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Posts Tagged ‘community supported agriculture’

When a group of high school juniors signed up for a shop class, they didn’t realize they’d be building real buildings that their community desperately needs.

How Bertie County Teens Built A Farmers Market Pavilion

The Windsor Super Market ©Studio H

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So what do you do when you have some lean ground beef and no hamburger buns?Well, if you’re like me, I was lucky and had some large grocery store onion bagels.  Both the beef and the bagels were locally sourced, though the bagels are only local in that they were made in my neighborhood Safeway bakery.

The hamburger meat is from the Happy Mountain® Farm in Covington Washington. There, they grow miniature cattle. Cows the size of shetland ponies.They are all natural grass fed cattle and are extremely lean. Lean to the point that you have to add a little oil to the meat so that it stays a little juicy when you cook it.

So I looked at what I had to work with and decided that I would make my burger patty in a bagel shape. Well, try as I might, the meat was just too lean to form a decent patty. So I added a little olive oil and some panko crumbs to give it some structure. Then it made a decent meat tube and didn’t fall apart. Then I set about cooking it.

I cut the bagel in two and toasted the halves.

I cut the bagel in two and toasted the halves.

I fried the burger in my cast iron skillet on medium heat.

I fried the burger in my cast iron skillet on medium heat.

I seasoned the meat with some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I also put some mustard and hamburger relish on the other bun.

I seasoned the meat with some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I also put some mustard and hamburger relish on the other bun half.

The final product, a juicy, tasty bagel burger! Mmm!

The final product, a juicy, tasty bagel burger! Mmm!

Remember to practice good sanitation! I wore food grade plastic gloves and washed down my cutting boards after making the patty.

I’d change my method by putting down some plastic wrap so the burger wouldn’t stick to the cutting board, and do a normal patty and cut a hole out of the middle with a 1 inch round cookie cutter. That, or use the cutter a mold and form the burger around it.

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Vince Carlson

Vince Carlson

Vincent Carlson is a remarkable man. He has over 20-years experience in architecture, construction, engineering, development, design and fabrication. He also makes award-winning meads as well. His architecture company, Architect for the Environment, specializes in green and sustainable architecture, for residential, commercial, and agricultural needs.

Vince lives the sustainable lifestyle in Woodinville, Washington. Here he’s raising a family in a green lifestyle. He grows his own food, raises his own chickens for eggs and makes mead, a honey wine, for sale through his other business, Adytum Cellars.

Vince’s most current project is the 21 Acres Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living. This Center will be a facility that will be a self-sustaining and energy-efficient and renewable structure built with green principles and materials. The building will include stalls for market vendors and farmers, areas for educational displays and produce sales, dry storage and cold storage facilities for farmers, and sit-down eating areas for families coming to the market. The Center will be surrounded by a vast outdoor patio area that will enable pedestrian traffic to flow in and out of the building as people shop, eat, and explore the atmosphere.

A fine glass of mead.

A fine glass of mead.

Beyond architecture, Vince also makes mead. Award winning mead. His Traditional Mead won the 2007 International Mead Festival Silver Medal. As a personal connoisseur of Vince’s meads, I can highly recommend his products. He used to have his own hive, but it swarmed recently and flew off. He’s currently looking to replace it with a new hive when he gets a chance.

His meadery has a partial green roof with drip irrigation to keep it going in the hot months. He has recently renovated the business with a new tasting room on the ground floor of the meadery. He’s always willing to explain the mead making process and uses natural and organic honeys in his products.

Along wit his traditional meads, Vince also makes several fruit meads:

  • Pyment – grapes
  • Cyser – apples or pears
  • Melomel – peaches, cherries, elderberries and most other fruits
  • Metheglin – herb or spice

If you get a chance stop by his place and try his products. You won’t regret it.

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It’s summer time and my thoughts turn to pickles. I’m a pickle fiend, right next to my olive obsession. I’ve learned how to make successful pickles. Not fermented pickles, I don’t have a cold, cool place for that happen, but I do make refrigerator pickles.

"B&B" PicklesI adapted a recipe from Alton Brown‘s Good Eats show. I used a locally grown English Cucumber, red onions, and garlic. I would have used locally produced apple cider vinegar, but I didn’t pick some up. I used a 60/40 mixture of sucralose and sugar, to make it diabetic friendly, but you could use just sugar if you like. So let’s start:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups sucralose and 3/4 cup sugar or 2 cups sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice

Thinly slicing vegetables is an art. That’s why they made the mandolin. I use a cheap plastic one I got at from my dad’s girlfriend. It’s made of white plastic, it’s got notches to hook it over a bowl, three depth settings, a julienne insert, and two sided grater. And it works like a charm. I’ve sliced my thumbs and fingers on that sharp blade more than once. A mandolin is easier to clean than a food processor and you can slice on the bias, which is what I did with the cucumber, to get longer slices. I still tear slicing onions on the mandolin. 

