Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October Festivities!

Hello everyone!

Wanted to do a little post about some upcoming Slow Food festivities! Sorry to not be around much for the last month!

First and foremost, we want to invite you to our annual Apple Press! This is a great event--bring apples and containers for cider, and an apple inspired potluck dish to share. We provide the venue and the cider press! Details are below.

What: Slow Food Yamhill County's 4th Annual Apple Cider Pressing and Competition Potluck
When: Sunday, October 16, 2011,  3:00 p.m. till dark
Where: Danny Browne's house at 845 SE Morgan Lane in McMinnville

We will have apple presses and grinders.  The apples will be washed, mixed, ground and pressed to be shared and enjoyed by all.
Please bring:  Apples to press and containers for your cider, A potluck dish to share.  Personal cup, plate, cutlery and a beverage.
Competition Potluck:  Bring an apple based potluck dish for any/all of the categories:  Appetizer, Main Dish and Dessert.
Prizes will be awarded in each category.
Send questions to Judi at valleycreekfarm@gmail.com.

Second, I wanted to give you a heads up about an upcoming book release and event! Have you long lamented the lack of a local-ingredients-focused cookbook specifically for our region? Look no more... Dishing Up Oregon, a title soon to be released by Storey Publishing features local farms, foods, restaurants, and products in a collection of mouthwatering recipes! Our very own Third Street Books will be hosting author Ashley Gartland for a book reading and signing this month! Details below.

What: Dishing Up Oregon book reading and signing
When: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Third Street Books, downtown McMinnville

Event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Direct Questions to Third Street Books at 503.472.7786.

We hope to see you there.
Happy fall!

Monday, September 26, 2011

SFYC at Food Meet Today!

Hello everyone!

Just sending a little note out into cyberspace letting you know that Slow Food will be at this year's Food Meet summit up in Newberg this afternoon! Food Meet is an awesome event featuring all kinds of local food folk, several presentations on food issues, and a screening of the uplifting food film Ingredients, which features NW farmers. Perhaps we'll see you there!

Friday, September 16, 2011

100 Mile Diet: Installment 7

A Little Update.

Hello everyone. Sorry for the long break! It's the end of summer and I'm struggling to catch up with there being tomatoes and melons at market, and the fact that our very short summer feels like it's on the way out already. Too bad.

I thought I'd give you all a little update on how the 100 Mile Diet is going these days. In truth, it's on and off. We were very disciplined for the first few weeks of this experiment... disciplined to the point of going hungry instead of grabbing something to eat. And it was great! We learned how to do this thing--how to plan meals and go to farmer's market and cook amazing 100 mile meals. And while we still do that, lately we've been making more exceptions.
For example, one of Erik's cousins was randomly in Portland the other night... and we went to Voodoo Doughnuts. It was her first time really spending time in Portland! We couldn't deny her that experience. Also, we've grabbed a pitcher of beer and caught up with a friend (the beer was 20 Mile [at Golden Valley-check it out!], the nachos with guacamole were not). And I've started drinking coffee again. I'll admit that I missed my hot morning drinks and long hours hanging out in coffee shops. The major motivation behind these infractions has been social--and while we love cooking with our friends too, sometimes going out for a beer or a coffee is just what you need.

That said, Erik and I have decided to continue with the 100 Mile Diet beyond our initial month-long commitment. Partly that is to make up for leaving town for a long weekend. The other part of that is that we really have enjoyed doing this. We go to farmer's market every week and come home with tons of delicious produce. We get to splurge on items like local line-caught salmon or Oregon-grown lentils because our grocery bills have in fact gone down. Not buying those easy processed foods/junk foods we secretly love has in fact saved us a lot of money! We also feel a lot healthier. It's all that fiber! And we also love knowing where our food comes from. For us, the 100 Mile Diet has become more about giving our money directly to farmers than anything else. It feels very different than handing your money to a big chain grocery store.

So that's a little tiny update. Have you tried a 100 Mile Meal yet? Tell us how it went!


Monday, August 29, 2011

100 Mile Diet: Installment 6

The Two-Weeks-In/Halfway-Through Meal Report

Hello everyone!

I hope your Monday is going well.

Today I wanted to give everyone a little update on how our 100 Mile Diet is going. At our events, many of you seemed to be interested in exactly what Erik and I were going to be eating, so I thought today I'd give you an account of our meals. You'll probably notice that they increase in complexity and overall ability-to-fill-you-stomach-ness. We're getting better...

You might also notice that I don't record lunches. For lunch, usually Erik will take leftovers (I'll take them too if there's enough), and I bring an assemblage of things to make a lunch (typically a piece of bread, some sticks of cheddar, fruit, sometimes a salad). I'm not going to write all of those out since it would take a while and be rather boring. I have had some amazing fruit salads for lunch, though, featuring peaches, plums, figs, and blackberries (all from within 30 miles).

Also, you'll notice breakfasts get repetitive. I've never been one to branch out a lot with my breakfast, so this is normal. Erik doesn't really eat breakfast. The only notable exceptions will be if we make a big brunch, which is really more lunch, and always delicious.

Okay, enough prelude. Sources are in parentheses!

Week One

...was a little rough. We ate a lot of yogurt and toast and eggs.

Monday August 15
B: yogurt (Nancy's) with berries (u-pick), honey (Heavenly Honey), and hazelnuts (Bernard's Farm)
D: lamb sausage (Yamhill), with sauteed greens and fried eggs (friends, friends, butter from Rose Valley)

Tuesday August 16
B: yogurt
D: fried eggs with green bean & basil salad (beans-Dayton, basil-Red Ridge [perk of working there], olive oil-Oregon Olive Mill, wine-Dundee, salt)

Wednesday August 17
B: yogurt, toast (bread-Nature Bake Oregon Grains)
D: green salad with homemade ranch dressing (greens-Dayton, turnips-Mac, yogurt, chives-my balcony, basil-Red Ridge), grilled cheese sandwich with tomato (bread, cheddar-Tillamook, tomatoes-Yamhill)

Thursday August 18
B: fried eggs on toast
D: big green salad with vinaigrette (greens, olive oil, wine [I've been using a dash of wine instead of vinegar in my salad dressings--works well!], salt), antipasti plate (salami-Olympia [not 100 mile, but close-ish and amazing], cheddar, tomatoes-Yamhill)

Friday August 19
B: yogurt with berries and hazelnuts
L*: smashed potatoes (spuds-our garden, butter-Mac), scrambled eggs, sauteed greens
D**: at work

*Erik came home for lunch that day
**I worked a wedding that night and ate not-100-mile food

Saturday August 20
B: yogurt and honey
D***: cowboy beans (beans-Mac, smoked hamhock-Carlton, tomatoes-Yamhill, honey, salt), green salad, mixed berry cobbler (berries-u-pick, flour-Willamette Seed & Grain, butter, salt)

***the start of our yet-to-end cobbler phase

Sunday August 21
B: yogurt with leftover cobbler
D: green salad, lamb sausage & mushrooms with red wine and butter sauce (sausage & mushrooms-Yamhill, wine-Dundee Hills, butter-Mac), cobbler

Week Two

During this week we started being more intentional about making meals. Our routine now is once we're both home from work, we take a little break, and then from 6 to 8 or so, we're in the kitchen cooking and eating. It's a nice routine, and we've made some really delicious meals!

