We've been hearing buzz lately about food hubs. Have you heard of them? Like the name suggests, a food hub provides makers, growers, and other food producers with a central structure of some sort in which to process, distribute, and market their locally or regionally produced food goods. It's becoming quite common in many states, and farmers are now looking at it as a new way to distribute food among their members. Think it of as CSA 2.0.
In late March, just two days after the Spring Equinox, I went to Amagansett to visit Quail Hill Farm, the first of what will be many visits over the course of the coming year, to look at the life and labor behind one of the oldest community-supported agriculture farms in the country. What can we, as home cooks, eaters, and amateur growers, learn from observing the seasonal changes on this farm? Come walk along with us as we document the life of a farm, season by season, beginning with the fresh start of spring: Seeding in March.
Fracking—the process by which petroleum and natural gas are released from the earth's rock layer using high-pressure injections of water and chemicals, which creates "fractures" in the rock— was put into commercial use in 1949, but in 2004 the EPA declared fracking "posed little or no threat" to drinking water, which effectively skyrocketed the technology.
However, as Barry Estabrook's sobering May 2011 piece for Gilt Taste confirms, fracking poses dire consequences to the future of both sustainable agriculture and the livelihoods of thousands of small farmers around the country.
There was a time—eight, ten years ago—when eggs were "scrubbed from the standard American breakfast" due to cholesterol concerns, according to a recent article in The New York Times, but those days are over. Eggs are back, but they're not coming to you by way of a poultry farm conveyer belt; they're coming from a backyard, a rooftop, maybe even your own living room.
Last May the Prince of Wales gave the keynote speech at the Future of Food conference on the Georgetown University campus. Many prominent food activists and environmentalists— Laurie David, Eric Schlosser, Marian Nestle—heard the speech...
The Smithsonian's collection of Seed Nursery catalogs is a fascinating glimpse into the history of fruit and vegetable advertising. There are over 258 catalogs in the collection, the most precious or which date from 1830 to 1930. As the Smithsonian says, these catalogs, and particularly the covers, "are a window into the history of graphic arts in advertising, and a social history, through the text and illustrations, showing changing fashions in flowers and vegetables."
After the Super Committee's failed process last fall, Congress faces a new critical deadline: they must take action on the current farm bill before its expiration on September 30, 2012 or risk reverting to the 1949 farm law - the fallback law for the farm bill.
Several years ago, we posted Dan Barber's amazing TED talk about how he witnessed a more humane way to produce the delicious but controversial fatted goose liver called foie gras. The talk is classic Dan Barber, full of self-deprecating humor and his clearly passionate relationship to food. After his discovery of this more humane method, which eschews gavage, or force feeding, Barber (sort of) vows to never serve conventional foie gras in his restaurants again.
Barber is the chef and co-owner of the well-known Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York which is a part of an organic, sustainably run working farm. Can he duplicate this method on his farm and once again serve this favorite ingredient?