Sustainable Greenville

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Monday Musical Memories

Posted by ed.wilmot on March 24, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

The Handlebar has been a cultural bastion since September of 1994. Early this morning they posted an announcement that the Stone Avenue location will be closing its doors on April 30.  




They will be re-opening in September in another location. Which means, we will have a drier summer for amazing quality music. So you had best get out to The Handlebar over the next month to see at least one band play at their current home. And that's how many of us feel about The Handlebar. It's Greenville's musical home.


The Handlebar has sustained us culturally for almost 20 years. Some of my favorite memories were made in the hallowed halls of the first two locations. I look forward to making many more memories at their third home. And I know I am not the only one to do so.


Let me give you a peek at a couple of my favorite memories. My first great memory was seeing Eddie From Ohio for my first time at the original location in the old textile mill on Mills Avenue. The evening was a total escape into amazing music, filled with joy and an abounding energy that could only have ensued at The Handlebar. No other venue in Greenville could have matched the sense of place for such a band. It was a perfect night.


Then were two more perfect nights (back to back mind you) several years ago at the current location. The first night's band was The Flat Landers. The musicianship was out of this world, a slice of Texas in South Carolina. The next night The Yellowjackets took stage for an over the top jazz filled bombardment of smooth and funky tunes. How many other venues could pull that off?


And probably my most exciting night was winning the raffle at Chase Away the Blues several years ago. You can't imagine the excitement and joy I felt at winning. Of course the evening's fun was really about supporting Compass of Carolina. So my gesture was to give away a couple of the items I won to other people. It seemed the right thing to do. The Handlebar does good, so must I do good! And that's what sustains us socially. Over and over The Handlebar has given back to the community, whether its Compass of Carolina or the Red Cross or the Humane Society or many other local charities.


The Handlebar's commitment to supporting local organizations, businesses and customers is often overshadowed by the level of entertainment brought to the Upstate. This level of service should be emulated by every company. All we can do is sit back and watch as The Handlebar takes us on another adventure in community responsiveness, no matter where they settle down as home. 


In the meantime, here's the schedule for the next 37 days:





3/28 - SEVEN HANDLE CIRCUS with special guests STRUNG LIKE A HORSE

3/29 - True Blues & Friends present ... THE FILLMORE BROTHERS ... Marking the anniversary of Allman Brothers legendary album, "At Fillmore East"


4/10 - An Unpredictable Evening With TODD RUNDGREN


Keep an eye out for additional acts to be announced.


Savory Saturday

Posted by ed.wilmot on March 22, 2014 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

You know you're a foodie when you get tunnel vision upon seeing fresh picked, local, organic Brussels sprouts at the local store. Yesterday I saw recipes and culinary expeditions swimming before my eyes when I saw those Brussels sprouts in the cold room at Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery. Immediately I knew they were going to be a part of Saturday's dinner.


I actually was at Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery for the Food Truck Party. Both Asada and Ellada Kouzina were to be parked outside the store. I had to get something from each truck, spreading the love and supporting as much local as possible.


Since I got there early, I went inside the store and made a couple of purchases. The Brussels sprouts were the prize of the day. That is until I saw the special at Asada. They had a special I have not seen before yesterday: Chicken Karaage Taco.


So let me tell you about the sensory overload the taco gave my taste buds. It was sweet, sour, salty, spicy; just plain old savory greatness. It was a Japanese styled fried chicken marinated in sake, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. On top of that was a Latin-Asian fusion Slaw made with jalapenos, radishes, cabbage, scallions, ponzu dressing and sesame seeds.

To me Asada is making some of the best and most innovative menu items in the Upstate. And the best part. Everything is affordable for even those of us on tight budgets. (I will be teaching people how to eat and buy organic on a budget in about 2 weeks: ).


Now to today. I went for a hike this afternoon and started to see some wild edibles. Early spring dandelion greens, violets, henbit were but a few things I spied. Realizing I was going to cook up the Brussels sprouts for dinner, I made sure to pick a few things that could be added to some organic spinach for my first Spring salad.


We sometimes forget how much food is just outside our kitchen doors if we just take the time and energy to harvest what nature so willingly provides us. I really look forward to this time of year when so much free food is available. Some of my friends make fun of me, but I relish in the wild Spring flavors.


And dandelion greens have got to be my favorite. Well almost, I do keep an eye out for morels, one of nature's great culinary delights. But didn't see any today. 


So I just about ready to go in the kitchen to prepare our meal for the evening. The Brussels sprouts will be blanched for a couple of minutes and then sautéed in some butter for about 5 minutes. It will dressed with a balsamic dressing made from organic olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the Palmetto Olive Oil Company.


The salad will include my wild Spring pickings, some over wintered herbs from our garden, organic spinach and sprouted lentils. It will be drizzled with an organic wasabi sauce.

I hope your Saturday meal will be as savory, delicious and sustainable as mine. Good eating to you!

Tireless Thursday

Posted by ed.wilmot on March 20, 2014 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)


It's that time of year when events are popping up every day and I try to get out to as many of them as possible while still acting as sustainable as possible.

Some days I just want to get out and enjoy the weather, relishing the approaching warmth, and all the while getting much needed exercise. Today has been the perfect day to get out here in the Upstate and do just that. Working from home, I turned the heat off and opened up the doors and windows in the house so that I could get some fresh air. Mid afternoon, it was short walk and then some more work before heading out the door for the evening. The drive into town was as nice as it could possibly be for the first day of Spring.

But what about all those great events coming up over the next three months? They are waiting for you and me to discover them. I spend sometimes an inordinate amount of time looking for events, festivals, classes, workshops, and anything else that embraces the spirit of sustainability. But I don't mind. The reward is knowing that you and your friends and family have the most comprehensive list of things to do any time of year.