After you slice  them up, combine the onion and cucumber slices, along with the garlic cloves, in a clean spring-top jar. Don’t use a plastic one. Glass is totally non-reactive and is easier to clean than plastic. Make sure the garlic cloves are in the middle of the slices. This will make sure that they get thoroughly pickled.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. After it boils, simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors of the spices.

Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the garlic cloves and the onion and cucumber slices, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid. Refrigerate.

You can eat these in two to three days. Yum!

This is a sustainable recipe because except for the salt, spices and sugar, you can source all the other ingredients locally. You can adapt this recipe by pickling peppers with the cukes or just pickle peppers. This is the first of several picklings I’m going to do this year, and I’ll be sourcing apple cider vinegar from a local cider press to be more sustainable. When pickling cucumbers come into season, I’ll be getting my pickle jars ready to go.

And this is both fun and empowering. You’re not tied to the grocery store for all your condiment needs. You can do it your self, just like we used to do a 100 years ago. Next on my self-made list: Ketchup!

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Bastyr University’s 11th Annual Herb & Food Fair

When: Saturday, June 6, 2009
Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Bastyr University Campus Grounds
Theme: “Sustainable Nutrition and Healing”
List of Events: Download the schedule of events.
Web Site:  Herb & Food Fair

Description: Bastyr University announces its 11th annual Herb & Food Fair- “Sustainable Nutrition and Healing”, to be held on Saturday, June 6, 2009, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Growing every year, this FREE annual event has educational and fun activities for the whole family. Healthy lifestyle vendors, public talks and lectures, cooking demonstrations, guided herb garden and reflexology path walks, live music and much more are scheduled throughout the day for all to enjoy.

Keynote speakers include Richo Cech, a village herbalist, plant explorer, author and owner of Horizon Herbs, which is “sowing seeds worldwide for the benefit of people, plants and the planet.” Richo is the author of the widely acclaimed and quoted Horizon Herbs Growing Guide and Catalog, as well as Making Plant Medicine, Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs, and The Medicinal Herb Grower. Karen Jurgensen is a chef instructor at both the Seattle Culinary Academy and the Quillisascut Farm School, as well as a mercenary cook and a restaurant consultant in Seattle. She founded the Seattle chapter of Chefs Collaborative (a.k.a FORKS) and is actively involved in local food politics, the regional Food Policy Council, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Les Dames d’Escoffier and Slow Food’s RAFT project.

Getting There: A free shuttle will run every 30 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from the Kenmore park and ride, located at 7346 NE Bothell Way. Limited parking is available on campus for $5.

For more information: Call 425.602.3107. Bastyr’s whole foods cafeteria will be open for those who wish to purchase vegetarian treats and other food vendors will be available onsite at the fair.

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One way I’ve found to live sustainably, even a little bit green, is to cook only using local ingredients as much as I can. During the summer it’s fairly easy, as I can shop the various farmers markets here in the Puget Sound area for local produce, meat, eggs, even salmon and halibut.

Delicious beef stew

Delicious beef stew

 

 

But it’s winter and all those fresh veggies are not available locally. So one must adapt and change. My CSA, Spud.com, does a good job in providing locally grown fruits and vegetables, but right now the pickings are kind of slim. Lots of potatoes and onions, some parsnips, and leeks. But not much else.

That means I have to look back in history for a pointer: Cook for the season. So that means soups and stews with meat and potatoes. Luckily Spud.com does have access to local meat through Thundering Hooves, allowing me to still eat locally. So here’s a quick little recipe for a simple winter’s beef stew:

(more…)

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I was born in 1960, back when TV was still black and white. I remember when we got our first color RCA television and marveled at all the color pictures. It also was the golden age of the Space Age. We were in Space! We were going to the Moon! Nothing was impossible, we just needed to throw technology at the problem!

Today, well, we need solutions to the problems that I and my parents, and my parents’ parents created. Technology is still needed, just not the big manly technology of the mid 20th century, but a more sustainable type of technology, one that reuses what we have instead of using it just once and then throwing it away.

Its not going to be easy, we have a lot of the 20th century’s mistakes still with us. Take my apartment for example. It was built in 1978 by three different contractors, and doesn’t meet any of the current building codes for multifamily residences. It does have new energy efficient windows, which has helped in reducing heat loss, though I think that the walls need more insulation.

I could move to a greener apartment, but they are typically smaller and way more expensive, and I like my community. I am part of its political scene, so I have less incentive to move to a green apartment. So do what I can to keep my bills low, I belong to Spud.com, a CSA-like online grocery, I drive a Honda Reflex, it gets 60 MPG, and I grow plants to green up my section of the apartment complex. And as I said, I’m part of my local political scene, letting the Kenmore, Washington, city council know that sustainable and green living and technology is something that we need to promote in our city.

So the purpose of this blog is to chart my attempts to sway the people in Kenmore to think green and to protect the environment of our city. As well as my thoughts on the green movement in general.

So come with me and we explore our future in a sustainable future.

By the way, this post is made of 100% recycled electrons.

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