Vol. 1, No. 1|December 2010
Eat Here is a family magazine promoting ethical eating habits and connecting food lovers across the region. This magazine provides recipes, resources and tips to on how to find the freshest, local food. We make it easy for you to Eat Here, Not There. Why eat there when you can Eat Here?
Articles CSA or Bust........................................................................................................................... PAGE 3 Hannah Waterman Central New York Slow Food Edibles Walk.................................................................... PAGE 4 Meagan Pepper Could the Central New York Regional Market Be More Sustainable?...................... PAGE 5 Meagan Pepper Syracuse Real Food Co-op vs. Earth’s Own.................................................................... PAGE 6 Jessica Gorman The Buzzzzzz About Bees.................................................................................................... PAGE 7 Colleen Gallagher A Year of Local Eating: Tips, Recipes and Resources for the Aspiring Locavore...... PAGE 8 Jennifer Spoor 90 Acres................................................................................................................................... PAGE 11 Nicholas D’Alessandro Food Deserts: How accesible are fresh produce and healthy foods?......................... PAGE 12 Rosalia Lucero Recipes...................................................................................................................................... PAGE 13
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CSA or Bust by Hannah Waterman
ommunity Supported Agriculture (or CSA) describes an organization that individuals or families become members of. The member pays an initial up-front fee at the start of the growing season, and over the season receives a weekly selection of foods grown by the farm(s) the CSA is associated with. Usually the CSA has various pick-up locations in an area, and the member chooses the site closest to their home; some CSA’s even deliver. At the site, there might be a prepared box for the member to take, or the member might collect their own goods with guides as to how much to take (as in, tables with large amounts of the vegetables and signs at each that say things like, “one pound red beets” or “half a pound of beans.”) In either case, what is available each week is determined by what the farm is growing and has in season. CSAs most commonly distribute produce, but they can also distribute flowers, eggs, meat, cheeses, etc. One important aspect of a CSA is the notion of shared risk. Because the member pays their fee up-front, they share the bounty of the season, but also any possible hard-ships the farm might encounter. So if a particular crop fails in a season, the member and the farmer both accept the loss. Another option in most CSAs is a work-share.This allows the member to pay some portion of their seasonal fee in work at the farm. Most farms also allow people to volunteer, even if they do not have a work-share. CSAs are a perfect way to support your local economy and a local farm. They also are a great way to get fresh, seasonal produce every week and perhaps be challenged by what to make with your share for the week. The experience of picking up your weekly share also allows for interaction with other members and with farmers or other CSA workers or volunteers. When you shop at a large grocery store, there are asparagus in December and tropical fruits from all over the world. When you have a share with a CSA, you learn what can be grown in your area and what is in season at what time and, even more importantly, you can learn to eat based on that. CSAs are already on the up rise. According to journalist Steven McFadden in the article, “Com-
munity Farms in the 21st Century: Poised for Another Wave of Growth?,” “Over the last 18 years Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has taken root in North America with moderate speed and has gradually grown to include as many as 1,700 farms spread over every region. Against a surging tide of decline for small farms in general, CSA has set roots deep and wide.” The reasons to join a CSA are plentiful. In the article “Eating for Your Community” by Robyn Van En says, “CSA members are supporting a regional food system, securing the agricultural integrity of their region, and participating in a community-building experience by getting to know their neighbors and who grows their food. CSA also helps bridge socio-economic gaps. Intelligence and knowing you like good, fresh food has nothing to do with money, status, or where you live. Members range from people who use food stamps to those who pay extra to have their vegetables delivered. Together they guarantee that local farmers survive and ensure that their children and grandchildren can eat from the same farm.” It is especially important to the farmers. “It’s the most important thing someone can do to support their local farmers,” said Keith Forrester of Whitton Farms in Whitton, Arkansas “We look at it as people really investing in what we do.” Buying a CSA share is also better for the environment than buying produce at a conventional grocery store. There are generally much fewer chemicals used in the growth of the produce, the transportation of the food is much more limited, and it isn’t refrigerated. Members benefit because the food is as fresh, and they reduce their carbon footprint because the food wasn’t shipped cross-country. They’re also paying close to wholesale prices. Here in Syracuse you can become a member of the CSA through Grindstone Farms in Pulaski. A full share, which lasts twenty weeks from mid June until the end of October, costs $565. If a college student is considering buying a share but is concerned about the cost or that a share is too much for one person (which it is!), they can consider buying a share with roommates. If four roommates split a Continue on page 4
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share, each person pays about $140 each for twenty weeks worth of fresh vegetables. Or, if someone is only in Syracuse during the school year, an academic share is available from Grindstone for $250 that lasts from early September until the end of October. According to Grindstone Farm’s website, each weekly share includes enough produce to supplement the weekly food needs of a family of four on a normal diet or two people eating a primarily vegetarian diet. Members can choose from a variety of pick up locations (PODS), several of which are either in the University area or convenient to it. If you choose to, as a member, apply for a work-share or volunteer on the farm, you can also have the opportunity to learn about how the food is grown and participate in the process. Members are also expected to volunteer at their POD, a great opportunity to get to know other members and maybe share recipes or make new friends.
