Americans like to talk about how hard we work.
In early October, I drove deep into Oregon’s wine country twice, but I never had a sip of wine.
When I went to bed last night, I inadvertently rubbed my arm and felt something crusty and scaly: leftover dough stuck to my body, clinging there despite repeated washing of hands.
Besides a week-long stretch when I was sick and lay on the couch watching the entire first season of Grey’s Anatomy, The Great British Bake Off is the closest I’ve ever come to obsessively binge-watching a tv show.
Writers, policy makers, chefs, and tv personalities love to strike the “food as community” gong, urging us, their audience, to gather around the table, to cook for each other, to know who grows our food, and to connect over a plate of whatever is freshest and most in season.
What does a farming internship prepare you to do?
America is a collection of untethered individuals.
After much conversation and anticipation, “Hell Week” had finally arrived for Zenger Farm interns Brad, Brittany, and Aaron.
When I get in my car, my only hope is to reach my destination as quickly as possible, whether that destination is ten minutes away or two hours.
Shortly before lunch at Schoolyard Farms' summer camp, Courtney Leeds and Brooke Hieserich decided to shake things up for a few minutes.
Standing inside a cool warehouse, surrounded by rack upon rack of oak and steel barrels in various stages of fermentation, Drew Herman was willing to let me taste as much wine as I wanted.
While early dusk settled across downtown Portland, the sun still shone brilliantly orange a mere fifteen minutes away, casting long and dappled light onto Sauvie Island.
Genevieve Flanagan is currently a farmer without a single pea pod, head of lettuce, or red radish to show for it.
The chocolate chip cookies were melting in the surprisingly warm April sun.
I met Zenger Farm's new interns on a cloudy Wednesday morning, a day when the cool air felt refreshing and hopeful, buffered by a warm breeze and punctuated by noises around the property: tilling of the planting fields, chattering children on a school trip, and construction on Zenger’s soon-to-open Grange.
I can feel it in the ever-warming air: winter is over, and the food at Portland area farmers’ markets has finally started to match the warmer temperatures.
A few weekends ago, I sat at brunch, my husband to my right, two friends across from us, forks dipping into eggs Benedict and quiche, a kale salad nudged to the middle for easier sharing.
When Danny Gabriner first began baking bread, he gave away 1,000 loaves for free.
Americans consistently elevate Italian food culture onto a mantle of gastronomic fulfillment.
In the back corner of Portland’s Enso Winery, past the warm, dark hued tasting room and into the brightly lit production space, I found Fossil and Fawn’s Jenny Mosbacher in a giant plastic square fermenter, pants-less and shoveling buckets of freshly fermented grapes, skins, and various other grape parts into a cylindrical wine press.
"The advantage of industrialization is that you get consistency," Shaun Winter stated succinctly on a hot summer afternoon outside of The Fresh Pot in North Portland.
Talking about food is best on a full stomach, as the resulting discourse, often fraught and conflicted, flows best when not hindered by hunger-induced crankiness.
At a Wednesday CSA pick-up at Working Hands Farm in Hillsboro, Oregon, that “imperative to feed people” stood out clearly, just as it had when I observed the farm’s CSA pick-up last year.
All that stood between me and the cheesemaking room was a set of steamy windows.
My husband recently rushed home from picking up a box of pasta at our local grocery store, eager to relay a conversation he’d overheard before forgetting its details.
Paola Smith is covered in flour and moving lithely hours before most Portlanders have sipped their first coveted cup of coffee.
I distinctly remember the first time I heard about kombucha.
Tunnels bypass previously impassable areas, free up congestion in cities, and hide unsightly traffic.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone who reads this site that my list of favorite foods is exceedingly large, ranging from cheese to bread, beer to wine, sauerkraut to pickles.
People are either going to drink transgenic orange juice or they’re going to drink apple juice.
"Farming” in America holds many meanings, and only a few have anything to do with food.
Imagine the hardiest slice of seasonal fruit pie you’ve ever eaten, cut and served to you by two Canadian sisters baking in a space barely big enough to hold the three of you.
As much as they might crave a comfy couch, a relaxing beverage, and a sturdy ottoman, farmers don’t have the luxury of sitting down for an extended chat.
Picture a neighborhood – not an area of urban density, but a typical block of single family homes.
While the Portland Farmers Market operates eight prominent markets around the city, there are other local farmers’ markets that exist outside of this official umbrella.
If you live a middle class life in a first world country, you have the option of absolving yourself from any connection to self-sufficiency.
I’m usually not the type of person who notices cars in my daily life, but if I lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, I’m pretty sure that I’d recognize one of Victory Gardens’ trucks driving around town.
Last summer, Nathan Moomaw recruited customers for his new pastured based meat farm, Moomaw Family Farm, before owning a single animal.
On a warm Seattle Sunday, Bob Redmond paused in the middle of teaching a beginner beekeeping class to notice the silence.