Monday August 22
B: yogurt with honey and berries, eggs
D: chicken breasts and thighs stuffed with white cheddar and basil (chicken-friend, cheddar-Willamette Cheese Co, basil-Red Ridge), green salad with yogurt dressing

Tuesday August 23
B: yogurt with honey
D: oven-roasted drumsticks and wings with garlic-thyme-sage croutons (chicken-friend, garlic-yamhill, olive oil, butter, bread-Nature Bake, herbs-my balcony), roasted green beans (Dayton)

Wednesday August 24
B: yogurt and berries
D: 7-bone beef roast with onions, home fries, roasted filet beans (beef-Scholls, all produce-Scholls), blueberry bars (not 100 mile but tasty!)--Thanks Mom!

Thursday August 25:
B: yogurt with berries, toast
D: Celebration Dinner at Community Plate-- Gaining Ground Farm Mixed Greens with olive oil, ver jus, and hazelnuts. Worden Hill Farm Pork Loin with braised greens, Oregon grits, and cherry sauce. Wine Poached Munoz Farms Peaches with honey roasted hazelnuts and chevre. YUM!

Friday, August 26:
B: yogurt and berries with honey
D: potato latkes (potatoes-our garden, egg, onion-Yamhill, salt, flour), fried eggs, and roasted green beans (friend), 100 mile bread! (I did use dry yeast and salt in it)

Saturday August 27:
B: yogurt and berries with honey
D: tuna steaks! (Newport, cooked in olive oil with salt), fresh corn fritters (corn-Dayton, flour, salt, cheddar, egg), green salad

Sunday August 28:
B: yogurt and berries
D: lentil stew thing with onions, tomatoes and peppers (lentils-Parkdale, produce-all Yamhill, olive oil, wine) & oven-roasted honey-rosemary chicken legs (chicken-Oregon City, honey, salt, butter, and rosemary-friend), cobbler

One interesting development so far in our diet is how we have started eating a lot more meat. It helps to fill you up in a way that all-vegetable meals can't, and it's so readily available! I have both friends and family who raise chicken and beef, and lamb and chicken are also available from local sources at Roth's (and beef, pork, and fresh fish at the Farmer's Market as well). It has added a lot of dimension to our meals, and is helping fill the gap left by convenient carbs.

Another thing we've noticed is how fast things have gotten easier. We've moved beyond the initial "oh god, what am I going to eat?" phase, and instead are taking time to come up with and execute real meals. We've also gotten better at packing away leftovers the night we cook so our lunches are ready for us in the morning. And we've started making dessert, which just makes everybody happier!

So, that's our halfway update! We're going to be leaving town this weekend to visit friends in Boise, and no, we're not going to be doing the 100 mile diet while we're there. We'll keep you posted on how we're doing once we return!
Feel free to leave us questions or comments here on the blog! We'd love to hear from you!


Friday, August 26, 2011


Happy friday all!

I just wanted to write a quick thank you post, now that Slow Food has finished its series of events for the 100 Mile Diet Challenge. Last night's dinner was a great success, and everyone left full and excited about future Slow Food events!
Now, a thank you to those key folks who helped it all happen:

Thank you, Jenny Berg and the McMinnville Public Library for organizing and hosting the first two events in the series. It was awesome partnering with you guys and getting to reach out to folks who didn't necessarily know about Slow Food.

Thank you, Community Plate Restaurant, and especially Scott, Jesse, and Casey. You fed us amazing food and inspired us with your commitment to local food sourcing and preparation. You rock!

Thank you
, Slow Food board members for all of your brainstorming, flier-distributing, article-writing, snack-bringing, and other random helping. You're amazing and this would never have happened without you!

And lastly, I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of the community members who came to these events and shared their interest and excitement about local eating with us all! We've been overwhelmed by the turn out at these events and the depth of participation. You are all amazing, and it was so inspiring to chat with you and hear your opinions. This would not have been as cool if you hadn't come!

We hope you'll keep coming back here in the coming months and reading about Beth and Erik's continuing 100 Mile Diet, as well as new Slow Food events for the fall!

We'll see you soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Hi everyone,

The dinner is on! It is TONIGHT AT 7PM. Hopefully you made your reservations and I'll see you there!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Hi everyone,

I was originally planning today to write a big, long, fatty post about Erik and my 100 Mile Diet full of anecdotes and confessions. Instead, I received bad news about our last 100 Mile Diet event... needless to say, that has taken precedence. I'll be back soon with a post about how we're doing. For now, please read on:

I wanted to let you know that the final 100 Mile Diet Challenge event, our Celebration Dinner, is currently in jeopardy. We have not yet met the minimum number of reservations for this event! Without reaching that minimum number, this event will not happen.

Here's a reminder of what you're missing:

A 3 course, gourmet meal prepared by Community Plate Restaurant featuring 100 Mile ingredients at a great price: just $25 per person.

Friendly conversation about eating locally and reflection from individuals who have tried eating a 100 Mile Diet here in McMinnville.

A chance to meet and chat with community members who are as interested in local food and eating as you are!

Reservations are required for this event.
You cannot show up at the door and get in. If you've been putting off making your reservations, please don't delay any longer! We really want to share this amazing meal with you.

To make your reservation, call Community Plate Restaurant at 503.687.1902.

Please spread the word to your friends and coworkers and bring someone along!

See you this Thursday!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Celebration Dinner Details!

Hello all!

We're so close! Hopefully you are all in the midst of or starting your two weeks of 100 Mile eating! We can't wait to hear about your experiences. Feel free to post comments here on the blog or email us and share!

As we are also getting uncomfortably close to the end of August, I realized that I had not yet posted information on how to make reservations for our Celebration Dinner event at Community Plate! So here's the deal:

To make your reservation, call Community Plate at 503.687.1902. Tell them you're reserving your spot for the 100 Mile Dinner with Slow Food Yamhill County. Then you're on the list!

Charges for this event will be collected at Community Plate the night of August 25th. It is $25 per plate, drinks are extra.

There are only 50 seats so make your reservation today!

100 Mile Diet: Installment 5

Day One

So I'm back from vacation, recovering from a crazy weekend of work, and guess what? Today is day one of our 100 mile challenge. Guess what else? There is nothing to eat in our house. Okay, that's not totally true. There are potatoes and beets and honey and bread. Therefore, first 100 mile breakfast is toast (I just wasn't up to beets before 9 am). I did want to impress you all with my 100 mile cooking prowess, but this is the reality of it: I'll probably be eating a lot of toast. (The bread is awesome by the way: Nature Bake Oregon Grains Bread, using grains from the Willamette Valley Seed and Grain Project. I got it at Harvest Fresh!)

Erik and I had once last pint and burger last night, and now we've arrived: one month on 100 mile food. Really, as we discussed over dinner last night, we already do pretty well on this front. The only food in our kitchen that is really illegal for this challenge is our fall-back food: dried pasta, beans of unknown origin, and those meals out when we're too lazy to cook. Mostly we do pretty well. Because of that, I'm not freaking out about this month any more: I'm really pretty excited. I am intrigued to see how I'll do with baking when I only have eggs and sourdough as leavening. I'm curious as to how many salad-and-egg meals we'll have. And how many potatoes we'll eat.

