Friday, September 11, 2009

The First Dinner....

Well, it's almost 11 pm and the dishes are done (thanks Steve) and Charlotte is asleep (thanks me) and maybe I can get a few thoughts down here before I sleep.

What a great night! We established some fast new friendships with both our families, lots of energy, great food and all the kids got along GREAT! There were a few spills, but no tears! Mike's Guiness Cake was just delicious! The salad from Tammy and Mike included lots of local garden veggies and overall we calculated that the meal was about 85% local - quite a coup!

Our Artisan Photographer and his wife, also came and brought their two kids. They brought some delicious rolls from Great Harvest - yum! So we had 6 children rollicking through the house and I think the adults were only interrupted a handful of times, so the grown-ups had time for our meet and greet.

Tina Firesheets, our official News and Record reporter tried to stay in a corner and not interrupt the flow, but she is such a ray of sunshine that she is hard to totally ignore. But I don't think her presence hindered any comments.

Our main topic was what kind of experiences did we want to cover, as a group, over the next year and how do we figure out the schedules. Using Morgan Glover's new Agri-Tourism in the Triad Map we came up with a great handful of ideas for the field trips. Schedules will be a bit trickier and so I am going to have to work on that, in my spare time - ha ha! We want to see farms that raise animals, urban homesteads/gardens, dairys and visit markets. My excitement over our NC Shallowford Popcorn Farm wasn't met with the enthusiasm I have so I will visit this on my own. I think that, again this year, my holiday gifts will include more local food baskets.

Everyone wanted my brisket recipe and I will include that in another post after I grab it off my desk at school where I left it. I want to start a recipe sidebar, but I haven't figured out that feature yet. if anyone knows someone who needs volunteer time with a good organization - we'd be happy to accept blog expertise!

And speaking of sidebars I wanted to note that most of the kids did not like the grass-fed ground beef hamburgers that I made. Admittedly, pasture raised beef does taste different to our current American palate. Most of us are hooked on the corn (grain) fed beef systemic in our diet. Corn fed beef is all these kids have probably ever had and, as such, it was a difference they noticed. When you season the ground beef as in a meatloaf, pasta sauce or as fancier hamburger the difference disappears and the deliciousness of the beef really comes through, but when offered just plain it is noticeable. When we visit some farms and the older kids learn more about the beef industry it may be interesting to see if they come to accept the taste of pasture raised beef better with the idea that "happy cows" taste different. It means a lot to me!

Another interesting comment was made by Mike R. when he started talking about diet and moderation and we decided that moderation often is connotated with restriction and what we really are trying to achieve here is balance. My philosophies about food are somewhat radical in the world of dietetics and nutrition. I am not nutrient focused, which means I care about how the fat in our food got there and what type it is, but not so much about how many grams of fat there is. And I am so very opposed to eating processed and industrialized foods. Cheap industrialized foods are making us sick and we need to catch on to that and make a change in our diet. Lucky for us the solution in eating local, organic, seasonal and fresh foods is a delicious treatment. I believe food heals and enhances health but only if it also has been raised in a healthy manner and with respect to the planet. (See my next blog for extended comments on this topic.)

I bring this up because I have had a few comments about the fact that the families don't seem as "fast foody" or unhealthy as they thought I would start with. I want to clarify that I want this project to benefit not just these families, but everyone who is interested in taking steps down the path to eating a more local diet. By having families who already understand my philosophies about food, that are aware of the issues and that already have taken baby steps to making change, I have less resistance to work through. This way we can start right in on making the next small baby steps down the Locavore Path.

Saturday evening, 8pm - Right now I am fixing last night's bloopers and blips (nod to my friend Jay who picks on my dyslexia and poor typing skills ;-)) and I want to note that this morning I attended the annual Farmer's Market Appreciation Day down at the Curb Market and hugged at least 6 of my farmers (and Charlotte got to meet Mayor Johnson). It was a wonderful event. I also took the opportunity to talk with several of them about bringing the families out for "field" trips (pun intended) and everyone was up for it!

So, right now everyone is preparing their own comments about last night's events and the next step will be to go out and photograph the kitchen pantries of both the families. It will be a great way to look back next year and see if there are more local foods and less poptarts, pre-cooked bacon and chicken nuggets.


  1. There is an interesting (short!)article in the Utne Reader about the environmental benefits of "happy", grass fed cows as compared to their corn fed cousins:


  2. The above web address should have read:

  3. I just found your blog today through some links of some friends - not sure exactly how I got here. But I'm loving the idea and would love to learn more about the local produce and agriculture. Should you plan a trip to the Popcorn Farm, I would definitely be up for it.