So, joining a CSA is better for your health, better for the environment, better for your wallet, and better for the farmers. It’s a great option for families, couples and even students, and it can bring together a community. Your meals will be more interesting and you be eating seasonal, regional food. What are you waiting for? go to www.csacny.org for more information about how you can join Works Cited: Biggs, Jennifer. “Community supported agriculture lets members invest in local growers’ bounty.” The Commercial Appeal. Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group, 24 March 2010. Web. 3 December 2010. Community Supported Agriculture of Central New York. CSA CNY, 2010. Web. 3 December 2010. Grindstone Farm. Grindstone Farm, 2010. Web. 3 December 2101. McFadden, Steven. “Community Farms in the 21st Century: Poised for Another Wave of Growth?” The New Farm. Rodale Institute. Web. 3 December 2010. Van En, Robert. “Eating for Your Community: A report from the founder of community supported agriculture” A Good Harvest IC#42 (1995): 29. Web. 3 December 2010.
Central New York Slow Food Edibles Walk by Megan Pepper
ast month on a chilly Saturday afternoon, two clubs from State University New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry met with CNY Slow Food member Emily Alexander to learn more about the delicious edibles located right next to their school in Oakwood Cemetery. The Green Campus Initiative and Primitive Pursuits are two organizations that support sustainable initiatives and strive to educate others about the importance and significance of not only eating locally, but obtaining basic knowledge and skills. Emily, ESF alum herself, taught students about basic identification and traditional uses of a few plant species located in Oakwood. Students walked from end to end of the graveyard, stopping at oak and crabapple trees, rosehip bushes, garlic mustard weeds and gingko trees to observe the seeds, fruit and leaves. After briefly listening to Emily talk about the nutritional value (with some warnings of poison!) students
were able to pick fruit, leaves and seeds to observe the plants. In addition to her plant skills, she shared some recipes and tasty samples with the group of treats she made (see below). Upon completion of the cemetery walk Emily spoke casually with GCI and Primitive Pursuits members about Central New York Slow Food and their goals to bring knowledge and understanding to the community about eating local, healthy food. CNY Slow Food hosts a number of events for community members to learn more about local food.