Few words are as visually evocative, or as illustrative of their definition, as “tumbleweed”.
It was more than open land that I suddenly craved; I wanted to interact with more of nature’s elements than just water.
There's frequently a disconnect between how people portray themselves online, and how they act in reality: the bubbliest, most engaged person on iChat ends up being taciturn and standoffish in person.
"Sorry, I take pictures of poop," Shanna Schlitz ruefully shrugged as she crouched over an unidentified specimen with her iPhone.
Since moving to Portland, I've quickly developed an appreciation for a wide range of tattoo art.
Spending time on a farm tends to lead to deep philosophical conversations about the nature of life and society.
It's a well reported fact that the average age of an American farmer is nearly 60 years old.
As I was fillings bags of bulk ingredients on a recent trip to New Seasons, I overheard an earnest conversation that brought this question to mind.
In a food cart built from scratch, I watched Picnic's John Dovydenas and Jen Cox form bread from giant containers of yeasted dough, roast carrots into softly blistered orange chunks, slice freshly roasted Kookoolan chickens to order, and hand customers hearty, creative cookie combinations like olive oil and pine nut.
Fair trade chocolate is a growing industry.
On Saturday, in between shopping for various kinds of raab, cabbage, and chard, I passed the shopping bags to Justin, as I was eager to play with our new camera, the Fujifilm x100s.
It was simpler to clarify my eating preferences several years ago, when I was a complete vegetarian.
Any conversation about American food culture eventually comes around to a familiar set of topics: the decline of the "family dinner", the pervasiveness of fast food, and ways to make cooking more convenient.
Portland's main farmers' market (Saturday's PSU Market) may be on hiatus for these middle winter months, but the Portland Farmers' Market organization hasn't left us market-goers in a complete lurch.
It's an unfortunate reality that by December, many farmers' markets are shut for the season.
Our modern interest in homesteading is more than a fleeting pursuit.
It's no surprise that living in an age of globalized trade and supermarket chains has changed the way we shop for food.
This article is Part Two of my research on our country’s relationship to milk, specifically the culture surrounding milk, milk pricing, and milk consolidation.
I've always had a fraught relationship with milk.
You'd be forgiven for believing that goat herding, as a profession, doesn't exist in the United States.
If you know me, you know about my extreme interest in Denmark.
On a recent episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Bourdain explored Austin, Texas during the insanity of the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival.
While working on a photo assignment, I found myself with thirty minutes to 'waste' at the Shemanski Park Farmers Market.
We booked tickets for a Plate and Pitchfork farm dinner as soon as we moved to Portland.
Harry Short grows varieties of vegetables that you've never heard of.
I rented a 60mm macro lens last week.
The Farm Bill reauthorization is steadily moving forward, with Senators and committees recommending cuts and shifts.
Despite its innocuous name, the Farm Bill is a beast of legislation.
I feel like I blinked and the food at the farmers' markets transitioned from beets and carrots to strawberries, fava beans, snap peas, and asparagus.
Anyone who has watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, followed the recent "pink slime" food debacle, or rolled their eyes when pizza was deemed a vegetable, knows that school food has its fair share of problems.
I awoke on Saturday to the realization that it was both St.
Across the country, January was the fourth warmest January on record.
When I was in the kitchen with Alison and Michael of Butter + Love, I watched the entire process of jam cookie creation.
We took a day trip this weekend with our end destination determined, but no other parts of the day fleshed out.
The images are in chronological order in the gallery.
A girl from a large, close-knit Kansas family graduates high school and moves East.
On Monday, I spent three hours in a Sunset Park industrial kitchen with Alison Walla of Butter + Love.
The failure of federal efforts to feed the poor cannot be divorced from our nation's agricultural policy, the congressional committees that dictate that policy, and the Department of Ag that implements it.
I found myself smiling and nodding along to a video about butchery.
Oliver Strand wrote that these bottles look as if they belong in a "cooler on the porch".
Everyone uses twitter differently.
I only had time to take a few pictures before I quickly ran out of hands as I checked off items from my shopping list!
Park Slope is days away from having its very own butcher shop!
I didn’t read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food until last month.
Copenhagen’s new year round food market, Torvehallerne, opened on Friday, September 2, 2011.
A mid-August Greenmarket is a fine place to shop.
That’s the question Barry Estabrook uses as a jumping off point for his new book, Tomatoland.
I’ve noticed a common thread among the local artisans, farmers, and purveyors I most admire: they’ve each learned to accept, and even embrace, nuance and unpredictability without sacrificing the quality of their product.
Do you hate plastic bags as much as I do?
Have you heard of the Andaz hotel chain?
The CAFO Reader has been a long (clearly, I started over four months ago!) and challenging read.
I’d first tried Rachel’s Pies at the inaugural Fort Greene Brooklyn Flea of the summer.
Who likes to compost?
