THE STORY OF LOCAL FOOD
No. 36 | Spring 2019 Member of Edible Communities
Veggies & Herbs Culinary Rarities House Plants Botanical Oddities Succulents Amazing Annuals Pollinator Perennials
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SPRING 2019 | CONTENTS
DE PA RTMEN T S
24 37 40
ARTISAN ADVERTISER DIRECTORY HERO
FE AT U RE S
HOPE FOR HEMP IN THE MIDWEST
Shedding light on the struggles of young farmers By Malinda Meadows | Photography by Rachel Joy Barehl
How changing legislation is offering a second chance for America’s most misunderstood plant By Nicole Rasul | Graphics by Caryn Scheving
RE CI P E S
9 19 20 21
Spring Potatoes with Garlic Scapes
Blueberry and Hemp Heart Granola Bars Crunchy Pak Choi Salad Jamaican Akkra Chocolate-Habanero Mousse with Coconut-Rum Chantilly
Visit ediblecolumbus.com for exclusive online-only spring recipes.
C O V ER
Photograph by Julian Foglietti
eople make up the taste of a place. With their caravans of spices and pots and seeds and breads, people have always been the ones to flavor a nation. Just look at New York City. Why is it such a delicious destination? Because of the people who come from all over the world to live in and take a bite out of the Big Apple.
Since it’s spring and time for rebirth and new ideas I’m proposing we take this year to redefine what this good-food movement is all about. While we’ve all put a lot of sweat and backbone into building up our local food system, we can do better. Ten years ago Columbus was a very different city. Read Kathleen Day’s essay (page 22) about her journey to opening Katalina’s and you’ll understand what I mean. We’ve grown. Yet we can’t stop. With the 2018 Farm Bill, states now have an opportunity to grow industrial hemp. The implications of this potential crop could shift the landscape of farming, fiber and food production in the Midwest significantly (page 30). At the same time, young farmers are up against immense challenges in the face of what has increasingly become an unsustainable future, and we need to stand by them and salute them as they face the
Franklin County Farm Bureau
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
uncertainty of the future with curiosity and determination (page 26). I have so much gratitude for this community of artisans, leaders, makers, farmers, brewers, producers and growers. From day one this community has embraced the challenge of the good-food movement and welcomed me into conversations so I might tell the stories of this region for the purpose of growth and change. I’ve had the pleasure of shaking your hands, talking to you about what you do, smiling and laughing together at the insanity of what we continue to do, trying to change the world through food. Thank you to every one of you who walks with me through the seasons with stories in our baskets for good keeping and light in our eyes to illuminate the beauty we have yet to experience. Thank you, Ohio, for this most delicious feast. Eat Well, Love Well, Live Well,
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Edible Feast | Mary Ogle PHOTOGRAPHY + Illustration
Rachel Joy Barehl | Julian Foglietti Maria Khoroshilova |Heather Schrock Kristen Solecki |Carole Topalian
WRITERS Madeline Crozier |Lynn Marie Donegan Julia Flint | Michelle Ganci Colleen Leonardi | Malinda Meadows Nicole Rasul | Jennifer L. Rubenstein Joshua Wickham ADVERTISING
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P.O. Box 21-8376, Columbus, Ohio 43221 email@example.com ediblecolumbus.com Colleen Leonardi
Edible Columbus is brought to you by Franklin County Farm Bureau Board of Trustees President, Jeff Schilling | Vice President, Neall Weber Treasurer, Leland Tinklepaugh | Secretary, Roger Genter David Black | Dwight Beougher | Veronica Boysel Charles Hines | Denise Johnson | David Lewis | Jack Orum Ross Fleshman | Nathan Zwayer Edible Columbus
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Edible Columbus is published quarterly and distributed throughout Central Ohio. Subscription rate is $25 annually. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission from the publisher. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Thank you.
Photograph by Rachel Joy Barehl
In my 10 years of editing Edible Columbus, I’ve learned so much about what this good-food movement stands for in Ohio and beyond. Lately, I’m convinced we’ve left a very important population out of the storytelling effort: the world. In 2015, 4.3% of Ohio’s population was comprised of foreignborn individuals. When my family came to the United States we were immigrants, too, from the shores of Ireland and Italy. Immigrants, offering foods from their native countries in wholesome, accessible and celebratory ways, run some of the best eateries in Central Ohio, and they find ways to include foods grown and harvested right here in Ohio (page 24).
Share your edible endeavours with us on Instagram via #ediblecolumbus! Here are a few of our recent favorites... â€”Evan Schlarb
Top: @jessiethefoodie, @michaelkoenig31, @sistaslovefood Middle: @smileyfarmgirl, @the614life, @whohastimeforsleep Bottom: @cbusconnect, @eliska413, @em_geller
Photograph courtesy of Local Matters
FRESH STAND Nonprofit brings good food to neighborhoods in need
By Lynn Marie Donegan When a corporate grocery store shuts down in a neighborhood, accessing fresh, healthy food becomes an increasing challenge to those in that community. That’s why Local Matters is launching Fresh Stand this spring. Fresh Stand is a mobile food market designed to provide affordable, healthy food options to residents who lack them. “We recognize that, as a nonprofit and a community leader, it is our job to make sure our neighbors have access to fresh, healthy, affordable food,” says Sarah Miller, communications and advocacy manager for Local Matters. At Local Matters, programs fall into two categories: food education and food access. As a mobile market, Fresh Stand will focus on food access. By collaborating with community partners, Fresh Stand will have four rotating market locations available to the community each week. In addition to offering healthy, affordable food options, Fresh Stand will incorporate food education through cooking demonstrations conducted by program staff. These demonstrations will provide practical examples of how to prepare easy, healthy meals with fresh ingredients. So, not only will community members be able to purchase healthy food, they’ll also learn how to make delicious meals using the food they buy at market. “We see that as an essential part of food access success,” Sarah says. Starting locations for Fresh Stand will be announced in the near future. To learn more about Local Matters, its mission and its impact on the community, visit local-matters.org. Above: Monique McCoy and Jori Turner, Local Matters team members. .com
Asparagus Broccoli Carrots Cilantro Collards Radishes
Garlic scapes Kale Peas Microgreens Rhubarb Turnip greens
Spinach Radishes Mustard greens Strawberries Swiss chard
What are those long, spindly looking green things at the farmers market? Soft to the touch as you slide your fingers up their slender stalks, garlic scapes are the flowering part of the garlic bulb. With a flavor similar to garlic, they offer a green zest to early spring meals. I prepare them with spring potatoes by slicing them into ½-inch-long bits, sautéing them with some ghee, salt and pepper and then mixing them into a batch of fingerlings, or stirring them into mashed potatoes. You can also make pesto with them, and they store well in the fridge. A little can go a long way, like garlic, but the taste of spring calls, no? And the more the farmer cuts, the more the bulb of the garlic head is encouraged to root down and gather energy. Enjoy. —Colleen Leonardi
Photograph by Carole Topalian
LOCAL & IN SEASON
BLUEBERRY AND HEMP HEART GRANOLA BARS
By Chef Josh Wickham and the SNAC Club at Columbus State Community College Photography by Julian Foglietti
Makes 12 bars 3 cups oats (old-fashioned style) 1 cup shelled hemp hearts ½ cup dried blueberries (or other favorite dried fruit) ¼ cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ²∕³ cup coconut oil ¼ cup orange blossom honey (raw unfiltered if possible) 1 cup almond butter 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon salt Line a small baking pan with parchment and spray lightly with pan spray; set aside.
