public help themselves to their latest crops.
Picking your own fruit isn’t only a fun outing with family or friends; it’s also an opportunity to meet and support local farmers. You get a better sense of how the food you enjoy is cultivated, and smaller farms often use more sustainable growing practices.
Plenty of traditional foods pack an emotional whallop, but few of them back it up with a sensory punch as strong as horseradish's. The pungent root is a key part of a Passover Seder plate (along with salt water-dipped vegetables, a shank bone, a hard boiled egg, a sweet paste of apples and nuts called charoset, and a bitter vegetable - often lettuce) and symbolizes the harsh lives of the Israelites before they were delivered from slavery in Egypt.
Tracie McMillan adapted this essay in part from her reporting for The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. She is a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2013 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan . You can follow her @TMMcMillan.
A few months ago, a small farmer in the Northeast approached me at a conference, intense and red-faced. How could I say that Americans shouldn’t pay more for their food?
She sold lettuce and beets to well-heeled women, their ears dangling gold and fingers sporting diamonds. Yet many of them balked at the prospect of paying an extra dollar per pound. To grow her food without extensive chemicals, and to sell her wares at market, she needed to fetch a higher price. Surely, couldn't these women could pay more?
Well, yes, I conceded, those women could probably afford to pay more. That doesn’t mean we have to. Because it’s not the farmers who get most of the money we spend on food. It’s everyone who's standing past the farm gate.
Green markets, farmers' markets, fresh markets, wet markets - whatever you call them, these are the places that make Walmart, Tesco and other supermarket chains look like crimes against cuisine.
Often centuries old but full of freshness, markets are usually packed with dozens of vendors and worth visiting even if you have no intention of cooking anything yourself on your vacation.
See 10 of the world's best fresh markets on CNN Travel.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Jay Pierce is the chef at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro and Cary, North Carolina and frequently contributes to Edible Piedmont Magazine and the restaurant's Farm-to-Fork blog.
As this year’s political season wends its way to Election Day, we voters will be implored to act, decide, stand up for what we believe in. Our voice matters; as every child learns in school, one vote can make a difference. No matter how disaffected or energized you are by rhetorical jousting about healthcare, debt ceilings or foreign aid, there is one topic that hits close to everyone’s home: buying and eating food.
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Around these parts, we talk a heck of a lot about the notion of "scorpacciata" - a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. We do our best to eat that way as often as we can, but Blackberry Farm's executive chef Joseph Lenn really puts his money where his guests' mouths are, serving multi-course meals, made from seasonal, farm-fresh products and produce, grown just a few feet away from his kitchen.
Here's how he keeps things fresh on the farm, all year 'round.
Five Ways to Bring the Farm to Your Table: Joseph Lenn
Turnips, long a vegetabilis non-grata in my kitchen. Their positive attributes - juicy interior, good nutritional value and attractive appearance - never made up for their bitterness and I'm a bitter gal. Aperol, Campari, dark chocolate, citrus peel, love them all - except the turnip.
Yet last Monday, after a hectic day at work, I found myself at my dining room table swooning over a plate of turnips, ones I had prepared no less. And I never would have gotten there if I didn't shop with local farmers.
What do you do with a 12-year-old niece who has just started her summer vacation and is already bored? You put her to work picking blueberries.
I picked Susie up early so we would beat the heat. My pick-your-own fruit history was limited to apples and peaches, so I wasn’t sure how labor intensive, bending, stooping or squatting, the picking would be. It turns out to require a bit of all three, but not to a point where my back hurt.
We arrived at Homestead Farms in Poolesville, MD just before 10 a.m. loaded with re-usable plastic blueberry containers and sturdy bags. After a quick tutorial on how to identify and pick ripe berries we were off. A ripe blueberry is entirely blue. If the berry has a hint of red on it then it will still be a bit tart.