I have a not-so secret love of screen printed, handmade tea towels, and house a growing collection in one of our drawers.
I first learned about Rucola, the new Northern Italian restaurant in Boerum Hill, in an email several months ago.
What image comes into your head when you hear the phrase ‘technological takeover’?
We’ve had several people ask us how we’d describe Portland’s food culture, and we’ve found ourselves repeating words: unpretentious, fun, ingredient focused, and welcoming.
In the months leading up to our Portland trip, Justin and I joked that we were going to come back to Brooklyn sleep deprived, full of amazing food, and overly caffeinated.
I attended a panel discussion several weeks ago at NYU that corresponded perfectly with the section I just finished in The CAFO Reader--in fact, the timing of the panel felt almost like I had planned it.
I was practicing frugality a few weeks ago when I spotted Albertine's Press' Barnyard Greetings cards at Word.
On one of our very first weekends in Brooklyn (back in November 2009!), we took the 3 train to Park Slope to explore.
This market was blooming with flowers...and not much else.
I found Part 4 of The CAFO Reader to be dense and slightly repetitive.
Being a fan of food inspired illustrations (and letterpress, in general), I bought these root vegetable notecards a few weekends ago at Word.
I caught a glimpse of a stunning mortar and pestle by English company Wade Ceramics and promptly researched to see what other products they make.
My mother likes to mail me packets of newspaper clippings and articles she’s saved that she thinks will be of interest to me.
Each summer in elementary school, my brother and I would participate in the summer library program.
Terrariums recently captured my attention.
“Once plants and animals were raised together on the same farm.
While browsing The Die Line, I stumbled across this post and frantically started clicking around.
Fittingly enough, Part 1 of The CAFO Reader starts from the true beginning of the development of industrial meat production.
Some people assign themselves enjoyable New Year’s resolutions along the lines of ‘See friends more’ or ‘Take time for me’.
Before moving to Park Slope, I only knew about Get Fresh Table and Market from Top Chef Mark Simmons’ previous association with the restaurant.
Joan Gussow exhibits a multitude of consistent character traits that I can only one day humbly hope to possess.
When Nils Wessell, the one-man woodworker/proprietor/owner of Brooklyn Butcher Blocks agreed to meet me at 'the pie shop', there was no confusion as to which pie shop he meant: Gowanus’ Four and Twenty Blackbirds—THE pie shop, at least in our opinions.
Last year, after several months of attempting to take our food scraps from Brooklyn to Union Square, we gave up.
I admit to knowing very little about the differences between pear varieties.
Quick, what's the first word that comes into your head when you hear the phrase 'Southern food'?
My mother loves to clip out articles from newspapers and magazines and send them my way.
Bottomfeeder was as well-researched as an advanced college textbook…though most college textbook authors don’t travel around the world for over a year, meeting fish farmers, touring factories and fish markets, and even eating potentially life-threatening foods like puffer fish.
Frankly, Bottomfeeder isn't an easy book to read.
Since moving to New York, I've become a bit preoccupied with chocolate.
Yesterday, as mentioned in my 'ode to Copenhagen' post, we attended a discussion between David Chang and Rene Redzepi.
If you were suddenly asked ‘what’s the most influential experience on your life so far?’, what would you say?
Today’s chillier, rainy weather may have elicited groans and snooze buttons from some, but I was actually excited to wake up to a dreary Monday.
As I quickly mentioned in the previous post, we drove out to Neversink, New York on Saturday for a barn dinner hosted by Neversink Farm and prepared by the staff of the West Village's Bobo restaurant.
Our Saturday was...long.
We seem to spend many weekends in Lower Manhattan, splitting our time behind the East Village, the Lower East Side, and Soho/Noho.
When Justin and I moved to Brooklyn last Fall, we were inundated with things to see, do, and eat.
I was never a milk drinker before moving to Brooklyn; I always found the taste to be off-putting and stomach-ache inducing.
We just returned from a long weekend in Cape Cod.
Yesterday, I browsed through some old archives on this blog and came across one dated July 25, 2009.
The years following the purchase and creation of Oak Grove Plantation saw Ted and Susan Blew raising four young children while striving to make the farm as successful as possible.
“People used to say it’s going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, buying a farm.
Last week, I braved the BQE, navigated the Verrazano, and drove to Pittstown, NJ.
We're back from our honeymoon with much to share!
Last night I attended 'Room to Grow': Real Roles for City Residents & Food Professionals in Urban Agriculture.
About a week ago, my brother shared an article from Foreign Policy Magazine with me, thinking I would find it of interest.
One Girl Cookies is one of my favorite places in all of Brooklyn and just happened to be next on my round of cupcake reviews!
This past weekend, I had the chance to visit The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.
Since moving to Brooklyn, I’ve been eating more chocolate than ever.
For the past 7 months or so, I have been completely immersed in all things ‘food related’.