Once the liquids are evenly combined, pour the mixture into the oats. Stir quickly to combine wet and dry ingredients. Pour the mixture into the parchmentlined pan and press gently to firm and increase the density of the bars. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut the bars to desired shape and size and wrap individually. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and a couple of months in the freezer.
The Student Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC) works to enrich the experiences of those pursuing degrees related to nutrition at Columbus State Community College. SNAC organizes extracurricular education seminars, career-building opportunities, enrichment workshops and volunteer events to promote healthy eating and sound nutrition. When asked to create a recipe using hemp hearts they co-created these granola bars with Chef Josh Wickham.
Combine oats, dried fruit, hemp hearts, brown sugar and cinnamon; mix well and set aside. Combine coconut oil, honey and almond butter in a small sauce pot. Carefully heat over low heat while stirring to evenly combine. Do not over-heat. Once melted, add the vanilla and salt.
FROM TEA TO BEER A wild idea takes off across Ohio By Julia Flint, Photograph by Julian Foglietti
ild Ohio Brewingâ€™s Tea Beers are in a league of their own. And despite being an outlier, they have gained ground in bars and retail locations throughout Ohio. The tea beer starts with green and black tea and cane sugar, the standard starting point for making kombucha. From there, rather than fermenting the tea and sugar with a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to produce kombucha, Wild Ohio introduces an ale yeast. The result is not a beer by puristsâ€™ standards, and no longer a kombucha, either. (continued on page 14)
Wild Ohio Brewing is Born
Without barley or malt, the tea beers are classified differently than traditional beer and fall under the FDA’s regulation, which is why you’ll see a nutritional label and ingredients on Wild Ohio cans. And it’s not just the barley that’s left out. The tea beers are completely grain free (though the contract breweries producing Wild Ohio also produce beers with grain). These “alternative craft beers” come in four core flavors— Blueberry, Black Cherry Bourbon, Blood Orange Tangerine and Mango Hops—with alcohol percentages ranging from 5% to 9%. Other flavors are available seasonally, like the lemonade-flavored DalyPalmer in the summer months and a cranberry flavor for the holidays. If some of those flavors sound familiar, you may recall Wild Ohio’s predecessor, Luna Kombucha, which started producing a higher-alcohol line of kombucha tea beers called Luna Notti in 2015. Luna brought on Jason Kuwoski (co-founder and head brewmaster at ArtMonster Brewery in South Korea) to create the initial high-alcohol varieties, which included Blueberry, Ginger and Raspberry Hops. Rick Durham, currently a brewer with BrewDog, worked as the head brewer for Luna in 2015 and 2016. There he developed the original recipes for Luna Notti’s Cranberry, Black Cherry Bourbon, Mango Hops and Blood Orange Tangerine varieties. Luna was Rick’s first professional job as a brewer, and he appreciated the challenge of trying something new. “I’m not a purist,” he explains. “I’m an English major—creative writing. Working with the English language, it’s something that can be molded, that you can have fun with. That’s also how I feel about the brewing process.”
Russell Pinto, owner of Wild Ohio Brewing, was the sales manager for Luna and headed the company’s evolution from brewing kombucha teas to the Luna Notti line of higheralcohol varieties. When Luna’s former owner decided to close the company, Russell knew there was potential in the higher-alcohol tea beers and wasn’t ready to walk away. He purchased Luna in April 2016, and with Rick and an assistant brewer spent several months transitioning and rebranding as Wild Ohio Brewing. This included swapping the SCOBY for ale yeast to increase shelf life and keep the tea beers stable without refrigeration. When Russell bought the company, he was concerned he wouldn’t be able to support the existing overhead costs and made the decision to start contracting with other breweries, including Four String Brewing Company in Columbus and FigLeaf Brewing in Cincinnati. At the same time, he focused his attention on growing the retail contracts he had established while with Luna. Russell explains that Luna ran a 10-barrel system, but that contract brewing required a minimum batch of 30 barrels. He thought it could take half a year or more to sell that
much product, which was then still unknown to consumers. Instead, the 30 barrels sold out in less than two weeks and increasing production became the new company’s next hurdle. “We kept making 30-barrel batches for three months,” Russell says, “and for the first five batches I hand-labeled everything. But then we couldn’t keep up with the demand.” Since then, he hasn’t looked back. Now in Wild Ohio’s third year, Russell says he’s confident that the company can support the overhead costs required to take over production in house. There have been some setbacks that have slowed progress, like the unannounced closing of Four String Brewing late last year, but business has continued to grow. Currently, Russell is working on setting up a new production facility in Columbus’s Merion Village, finally giving Wild Ohio a home of their own in their hometown. Wild Ohio’s tea beers are available at bars and restaurants throughout Columbus, and at over 900 stores in Ohio. To find a store near you visit wildohiobrewing.com. Julia Flint lives, writes and gardens in Southeast Ohio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BACKYARD CHICKENS 101 All you need to know to have a roost of your own By Michelle Ganci, Illustrations by Kristen Solecki
pring is coming—I promise. And coming with it are fresh eggs from your backyard flock. If you’re thinking about starting a new flock, here are some tips before getting started. And even if you’re already an urban poultry farmer, a few reminders couldn’t hurt.
Q: Which breeds are best for a backyard flock?
Q: How long will a chicken produce eggs?
A: There are over 200 breeds of chickens with many varieties and colors to choose from and selecting your urban flock can be a lot of fun. For those who have not raised chickens before or those looking for egg-laying hens, a naturally gentle breed is preferable. Cochins, Buff orpingtons and Golden Laced Wyandottes are naturally less aggressive, making them easier to care for and have around your home, which is particularly important if you have children or pets at home. These breeds are generally good layers, but they might not always be the most productive.
A: Hens will usually begin laying eggs at about 20 weeks of age, depending on the breed. The gestation period for a chicken is a mere 21 days—lucky ducks! As a member of an urban or backyard flock, hens will lay eggs for about five to seven years, and could live for eight to 10 years.
Alternatively, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns are known for being some of the best egg-layers with high production rates. You are sure to get a lot of eggs from these productive girls. Lastly, Ameraucanas and Aracaunas— known as the “Easter egg” chickens—lay beautiful blue-green eggs sure to be a hit as members of your flock. Q: Do I need a rooster? A: This is a question that I get asked a lot. A rooster is not needed for a hen to lay eggs—#girlpower. She will produce table eggs ready for eating regardless if roosters fertilize the eggs. If you would like to have fertilized eggs, however, or to hatch and raise your own chickens, you do need a rooster.