For those of you who have read Plenty, you might remember J.B. and Alisa talking about being hungry for the first few weeks of their 100 mile diet (and about how many potatoes they ate). After all, when you're used to carbo-loading with huge bowls of pasta on a regular basis, salad and other vegetable-based meals will leave you with some pangs. Erik and I are resigned to this fact. The real challenge will be resisting the last remnants of easy food that are in our kitchen or on our fridge shelves. Since we're only doing this for a month, we thought it would be best not to let ourselves have that "anything still in the kitchen is fair game" clause. Especially since I tend to stock up on staples, that would mean this month would be far from a challenge: we'd just coast through and clean out the pantry in the process. Instead, I (the cook), and Erik (the meal police), will do our utmost to remain honest and not sneak mustard or ketchup or secretly boil that last bag of pasta shells because we got home late from work.

Today we're going grocery shopping, and to our sadly neglected garden row, to restock our kitchen for the week. We'll let you know how we do.


Monday, August 1, 2011

100 Mile Diet: Installment 4

Let's Be Reasonable

Hello everyone!

Welcome to the month of the 100 Mile Diet challenge! Somehow it is already August, the kick off event has already happened (thank you to everyone who came!), and it's time to get down to business.

Initially Erik and I had planned to do our 100 Mile Diet for the month of August--the first through the thirty first. Then life got a little wacky, and suddenly there were two family trips taking up the first two weeks of the month. Not that we're complaining--it's time away in the summer, after all--but our 100 Mile Diet plans seemed a little out of touch. Because of that, we've decided to start our 100 Mile Diet in a couple of weeks, after all of the traveling is done. Check back in with us as we start officially on August 14th.

This little scheduling episode is a perfect example of what I have come to call the "let's be reasonable" phenomenon. Packing all 100 Mile backpacking food? Probably not reasonable. Not eating local cheese because the cultures used to make it aren't local? Probably not reasonable. Driving to the Pacific Ocean to lug seawater home and evaporate your own salt? Probably not reasonable.

This 100 Mile thing can get out of hand really quick! I really admire Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon (authors of Plenty), because although they were very strict with their 100 Mile Diet, they managed to avoid being absurd or unreasonable. They used the salt they had in their cupboards. They ate out on occasion. They happily ate out of season, processed, or otherwise off-limits foods when they were prepared by friends and family. They were reasonable. They weren't rude. They didn't preach to other people about their personal eating choices. And this is a hard thing to do when you are passionate about an issue.

Angelina Williamson, who spoke for us at the kick-off event, also touched on this issue of being reasonable in her presentation. Her son, for example, is an extremely picky eater. As she said, "letting my kid starve was not an option." Also, going without coffee was not an option (not worth the migraines). At the opening of her talk she put up a slide with a list of items she allowed herself that did not fit the 100 mile criteria. Among them were: baking soda, salt, spices, coffee, and vinegar. Oh, right. Basic things: leavening, flavor, preservative qualities, sanity-offering qualities. She also mentioned that these are all items that have been traded for a really, really long time now. At some point the argument that these few luxury items, ones that are consumed in relatively small quantity, are destroying our food systems and our planet rings a little hollow. Even folks living in the frontier west would get oranges once a year. (Did you read the Little House on the Prairie series? I did.) They bought salt and probably a few spices. These were things available long before apples were flown in from New Zealand or the Amazon rainforest began to be razed to plant soybeans. Seems reasonable to allow a few of them to squeak through the kitchen hazing process.

At what point does the "let's be reasonable" argument kick in for you? Would you be willing to deny yourself salt or spices in the name of eating a 100% 100 mile diet? Or would you be content to work harder to source staples from within that 100 miles--grains, beans, meat, produce, milk--and to cook more of your food yourself rather than reaching for a box, and let a few favorite spices stay in the cupboard? Would you prep and dry 100 mile backpacking meals to feed five people for four days, or would you go to Winco and buy your once or twice a year packets of Ramen noodles? Let me know what you think in the comments, and share with us what you think is reasonable to do as you plan for or start your 100 Mile Diet.

Talk to you all soon,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TONIGHT! 100 Mile Diet Kick Off!

We hope to see you there!!

100 Mile Diet Kick Off Event

McMinnville Public Library, Carnegie Room


Local woman Angelina Williamson will be sharing her experience eating a 100 Mile Diet for a year. There will be a question and answer session following. Local wine and nibbles are provided!

Friday, July 22, 2011

100 Mile Diet: Installment 3

So, What Inspires You?

Hello all!

Well, I don't know about you, but this weather makes me curiously more optimistic about this whole 100 Mile Diet thing. It seems more possible that there really will be peppers and peaches and maybe (gasp) melons! Hooray for summer.

This week we finally, after arduous work and coordination, got the 100 Mile Diet publicity out in McMinnville. You might have seen it... I hope you've seen it... if you haven't seen it then I'll get more out there so you can see it... And now that the whole thing feels much more real, I'm excited to start some conversations with you all about why we are doing this thing.

Inspiration is important with things like this experiment--things that are challenging and force you to think and to examine ingrained habits and all that self-help-ish sounding good stuff. I've been thinking a lot about why I want to do this, and came up with a little list (man, I love a good list). Have you come up with your inspiration for participating? If so, share it! If not... maybe go write it down, stick it to your fridge, and then share with us too!

Beth's List of Inspiration:

1. Turning sentiment into action.
If you're anything like me, you've probably thought, read, watched, etc a lot about food issues. You've been horrified and amazed and perhaps brought to tears by what you've learned (ok, maybe that's just me), and always wondered what you could do with that knowledge. Well, here it is. I've been learning about local food for a long time. Finally all that passion is channeled to a very specific, time-lined purpose. Action.
2. Farmers!
We are so blessed to live in this county with all of its fantastic, hard-working, trail-blazing, passionate, and talented farmers. Their hard work and dedication to producing true, honest food is super inspiring. I've always supported them, but this project feels makes that support seem more concrete somehow.
3. Freshly picked peaches.
Have you ever bitten into a fresh, sun-warmed Veteran peach at the peak of ripeness? Um, ya.
4. I love to eat.
Obvious? Perhaps. Still, I love food: growing it, buying it, cooking it, sharing it. And there's nothing better than assembling a meal and knowing precisely where everything came from, down to the farmer's hand who you laid your dollars in. So good.

Talk to you all soon,

PS> If you haven't seen the poster (!!!), here's a glimpse:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The 100 Mile Diet: Installment 2

The First 100 Mile Meal

Hello everyone!

A shameful but packed two weeks or more have passed since I've written anything. Sorry! Luckily, I'm coming back to you all after (mostly) finishing publicity for the real 100 Mile event! Hooray! It should be up around town soon.

I wanted to just write a quick post about my first 100 mile meal. Call it a test run/learning experience/a way to use a lot of fava beans... any way it was delicious.

So yes, fava beans. I picked up a huge bag of them at market last week, and needed to use them up. I wasn't quite sure how... in search of inspiration I ended up walking carefully around Roth's reading labels and picking up produce from within that 100 mile radius. I did pretty good: a couple bunches of delicious spinach from Brownsville, green onions from Milwaukee, mushrooms from Yamhill, cherries from Dayton, a half gallon of apple cider from Hood River, and amazing chive havarti from Salem. The plan? Some kind of a salad. Maybe minus the cherries.

