Category Archives: FOOD
Below is an excerpt from an action alert that Interfaith Action of SW Florida is circulating:
“…Instead of engaging in dialogue, Publix’s PR Department continues to distort the nature of the Fair Food program. As Oscar from the CIW explained, “They argue the Fair Food initiative needs to put the penny in the price, when that’s exactly how the program already works; they suggest the CIW wants Publix to pay workers directly, when that’s not what we are asking. Publix would simply pay a penny-per-pound premium — much like Publix-brand fair trade coffee — that tomato growers would distribute to their employees in their normal paychecks.”
Publix’s guarantee to customers is that “We will never knowingly disappoint you.” If you are disappointed by Publix’s refusal to even learn about the Fair Food Program, please call and let them know. Let Mr. Crenshaw that you are tired of misleading PR statements and hope that he will do the right thing. Call today:
Office of Mr. Crenshaw: 863-688-1188, ext. 52347
Consumer Relations: 1-800-242-1227…
Most Wednesdays, for Dorothy’s Cafe, Kelli makes the main dish–usually some type of soup, a quiche, stew, beans and greens, etc. One of the hallmarks of our cafe is that we primarily (often exclusively) use food grown in our own gardens or produced and bought locally, most often from local farmers, sometimes through our family-owned grocery store Ward’s. One could assign it minor importance–but for us, it is one of the essential values of our community and goes to the integrity of what we do.
Most of the food which is distributed to people who are impoverished is high in fat, sugar, starches, salt, and so on. It’s usually highly processed food, often lacking any nutritional value. It’s food that if you eat a lot of it, you’re more apt to be unhealthy, to get sick, to suffer all the physical, emotional and spiritual malaise that comes with eating food that is just not good for you. From the beginning of the GCW, we have sought to provide for and share with people only the very best food that we can; as much as possible, we buy or attain local, organic, in-season and non-processed food which we then take the time to prepare for our friends who come for the cafe or the coffeehouse, or whom we meet at the labor pools on Friday morning.
Food can be a powerful force for binding us to one another. So many of our religious stories revolve around the sharing of food, and these stories often point out the strength or weakness of the economic, social and spiritual health of our communities. From whom do we get our food, what kind of food do we have, and with whom do we share our food? These are all questions that go to the heart of what it means to be community. From our local farmers who gifted us with lots of lettuce and radishes for the salad, the onions and broccoli from Mr. Henry for the pizza, to Kelly H.and her goats (goat cheese) and the eggs from Springhead Ranch and the oranges from the Hendersons. Kelli writes about this network of relationships often, and the goodness and beauty of it was so evident to me as I held all these various strings connecting us to others in my hands in the final pulling together of today’s meal for the cafe.
So this is what good meals are supposed to do I think: not just fill our bellies, but fill our bellies with food that sustains and lifts us. Even more, our meals should build community and tie us more closely to one another–from the gathering of the raw materials to the preparation to the actual sitting down and eating. This is the Latin root of the word “religion”–to bind together–and I don’t think I’m stretching it too far to talk about our meals as being religious experiences.
Some of you have already experienced the incredibly delicious, smooth, spreadable goat cheese that a friend of the house drops off every Tuesday. For more on good local goat cheese, keep reading below, from Kelli’s local living blog…
“I am always happy to find a new source of local food – and I have a great one in an old family friend who’s living her childhood dream of raising goats. Seriously, she’s always loved them. Growing up smack in the middle of suburban Gainesville (across the street from me), she and my oldest daughter raised goats as part of a 4-H project. A passing phase for my Megan, Kelley went on to buy, breed, and milk goats for ever after.
We have been enjoying fresh goat cheese since last winter – garlic and chive, jalapeno, pesto, walnut-honey, and plain, and we’ve spread it on crackers and toast, crumbled it on salads, and sprinkled it on chili.”
To read the rest of this post, click here.
There is a wonderful demonstration garden right in the center of Paris in front of the l’Hotel de Ville, a 15th century municipal building. The closest space we have like this is Gainesville I think is City Hall, a plain 1960s building surrounded by concrete and former goldfish ponds. Normally, the area in front of the l’Hotel de Ville is a large paved plaza area with benches and a fountain – not so entirely different. But in early June, raised beds were created in wooden boxes and installed throughout the plaza along with information on “bio” (organic) methods of gardening in small places.
They have fine weather for gardening here in the summer – about twenty degrees cooler than our summers and a little more dry. The garden is beautiful and, everytime I pass it, full of people enjoying it – which is the idea. The word for vegetable garden in French is potager, and the word for sharing is partager, so this potager for partager is also a nice play on words.
Whether you are into bio-regionalism, the locavore or local food movement, food security, sustainability or whatnot, gardening seems to be at the center. And the prime purpose of a garden, of course, is to be able to grow your own food.
But I have a little confession to make. Behind the utilitarian value of it all, I’ve discovered that I am a bit of an aesthete as well.
Sunday, despite the ungodly high temperature (heat index over 110 degrees!), my son and I spent over two hours beautifying our little plot—picking up trash from around the vacant lot, rearranging the bags of leaves we use in our compost, cutting down the overgrown grass around the garden’s perimeter, and so on. We also managed to pick around 90 incredibly delicious cherry tomatoes, 175 pole beans, and various peppers, some okra and squash too. And even though the food is the main thing (and the little orange tomatoes were especially delicious), the best part of the day was stepping off a little ways away and taking in how beautiful the garden looked after our efforts. (And in the interest of full disclosure, it’s our friend Bob who has been doing the really hard work over the past weeks—weeding.)
We know that buying directly from local farmers is a good thing – for all kinds of reasons. But on a cold, wet morning like this one, it was still hard to get up and go.
But, as always, I’m so glad I did. Where else would you find homemade jelly from locally grown summer blueberries, advice on protecting lettuce from the cold and from chickens, empathy for a sick family member, a few extra heads of cabbage tucked in for dinners at the House? And really, really good, fresh food grown from people you know and trust. Despite the recent freeze, there were crates of citrus of all kinds, a variety of lettuce and other greens, root vegetables like turnips, potatoes and radishes, pecans, and cold-weather transplants (and advice) for your own garden. It’s heartwarming to buy your food at the market. And good for them too. The recent hard freeze set them back a little, and they deserve our support.
When I got home, I couldn’t wait to make a fresh salad. It was so good, I wanted to share the ingredients with you – all local – except some residual maple syrup in the dressing:
Salad – mix of torn arugula leaves and thinly sliced chinese cabbage, topped with satsuma orange sections, pecans and a chopped (rare and greenhouse grown) red bell pepper.
Dressing – equal parts olive oil and rice vinegar with a little salt and sweetener. I shook mine in a recently used maple syrup bottle and the remaining bit of syrup was a great addition.
The Saturday farmer’s market is at the intersection of NW 34th Street and 441, next to the highway patrol station (and driver’s license bureau). They’re open from 8:30 till around noon in the winter. The Wednesday market is downtown in the plaza and opens at 4. Go. It’s good in so many ways.
Makes about 20 servings.
1 whole head of garlic
3 large cans of diced tomatoes
3 16 oz cans kidney beans
3 8 oz cans vacuum packed corn
4 yellow or green squash
Chop the onions and mince the garlic and saute in oil until it’s soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and about one tomato can of water. Addand salt to taste (I use a LOT of – at least 6 tbsp). Bring to a boil. Add kidney beans and corn and turn down to simmer. Chop squash and add to soup. Bring to a boil again, then turn down and simmer for 15 minutes or so till squash is cooked but not obliterated. Taste again for seasonings.