Q: Do I need to wash the eggs? A: YES! Wash dirty eggs in water that is approximately 20° hotter than the egg temperature. The body temperature of a hen is about 106°F, meaning you should use water that is around 90–120°F, depending on when you collect the eggs. Note that washing eggs in cool water actually creates a vacuum as the pores on the egg shrink, pulling unwanted bacteria inside even faster. You may also use some mild natural soap with this hot water process, if desired. To help your eggs stay clean, you can: • Clean nesting boxes often and always keep fresh shavings or bedding in them. • Place your roosting areas higher than nesting boxes. Chickens like to roost in the highest part of the coop.
You should also know that even with the cleanest boxes, you will still end up with a dirty egg from time to time. After washing, always refrigerate to extend the shelf life of the egg, which is one month after the date of collection when properly refrigerated. Fun Fact: I’m often asked what the difference is between a white or brown egg, and whether one is healthier than the other. The difference all boils down to the color of the chicken’s earlobe! All eggs are created equal in terms of nutrition. Q: What happens if I forget to collect the eggs? A: As a general practice, try to gather eggs early and often. If you can manage it, collect eggs twice each day, which can help keep the eggs clean and prevent the chickens from eating them. If you allow eggs to sit in nesting boxes overnight, it often results in soiled or broken eggs, so it is best to discard eggs that are not collected each day. Q: What are the best maintenance (feed, housing, medicine) practices for my urban flock? A: Feed/Water: It is critically important that we are mindful of being the best caretakers of our animals as possible. Well-balanced feed for your egg-laying hens can easily be found at your local feed store. Be sure to only buy the type for egg-layers, as it contains all of the ingredients for their dietary needs. Egg laying takes a lot of calcium from a hen’s body, so they will need some crushed oyster shells mixed with their feed or provided in a separate feeder that is available to them when they need it. Clean, cool and abundant water should be provided at all times. Feeders and waterers can be found either online or at your local feed store. Housing: Housing for your flock can range from very simple to extravagant—depending on your space and budget. Whatever housing you choose, the important factors to consider are protection from both hot and cold weather. This may include items like heaters, heat lamps, fans or misters. Also consider potential predators (yes, even in urban areas!) like opossums, foxes and raccoons. Don’t forget that chickens can fly and will venture to tops of backyard fences if the opportunity presents itself. Provide nesting boxes with
clean shavings for hens to lay eggs as well as some type of perch for them to roost. Round perches are preferred as it is more comfortable for their feet. A place to scratch and exhibit normal chicken-type behaviors like dust-bathing, preening and cleaning is necessary as well. Vaccination/Medicine: Another important topic for top-notch care of your hens that I teach a great deal about is biosecurity. Simply put, it means implementing measures to reduce chances of spreading disease. If you introduce a new chick or hen to a flock you already have, isolate that hen or chick for at least seven to ten days to observe her and check for any signs or symptoms of sickness. If you observe any signs of disease, immediately contact your poultry veterinarian and they can prescribe the necessary treatment. Also, do not visit your friends’ flocks or the feed store without washing your hands, changing your clothes and shoes before and after. A disinfectant spray for your shoes is a great thing to use after returning from a trip to the feed store or from a friend’s house! Simple precautions like these can lessen the chance of spreading diseases between flocks and ensure healthy and happy hens. If you live in the city of Columbus, visit the Columbus Public Health website for information regarding regulations and permit applications for backyard chickens in your neighborhood. For tips regarding vaccinations for an urban flock, visit ediblecolumbus. com. Michelle Ganci is an animal science professor at California State University, Fresno. She has a passion for agriculture and policy development, and has co-authored a book on animal health and well-being. She holds a master’s degree in animal science and a bachelor of science in meat technology. Michelle is a member of the Franklin County Farm Bureau and the Franklin Park Conservatory Women’s Board.
The Roots of Caribbean Cooking Excerpted from the book by Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau | Photography by Ellen Silverman
he story of Caribbean food cannot be told without telling the story of Caribbean women. The women of our region—the mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts, the caregivers, the homemakers, the housekeepers, and the cooks—are the wheels on which our society turns.
For centuries, our womenfolk have created delicious meals from sometimes meager fare to feed all those who gathered at their table. The food they cooked came from their own toil: from provision grounds and kitchen gardens they planted during slavery; from lands they farmed and produce they sold at market when free; from jobs they worked at all levels of society that allowed them to buy food to feed hungry children. From slavery through emancipation into the modern day, our feminine ancestors have sustained and nourished their own families and a multitude of others. They cooked everything from simple to more complex dishes over coal pots and open fires, in kitchens modest and grand, across the length and breadth of our islands’ homes. Their meals are laced with the aroma of fortitude, the memory of pain, the spicy taste of resilience, and a legacy of love that continues to nurture us to this day. But for too long these women have been forgotten, unacknowledged, and unseen. We have not told their stories.
CRUNCHY PAK CHOI SALAD Pak choi, although commonly consumed cooked, makes an awesome salad. This recipe is our version of one made famous by our friend the caterer Anna Kay Zaidie, who sadly is no longer with us. Every time we make this salad we think of her beautiful spirit and all the joy she created with her scrumptious food and desserts. The crunch of the raw greens, combined with a zesty ginger vinaigrette and toasted almonds, is addictive, and it works either on its own as a great meal or as an accompaniment. Feel free to use any kind of almonds—whole, slivered, raw, toasted, spiced, honey-roasted—or mix it up and replace the almonds with cashews or peanuts. You will probably have leftover vinaigrette, which you can store in the refrigerator and use with any kind of salad. Serves 4—6 SESAME-GINGER VINAIGRETTE ¼ cup sesame oil ½ cup rice wine vinegar 2 tablespoons water 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 to 1½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed ²⁄³ tablespoon agave nectar or honey Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste PAK CHOI SALAD 1 pound pak choi 1 large carrot 1 yellow bell pepper 2 green onions or scallions, chopped 1 pack ramen noodles ½ cup almonds Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Preheat an oven or toaster oven to 250°F. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl, whisk and set aside. Break up the ramen noodles into small pieces, and toast them on a baking sheet until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. If desired, toast raw almonds in the oven or on the stovetop until lightly browned; leave them whole, or gently crush them into pieces with a rolling pin or the bottom of a sturdy frying pan.
Combine the pak choi, carrot, bell pepper, and green onion in a bowl. Add the toasted noodles and half the toasted almonds. Toss the ingredients together with about half the vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper to taste. If the salad needs more dressing, feel free to add more. Sprinkle the reserved almonds over the top, and serve.
Separate the pak choi leaves, wash them, and pat dry. Gather the leaves into a bunch, and slice them thinly crosswise (across the veins) from leaf to stem, using both the white and the green parts. Julienne the carrot and bell pepper to a similar size. .com
JAMAICAN AKKRA Akkra are fritters made of black-eyed peas. Of West African origin, this dish made its way over to the Caribbean and Brazil during the slave trade. In the traditional versions, black-eyed peas are pounded with seasonings in a mortar and pestle and then pan fried in palm oil. Less widely consumed today, akkra was a wildly popular dish in nineteenth-century Jamaica—and it is so delicious, we can see why! Our modern variation includes ginger and scallion. Serve the akkra topped with various homemade condiments, as pictured. A platter of them provides an easy, casual snack for entertaining. Makes 25—30 1 cup black-eyed peas 1 onion, chopped 5 tablespoons chopped scallion 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger 1 teaspoon minced Scotch Bonnet pepper 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 1 tablespoon thyme leaves 2 tablespoons cornmeal Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste ½ to 1 cup coconut oil for deep frying
Place the black-eyed peas in a large bowl, and add water to cover. Soak overnight. The next morning, while the beans are still in the soaking water, rub them between your hands to remove their skins. The skins will rise to the surface of the water, where they can be skimmed off. Drain the beans. Place the beans and the onion, scallion, ginger, Scotch Bonnet pepper, garlic, parsley, thyme, and cornmeal in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, adding just enough water (¼ to ½ cup) to form a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in batches, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil, and fry, turning, until they brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, and keep warm until all the batter has been used up. Transfer to a warmed platter. Editor’s Note: The full recipe recommends topping the akkra fritters with Garlic-Lime sauce, Pickled Cucumber, or WatermelonLemongrass Chutney. Find the recipes for all three in the cookbook Provisions.