In the end, I sauteed the onions, favas (painstakingly removed from their fuzzy pods--so worth it!), and mushrooms in slightly ridiculous amounts of creamy local butter. I chopped the spinach roughly, tossed it in a big bowl, and added the hot beans, shrooms, and onions to the mix. Stir, stir, and viola! Wilted spinach salad. I cubed some havarti and tossed it in as well. Um, yum! The mushrooms and spinach were earthy, the beans sweet and green, the cheese sharp and bracing. Minor success!

Though I was able to catch myself before putting olive oil in the pan and before grinding some pepper over the finished product (kitchen habits lie deep), I did sin in one major way: salt. Salt is going to be a sticky spot for this experiment I think. I've been researching, and so far the closest source I can find is in Northern California. Does anyone know of a source for Oregon-harvested salt? If you do, you will be a hero to many a community member quite soon. Post it in the comments!

Hopefully everyone is getting excited about this event! For more information, check out the events page here, or a community billboard near you in the near future.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fruit of the Month: June

The Delectable, Delicate Strawberry.

A true sign of how strange the weather has been this spring is the late arrival of strawberries. They only really started showing their luscious red faces at market a couple of weeks ago… so technically, this very tardy post is right in the middle-ish/end of the season. Forgive me: I’ve been to busy eating them to write about them.

I think we all have some sort of special memory associated with strawberries. Whether it was your grandma’s strawberry shortbread, waiting impatiently for the first Oregon berries of the season (something not crunchy and white inside from *cough* California), Tess of the D’Ubervilles naughtily nibbling the delicate fruit in your high school English class, or perhaps the dreamy lyrics of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” the strawberry tends to have a mythic persona. The first fresh fruit of the season (if you don’t count rhubarb, which is technically a vegetable anyhow), it oozes sweetness and promises of warmer weather and the start of a succession of delicious berries that will carry you all the way to fall. Lovely.

My most prominent memories of strawberries are the mornings that my mom got us kids up really early (okay, it wasn’t that early, but it was the start of summer break—whatever happened to sleeping in?) to go pick berries at Jaquith’s Farm. It’s always awkward, picking strawberries. When you’re little you have to crouch down in between the rows and untangle the berries from their lush foliage. Later, when your legs are longer, you learn the method of straddling the row—greatly increasing your yields and the soreness of your back the day after you pick. I also remember the slightly icky feeling of too many berries before breakfast. Funny how that was immediately erased by a bowl of fresh berries and cream when we got home…

So strawberries are a nostalgic fruit, and also one full of promise. They are also fleeting, so get out there and pick (or buy) to your hearts content! Lay by a little early summer ambrosia for some day in December when it is truly dreary outside, and I guarantee you won’t remember how sore your back was.

The particulars:

Strawberry season—This varies greatly depending on variety and, of course, weather. Historically, I think the last week of May or first week of June was a good time to start looking. These days, we have to be more patient, with them arriving in the middle or even toward the end of the month. Also keep an eye out for ever-bearing berries! They can be found clear into the fall!

Delectable varieties—Did you know that varieties of strawberry vary significantly by region? Here in Oregon, varieties of historical significance include Hoods and Bentons. New ones are arriving all the time. My favorite this season has been Honeye.

Where to find them
—At the farmer’s market! I’ve also spotted ones from local farms at Roths and Harvest Fresh in McMinnville. Also, u-pick and picked flats for sale are available at Bernards Farm, Farmer Johns, and Sweet Oregon Berry. Have a favorite u-pick place? If you’re willing to sacrifice secrecy, share it in the comments!

—Check out the Recipes page (click on the tab above) for a couple of my favorite strawberry recipes. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Come Check Out the Chickens!

The 3rd Annual Garden and Coop Tour is happening this Saturday!
Six different coops are participating this year, which is sure to give you tons of garden and chicken housing ideas! Slow Food will be out and about at one of the stops sharing our favorite egg recipes with you all. Specifics for the event are below and on the Events Calendar page.

We hope to see you there!

The Details:

What: Chicken Coop and Garden Tour, Free self-guided tour of coops and gardens.

When: Saturday, June 18, between 11:00 and 4:00

Where: McMinnville and surrounding countryside

Registration and tour details available at OSU Extension office, 2050 Lafayette Avenue, 503. 434.7515. Sponsored by OSU Extension 4-H programs, Stacey Lynn's Farm, Slow Food Yamhill County and local coops and gardens.

For questions contact Judi at valleycreekfarm@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The Slow Food Beer Brewing Event is this Saturday!

We'll be starting at 1pm at Heater Allen Brewery in McMinnville. A group of us will be meeting at the Saturday Public Market (there's an entrance on 5th St) at 12:45 to walk to the brewery. We hope you can join us to learn about brewing and taste some beer! Further details can be found on the Events Calendar--just click on the tab above.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Beth at beth.satt@gmail.com.

See you there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The 100 Mile Diet Experiment: Installment 1

Hello everyone!

Sorry about the long break... I had to take advantage of the great weather last week! And now it is Monday, and I'm sitting down in front of the computer on a rather gray morning to write my first post about Erik and my (and eventually your) 100 Mile Diet experiment.

First, a little background information:

The 100 Mile Diet started out as a pet project of a couple living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Back in 2005, and before the major food-mania hit, they decided to eat only local food for a whole year. Their inspiration? The awe-inspiring (read: horrifying) fact that almost every meal eaten in North America has traveled an average of 1500 miles from soil to plate. This statistic, calculated by the Leopold Center at Iowa State University, drove home for them how wacky our food system has become. Their response? Get local. For them, this involved packing away their chocolate, spices, rice, and olive oil... and embarking on a year-long learning process about the amazingly rich foodshed in which they lived. Along the way they learned a lot about the history of food in the Pacific Northwest, about the industrial agriculture and food systems, and about how real food tastes. They chronicled their experiment in the memoir Plenty, being cruelly honest about the hardships and joys of a truly local diet. For more information, check out their very informative website here.

Bringing the 100 Mile Diet to Yamhill County:

A couple months ago, while brainstorming possible projects for Slow Food, the little thought crossed my head... "why not do a 100 Mile Diet here?" Thus, the 100 Mile Diet Experiment has been born.
Erik and I are signing up to be your guinea pigs: eating on the 100 mile diet, and doing a lot of research about local food sources in advance of the bigger experiment. Slow Food will be announcing within a couple of weeks the dates for the official 100 Mile Diet Experiment. If you want to participate, please contact us! Until then, I'll be writing regularly here on the blog about our experience, so definitely check back here as well!

Below I've added a few of my thoughts on the eve of starting this experiment. Do you guys drink coffee? What would you be willing to give up in the name of experimentation? I'd love to have your input as I start planning!

Talk with you all soon.


Anxious before the start.

So I’m sitting down to write my first post about the 100 Mile Diet while finishing an iced Americano. Yes, I am aware of the irony in that. Does it count that I’m also snacking on delicious goat cheese from Dundee? Probably not. Especially since I’m pairing garlic-herb chevre with espresso. Don’t judge me.

