At Food Farm in northern Minnesota, Janaki Fisher-Merritt is getting back to his roots. This second-generation farmer is putting a modern twist on an old-fashioned idea that could help scale up the local food economy in the region. He hopes to build a 3,700-square-foot root cellar that he says has the potential to keep fresh vegetables—not just root vegetable, but winter squash, cabbage, apples, and other cold storage food—available all winter long. Read more
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When he nestled the pea seeds into the ground just shy of spring this year, he had not only pored over a national magazine cover story lauding their distinctiveness, but The French Laundry’s Chef de Cuisine David Breeden had been pestering him for months to procure them to grow in the showcase garden of this landmark Yountville, California, restaurant. Read more
Second-generation organic peach grower David “Mas” Masumoto describes the difference between a farming disaster and a crisis this way: A disaster is when he harvests nothing, while a crisis is when he’s not making any money. Four years into California’s worst drought in history, and like many West Coast farmers, he’s in crisis mode. Read more
You’d be hard-pressed to find a vegan who doesn’t own at least one of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks. Her first, Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock, came out 10 years ago, and since then, she’s written seven more. Her third book, Veganomicon!, is known by many as the vegan bible, and her blog, The Post Punk Kitchen, has been a resource for both novice and experienced cooks since 2003. Read more
On a sunny winter day, the Ancona ducks at Boondockers Farm in Oregon wandered around their pasture and frolicked in several blue plastic kiddie pools, under the watchful eye of two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs. The 500 or so ducks spend day and night outside, protected from predators by the dogs, not walls. Cows, turkeys, and Delaware chickens wander in pastures and barns. Vegetables destined for the farmers’ market grow in a nearby garden plot. Read more
Since we Civil Eats started six years ago, we have cast our net wide to report on local food stories about individuals and communities working together to create a more vibrant, resilient, and just food system. There is so much good news about innovative projects happening nationwide: From Alaska to Hawaii, we’ve been documenting the unfolding of what local food likes like on the ground. In this month’s note, I wanted to share some of our inspiring stories showing how local food systems are connecting producers to consumers, boosting local economies, and building community.
The new public market opening this summer in Boston will never sell a banana or an avocado. In the winter and spring, when there are fewer vegetables in the fields, there will be fewer vegetables in the market’s stalls. And if local fishermen can’t catch it, it won’t be on offer.
Teacher Kinga Kelly extolled the virtues of eating colorful foods–like bright red strawberries and deep purple blueberries–to the group. “What is the benefit of eating the rainbow?” she called out. “We get nutrients,” they called back. “Iron! Vitamin C for your immune system! Vitamin E for your skin! Vitamin A! Vitamin D for your bones!” Meanwhile, the thud of dribbled basketballs echoed from a gymnasium down the hall. Read more
Quietly, Vermont has become a cultural, economic, and political force. Its public education system is consistently among the nation’s best. Vermonters weathered the Great Recession better than their counterparts in other states; the state’s unemployment rate is currently around 4 percent and dropping. Then there’s the catch-all distinction of being one of the top places in the country to live for overall quality of life.
Add local food to that list. Read more
As a pastry chef with 20 years of experience under her belt, Emily Luchetti was tired of being asked why she’s not overweight. As the Chief Pastry Officer at Big Night Restaurant Group in San Francisco and Board Chairman of the James Beard Foundation, she has been perfecting the art of making pastries with fresh, seasonal ingredients. But that doesn’t mean she thinks dessert should be eaten every day. Through her work, Luchetti says, “I’ve learned how to put it all into perspective—how to deal with having sugar around me all the time and still lead a healthy life.” Read more