CHOCOLATE-HABANERO MOUSSE with Coconut-Rum Chantilly Tradition is always important, and nothing speaks to tradition better than chocolate mousse for dessert. It is so classic, so French, so delicate—what’s not to love? Well, this version puts a Caribbean spin on the classic, with the addition of spicy habanero, smooth West Indian rum, and coconut. It is rich, dense with chocolate flavor, and rewarding in every way you can imagine. Serves 4—6 Strain the habanero-rum cream CHOCOLATE-HABANERO directly over the chocolate, and stir MOUSSE well until the chocolate is melted. 2 cups roughly chopped semidark Add the egg yolks, stirring quickly chocolate until the mixture is glossy. ²⁄³ cup heavy cream In a separate mixing bowl, beat the 1 red habanero pepper, seeds and ribs egg whites until they have doubled removed, chopped in size. Add the granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons dark rum and continue beating until the 2 egg yolks mixture is firm and fluffy and stiff 4 egg whites peaks have formed. In three batches, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, being careful not to overmix. Stir in the remaining ½ COCONUT-RUM CHANTILLY cup chocolate pieces. 2 cups heavy cream 1½ cup confectioners’ sugar Transfer the mousse to a large glass ½ cup coconut milk powder bowl or individual dessert bowls. 2 tablespoons dark rum Chill for a few hours before serving. Chocolate shavings for serving Make the mousse. Place 1½ cups of the chopped chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream and the habanero, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow the mixture to rest for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, return the cream to a boil. Stir in the rum.
Make the coconut-rum chantilly: Combine the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, coconut milk powder, and rum in a blender, and blend on high until stiff peaks form.
Excerpted from Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking—150 Vegetarian Recipes by Michelle Rousseau and Suzanne Rousseau. Copyright © 2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Serve the mousse garnished with coconut-rum chantilly and chocolate shavings. .com
THE LITTLE CAFÉ THAT COULD Katalina looks back By Kathleen Day
hen I first moved to Columbus 15 years ago, I thought I knew everything—at least when it came to food. I’d been recruited to Columbus for a creative marketing job and was relocating from New Orleans. My career had taken me there from Seattle by way of San Francisco. I had also lived in France during graduate school, so I had been fortunate enough to eat at some of the best restaurants and enjoy some of the best food in the world before I was 30. I arrived in Columbus passionate about truly great food. It’s hard now to imagine the Columbus culinary landscape in 2004. At that time, there were only three local breweries, and if you wanted a “white tablecloth” meal, you could pretty much count your choices on two hands—and they actually had white tablecloths. Finding “farm-to-table” or organic food was more than a hunt. I soon discovered Alana’s, Basi and Jeni’s. I assured my friends on the West Coast that the Midwest had good food in the same way you defend your family. Still, I missed the street burritos from The Mission in California and the home-cooked Southern food I had grown up eating. So one day almost 10 years ago, I decided to do something about it. With a lot of chutzpah and not much else, I opened a café in the oldest gas station in Columbus. I called it “Katalina’s: The Little Café with Lots of Local Goodness.” My first week in business, I met with one of the biggest food suppliers. I asked the rep if they had any local produce. His response: “What’s that?” I knew I was in trouble. But I knew I could do it. I’d been cooking at home almost daily since I was a little girl—following Julia Child’s recipes from Parade magazine at age 9. I’d also learned a thing or two when I’d lived in France. I’d assisted a countess’s cook each day to prepare le repas de nuit (in Arkansas, where I grew up, we called it “supper”).
I quickly learned that running a professional restaurant was a different beast but tried to have my hands everywhere. Once Katalina’s business fired up, I learned that a good line cook might be the most underrated job in the world. I left the line and bulk prep cooking to the experts while I created and prepped recipes into the night, while my husband managed the daily operations. The first few years completely swept me away. My “real job” in marketing provided my meal ticket, but I’d race through my 9-to-5 labors to get back to my precious café. Perfecting the menu, experimenting with new recipes and food sources—creating a brand—was one of the most exciting and daunting times I’ve ever known. It almost killed me—true story, for another time and perhaps a good bottle of wine. This was all before social media, but word soon got out about the food—thanks to some keen-eyed local journalists and passionate bloggers. Turns out, the rest of Columbus was really hungry as well. Hungry for local, homemade food. They also craved a casual, authentic environment. Because I was running on a shoestring budget, Katalina’s could not have been more “casual” or “authentic.” The chalkboard menu signs, beverage crates and Mason jars that are now seemingly in every café became a signature of Katalina’s. Frankly, I couldn’t afford anything but flea market finds—but people loved it. After years of being a test market for chain restaurants, Columbus was ready for more unique cafés like mine, which were soon popping up everywhere. Local vendors were simultaneously coming alive to this new specialty food movement. I found other purveyors at the North Market, including a once tiny spice vendor, North Market Spices run by Ben Walters. Early on, Katalina’s was influenced by Ben’s depth of knowledge about spice combinations across many cultures. We now use a proprietary blend he creates and sells in his shop—and we use Ben’s spices almost exclusively.