Is it silly that I’m a little anxious about starting a 100 Mile Diet? I mean, I’ve got two whole months to plan and scout out delicious local foods… but I still feel a little nervous. My first impulse when Erik and I decided to do it was to run out right now and stock up on ingredients. Erik then kindly reminded me that we do have a lot of time to figure this out. But my favorite (and most frequently consumed) food items tend to be wheat products, and wheat might be hard to find inside our 100 mile radius. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m thinking that I’m going to spend a month without pasta… and that makes me feel hungry just sitting here. Like a squirrel before winter, I want my pantry stocked up with things that might fill that gap.

On the flip side, I am also really excited to do this. I’ve been thinking about, reading about, researching, and exploring local foods for a while now. It seems like the logical next step to do it all the way: to draw that circle on the map, and figure out how to live within those means. The first thoughts in my head (before my pasta freak-out) were, “oh, I should call my friend and double my order of eggs each month.” The second thought was “I get to go on field trips!” Yep, I fully intend to visit the Willamette Valley Cheese factory. I also plan on scouring Bob’s Red Mill for grains or legumes that come from this side of the Cascades. I'll also be doing a lot of cold calls to farms in the area to see what they have to offer. Sounds like an adventure! I’m also going to be able to come home from the farmer’s market with bags and bags of delicious produce, and know that not one bit of it will wilt in the back of the fridge. And go u-picking! Mmm mm: blueberries and blackberries and peaches! You see, this might just be fun!

And truly I think it will. I am excited to be in the kitchen more. I won’t have the excuse of canned sauce and dried pasta in the cupboard… I’m actually going to have to cook (or at least assemble) every night. I’ll also have to make my own snack foods. And I need a lot of snacks, so homemade crackers here I come. (Hmm, there’s the wheat issue again.) I’m also going to use this month as an excuse to (hopefully!) get off of my coffee habit. After being a barista and long-time coffee shop groupie, that could be interesting. Wish me luck!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Slow Beer

Hello everyone!

I wanted to announce that the Slow Food Beer Event is official! On Saturday June 11th, we'll be joining Brian Gilbert, Linfield professor and brewmaster, for an informative presentation about the art and science of brewing. Following the presentation, we'll be getting a tour of Heater Allen Brewery here in Mac with Rick Allen, and he'll be tasting Heater Allen beers afterward! Are you excited yet??

All the specifics are posted on the events calendar page... just click on the tab above! Please spread the word!

And to wet your appetite, check out this article in the latest edition of MIX magazine. If you haven't run into MIX before, it's a really great resource for those who imbibe, and would like to do so locally. Every month there are features about local beer, wine, spirits, and food that will give you great ideas for your next outing, or, in the case of this article, home (brewing) projects! Nate Query, bassist for the Portland based band the Decemberists, gives us the 101 of homebrewing, and makes it look easy and fun (which it is!).

If you have questions or want to RSVP for the SFYC Beer Event, contact Beth at beth.satt@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plans for Your Thursday Night?

Hi everyone!

Summer is poking its head out of the clouds today, and gosh does it feel good. Hopefully you all have a chance to enjoy the sunshine!

I wanted to remind you all about a great event happening right in downtown Mac this week. Katherine Cole, author of Voodoo Vinters, will be visiting Third Street Books tomorrow night along with five area wine makers. The discussion will center on biodynamic winegrowing in Oregon. I wrote about Cole’s book a couple of weeks ago now. You can find the original post and event details here.
This is sure to be a fun and informative event. So, if you don’t have plans tomorrow night, mosey on down to the bookstore! Event starts at 7 pm.


On a different note, I wanted to apologize for not writing a lot lately. Honestly, I have used up my stores of foodie book reading and (hopefully) clever commentary… so I’m spending a little time refueling. Here are a few things for you to look forward to on the blog in the coming weeks:

More book reviews!
Currently on my reading shelf:

The Resilient Gardener, by Carol Deppe
The River Cottage Cookbook, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Get Cooking, by Mollie Katzen
Plenty, by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon
and more!

Upcoming events!

The Art and Science of Brewing with SFYC
featuring Heater Allen Brewing, from right here in Mac!

The Coop Tour!

A July farm tour

SFYC’s 100 Mile Diet Experiment

Ongoing Blog Projects

“Fruit of the Month”
It’s getting close to fruit season in Oregon! Each month we’ll feature a fruit, offering recipes and sourcing ideas to help you take advantage of summertime bounty.

Beth and Erik’s 100 Mile Diet
Yep, Erik and I will be guinea pigs for you all! Our plan is to eat a 100 Mile Diet for the entire month of August. I’ll be blogging about it regularly, as we plan for, cook, and (hopefully) enjoy living on foods produced in a 100 Mile radius of McMinnville.

As always, I welcome your commentary and feedback. Leave a comment on a post and contribute to the conversation! Follow our blog on your Google account! Send the link to friends! And as always, let me know what you want to hear! I’m always looking for new blog topics and materials. If you find something or have an idea, feel free to leave it in the comments or send me an email: beth.satt@gmail.com.

Thanks! I hope you stay tuned!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bring Your Boots! Come Out to the Farm!

Hi! So I thought I had posted this back on Wednesday... but apparently it didn't stick up here. Sorry for the late notice!!

Despite the fact that the spring weather can't seem to make up its mind, Slow Food is super excited about our first farm visit of the year! We'll be out at North Valley Farm in Yamhill, learning all about grassfed lamb and fiber.

The tour will get underway at 11:15 or so, followed by a potluck out in the field! Our lovely hosts are providing a delicious lamb dish to share, and we would love to see you out there! Bring your boots, perhaps your rain gear, a dish to share, and a smile!

Further details, directions, and contact information can all be found on our Events Calendar Page--just click on the tab above.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Next Weekend

Slow Food is hosting it's first farm tour of the season next weekend! We will be visiting North Valley Farm out in Yamhill. North Valley Farm specializes in heritage breed grassfed lamb as well as fleeces and yarn. You can read more about their farm at their website! Details of the event can be found on our events page (click on the tab above).

We're really excited to have the chance to learn about North Valley's unique enterprises! Please join us!

Have a good weekend, all.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Cramp in My (Planting) Style

Hello all,

Well, the sun is here! (At least for a while.) My planting bug is definitely in high gear, and I thought I'd talk this week about some of the challenges I've faced with learning how to garden in town--in pots, on balconies, and in other places that kind of cramp my style.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the country, and we almost always had a large garden right out the kitchen door. Now I’m hitting a pretty steep learning curve trying to grow in small and less-than-ideal spaces. Currently I live in an apartment with an indoor cat that loves nothing more than to destroy every other living thing that enters our door. I do have a balcony, but it gets pretty limited light while simultaneously getting baking hot on summer afternoons. And (this is the hardest part for me) any time I do want to plant it takes an awful lot of planning: I have to buy potting soil and compost, which seems absurd somehow; I have to figure out what to plant things in; I have to adjust to harvesting just a few leaves of lettuce at a time, not baskets. I also have to think carefully if I plant anything that isn’t hardy, as it will have to live in my bedroom all winter, with almost zero light and constant threat of feline meddling. Blurg. So not ideal for someone who wants to grow things, and who tends to plant with spontaneity rather than forethought (I’m working on that).

