March 29, 2012
In Austin, TX there is a tradition of food trucks. To me they kind of look like a cross between a trailer home, a submarine, and the take out window at a fast food joint. But a lot of brick and mortar restaurants get their start as food trucks and you can get a lot of good food at the trucks.
The general path is to start with a truck and move on to a restaurant. One man, however, went kind of backwards. He had a restaurant and then started a food truck. That man is Hoover Alexander.
After several years of running Hoover’s Cooking, a Tex-Mex restaurant, Hoover began to feel disconnected from the passion he had previously had for cooking. He felt as though he was getting away from his roots; from the way his family had taught him to cook according to the seasons using every part of the animal, fish or vegetable you were cooking with.
In an effort to get himself back on track he planted a garden. It was this garden that led to the idea of opening a food truck serving veggie-centric, locally sourced food.
I recently ate there and the food was terrific. For those of you who live in Austin I highly recommend a trip.
Hoover’s Soular Food is located at:
1110 East. 12th St.
March 22, 2012
A few miles from downtown Seattle a group of civic-minded people are working hard to build the Beacon Food Forest, “a land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes in edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.”
The goal of the group is to create an area that will provide a variety of food for the community while requiring a minimum of maintenance. Fruit and nut trees, a variety of berries plus other perennial and annual vegetables will all be planted in the edible forest. Harrison Design is the landscape architect company that did the schematic for the Forest you see below.
The Food Forest’s mission is not only to feed the community but also bring the community closer together and raise awareness of issues like climate change. There are, of course, challenges such as not having a small group of people take a large portion of the spoils. But I commend the Beacon Food Forest group for taking on this endeavor and wish them the best of luck.
If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in volunteering or getting more information go here.
I was driving down the road yesterday on my way to the park since the weather has been so wonderful lately and I heard a really great story on NPR about wicking garden beds. I can't believe I have learned about two great gardening options this year for our Texas heat that I had never heard of before. You can read about…
March 16, 2012
People often ask me what makes a plant an heirloom. Good question. The answer is it depends on who you ask. A good general definition is a plant that was commonly grown in earlier periods of human history, has never been grown on a large agricultural scale and has been around for at least 60 years. Many will also say plants must be open pollinated to qualify.
All this aside, what I really want to talk about today is the Heirloom Plant Database at yourgardenshow.com. If you want to include more heirlooms, or new, interesting heirlooms, in your garden the database is a great place to get ideas. They have wonderful fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers from around the world and from right here at home. And as a plus, many of the heirlooms are great for the edible/ornamental garden like the Moonshadow Hyacinth Bean which has a wonderful purple pod.
If you are looking for places to buy heirloom seeds I recommend Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seeds Trust. There is a plethora of information on the Seeds Trust web site including good information about heirloom, open pollinated and hybrid seeds. (Go to their home page and click Know Thy Seeds then Definitions.)
As for Baker Creek, their web site is good but their free catalog, which can be ordered on the web site, is better than a $30 gardening book you would buy at a store. It is packed with information on the history and care of the plants they sell and interesting quotes from gardeners throughout history.
March 15, 2012
As a kid I can remember my grandmother buying Play-doh for me to “sculpt” with. I can also remember eating some of said Play-doh one day which caused a great deal of worry.
At the Sustain Lane web site under the In The Kitchen category Beth S. posted about how you can make edible modeling clay out of food (mostly potatoes) instead of buying it in the store. And while you can buy modeling clay in the store that is non-toxic, with this you know for sure what has gone in to it. Plus, making it with your kids could be another fun activity.
Beth’s original post is here but I will repost the recipe for you.
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
1 – 2 medium potatoes
2 teaspoons almond flavoring
1/4 cup unsalted butter
large pinch of salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup powdered milk (NOT instant dried milk)
- Peel, quarter, steam, and mash potatoes through a sieve or strainer. Measure 1/2 cup unseasoned mashed potato.
- Add almond flavoring, butter and salt, and stir well while potato is still warm.
- Stir powdered sugar and powdered milk together, then add to potato mixture, stirring to combine. Cover bowl and chill mixture.
- After chilling, knead in enough additional powdered milk to create a dough that is soft enough to mold but that holds its shape.
Start with one-inch balls and shape melons, other fruits, and vegetables. Use whole cloves for fruit stems, and vegetable-based food color to tint. Use toothpicks to make depressions and indents.
Potato fondant can also be used to stuff dates or other dried fruit.
March 15, 2012
Designed by co-founders Andy Ross and Eytan Oren InBloom is a location based app that makes it easier to find the food and products a sustainable minded person would be looking for.
With InBloom you can find everything from Farmers Markets to biodesiel filling stations; CSA’s to retail stores powered by sustainable energy. You can also customize the app for your own preferences; ecofriendly, vegan, organic etc.
The app has launched in New York City’s five boroughs with 500 listings and soon Andy and Eytan will be launching InBloom in Austin with an additional 250 listings. After Austin InBloom will spread to Los Angeles, San Fransisco and Chicago.
You can find the link to download the app at their web site.
For more information about the InBloom app email firstname.lastname@example.org
March 8, 2012
Whole Foods has started a new online magazine and it is quite interesting. Dark Rye features interesting people doing interesting things in interesting ways. The writers themselves could not have described the content better when they wrote, “Dark Rye brings together pioneers of unconventional ideas to explore the edges of the creative life.”
I highly recommend you take a look. If you are interested in sustainable living, gardening, cooking, food or just interesting ideas I bet you will find something in the magazine that strikes your fancy.
My aunt told me an amusing story once. She and my uncle were living in London about 35 years ago and the first time she went to the grocery store she took her cart to the cashier, checked out and looked for bags to load her groceries into. There were none. She wound up making several trips to the car.
At the time I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea of we did that here in the U.S. Now many of us do but there is a new grocery store opening up in Austin called in.gredients that is taking things one step further. In.gredients is opening a package free zero waste store.
What does that mean exactly? It means a few things. One, you bring your own containers to fill with food. Many products such as grains, spices, oil, vinegar – even wine and beer (some locally produced) will be offered in bulk. You buy as much as you want, label your container and pay. Easy.
The store will also source food and other products locally whenever possible thus reducing the amount of energy used to transport food over long distances. And the store will not carry processed foods.
You can follow their progress toward opening day on their web site at this link.