“Columbus now has one of the most thriving local food scenes in the country, and I am humbled to be a part of it. There are so many inspiring restaurants dedicated to local, organic food that it can be difficult to decide where to eat.” One morning, my office assistant whispered to me, “Have you heard about the guy who’s roasting coffee in his garage?” Soon I was serving Jason Valentine’s Thunderkiss Coffee, a smallbatch coffee made from Central American coffee beans. He now makes a special blend, just for us. I’d been searching for local chips to serve with my sandwiches, and found the answer at a local food event. I met Michelle Ajamian and Brandon Jaeger of Shagbark Seed & Mill. When I walked up to their table, it was as if angels sang, and a field of tall, lush (organic, heritage) wheat parted. There they sat, with their gorgeous assortment of grains, beans and, best of all, corn chips. I reached out to Billie Erickson of Fowler’s Mill when I wanted quality local flour for Katalina’s Pancake Balls. I admire and respect her own story of female entrepreneurship and how at midlife she began running a business in a 100-year-old mill just outside of Cleveland. Working with Cooper’s Mill over the years, which supplies the fruit butter for Katalina’s Original Pancake Balls and jam for other items, I reminisce about my mother and grandmother canning from their gardens each summer—and now I realize that Ohio shares more food traditions with my Southern heritage than any of the other states where I’ve lived. As I learned about Ohio’s rich food heritage from these producers, whose breadth and depth of knowledge help both refine and broaden my original goals, I continue to learn from them. Columbus now has one of the most thriving local food scenes in the country, and I am humbled to be a part of it. There are so many inspiring restaurants dedicated to local, organic food that it can be difficult to decide where to eat. It’s a different city than when I arrived. Ironically, Katalina’s might never have opened if I hadn’t been a little—make that a lot—naïve about all that goes into running a successful restaurant that syncs with that mission. As I’m opening my second location, I have more work—and learning— than ever to do. When it comes to the local culinary scene, I like to think we grew up together. Columbus changed me, for the better, and gave life to a little café with lots of local goodness in a city I’m so incredibly proud to call home. Kathleen Day owns Katalina’s Café. She’s also a freelance writer and food stylist. .com
MARDI GRAS ICE CREAM Extraordinary flavors on Columbus’s Northwest Side By Nicole Rasul | Photography by Maria Khoroshilova Mita, a once frequent visitor, approached the original owner with a recipe for mango ice cream, a dish she had fine-tuned in her home kitchen. Impressed with the results, the owner asked if she’d like a job. “No,” Mita said. “I’d like to buy the business.” Global Flavors Columbus has a reputation as an ice cream town. In this hectic landscape, the Shahs have cemented their status as purveyors of exceptional handcrafted, flavorful and imaginative treats with the only Indian-influenced ice creamery in Central Ohio. Mardi Gras’ ice creams are made fresh in-house, contain real ingredients like hand-blended spices and are predominantly eggless and gelatin-free. Walking into the store, one is welcomed by a brown board above the ice cream case noting Mardi Gras’ flavors. With staples like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint chocolate chip, one is sure to find a scoop they know. By turning around, however, to view the “international board” above the shop’s tables, guests will find Mardi Gras’ real pleasures in a list of 20 or so globally inspired options. “Seventy percent of our customers choose to buy the Indian ice cream,” Dilip says regarding the handwritten list on the international board surrounded by a montage of photos of smiling customers. With flavors like a fig-based anjeer, ginger, green tea, sweet rose and lychee, there are a United Nations of options.
hatever I eat—new fruit, new anything—I always think in ice cream form,” says Mita Shah while we stand in Mardi Gras Homemade Ice Cream, the Hard Road shop that she and her husband, Dilip, have owned for 18 years. After purchasing the store, the Shahs decided to keep the shop’s original name and concept while adding their own spin to the menu offerings.
The inventory also includes Mita’s house-made kulfi, a frozen Indian dessert. A sugary and creamy indulgence, kulfi is like ice cream but made by boiling and reducing the components rather than whipping and aerating them, making the final product denser. “Kesar pista is our highest seller,” Mita says regarding option number 14 on the international board. The saffron, almond, pistachio and cardamom dessert is sought after by the shop’s various clientele who hail from all corners of the globe.
Mardi Gras owners Mita and Dilip Shah.
While Mardi Gras generally features 48 ice creams in its cases Mita has experimented with over 250 options over the course of her business’s history. Sometimes guests offer ideas, recipes or even tips on where to access fruit or other ingredients. “I had a customer bring me pawpaws this past year,” Mita says. “I knew cinnamon and honey would go well with them. I made a batch and it was sold out in three to four days.” Mita says that in 2019 she hopes to locate more pawpaw fruit, an Ohio native, and feature the flavor as a seasonal item on the menu. She also plans to fine-tune several ice cream recipes, including jasmine and lavender. She yearns to feature jamun, a plum-like fruit native to India, on her international menu as well. “I made it this past year and it was sold out in a few days,” she tells me. “It was hard to get the fruit, so I made only one or two batches. This year I’m hoping to import more jamun.” Mango and Kesar Pista Mita and Dilip were raised three miles from one another in the Indian state of Gujarat. Their hometown, Ahmedabad, is an ice cream mecca and houses some of India’s largest and oldest ice cream companies. Ice cream is deeply embedded in Gujarat’s culture and the state’s residents consume vast amounts of it year-round, especially during the region’s long, sweltering summers. From a family of self-proclaimed “foodies,” Mita enjoyed spending time in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother while a child. She says that they made ice cream at home—the hard way. “We did not have an ice cream machine. We had to hand crank,” she remembers warmly.
Dilip emigrated to the U.S. in 1969 and Mita followed in 1975 after the two were married. When she arrived, Mita encountered her first electric ice cream machine. With her in-laws slated to visit, she spent days preparing meals from scratch and her fatherin-law greatly appreciated her inventive homemade dessert. “Every night he had to have ice cream,” Mita says. “So I was always making ice cream when they were visiting.” The Shahs raised two sons in Columbus. The boys developed a strong work ethic alongside Mita at the shop. In those days, Dilip was often on the road, busy with his career as a chemical engineer. Sometimes Mita would join Dilip on trips abroad. On excursions to Brazil, China and Taiwan she found sweet inspiration. “I went to London and had a chocolate and orange ice cream,” she tells me with a smile on her face, remembering the flavor. “I came back and made that for the shop.” Dilip says his favorite flavors are pistachio, kesar pista and butter pecan. Mita’s are cheesecake, kesar pista and mango, the one that started it all. “I love to do this,” she says fondly. “I love to cook and create.” Mardi Gras is open from mid-March to mid-November and is located at 1947 Hard Rd. in Columbus. In addition to ice cream, the store sells a variety of handcrafted cakes and ice cream cookie sandwiches.
Nicole Rasul writes about food and agriculture. Follow her on Twitter @foodierasul or view her writing online at nicolerasul.com.
GROWING PAINS Shedding light on the struggles of young farmers By Malinda Meadows | Photography by Rachel Joy Barehl
nstead of battening down the hatches on a snowy night, I am slip-sliding my way through downtown Columbus to a curiously named event.
“Board Games for Bored Farmers” is a gathering hosted by the Central Ohio Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), a nonprofit organization that advocates for the future of agriculture and supports young farmers, bringing them together for conversation and connection. I’m similar in age to many of those gathered here, but I’m no farmer. I grew up in the center of Columbus, where school field trips were mostly art museums and theatres, or visits to even bigger cities like Chicago. My outdoor time consisted mostly of riding my bike on uneven sidewalks, and apart from the occasional handful of grapes that I would snatch from my grandmother’s garden, my exposure to any farm life was virtually nonexistent. As I sit down with them, I quickly realize these young farmers are anything but bored. They are brimming with passion for farming, which is incredibly reassuring given the current farming crisis our nation is facing. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), between 2007 and 2012 agriculture gained 2,384 farmers between ages 25 and 34—but lost nearly 100,000 between 45 and 54. To replace these losses, farming has to be an attractable career choice for younger generations. Yet I soon learn that getting started in farming doesn’t come without struggles, especially for young farmers. Among the largest of these struggles: access to muchneeded capital. Having the money to buy seeds and equipment, build the necessary infrastructure and obtain land to do all of this is no easy hurdle to overcome.