Thankfully, there is a community garden in McMinnville. For a minimal input of money and monthly volunteer hours, I have access to a little less than 100 square feet of growing space. The soil is a bit tired and clumpy, and until very recently was quite swampy. Still, I grew a lot of food in that row last summer, all while working two jobs and leaving the plants mostly to their own devices. This year I’m hoping to do better—starting some of my own plants and hoping to extend my harvest with some succession plantings. I’m also itching to do some winter gardening (I really do love kale an awful lot).

In reality, and despite my wining, I have a pretty great situation for someone living in town that wants to grow food (a community row and a balcony?). Not to mention that we have a great farmer’s market all summer, so I don’t need to worry about growing gobs of stuff—I’m mostly growing because it’s fun and rewarding. Still, I’m struggling to learn how to do all of this. I thought today I’d share a few things I’ve been learning about gardening when you have limited time and space. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there, and if you have any advice for me (and others like me), I’d love to hear it!

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

The first thing I’ve done is to start an herb garden. Herbs are sturdy plants, fairly straightforward to grow, are less susceptible to pests and disease, and pack a major culinary punch. It only takes a couple of branches of fresh oregano to make a pasta sauce stand up and take notice, and a single sprig of fresh rosemary will perfume a bean soup. They also do very well in pots, and most are hardy enough that I won’t have to cart all of them inside come November. Currently I have rosemary, lemon thyme (delicious!), mint, oregano, and chives. I’m already planning on adding sage, as well as Moroccan mint, anise hyssop, chamomile, and lemon balm (for teas), and maybe lavender and nasturtiums. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep them all going, and even harvest extra to dry for the winter pantry!

Second, I’ve started some greens. Greens have shallow root systems, grow quickly, and don’t mind being in containers. Plus, there are an amazing number of varieties grow! Right now I have baby arugula, and I’m planning on adding small-headed romaine and some loose-leaf lettuces to the mix (my cat destroyed my first flat, so I’m starting over again). I might also add some beets and radishes for their leaves: they make great spicy additions to salads.

Third, I’m planning on rounding up some large pots to grow cucumbers and summer squash out on my balcony. These guys sprawl a lot, taking up space in my community row that I’d rather give to tomatoes, potatoes, and stuff for the winter garden. Luckily, I have learned that they don’t mind containers, and can be trained vertically so they don’t take up too much space. I’m excited to also add nasturtiums to the mix: edible and colorful and easy to grow. That’s pretty much the mantra for small space gardening, I think.

There is a lot to learn about small-space gardening. Luckily, thanks to the local food and DIY movements, there is also a lot of information out there. Almost all gardening magazines address issues of limited time and space; there are a number of blogs that are written by folks living in cities who are gardening on windowsills, balconies, and in their bathrooms; and, of course, there are a bunch of great books out on the subject. Below is a list of resources that I’ve been utilizing.

If you have any other resources (or hints or tips for us small-spacers), feel free to post them in the comments!
Happy growing!

Apartment Gardening, by Amy Pennington
(This author lives in Seattle, and is familiar with both our rainy climate and the challenges of urban spaces.)

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries
, by Andrea Bellamy
(Good advice for the vegetarian and vegan crowd in addition to the aspiring small space gardener.)

The Edible Front Yard, by Ivette Soler
(For those of you who have yards, this is the guide to making that space produce for you!)

Grow Great Grub, by Gayla Trail
(Another good starter guide to gardening in containers.)

The Heavy Petal Blog
(Great advice for urban gardeners of all types, including those who want to grow food and ornamentals.)

Organic Gardening Magazine
(At times fluffy and unfocused, but this standby has shifted focus to address an urban audience.)

Urban Farm Magazine
(A new publication out on food production in urban areas.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yes, Another Book That You Need to Read

Hello all,

So I realized this morning as I was putting together blog material for the week that I have spent a lot of time reviewing books. Hopefully that's okay with you! If you ever want to hear something different, just let me know. There are just so many cool books to read...

This week I want to talk about a newly released book out from OSU Press. It's called Voodoo Vinters, and the author Katherine Cole, writer for MIX magazine and the Oregonian, has put together for us a fabulous introduction into biodynamic farming and winegrowing.

If you aren't familiar with it, biodynamic farming is a agricultural system that was developed in the early 20th Century by the visionary philosopher and spiritual leader, Rudolf Steiner. Sometimes labeled "uber-organic," biodynamics take an intensive, homeopathic, radically local approach to farming. Off-farm inputs are strongly discouraged, and are replaced by applications of carefully prepared compost and specially "brewed" preparations. Herbicides and fungicides are replaced by homeopathic teas made from nettles, horsetail, and yarrow. Planting and harvesting are timed with lunar cycles. ...And then there's the more "woo-woo" stuff, like capturing cosmic rays to improve plant growth, monitoring the changing auras around your plants to determine their needs, and so on. Because of some of its more new-agey and unscientific elements, biodynamics is often dismissed as witchcraft or, as the book's title suggests, voodoo.

Cole does an admirable job in her book of balancing a tongue-in-cheek assessment of some of biodynamic's more "far out" practices with a historical and on the ground analysis of the school of thought as a whole. She comes to the conclusion that biodynamics is simply a very intensive approach to farming that focuses on promoting health rather than doing no harm (as the organic approach does), and in promoting health it drives farmers to pay very, very close attention to every aspect of their operation. As a consequence, these farmers have a heightened appreciation for the importance of biodiversity on their land, for feeding and nurturing the soil using preparations and tillage, and for watching their plants for signs of stress and then healing them. Overall it is a fascinating and compelling approach to farming that has its own unique merit.

Wound into the book's exploration of biodynamic farming more generally is an exploration of the growing influence of biodynamics in Oregon winegrowing. Cole profiles numerous well-known local vineyards and wineries who are employing biodynamic practices with stupendous results. Maysara, Brick House, Montinore, Cooper Mountain, and many other well-known names are discussed in this book. Each vinter has their own unique reasoning behind going biodynamic (or not, as is the case with the highly respected Sokol Blosser Winery), unique approach to applying biodynamic practices on their land, and unique viewpoint on the importance of biodynamics to the industry as a whole. Cole comes away from her experiences on these vineyards and from drinking their wines with two main conclusions: (1.) biodynamic winegrowing creates some fantastic wines, and (2.) that there does seem to be something special going on among the biodynamically grown vines that grace many south-facing slopes in the Willamette Valley. You'll have to read it and see what you think!

Another reason that I wanted to feature this book is that the author will be in town soon! On May 19th Katherine Cole, and guests from five of the vineyards she talked about in her book, will be at Third Street Books downtown for a book reading and discussion about biodynamic winegrowing in Oregon. It is sure to be a fascinating event! See the specifics listed at the bottom if you want to attend!

Take care.


Where: Third Street Books, 334 NE Third Street, McMinnville
When: 7pm
Featuring: Katherine Cole (author of Voodoo Vinters), Patrick Reuter (of Dominio IV), Josh Bergstrom (or Bergstrom Wines), Kelley Fox (of Kelley Fox Wines), Brian O'Donnelle (of Belle Pente), and Doug Tunnell (of Brick House Vineyards).

Preregistration is encouraged. Call at 503.472.7786.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Learn About Honeybees: "Queen of the Sun"

Hi all!