Connecting you to these activities is one of my MISSIONS in life.

So, let me just mention a few of my favorite green and healthy events for this Spring.

First of all is The Banff Mountain Film Festival. The tour of films can be found all across our region. Tomorrow and Saturday night the tour will be in Greenville. But alas, I waited to long to get tickets and they were sold out. So I checked the showing in Brevard. Sold out. But there are still a few tickets left for April 29 in Boone. But I won't be able to make that date. This is the first year in many that I was unable to attend.

The 6th Annual Integrative Health Care Conference is at the end of the month up in Asheville, featuring Dean Ornish and many other well known natural health proffesionals as featured speakers. Attendees come from all over the country for this amazing event. Three days of incredible speakers and information.

The Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery is having their annual Spring Flea on March 29. The two fleas they do each year is a great place to spend your dollars locally and have fun doing it. It's going to be a day of local art, handmade treats and repurposed vintage goods.

TEDxGreenville is scheduled for April 11 and what a great time it's going to be. This year's theme is UNZIPPED. I will let you decide what that means or you can go to their website to find out. If you love to be inspired by great ideas then this is the event for you. Each and every day you can view literally thousands of videos from TED speakers from all over the world. This year's TEDxGreenville will be held at the Kroc Center in Greenville.

April 12 is one very busy day. Roper Mountain Science Center is having their annual Earth Day event. You could take a drive to Asheville for the 10th Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers' Festival . Or stay in Greenville and visit Natural Awakening's 5th Anniversary party with a Healthy Living Expo, featuring local health and wellness booths and two nationally recognized documentary films. The films' stars will be in attendance.

Greenville Tech holds their Earth Fest event April 16 and there will be a ton of local organizations and businesses focused on the environment. April 26 and 27 is the Annual Stone Soup Storytelling Festival in Woodruff. Do you love a good story? Then its a must for you.

And let's just mention two of the best May events. The Asheville Herb Festival is scheduled for May 4-6. You will find almost every conceivable herb at the festival. It's a great road trip for the day. You might even be able to sneak in a hike along the Parkway.

And finally let's mention Greenville's best little farm tour, Greenville Organic Foods Organization's annual Urban Farm Tour scheduled for May 17. You will discover a wide range of backyard gardens, community gardens, school gardens and urban farms all within 8 miles of downtown Greenville. There will also be workshops throughout the day along with local foods to purchase. If your entertainment leans towards education, then is an an absolute must.

But remember, the best way to find all of these events and many more is to visit the Sustainable Greenville community calendar. So get your pen out and mark your calendars for Spring fun and adventure.

Book Review - "American Terroir"

Posted by ed.wilmot on February 7, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (1)

It's time to get back on track with blogging. Every week I will feature a new book or movie release and how it applies to sustainability. These books and films will make you think about how you are living in relation to the world and what you can do to live more gently on the hollowed grounds of planet Earth.

$16.48 at Better World Books. Click on book cover to purchase.


To start out this new venture of reviews, I introduce to you "American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Wood, Waters, and Fields" by Rowan Jacobson, the author of the James Beard Award Winning "A Geography of Oysters".


Mr. Jacobsen loosely defines this French term, used mostly within the wine industry, as "the taste of place"; or more accurately, the taste of place dependent upon microclimate, nutrients, soil compostion, moisture content, etc. He explains terroir has a fundamental relationship with our knowledge and connection with the land we inhabit and use. The growing local food movement has embraced terroir as one of the motivating factors behind its power to generate excitement and a cross-generational love affair of foods with real flavor.


Terroir provides the actors and scenery for amazing food stories. And the best stories live on on through our memories. This is where "American Terroir" shines. Rowan's adept use of words and rhythm make this book sing with stories that celebrate place, food and the actors that danc between these elements.


With twelve stories that feature foods from every corner of North America (and a slight fancy to other parts), he lays out a format that features his adventures in these environments, a geographical and historical look at these foods, recipes featuring the foods, and then resources for learning about and obtaining the featured foods (I have already favorited many of the websites). After salivating over the idea of getting my fingers sticky with Tupelo Honey, why not have a website and phone number handy to do just that?


The chapters cover all types of foods: maple syrup, coffee, cider, honey, mussels, potatoes, wild foods, oysters, avocados, salmon, wine, cheese and chocolate.


There's plenty to learn; every page exudes potential sensory adventures, bouyed by both practical knowledge and archane tidbits of information. In the chapter 'Little Truths' Rowan describes the phenomenon called "sensory-specific satiety", which "is common in humans and other omnivores - after a few bites of something, it becomes less desirable...We are built to forage." Ahh...I now have a name for that common experience.


Then in the honey chapter Rowan reveals the possible history to the word honeymoon; ..."derives from an ancient tradition of supplying the bride and groom with an ample supply of mead to sweeten the new marriage,..."


Nearly every chapter alludes to sustainability in one form or another. The chapter on avocados (my favorite food of all time) really makes a point why terroir is important to sustainability. He points out one acre of land with avocado trees can produce eight tons of fruit per year, but requires 1.3 million gallons of water. This is not a problem in its native land of Mexico due to the plentiful supply of rains; but in California this does not allow for any true sustainable farming. "At sixty thousand acres, California's avocado industry uses the equivalent  of two hundred and fifty thousand households."


Flavor in its purest form is all about place. Whether something tastes best as a result of its natural habitat (as is the case of Haas avocados along the Cupatitzio River in Michoacan, Mexico) or as a transplant (as is the case with Totten Inlet Oysters in Puget Sound), food relies on the geography and geology of place to imbue a sense of wonder and curiosity on our tastebuds.


So be careful, reading this book may set the itinerary for your next weekend getaway or vacation.

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