Purchasing farmland outright is essentially out of reach for many young farmers. In fact, obtaining access to affordable land is the top challenge cited by young farmers, according to the NYFC, and is the main reason some farmers quit farming and why other aspiring farmers haven’t started. Many of the young farmers I am speaking with are first-generation farmers. I can’t even fathom the steepness of this learning curve—like learning the best growing and ranching approaches, what people like to eat and how to implement sustainable farming practices. Farming isn’t a profession that is untouched by gender and racial inequalities either. It is paramount to note that the challenges farmers face are not experienced equally. Oftentimes female farmers express concerns about not being taken seriously or incidents of sexual harassment, which typically leaves a female farmer no choice but to look for work on another farm or to start her own. For people of color, immigrants, indigenous and biracial populations, access to funding, land and infrastructure is more difficult. According to the USDA, only 7% of farmers in the U.S. are people of color. With so many seemingly insurmountable hurdles, why do young farmers brave the leap into agriculture? “I’m so happy being outside—in any weather—doing manual labor,” says Lauren Hirtle, vice president of the Central Ohio Chapter of the NYFC. For Kate Hodges, member, urban farmer and co-owner of Foraged & Sown, “It’s caring about a place and taking care of that place.” I learn it also goes beyond being stewards of the land. It’s about sharing—choosing community over competition. Kate continues, “I like to make things, and it’s important to me to share beyond just myself or my immediate circle. Sharing for other people.”
From left to right: Kate Hodges, Milan Karcic, Lauren Hirtle and Rachel Tayse. .com
“According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), between 2007 and 2012 agriculture gained 2,384 farmers between ages 25 and 34—but lost nearly 100,000 between 45 and 54.” These passionate farmers are why the NYFC was created—to foster a place that would allow them to grow in their business skills, farming expertise and local community. The organization currently has chapters in 28 states, which allows members to address issues on both a federal and state level. Lauren founded the Central Ohio Chapter initially for friendship but was also drawn to the idea of a community of farmers who could connect, learn from one another and share their struggles. And perhaps share in the occasional board game. “It’s really great to hear across the country how other people are able to enact change to help with the things that they are struggling with,” says Kate. One of the biggest benefits of joining the chapter is also the smallest: seeds, or I should say, the discount on them, which helps to relieve some of the financial burdens for the early season. “The discount on seeds alone is worth the membership,” says Lauren. “Yes, everybody should join just to get discounts on seeds,” laughs Kate. On the national level, the NYFC serves as a united front to advocate for policy change to benefit young farmers. When it comes to land access, the organization is striving to make land more accessible to young farmers through improving access to credit and funding as well as incentives for land transition between old and young farmers. To relieve some of the financial burden from student loans, NYFC is also advocating for an amendment to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Plan to include farmers. The NYFC is also pushing Congress to prioritize climate-smart conservation programs. In a 2017 survey, 55% of farmers attributed unpredictability in weather patterns to climate change. To address racial inequality, the coalition is demanding that Congress significantly increases support for programs that help underserved farmers and ranchers gain access to land and government services.
While this support is necessary, these enthusiastic young farmers share with me that some of the easiest ways to support them can start right here within the community. For example, consider participating in a local CSA membership, where customers purchase a subscription to receive seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This model helps farmers obtain the capital critical to the early growing season and in return community members get ultra-fresh food. Farmers are keen to meet their customers and that can mean more than just at the farmers markets. “Anyone can attend the [chapter] meetings; it’s not just for members. Anyone at all who is interested in farming or local food or agriculture politics,” Lauren says. Cultivating curiosity about where our foods come from and the faces behind the hard work can lead to deeper relationships within our community. It can close the gap between eaters and the ones who continue to endure inclement weather, setbacks and stress to bring us both joy and sustenance. Shuffling my way across Columbus in the snow to meet these young farmers now seems to pale in comparison to the struggles these farmers weather every day in order to share their bounty with us. I’ve learned so much from these farmers, and my promise to them is to keep learning. “Food has value,” says Kate, “beyond the thing that you’re buying.” After meeting with these special people who make up Central Ohio’s NYFC Chapter, I now realize all the care, strength and resilience it takes to place even a single radish into the palm of my hand. To learn more about the NYFC and their efforts, visit youngfarmers.org. To get involved in the Central Ohio Chapter, visit their Facebook Page @centralohioyoungfarmerscoalition for more information and upcoming events. Malinda Meadows is a freelance writer based in Columbus but will travel the world for a good meal. She loves handmade pasta, Swedish music and the first day in a new city. Find more of her writing online at malindainthesnow.com or follow along on Instagram @malindainthesnow.
HOPE FOR HEMP IN THE MIDWEST How changing legislation is offering a second chance for Americaâ€™s most misunderstood plant By Nicole Rasul, Graphics by Caryn Scheving
n 2018, Mark Boyer, a sixth-generation farmer and owner of Boyer Farms in Indiana’s Miami County, was the first non-university grower in decades to legally plant industrial hemp in a traditional agricultural row-crop setting in the state’s soil.
During World War II, the “Hemp for Victory” campaign briefly halted this legislation. The initiative encouraged farmers to grow hemp and the crop’s fiber was crafted into rope and other textiles for the U.S. military.
“It was a successful project,” Boyer says during a break in planning for his 2019 growing season. “I was determined to use only traditional farm equipment, what was already in my shed, to grow the crop. I learned a few things. Some of the things you hear about hemp are true and some are myths.”
Under the 1970s Controlled Substances Act and President Nixon’s war on drugs, all forms of cannabis were erroneously lumped together and banned, making industrial hemp illegal to grow, process or sell alongside marijuana.
Boyer farms 1,250 acres, most of which he devotes to traditional commodity crops: corn, soybeans and wheat. On 350 of these acres Boyer cultivates sunflowers and canola and uses his on-farm cold press to expel oil from the crops’ seeds. The oil supplies Healthy Hoosier Oil, Boyer’s line of specialty cooking oils that are distributed across the Midwest. In 2018, through a partnership with Purdue University, Boyer grew industrial hemp on 12 acres, also pressing these plant’s seeds for oil—this time in the name of research. Under Indiana law, Boyer was not authorized to sell his hemp seed oil for profit and when we spoke recently the final product was in a lab to determine shelf life, sell-by date and nutritional profile.
A Complicated History Industrial hemp is believed to be one of the first plants spun into fiber thousands of years ago. An adaptable plant that grows in many climates, a Popular Mechanics article from the 1930s noted that, even then, hemp had over 25,000 known uses. The stalk offers fiber, which is coveted by the textile and construction industries and can be used for a range of other uses such as animal bedding. The seed, which can be eaten, is an excellent source of protein, fiber and healthful fatty acids. As Boyer has researched for Purdue, the seed can also be pressed for oil for use in cooking and cosmetics. Cannabidiol, or CBD, can be extracted from the plant and is of great interest to the natural pharmaceutical industry. Proponents claim that CBD can naturally soothe a host of ailments from anxiety to insomnia, all without intoxicating the user. Hemp was an important crop in colonial America and some colonies were required by law to grow it. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper and ships that sailed to and from the New World used sails and ropes crafted from hemp fiber. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams all grew hemp on their farms. In 1937, largely due to confusion with its intoxicating cousin (although many historians argue that paper manufacturing insiders used their political sway in support of the lumber-based trade), industrial hemp fell under heavy regulation in the U.S. with the federal “Marihuana Tax Act.”
