Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Notes from the Seed Underground

October 17, 2012

One of the overarching themes involved in trying to write an intelligent travel book for intelligent travelers is the new focus on food: Good food, of course, but more and more “good food” means locally/regionally sourced cuisine.

The food experience has become an ever more important component of tourism, and the Georgia/South Carolina Lowcountry (especially the Charleston area) is in many ways on the leading edge of this trend. The obvious irony is that this “new” trend is really a throwback to the most tried-and-tested, old-fashioned ways of growing and preparing food, yet more proof that there’s nothing new under the sun. In this case, literally under the sun…

In this week’s Connect Savannah, the newspaper that serves as my regular job, we have an excellent piece by our Community Editor Jessica Leigh Lebos on the “new” revolution in food, with a particular focus on seed/crop conservation. Jessica interviews the great Janisse Ray, one of the most beloved authors and activists in Georgia. Janisse’s work combines a profound love and respect for the indigenous ecosystems of Georgia’s wide coastal plain with a refreshingly non-wonky approach that is at once accessible and deeply affecting.

Here’s a pic of Janisse on her farm. (Of course there’s a cow in the photo so I couldn’t resist.) This is actually how she lives, she’s not just playing a character:

Image

Janisse’s travels and research involve not only the vast network of marshes on the Georgia coast — estuaries of mighty rivers such as the Altamaha — but on the legacy of the ancient longleaf pine forest ecosystem that once dominated the entire southeast.

In her new book The Seed Undergroundhere’s a nifty public radio piece on it — Janisse approaches seed conservation more from the family farm angle, the concept also has a huge proponent in Charleston uber-chef Sean Brock, who runs a couple of high-profile restaurants (McCrady’s, Husk) featured in my new edition of Moon Charleston & Savannah.

The key for farm-to-table to be more than a passing fad is of course the “table” part. There has to be an immediate payoff, and in this case the payoff is the simple fact that farm-fresh, locally-sourced food simply tastes better!

Radical radishes

May 1, 2011

Radishes from the garden

We recently harvested our dynamic crop of radishes from the garden. I will say that they benefited enormously from the application of organic fertilizer from Victory Feed & Seed. My wife Sonja insists, however, that the fertilizer may have made the radishes a little too spicy for her taste.

Here they are with a little salt and butter. Personally I like ’em with Ricotta cheese.

Radishes with a little salt and butter, yum

‘Meaningful Milk’ for Earth Day

April 26, 2011

Nice screen capture from the CNN 'Meaningful Milk' Earth Day segment

This past Earth Day, CNN ran a shortish but very well-done segment on Country Gardens Farm and Nursery in Newnan, GA. They do organic milk and totally free range chickens — about 200 of them to be exact, which are a real hoot to watch as they peck around the place.

The takeaway here for me was the reliance on Jerseys for the delicious high butterfat content of their milk. Most dairy farms rely on the much larger Holsteins (the “Chik-Fil-A” black and white cows) because A) each Holstein cow can make an incredibly huge boatload of milk; and B) the style now is for a lower fat product.

Still, there is nothin’ like the creamy taste of good old-fashioned Jersey milk, which was the type of milk we dealt in at the old Morekis Dairy back in the day.

(Another plus for the Jerseys is they do well in the Southern heat…)

Raw milk, yum

April 20, 2010

Here’s an interesting story on the raw milk movement, from New York Magazine of all places, here.

The Morekis Dairy didn’t always pasteurize its milk; those laws came about sometime after the dairy’s 1909 founding. (They say that back in the day a bottle of milk, especially from the Jersey cows, was about one-third heavy butterfat cream, floating on the top.)

When the pasteurizing laws went through, this added enormous labor time and cost to the dairy. The pasteurization equipment itself was expensive, but adding to the cost was the staff time needed to exhaustively clean and disinfect all of it — an already-difficult task made more so because of the plethora of machinery.

Here’s another interesting link, to a 1938 (!) comparison of “real” vs. pasteurized milk.