Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Everyone,

With Thanksgiving only a day away, I thought it would be nice to get a new post up on here (yes, I stink, and it's been well over a month since my last one).

While you are enjoying your turkey, yams, cranberries, green beans and all of the rest of the food included in your Thanksgiving bounty, remember to give thanks not only for friends, family and loved ones, but also for the farmers that work so hard to provide you with sustenance throughout the year. Without them, you would not be able to enjoy the things you consume on Thanksgiving (or any other day for that matter). In other words, No Farms No Food.

Enjoy your day, and keep on the lookout for new posts!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First Annual New York Times Magazine Food Issue to Debut This Sunday

What is the most underappreciated part of protecting our national security? Some argue that it is maintaining a cheap and abundant supply of food--something that has become increasingly difficult in recent years as global food prices have risen almost 40%.

This Sunday, the New York Times Magazine will release its first annual Food edition, highlighted with a letter penned by popular sustainable agriculture advocate Michael Pollan to the next President of the United States. See the blurb below from Sustainable Daily News for a sneak peak into what Mr. Pollan believes will be one of the greatest challenges for a President in American history:

Update: Michael Pollan's letter to next president urges 'solar food economy'
New York Times Magazine debuts first annual Food Issue on Sunday
by Sustainable Food News
October 8, 2008

The first annual Food Issue from The New York Times Magazine debuts this Sunday and features an open letter from best-selling author and sustainable food champion Michael Pollan to the next president.

In a piece called “Farmer in Chief," Pollan argues that a new national food policy is as urgent as progress on health care, energy independence or climate change.

Pollan writes to the next president-elect to say that while issues surrounding food – dormant for the decades the industrial food industry has ruled – were not debated during the campaign, things are going to change.

"But with a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security," he wrote in his 8,200-plus missive to the president-elect.

Federal subsidies have succeeded in keeping food prices low, but with huge costs in terms of fossil fuels and public health.

"Your challenge is to take control of this vast federal machinery and use it to drive a transition to a new solar-food economy, starting on the farm," Pollan wrote.

The first annual Food Issue of the New York Times Magazine also delves into the debate over just what “good food” means: good for us, good for the economy, or good for the planet?
Last year, a nearly 40 percent spike in world food prices were reflected in the true costs of cheap food – from obesity to malnutrition to environmental decline.

The Food Issue explores the scope of the problem and captures how, around the world, the main course is shifting.

Also in the premier issue is a piece called Encounter: A Green Revolution for Africa?
The Gates Foundation is making a big push to jump start agricultural development in Africa, where staving off famine and environmental degradation depends on increased yields for small farmers.

But not everyone, contributing writer David Rieff discovers, is on board.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Check out Highfield Dairy on DCFoodies!!

Dan and John, the farmers from Highfield Dairy that I work for, were recently profiled in the blog

Here's the link to the story:

As a little background to the profile on DCFoodies, I'd like to tell you a little bit about the faces behind the infamous goat cheese.

Dan and John were both residents of Washington, DC for many years before moving up to Fulton County, PA to work full time on the farm about two years ago. Dan was a government employee while John was (and is) a professionally trained chef. On the farm, they raise goats, pigs, chickens and a herd of Highland cattle. Highland cattle are the ones with the really long, shaggy hair, and are one of the oldest and most rare breeds of cattle in the country. (Highland cattle were brought to the US in the late 19th century, with the first documented herd in 1884.) Highland cattle are particularly lean and produce very tender cuts of beef.

Although they also process and sell pork, the star of the show (as noted in the DCFoodie profile) is most definitely the goat cheese. It is not like the traditional goat cheese most of you have probably had. The cheese these guys produce is smooth, almost like a cream cheese consistency and is a perfect compliment for any meal. (Personally, I like using it on pork chops or flank steak to give the meat a little extra something.) They produce a plain goat cheese as well other flavors including (but not limited to):
-Roasted garlic with sun dried tomato
-Watercress and horseradish
-Mixed berry with honey and nuts

If there is any doubt, these guys are truly sustainable farmers and take great pride in the loving way they treat their animals. (Many times Dan has told me that John has stayed up nights looking after sick animals, and relentlessly plays "mother hen" to all of the pigs, goats, chickens and cattle.)

