I almost forgot that I had expressed interest in trying a Bourbon Spice Rack, the mixed drink that Gretchen Thomas, Barcelona Restaurant Group’s Wine & Spirits Director, had developed to showcase DOC’s USDA Organic Maple Syrup. DOC’s participated in Barcelona’s Farmigo program last year and has become a staple ingredient at the restaurant.
It’s finally Spring. We’ve endured a harsh winter; forty inches of snow, high winds, and bitter cold – a true New England winter some would say, but Spring is finally here! These “real” winters have their benefits, although I’m sure you’d disagree. To me, the most important benefit of a harsh winter is that it prevents harmful bugs from overwintering. Overwintering is the process where bugs find a place to hibernate – in the soil, under leaves, etc. They suspend their growth until the next growing season, and when they wake up, they eat and destroy the crops.
As a farmer, every winter (right around the end of January) I get an itch to go outside and do some physical work and, well, be a farmer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ability to hibernate, and I love the fact that I can rest my body and get it ready for the upcoming farming season, but I can only do so much of that. I’m used to year-round farming from back home.
On Saturday, March 2, some 1,000 farmers attended the CT Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) Conference at Wilton High school in Wilton, CT.
Imagine one thousand farmers under one roof…what a thrill!! Well, at least for me it was. The exchange of knowledge and techniques, the contributing of information. Most important was the sharing of old world, tried and tested methods of farming, passed on from one generation to the next.
Hope, optimism, great ideas and action. That was the name of the game two and a half weeks ago at the Green Market Exhibition panel discussion entitled “Farm and Food Innovators: Building Sustainable Food Systems and Community Food Security”. Held at the City Hall Annex in Bridgeport, the Exposition was well-attended by green businesses, community leaders and the public.
Four esteemed panelists were brought together to tackle the questions of how we can produce and distribute enough food to feed the people of our communities, our state and ultimately, the planet. The kicker and preference, of course, being that the food be healthy, nutritious, and sustainably grown food.
Please join me and leaders in the sustainable food movement for a panel discussion and audience Q&A at the 4th Annual Green Market Exposition on Thursday, October 25 at 1:00 pm. The Green Market Exposition runs from 9-4, so please visit with me and other green businesses exhibiting at this free event.
Farm and Food Innovators: Building Sustainable Food Systems and Community Food Security
Today I walked passed my nasturtiums and noticed they were coated in a layer of black aphids. (See photo.) This made me happy.
Trap crops are a magnet for garden pests, but also attract beneficial bugs.
I was pleased to see the aphids were on my nasturtiums and not on my beans planted in the same bed. The nasturtium plant, with its bi-colored leaf and bright orange flowers, was more attractive to the aphid. Who would not find this plant attractive?
This is what these “attractive” plants do. They attract pests away from the “real crop” you are trying to grow.
What do you get when you pair up a farmer with forward-thinking restaurateurs? An a la carte CSA.
Organizer Farah Masani, a former farm manager at Millstone Farm in Wilton now responsible for local sourcing for the Barcelona Restaurant Group, said the idea was forged with Barcelona’s customers in mind, but is open to anyone. “People are looking for the convenience of a multi-farm CSA easily tailored to their tastes and needs that can be conveniently picked up at the restaurant after work. We’re making it fun by offering seasonal cocktails and special tapas using CSA ingredients during happy hour each Tuesday. If customers like the tapas, they can find the recipes online to make them at home” she said.