On the Hemp Horizon Under the 2014 Farm Bill, or the Agricultural Act of 2014, state-level industrial hemp research programs were permitted if approved by a state’s legislature. A state’s department of agriculture or a higher-education institution, like Purdue University in Indiana’s case, was required to oversee these programs and expected to strictly control seed and ensure that all growers in the state were registered and monitored. By the end of 2018, according to the advocacy group VoteHemp, 41 states had enacted legislation that made hemp production legal under specific circumstances. The group reports that in 2018, more than 78,000 acres of hemp were grown in 23 states. Recently, Congress passed Section 10113 of the U.S. Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill (see page 34). Regarding hemp, the bill notes: “The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.” Congress’s use of 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to classify the plant is crucial. THC causes cannabis’s famed high and has for the last 80 years been at the core of America’s confusion between hemp and its cousin marijuana. Both plants are varieties of Cannabis sativa L. and, although they look similar, they are different in their chemical composition due to their varied level of THC. The Purdue University Hemp Project explains on its website: “All Cannabis plants produce THC; however, marijuana contains high levels of THC (over 10%), and hemp contains very little (0.3%).” The higher level of THC in marijuana can produce an altered mental state when the plant is smoked or consumed. It is virtually impossible, however, to get high on hemp. In their often-cited 2002 article “Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America,” Ernest Small and David Marcus explain: “A THC concentration in marijuana of approximately 0.9% has been suggested as a practical minimum level to achieve the (illegal) intoxicant effect.” In December 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law by President Trump, federally legalizing industrial hemp by removing the crop from Schedule I of the nation’s controlled substances list.
Industrial hemp is now recognized as a crop governed by the rules of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rather than an illicit substance controlled by the Department of Justice. The 2018 Farm Bill allows for broader cultivation of the plant beyond the state-level research programs permitted through the 2014 legislation. Cultivation of the crop is permitted through a heavily regulated federal-state structure where, among a range of other measures, crops must remain below 0.3% THC to be legal. Industrial hemp now also qualifies for a wealth of safety-net programs afforded to other commodity crops, such as crop insurance, access to federal grants and loans, as well as tax write-offs. Additionally, banks and other funders can open lines of credit to growers in the industry. The federal action taken through the 2018 Farm Bill, however, does not immediately make an impact at the state level. “By the time the federal government made cannabis illegal almost all states had already done so,” explains Erica McBride Stark, executive director of the National Hemp Association. “So this [the 2018 Farm Bill] is deconstructing Prohibition in reverse. The fact that hemp is no longer on the federal controlled substances list will not by default remove it from any given state’s controlled substances list.” As a next step, states that have not already passed legislation to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp within their borders will need to do so. Even the 41 states that have enacted some form of hemp legislation under the research clause in the 2014 Farm Bill may need to revisit their laws as many were tailored to the provisions in that legislation, McBride Stark says. If a state opts not to develop a program and the crop remains on the state’s controlled substances list, hemp cultivation will remain illegal in that state, she says.
A New Market for Midwestern Farmers? In Indiana, Justin Swanson, a lawyer with Bose McKinney & Evans and vice president at Bose Public Affairs Group, expresses optimism that state government will pass updated legislation in 2019 in favor of industrial hemp cultivation. “We have ambiguous statutes related to hemp production in Indiana,” Swanson says regarding the language passed by the state’s legislature after the signing of the 2014 Farm Bill. “We’ve had a grassroots movement since 2014 to help educate policymakers and other leaders in understanding what hemp is and what it is not,” he says. Indiana has three entities working to advance industrial hemp: the Midwest Hemp Council, of which Swanson serves as president and which pushes on the policy horizon; the Indiana Hemp Industries Association, which focuses on product development; and the Hemp Chapter of the Indiana Farmers Union, which educates farmers. Since 2014, however, according to Swanson who cited Purdue University data filed with the Office of Indiana’s State Chemist & Seed Commissioner, Indiana has only grown 24 acres of the crop. Meanwhile, neighbors in Kentucky were licensed to grow over 12,000 acres in 2018, he says.
Kentucky has led the pack in hemp cultivation in Middle America as lawmakers and growers in the state took a keen interest in the hemp provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, eventually rolled into the 2018 Farm Bill as the legislation that led to the crop’s federal legalization, was an initiative of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. Kentucky has a robust history in hemp and McConnell faced pressure from growers, primarily from a dying tobacco trade, to revitalize the industry in his home state. Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture oversees the program and has invested extensive resources for monitoring production by a large number of growers in the state. Meanwhile, in Ohio it is currently illegal to grow the crop. The state starkly appears as an outlier on a map showing U.S. states that have legalized industrial hemp cultivation for research purposes. All the states that touch Ohio’s borders, not only Kentucky and Indiana but Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, have passed hemp-related legislation. Ohio is what Eric Pawlowski, a sustainable agriculture educator at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), calls “multiple years behind” in the development of a state-level hemp program. OEFFA is a nonprofit organization that promotes local and organic food and growers in the state. “We are at a significant market disadvantage,” Pawlowski says in reference to Ohio’s nonexistent hemp industry in comparison to neighbors at all borders. However, in February, Republican state legislators Brian Hill and Stephen A. Huffman introduced a bill in the Ohio Senate that seeks to legalize the cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products in Ohio. The legislation proposes the development of a licensing program for cultivation of the crop, which would be established and overseen by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. OEFFA has publicly expressed support for the legislation. According to Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA’s policy director, Ohio Senate Bill 57, titled in short “Decriminalize hemp and license hemp cultivation,” is “straightforward” and “a move in the right direction.” Lipstreu has engaged the organization’s members who have contacted her to inquire about advocacy actions they can take to support the growth of an Ohio hemp program. She has communicated that by offering their written or verbal testimony to the state’s legislators in support of Senate Bill 57, growers may play an important role in finally bringing hemp to Ohio. Additionally, according to Joe Cornely of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, due to increased interest in the crop from growers in the state, at the group’s last business meeting in late 2018, the Farm Bureau included support for hemp cultivation in its policy framework based on the terms established in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Building Up the Base In addition to legislative hurdles, a revived American hemp industry faces significant processing and infrastructure barriers due to its decades-long agricultural hiatus. “The processing question has always been a chicken-and-theegg thing,” Swanson says. “Who is going to build a processing plant in Indiana if it’s unclear if you can make money off of growing hemp? The 2018 Farm Bill helps to clarify that.” The infrastructure shortcomings extend nationally. “We now have the legal framework in which to build an industry,” McBride Stark says regarding the most recent Farm Bill. “It’s really on the fiber side that we’re seriously lacking infrastructure and, ultimately, where I believe the majority of the hemp industry will lie,” she says.