Thought I'd pass on to you a cool event happening in honor of Earth Day!

Queen of the Sun is a new documentary that tries to answer the question "what are the bees telling us?" If you live in the area, you've probably heard that local hives have been struggling with a malady known as colony collapse disorder: essentially, the hives disappear without a trace. This occurrence remains largely unexplained, and is having a serious effect on local industries--from honey to fruit and nut trees. Honey bees are man's pollinator of choice, and with hives proving unsustainable, scientists and farmers alike are trying to figure out what to do to save the bees.

Queen of the Sun is produced by the same folks who made The Real Dirt on Farmer John, an entertaining and insightful film about what happened when one Mid-West farmer went organic in the heart of America's modern industrial agriculture. All bodes well for this newest effort. Check out their website for more information and to watch a trailer:


The film itself is showing in several Oregon locations starting today. If you have a free moment, check it out!

in Portland at the Hollywood Theatre
in Salem at Salem Cinema
in Eugene at Bijou Arts Cinemas

Enjoy the sun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Learning from a Northwest Garden Guru

Good day!

So now that it feels a little more like spring out there, I have been delving into my gardening books. I'm learning so much! Sounds silly to say so, but I think that sometimes you aren't ready to absorb a particular book. Then you come back to it, and you're thinking "wow!" all the way through.

Of late, my "wow" feeling has been focused on Steve Solomon's classic book, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. I have known about this book for years, thanks to my mom who is an avid gardener. It was usually laying somewhere around our living room, peppered with sticky note markers. I recently bought my own copy, and have been reading it religiously with my morning coffee. There's so much to learn! I have read other gardening books, equally inspiring, but Solomon points out that most gardening books are written based on gardening practices that work back east or in the mid-west, or in California. It makes a lot of sense: those regions have long histories of vegetable cultivation on all kinds of scale. As useful as these texts are (you can't say that Eliot Coleman's genius isn't inspiring), they don't address the unique challenges faced by gardeners who live in the Pacific Northwest and particularly west of the Cascades.

Here, vegetable growers face a myriad of problems: heavy clay soils, generally poor soil quality (low in trace minerals and overly high in potassium), winters-long leaching of nutrients thanks to the never-ending rains, a lack of widely-available high quality compost, difficulty in making good, nutrient dense compost at home. The list goes on and on. Solomon addresses all of these issues in turn, drawing on decades of experience growing vegetables in this unique region. He explains why mainstream gardening techniques fail here, and provides the reader with working alternatives.

Solomon also writes with a healthy dose of humor and honesty--joking about his failures, making fun of the reader while acknowledging the difficulties we face, and being totally honest about the back-breaking nature of some of the extra work we "west-of-the-cascaders" have ahead of us. He also unapologetically changes his mind: the book, now in its 6th edition, is a constant work in progress. It contains years and years of gardening wisdom. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Another great gardening resource that I lean on heavily is The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide, published by Seattle Tilth. This is a great little magazine-size guide to planting schedules, trouble-shooting, and more. It is also specific to our rainy, cold soil situation. Check it out!

Both of these resources are available from your local bookstore, Third Street Books. Walk downtown, save the drive, and support a local business! Happy reading!

Enjoy your week.

Friday, April 15, 2011

La Casa Verde and Permaculture 101

Hello all!

Slow Food Yamhill County is very excited to be participating in La Casa Verde this weekend! La Casa Verde is an annual green building celebration that offers all kinds of workshops and information booths about green architecture, landscape, and living. It is happening all weekend in the granary district here in McMinnville.

This year, SFYC is presenting a talk on Permaculture. Permaculture is a design model and agricultural system that is intended to be permanent and self sustaining. It focuses on using available resources, minimizing waste, and creating rich, diverse environments in which to grow food and live a whole lifestyle. Below is a graphic that captures a few of the central ideas of permaculture systems.

If you're interested in learning more, come to the SFYC Permaculture presentation! It will be happening from noon to 1pm, and the presenters will be at Slow Food's information table afterward to answer questions.

Also stop by the Slow Food table to enter to win an awesome gift basket featuring local veggies, wine, and olive oil! Tickets are $1. You do not need to be present to win.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Farm Fest!

It might even be sunny for this fun farm event! We're not officially affiliated, but a plowing contest sounds like good fun for all.

Check it out here!

The Basics:

Farm Fest

Put on by: Yamhill County Historical Society
Where: The Yamhill County Heritage Center (head out 18 toward the coast, it's just outside town on your left)
When: THIS SATURDAY (a.k.a. tomorrow) from 10am-3pm
Entry: $3

Also, it has been brought to my attention that commenting on our blog isn't working too well. I'll do my best to figure out why that is and let you know the steps to commenting soon! Keep in mind that we are somewhat limited by the server... so you may need to create a shell Google account to comment. I'll let you know the details ASAP!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fridge Sins

Hi all. Hope the nutty spring weather is keeping you entertained!

Today I thought I’d write about a funny realization I had recently while debating whether or not I wanted to tackle cleaning out my fridge. The weather was too spotty to really make me want to do anything outside, so I was working on being productive around the house. Per usual, this meant I wandered around for a half-hour or so before deciding I’d rather try out a new recipe for no-knead bread than clean anything (why do the dishes if you’re just going to make more, right?).

In the course of my wanderings, I also stood with my fridge door open for an unacceptably long time. The contents in one word: messy. There was the normal bit of sour milk and dubious leftovers in Tupperware. A head of wilted lettuce that made me search the door for salad dressing. And what did I find there? A bottle of balsamic vinaigrette with approximately one half-teaspoon left at the bottom (useful). An older, emptier bottle of raspberry vinaigrette that I’m pretty sure I inherited when I moved out of my old apartment. An equally empty ketchup bottle, a few random mustards I scarcely remembered buying. Tabasco sauce. Soy sauce. More sauces. Kraft Mayo in a squeezable plastic jug.

Hmm. This is getting embarrassing.

But we all have our fridge sins, right? It might be that sour cream growing Technicolor mold at the back of the bottom shelf. Or the spilled something that makes everything around it sticky, but you studiously ignore. Maybe a half-eaten can of Taco Bell brand “refried beans.” I think for me, in addition to a couple of the above, I realized that I have an awful lot of condiments in there that I spent money on but rarely use. Most of which are likely easy to make. Most of which contain various unpronounceable ingredients, ingredients of dubious origin, ingredients that generally don’t jive with my attempts to eat locally, seasonally, and sustainably…

Thus, I have made a resolution. No more bottled salad dressing for me. This seemed the easiest point of departure, given that I have no access to tomatoes to make my own ketchup right now and making my own mustard sounds ambitious. And I have no idea how to approach soy sauce except doing some research. But salad dressing is pretty easy: I’ve whipped up vinaigrettes before after all. No problemo. Plus, this is a good reason to collect bottles of olive oil and walnut oil and various delectable sounding vinegars that I admire regularly but have yet to invest in. New food horizons, hooray!

What are your fridge sins? What items do you buy because they’re convenient, even when your little slow-foodie conscience scolds you for it? (You don’t need to admit to mold or sticky messes though… I know you’re more virtuous than that.)

Check out the recipes page for a couple of salad dressings that I am very much looking forward to making!

