A Tale of Two Flours

Posted by on Feb 07 2010 | Tagged as: Food, Green Choices

With all the bigger-is-better, too-big-to-fail, merger mania that has swept the country in the last, say, 25 to 50 years, we have lost knowledge of where our food comes from. Many of these large companies don’t want you to know, and don’t want to be burdened with the requisite record keeping to let you know. After all they may not know the exact source and composition of the grain fed to those cows, and which feed lot the cow was at before a piece of its flesh arrived on a white styrofoam tray encased in plastic wrap. The concept of traceability is something many of the food mega-conglomerates would rather not encourage.

Stone-Buhr / Shepherd's Grain Flour

Stone-Buhr / Shepherd's Grain Flour

I often attempt to buy at least some of my food from trace-able sources, and this is often not easy to accomplish. Mega-stores like Whole Foods are probably no better, and it could be argued are actually complicit in the attempts to reduce traceability and consumer knowledge of food sources and composition. Many so called organic products are actually distributed and packaged by some of the largest agricultural entities in the world. Just look at the organic spinach fiasco from 2 years ago propagated by some of the biggest food companies. All you have to do is look at who owns who and you realize that real spinach grew in the ground and needs to have the dirt and sand washed off in a sink.  It doesn’t come pre-washed, in little plastic bags pumped full of just the right amount of inert nitrogen and product, then shipped from the Salinas Valley in California to Washington state via Texas. Similarly the peanut butter fiasco of a couple of years ago doesn’t lend any feeling of a safe or trace-able food chain … even companies like locally owned Cougar Mountain cookies were misinformed about the provenance of the peanut butter they were purchasing.

A few years ago, I tried to alter at least some of my buying habits to enhance my knowledge of the products I was purchasing, and the companies that made them, and the chain down to the farmer level. As at least some of you know, I make bread, and lots of it. A natural place to start, no?

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October Meeting Notes

Posted by on Nov 07 2009 | Tagged as: Announcements, Food, Meeting minutes

Sustainable Crown Hill Meeting Notes
11 October 2009

Announcements

Significant Tree Program

- grant has been submitted by CHNA to Seattle Dept of Neighborhoods

- Go to CrownHillNeighbors.org to  tell about your favorite CH tree or trees. Continue Reading »

Local strawberries

Posted by on Jun 05 2009 | Tagged as: Food, Urban Gardening

First strawberries of the season

First strawberries of the season

Woohoo! The first strawberries of the season are now maturing in our yards thanks to the heat of the last few weeks. We can soon expect to see Washington state berries in our local supermarkets and farmer’s markets. The imported California strawberries have suffered long enough on their journey up here and are far from their prime by the time they reach our mouths.  Strawberries lose flavor pretty quickly after picking, so the ones from your garden can’t be beat. Though usually smaller than the monster berries from the supermarket, the flavor of those freshly picked from your garden trump all.

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Gardener Conditioning

Posted by on Mar 22 2009 | Tagged as: Food, Humor, Local Fun, Urban Gardening

For all of you Crown Hill gardeners out there, here’s a tip for improving your conditioning and reducing the chance of injury as you sprint out for the precious few available gardening hours between snow storms. This comes from Ann Lovejoy’s excellent article on the Ozette potato in the former PI. I don’t know how long it will be available online at the PI website:

I recently learned of another way to enjoy potatoes that doesn’t involve eating or growing them. A friend shared the following suggested exercise for seniors to build muscle strength in the arms and shoulders.

The original article suggested doing it three times a week. It’s so easy, I thought I’d pass it on.

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-pound potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax. Each day, you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-pound potato sacks. Then use 50-pound potato sacks, and eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-pound potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

And if you’re looking for music to memorialize the death of the PI,  former Seattle-ite Heidi Muller has this finely crafted contribution “Goodnight PI” to mark the passage.

Blackberries are in (sorbet)!

Posted by on Aug 11 2008 | Tagged as: Food

The Himalayan Blackberry features nasty thorns and a well deserved reputation as an invasive, weedy, almost noxious plant. In the Pacific tier of states, the blackberry vine has secured its foothold and with no local effective pests, it will remain for many years to come. Gleaning and consuming the sweet fruit from amid the thorns remains one of the few pleasures of hot (what passes for hot around here) August afternoons. Setting home with scratched arms and faces, and pails full of sweet, soft, almost oozing blackberries is indeed a pleasure. Many of those very perishable berries are destined for pies, snacking and desert toppings.

Here’s my contribution to what to do with the proceeds of a particularly productive day of picking. Not so much a recipe, but a process.
Intense Blackberry Sorbet:

blackberry sorbet
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