I GREATLY encourage you to come check us out at the Dupont Circle farmers' market. We are there ALL year round (yes, even through the winter). The market is open 9-1 until about December when the hours change to 10-1. I promise you, you won't be disappointed!

Here's a short list of the products we offer:

-Goat cheese tarts (goat cheese, egg, dried roma tomatoes, herbs)
-Breakfast Tarts (eggs, grits, onions, peppers, cheddar cheese--Vegetarian or Sausage)
-Goat cheese pierogies (basically big dough pockets filled with mashed potatoes and goat cheese)
-Quiches (this is a special treat, we do not have them every week, but when we do, they are sooo good. Varieties we had this past week: broccoli, mushroom, bacon, bacon-mushroom)
-Fresh fruit sorbet (flavors include: strawberry, peach, banana, blackberry, red raspberry, and others)
-Goats milk yogurt
-Feta (made from goat's milk)
-....and more!!!

If you have questions, let me know!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

NEW Restaurant in DC That Will Source From Local, Family Farms

What an exciting day! I heard about this restaurant through a friend about a week ago, but didn't really get excited about it until I looked through their website and menu.

The restaurant--Founding Farmers--is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, in the new International Monetary Fund building just three blocks from the White House. It is owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union, the same organization that opened Agraria on the Georgetown waterfront a year or so ago. Employing a “true food and drink” philosophy, Founding Farmers focuses on providing meals made from fresh, locally-sourced and family farm-sourced ingredients.

The menu includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, centered on homemade “scratch” cooking, with a blend of old and new recipes--everything from classic American dishes such as potpies, steaks and hearty “farm” sandwiches to big salads, breads, pastries and pies. The average dinner entree ranges from $15-$30.

I will be checking this new restaurant out soon, and hope you will too! Would love to hear what you think about the food, suggestions for what to get, anything! Oh, and if you have not tried Agraria yet, I highly recommend it.

Here's their website: Reservations can be made on OpenTable.

Friday, September 26, 2008

San Francisco Could Feed Itself With Local Food

Hello Everyone,

The organization I work for released a study about a week ago that examined the ability of the city of San Francisco to feed itself only with goods produced locally. The results are very interesting. See the report here:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Family Farmers Don't Mistreat Their Animals

Did anyone see this story in the paper today? (

Undercover PETA investigators found that workers at a factory pork farm in Iowa were disgustingly mistreating their animals. Rods stuffed in sow's vaginas, picking up and throwing piglets on cement floors--I mean some really vile stuff.

Now, I am not a red-paint-throwing advocate of PETA, however this does bring up a somewhat lost point that is extremely relevant to this blog: Family farmers DO NOT mistreat their animals.

I obviously cannot speak for every family and small-scale farmer in the country, however, in my experience this claim is 100 percent true. Where factory farms raise 1000s upon 1000s of animals, most family farms only raise a few hundred (at the very most). It is in the best interest of the farmer to treat their animals as caringly and lovingly as possible in order to produce the highest quality products and highest quality offspring. Some of you may be turned off by me describing the treatment of animals that will eventually be killed and eaten as "lovingly," but if you've ever seen a farmer care for his animals then you know this is true.

I guess my point with the entry is to highlight yet another benefit of eating locally produced products. This benefit being that you know the pork, beef, poultry, lamb, etc. that you are eating was treated humanely while alive and raised sustainably.

So if you eat meat, and are the least bit concerned with animal welfare, you should consider buying your products from local farmers who, if you ask them really nicely, will usually even let you come out to their farm and see how they raise their animals. NO factory farm in the country would ever allow that. This way you can feel completely secure with your choice.

Another bonus: Meat isn't seasonal!! It is available at your local market all year long (that is, if it stays open all year).

Now, I imagine that there are vegitarians/vegans out there who will counter with, "well, if you don't eat meat at all, you don't have to worry about how your food is treated. Eating meat is wrong. Blah, blah, blah." Stay mute for now and wait for my entry on how living a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle CAN BE (notice how I don't say is) one of the most unstainable practices imaginable.

Look forward to your comments.