Stay dry out there.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Hot Out There

Okay, not really. Well, it is kind of warm. I have been overheating in my favorite winter garb lately, which is an encouraging sign: we have spring temperatures even if the sunshine hasn't arrived.
But when I say "hot," I'm talking in a grander sense... yep, I'm going to talk about that oft-divisive subject: climate change. Mostly, I want to give you a heads up about a really great book that recently came out on the topic.

Mark Hertsgaard is a well-respected environmental journalist with more than a decade of experience reporting on climate change and its numerous effects across our planet. His most recent book, Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, is a superbly written treatise on the current climate situation, and the ways we can and are approaching the threat it poses to our present way of life. It covers everything from water, to soil, to air, to human beings struggling both in America and across the world to come to terms with the changes we are seeing in our environment.

The chapter in this book on food, aptly titled "How Will We Feed Ourselves?" maneuvers and explains the complicated annals of modern agriculture, traveling from the African Sahel to Central California and beyond. It also explores the resiliency of modern food systems in the face of climate pressures. The news, honestly, isn't great: soils are wearing out and blowing away, water tables are over-tapped, pollution is rampant, GMO crops aren't living up to their promises, biodiversity is threatened, and hunger remains widespread. Depressing much?

This is where Hertsgaard's book sets itself apart though: he finds reasons to hope! In his travels in Africa, he meets rural farmers who are reclaiming their lands from the desert by employing simple techniques that fall under the imposing title "farmer-managed natural regeneration." Basically, they dig small depressions around the bases of their plants, which helps the soil at the base of the plant retain water. Adding manure to these depressions further increases production, and as a bi-product, reintroduces native tree species to their land. When they allow these trees to grow, water retention increases even more, again increasing their crop yields. By allowing native tree species to co-habitate with their crops, these farmers are recharging their water table, tying down precious topsoil, increasing biodiversity, and achieving a degree of food security that they have never known. A beautifully simple solution, an effective grassroots movement, and it has reclaimed 1000s of acres of land that previously was wasteland. Amazing.

In Northern China, where almost 80% of that nation's grains are grown, it is expected that the groundwater will be totally depleted by 2030. In less than 20 years, if nothing changes, they will be out of water. Terrifying, right? Well, a few brave scientists in that region are teaming up with students on university-run farms to test centuries-old inter-cropping and fertilization techniques, hoping (and proving) that those techniques yield just as much food as modern, industrial farming techniques, and will also help replenish the water table, rebuild soils, absorb atmospheric carbon, etc. Could this be the start of an agricultural revolution in China, the world's most populous nation? Perhaps.

By now you're probably wondering what this all has to do with our food systems. The answer is, it has everything to do with them. It is expected that by 2050, the Mid West will experience scorching summers 3 years out of 4, putting immense pressure on what is the United States' and the world's bread basket. California's central valley, which produces something like 40% of America's vegetables with experience unprecedented and increasing drought. Increasing temperatures will make life easier for pests and weeds, threatening crops everywhere. The threat is very real, and conventional agriculture systems are not up to the task. They are too rigid, too reliant on fossil fuel inputs, too draining on already scarce water resources, to last.

The good new is, as Herstgaard so kindly delivers to us, that we already know what to do to control a lot of these problems. The knowledge and technology already exists to remake food systems across the world to be more resilient and sensitive to natural resources and rhythms. What stands in the way is our modern, dominant, and monolithic agro-economic paradigm.

What can we do? Grow our own food. Shop in our foodshed. Support sustainable agriculture practices. And put pressure on the companies and policies that are doing so much damage to our present and future food sources. Start locally. As Hertsgaard writes, "[a]griculture is one of the few tricks humanity still has up its sleeve in the race to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable of climate change."

Slow Food and you can both help in this fight to save our food systems.

Join us!

And if you want to learn more, I highly recommend you read and realize that it's Hot out there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Hello all,

I hope that this week is treating you well so far. I am personally feeling a little heavy of heart given recent world events. The conflict in Libya, civilians being killed in Yemen, continuing radiation leaks in Japan... it's all a little hard to process, though I have been doing my best to keep abreast of these events. They feel so crucial.

Yesterday I heard on the radio that officials have found radiation in tap water, dairy products, and vegetables in Japan. The many damaged plants still seem far from being repaired or the situation contained. But honestly, reading that radiation is being found in food sources was the most terrifying bit of news I have heard yet. This impact is something that will truly affect everyone in Japan. With food in short supply since the disaster, everyone is sharing what is available. This means every individual could potentially be harmed by their food: the very thing that is meant to nourish them and steel them to spend their days working to repair their country. Just a reminder that our food systems are fragile.

If you want to learn more, this article by The Guardian is a good one to check out. What are your thoughts?

Savor your safe food.

We'll talk to you soon.

PS> Be sure to check out the updated events and recipes pages! Freshen up your winter palate with kale chips or ginger muffins.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Think Out Loud

Hello all!

We had a really productive Slow Food meeting this Monday! Many thanks to all who attended and offered their input on everything from the blog to upcoming events. Your energy is so appreciated! The minutes for this month's meeting are posted on the "Minutes" page here on the blog. If you want an emailed copy, feel free to contact Beth (beth.satt@gmail.com).

One topic that came up during the conversation Monday night was a recent Think Out Loud program on OPB radio about Food Deserts. Do you live in a food desert? How far do you have to drive to stock up on groceries? What happens if you can't get to your food sources? How secure is our food system, really? These questions and many more were engaged and debated by your fellow Oregonians on the show this week.

You can find the show online here or listen in at 91.5 FM (times are below). If you haven't listened to or participated in Think Out Loud, I highly recommend it! It is a great opportunity to learn about what is on the minds of Oregonians and to have your voice heard. You do have to set up an account to participate online (it takes about 20 seconds, and they don't send you spam), but you can read the comments inspired by the show for free! The show airs weekday mornings between 9 and 10am. Programs are rebroadcast in evenings in case you miss the morning show.

Go forth and learn something about food deserts!

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Fever

Hello foodies!

I don't know about any one else, but I have major spring fever right now. For the past few mornings, birds have been waking me up before the sun, and everywhere I look outside I see buds, buds, and more buds! March is a tease here in Oregon though--balmy enough to make us itch to get out in the garden again, and rainy enough to keep the mud ankle-deep.

Lucky for us, we can start plants inside... and attend Slow Food events! So why not take a break from nursing your plant starts and peruse the events page to see if one of our upcoming events calls to you? As always, check back with us to see what new events are on the horizon!

Happy Spring Fever!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome Back!

Hello readers, wherever you may be!

We wanted to give you a heads up that Slow Food is in the midst of planning great events all across the county for 2011! It's been a while since we've posted any news of events or upcoming projects, but there are a bunch of things coming down the pipe to keep your eye out for! A couple of items on the agenda include the Sue Buel Earth Day celebration, and participation in Chicken College, a day of fun seminars about our dear egg-laying friends taking place in Amity in a couple of weeks!

We are also working on revamping our blog, as you might have noticed. Please check back soon and often as we complete the update and start posting about our news and events as we enter the busy season of 2011.

As always, we welcome your comments and participation! If you have questions about upcoming events or getting involved, please email Judi at the email listed in the "About Us" section to the right.

See you soon!