Sustainable Greenville

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Monday Market Move

Posted by ed.wilmot on March 31, 2014 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The season of farmers markets is almost upon us.

What does that mean:

  • Fresh Food
  • Seasonal Food
  • Organic Food
  • Cooking Demos
  • Smiling Farmers
  • Smiling Customers
  • Fun and Festivities
  • Music
  • Conviviality
  • Laughter…

 

And all of this began this past Saturday with the Hub City Farmers Market despite the rain. And this Saturday is the start of the Easley Farmers Market and Spring Fling. The Spring Fling is bringing in 53+ vendors during the market.


 

If you’re really adventurous like me you will make it to market and then head on down to the Spring Flea at the Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery. They also will have a lot of local vendors (mostly arts and crafts).


 

Over the next couple of months more and more local farmers markets will be starting the season. May 3rd will be a big day with the launch of the TD Saturday Market in downtown Greenville. There are 62 vendors scheduled for the season, many of which will be setting up for the first time.


 

The following weekend the Travelers Rest Farmers Market will start their season. With close to 50 vendors they are now officially the second largest market in the Upstate. The market will launch in their new home, an amazing new facility which the city invested $1.5 million in creating. The facility and surrounding park will include the Farmers Market Pavilion and an open air amphitheater that will accommodate a variety of entertainment.

 

I know this is only a handful of all the markets getting ready to open up for the season and you will most certainly see me sailing the crowds, looking for fresh young produce, amazing tastes and culinary delights. I look forward to market season over almost everything else in life. Creating delicious meals with local veggies and meats is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if I can put a few dollars into the farmer's hand, all the better.


So I say unto you:

Go Forth and Fill Those Baskets and Bags with Spring's Bounty!!

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: https://squareup.com/market/swamp-rabbit-cafe-grocery/buying-and-eating-organic-on-a-budget-class ).

 

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!

Review of the film "Ingredients"

Posted by ed.wilmot on February 8, 2011 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (1)

I just got home from the Upcountry History Museum after viewing the film "Ingredients" at the Flicks For Thought Fim Series hosted by the Greenville Organic Foods Organization (GOFO) and Upstate Forever and sponsored by the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability. Tonight GOFO presented Ingredients. With a reception of fantastic food made from local ingredients, the restaurant Scratch was a perfect example of the partnerships described in the film. 

 

The film is based around the idea farming is just now returning to its roots of seasonality where food is central to the health and stability of society on a day to day basis. The film is told in four parts: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in and around primarily the Portland, Oregan region. And yet the stories behind the seasons could be told almost anywhere in the world. They do interview famers and chefs from New York and San Francisco area as well.

 

This film celebrates farmers and chefs. Instead of focusing on the failings of conventional farming, it describes the successes of what can happen when chefs and farmers embrace a sustainable farming system (just like Scratch does with our own local farmers). Throughout, you get to witness the interaction of not only chefs and farmers, but also local residents and farmers. These relationships have proven to be the back bone of a growing local food movement.

 

The visual appeal of the film is top notch. As the seasons progress, a variety of produce parades across the screen projecting vibrant colors and you can begin to imagine also the clear smells associated with the food. As one of the farmers scoops up some of the biodynamic soil in one of his rows of vegetables, he says, "You can smell the forest floor, right?" I could certainly imagine it.

 

Many of the interviews of farmers, such as John Neumeister of Cattail Creek Lamb farm, are a pure pleasure to listen to. You get to see and hear their excitement and joy of raising and providing clean, healthy food to their customers. This excitement is what is needed to galvanize communities around quality food and getting our young people involved on a one to one relationship with food. As mentioned in the film, children will eat more than the daily allowance of vegetables if they are out in the garden and field discovering a relationship to the land and what it can provide us.

 

So if you get a chance watch this film. The trailer for the film is below.

 

If you would like to purchase a copy, visit www.ingredientsfilm.com . From now through March 31, when you purchase a DVD, $10 of your purchase goes directly to GOFO. When you order, enter the promo code "GOFO" and you'll be making a significant contribution to this great organization and the projects they are offering throughout the Greenville area. 

 

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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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