Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cheese--the perfect gift for the locavore in your life

As the cold weather continues and winter greens and storage crops start to dwindle, the perfect local food to focus on is CHEESE. I love cheese and am so thankful for the amazing community of cheese makers, sellers, and proponents who have sprung up in the last couple of years to revive a once thriving cheese culture here in Southeast PA.

One of the best resources for cheese in the county is the newly formed Chester County Cheese Artisans group. Upcoming events include a holiday open house at Yellow Springs Farm and a winter Farms Market at Birchrun Hills Farm.

Speaking of winter farmers market--the next installment of the Kennett Square Winter Market will take place Friday, December 17th with a great cheese assortment from Amazing Acres and God's Country Creamery--two of the cheeses featured in GRID's Holiday Cheese plate. The first cheese PA Noble is available through the Lancaster Farm Fresh 4 Season Buy Club that makes drop offs at Inverbrook (I actually ordered some this week) and then the Noble Road--one of my personal favorites is available at Talula's Table.

If you are willing to travel a little farther afield -- Philadelphia cheese blogger Madame Fromage will be leading a guided cheese tasting at the Reading Terminal tomorrow--click here for the link. Madame Fromage will be teaming up with GRID magazine in the future to produce a monthly feature on local cheese-- in the mean tine check out the newly created Cheese TV.

Other links featuring local cheese:

Talula's Table Blog

CC Dwell interview with 8 Local Cheese Makers

Great posting from the Apples and Cheese, please blog about eating local this time of year

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Community of Giving--Sustaining the Presence of Farming and Music

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
- J R R Tolkien

Happy December 1st--an occasion that marks the transition from the holiday of gratitude to the season of giving. It is in this spirit that I want to encourage your generosity and support to include two very worthwhile entities that truly embody the sentiment in the Tolkien quote above. They are the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and the Philly based musical group Hoots and Hellmouth.

I could write volumes (and have already dedicated several postings to both PASA and HnHM) about the interconnectedness between these organizations and our farming operation, our community and each other. Instead I encourage you to explore the websites of each--it becomes very clear that both are all about the creative promotion and success of "food and cheer and song."

Vibrant local food systems are the key to successful farms, healthy food, and respect for the natural environment. PASA, one of the leading advocates for these concepts, works together with farmers and consumers to ensure a thriving, sustainable Pennsylvania food system for us all.

I invite you to join PASA as a member and connect with a larger network of people who appreciate good food and the farmers who grow it.
-PASA is a network of people who care - we all have a role in assuring the health and longevity of our regional farms and food supply.
-PASA is the catalyst that brings together those dedicated to advancing sustainable food and farming systems.
-PASA is a dynamic new model for partnerships between traditional agricultural and our ever-changing society and has worked to forge positive and needed changes in the way food is grown, harvested, distributed, and marketed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Our family farms face enormous threats and whether we can save farming in time is up to all of us--of course your support of Inverbrook is greatly appreciated however without the educational opportunities and advocacy work of PASA we would be lost (take the recent and successful senate passing of a Food Safe Bill that includes several amendments friendly to small farmers).

If you are interested in taking the next step here are two things you can do:

Click here to send a donation to support good, honest food for everyone.

Click here to sign-up for PASA's e-news and stay up-to-date on PASA policy updates and news.

On a somewhat related note--the musical locavores that make up Hoots and Hellmouth are looking for financial support from their fans to complete a recording of new songs. You can be a part of this grass roots campaign by making a donation on Kickstarter--an online fundraising site. For as little as $10 you can help support the band in their next creative endeavor.

To get a sense of Hoots and Hellmouth's dedication to sustainable agriculture check out this NPR story on their fall farm tour

In case you are not yet familiar with the band, here are some videos of Hoots and Hellmouth in action. The first is high energy Hoots at the Philadelphia Folk Festival a couple of years ago singing "What Good Are Plow Shares". The second video is of "Roll Brandywine Roll" a beautiful song inspired by our beloved river.

Hope you will join me in supporting these two worthy groups. Thank you.