“That’s where the really large acreage is going to be grown when we start talking about supplying the auto and construction industries.” Another significant question that remains is how much money can one actually make growing hemp. “Everybody is looking for an alternative to make more money per acre,” says Marty Mahan, a fifth-generation farmer who owns 200 acres in Indiana’s Rush County. Mahan serves as president of the Hemp Chapter of the Indiana Farmers Union. “Each week, community members reach out to me with interest,” he says of his role connecting with growers curious about the crop. “What everybody wants to know is how much money they can make,” Mahan says. The U.S. does not have formal commodity pricing for hemp. “Right now, ballpark figures are that for growing for fiber you could clear $300–400 per acre, for seed $400–500 per acre and of course the big elephant in the room is CBD,” Mahan explains. “There is a significant amount of money that can be made in CBD. We’re talking five figures per acre. But harvesting for CBD is a whole different world unlike what farmers in Indiana are used to,” he says. Pawlowski also identifies the organic hemp market as having great potential for growers due to current extraordinarily high demand nationwide for certified organic hemp-derived products. “The market is speaking very clearly about the support of certified organic for the crop,” he says. OEFFA’s organic certification department, an accredited agency with the USDA that certifies growers in 12 Midwestern states, is currently at work drafting organic standards for hemp production. With 2019 poised for a fast and furious race for states to legalize the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp, many caution to not put all of one’s eggs in the metaphorical hemp basket. “With the downturn in commodity prices, everyone is looking for an answer, myself included,” Boyer says. “Hemp has the potential to be a very exciting component and maybe a method of correcting the downturn in agriculture. That being said, the market needs to develop. We have a lot of infrastructure to build before we’ll ever see hemp as a widely grown commodity crop.”
Nicole Rasul writes about food and agriculture. Follow her on Twitter @foodierasul or view her writing online at NicoleRasul. com.
Hemp Industry Growth in the U.S. According to the 2018 “State of Hemp” report published by the Hemp Business Journal, in 2017 the U.S. hemp industry generated $820 million in sales, up 16% from 2017 despite operating in a relatively difficult regulatory climate. With $190 million in sales, CBD led the 2017 hemp market. The Journal notes, “The hemp industry was bolstered by explosive growth in the hemp-derived CBD category that grew from a market category that did not exist five years ago…” After CBD sales, hemp-derived personal care products generated $181 million in sales that year, industrial applications tallied $144 million and hemp-based foods accounted for $137 million. The remainder of 2017’s U.S. hemp-based product market resided in consumer textiles, supplements and “other” consumer products. The publication projects that in 2018, the hemp industry in the U.S. would become a $1 billion market with continued steady growth. The authors write, “As legal and regulatory barriers are removed and consumer education spreads, Hemp Business Journal estimates the U.S. hemp industry will grow to a $1.9 billion market by 2022…” Other industry figures have been drastically more optimistic. For example, the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market-research firm, has projected that by 2022 the American CBD market alone will become a $22 billion industry. To feed current market demand, “the U.S. remains the largest global importer of hemp products, which includes textiles from China, food and seed from Canada and industrials from Europe,” the Hemp Business Journal writes in its 2018 “State of Hemp” report. With federal legalization of hemp through the most recent Farm Bill, the American hemp market could shift significantly to U.S. production to feed this explosive market and, with this shift, hopefully America’s farmers would benefit handsomely.
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“All the people I admire are advertising in this publication. This is where I need to be!” — Brook Hayes, Speckled Hen Farm Education Columbus State Community College cscc.edu 614.287.5353 550 E. Spring St., Columbus, Ohio Find on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Franklin County Farm Bureau ofbf.org/counties/franklin/ 614.876.1274 Find us on Facebook Franklin County 4-H Council 4hcouncil.org 530 W. Spring St, Suite 275 Columbus, OH 43215 Find on Facebook Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT) discovery.osu.edu/focus-areas/infact/ 614.292.5881 Ohio Farm Bureau Federation ofbf.org 280 N. High St. #6, Columbus, Ohio 43215 Find on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) oeffa.org 614.421.2022 ext. 202 Find on Facebook and Twitter
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THE SYMPHONIC BODY/FOOD By Colleen Leonardi | Photography by Rachel Joy Barehl In her own words... Ann Carlson is affable. Sitting with the choreographer, stories spin out onto the table like rain and we both come to a common ground of understanding about food, culture and difference. Columbus has been graced with her presence as an artist-in-residence at The Wexner Center for the Arts as she has developed “The Symphonic Body/Food,” premiering in April. Ann is alive with a desire to understand the local food system in Central Ohio when we meet to talk about the work, and it’s this curiosity and outside perspective from Los Angeles (where Ann lives) that offers new meaning in our local food community to emerge from the proposition of a dance. And new meaning is what the local food system in Central Ohio needs for a future of growth and change. “The Symphonic Body/Food” brings together artisans, growers, chefs, distributors, cheesemakers, leaders, administrators, artists, immigrants and more from the local food chain in Columbus. Together, they’ve developed a “symphonic” score with Ann as conductor based on the gestures they commit to and express every day in their workaday lives in the food system. The cheesemaker softly shapes a circle in midair, evoking the cheese round he tends to. The grower mimics lifting and looking for tools, sorting through plant material and gently patting down the earth with two hands. The grant writer announces a win that they “got the grant” with arms stretched wide into the air. And a local hunter nestles into the side of her chair with arms outstretched as she would if she were up against a tree hunting for a wild turkey. The proposition of dance paired with the local food system seems a stretch, abstract to be sure, yet why not? In the chaos comes opportunity. Food is a relational system. We all need to eat. And we all need to move. What Ann and her symphonic body—our local food community heroes— have created is a cloud of movement and language that reimagines food, sharing, being human—a moving portrait of the beauty buried deep within those relationships between radish and grower, food enthusiast and vegan, hunter and hunted.
“I was most surprised to learn of the large network of people working in Columbus towards issues of food equity. The Symphonic Body/Food is put together through the lens of inspiration. I ask one participant who inspires them in this food system realm and then I reach out to those people and so on. So, in effect, participants perform within and literally make up a living web of inspiration. The gathering of individuals for this work reflects the passion of the community for this issue. The whole experience has been so inspiring to me. I’ve learned so much as I’ve witnessed people’s thinking and teaching, planting and policy-making. I’ve seen the minute and grand gestures (literally) that make up this devoted network. I love learning about people’s lives. Gathering around a topic so central to being alive (food/nourishment) has made this experience straightforwardly rich as well as,at times, heartbreakingly complex.”—Ann Carlson Sit down to be an audience member and you’ll become a part of the community, too. You may find yourself scrambled for a bit in the waves of movement and sound but eventually your awareness will land on new ground and your heart might just resonate with the tenderness of a gesture, the sincerity of a look from one performer to another. Your ideas about food, culture and difference will start to shift and contribute to the symphonic cloud, too. Why do we need new meaning in this moment of the local food movement? As cultural critic David Brooks wrote in a recent essay in The New York Times, “We are born into relationships, and the measure of our life is in the quality of our relationships. We precedes me.” It’s time for the “We” of the local food movement in Columbus to precede the “Me.” It’s time for the harmony a symphony can provide, making Ann—along with all those involved in this performance and all those who support those involved in this project—our heroes this spring. Learn more about “The Symphonic Body/Food” premiering at the Mershon Auditorium April 12–14 at wexarts. org. Opposite: At rehearsal with “The Symphonic Body/Food.” Choreographer Ann Carlson featured middle, right.