Check out their website at http://slowfoodcny.org/ Edible Eating Recipes on page 13
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Could the Central New York Regional Market Be More Sustainable? by Megan Pepper
very Saturday and Sunday the CNY Regional Market hosts a number of vendors where community members can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, cage free eggs, local honey, homemade soaps, and even handmade jewelry. There are four main sheds with two rows of additional stands and tables with vendors from all over the CNY area. In addition to the vendors there are stands where homemade donuts, coffee, and even pizza are served. The farmers’ market generally does not produce much waste, but there is still plenty of opportunity for zero waste initiatives to be considered. At the market there are garbage cans and some recycling bins, but no place for food waste. Most vendors who give samples use toothpicks, small plastic cups and napkins; food vendors also use paper products, plastic utensils, and even Styrofoam cups. Market director, Ben Vitale, currently does not place any rules or regulations on vendors that would help move the market in a zero waste direction, but there is a lot of potential. The Onondaga Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) provides recycling, garbage and even composting services to the residents of Onondaga County, as well as schools, and even private businesses and agencies. The market could be a great location for an on-site composting system to be set up; market-goers and even vendors would have the opportunity to compost all their food waste generated at the market as well as food waste from their homes. OCRRA has helped many school and institutions set up aerated composting systems that successfully break down food waste into readyto-use soil within about 60 days. Who would oversee that the compost system is working properly? Vitale, if willing, could set up a composting committee. Members would take turns overseeing that the pile was rotated (and easy task with OCRRA’s system) and would have first dibs on the finished soil. A composting committee would be key to the success of the system because marketgoers may bring in additional composting items, such as yard trimmings. The committee would also collaborate with food vendors to make sure that any food being sold was place on or in non-waxy paper products, which OCRRA’s composting system is
able to process. This way the market would produce nearly no waste and most of energy of the director and committee could be directed at advertising and public awareness to make sure market-goers knew which bins were recycling, compared to compost. It would also be important to set up waste stations, marked clearly with flags, and make known with waste station directories set up around the market. Bins for trash, composting and recycling would be visibly marked and signs would be posted stating which materials belong in which bin. Waste stations have become very popular at grassroots events, such as concerts and farmers’ markets. In Boulder, Colorado and Berkely, Californis, farmer’s markets have already become zero waste and shoppers have responded in a positive way. The market in Boulder, CO, is funded by Eco-Cycle and all plates, cups, napkins, utensils, and even straws are made from plant based materials and 100% compostable. Market goers all bring their own reusable bags and no plastic or paper bags are provided. The CNY Regional Market could also take on a reusable bag initiative and ask that vendors do not supply shoppers with plastic bags, although it would be beneficial of the market to switch to paper for a while. Once shoppers caught on they could ease into a no bag agreement with vendors. There are many opportunities, and plenty of examples, for zero waste programs the CNY Regional Market to model and build off of. There needs to be better collaboration between the director, vendors and even market-goers to strive for and achieve zero waste. Rules and regulations can simply be changed to state that all vendors are responsible for adopting zero waste initiatives and the director (and even a zero waste committee) would be available to help vendors become more sustainable. In addition to collaboration there needs to be agreement on the zero waste goals and mission of the market, which could be written into a contract for all parties to sign. Most shoppers bring their own bags for the most part, but if they are buying local produce and products and supporting local farmers and producers, shouldn’t they also be aware of the waste they generate from getting a cup of coffee or a slice of pizza?
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Syracuse Real Food Co-op vs. Earth’s Own by Jessica Gorman
lthough there are organic sections in the super grocery stores, there have been smaller businesses and co-ops which dedicate their whole store front to organic foods. These stores try to carry as much local produce and shelf products as possible. Their other products may not be local but are still organic and mostly fair trade. They carry anything from cleaning products, hygiene products, bulk foods, to fresh produce and local milk. The stores tend to be locally owned and contribute to their communities’ local economy. In Syracuse there are a few of these storefronts, the Syracuse Real Food Co-op is located in the city off Westcott street, and Earth’s Own Natural Market is located in the suburb of Syracuse. These two stores differ in how they are run but offer organic and local products to the citizens of Syracuse.
Interview with Syracuse Real Food Co-op Employee How long have you been working for the co-op? Since last November, so you could say a year. What is your favorite part about working there? I’ve always loved the community, you see the same faces. Everyone is really friendly and it is not your regular grocery store. Who are the usuals? Adults? Families? Students? A few of our biggest usual customers are SU and ESF faculty, there are a lot of other couples. Neighborhood people, people real close by will come in all the time. What is the most popular seller? I think it would probably be our coffee. Where do the products come from? Shelf items come from UNFI, that is our distributor, a lot of our produce we try to get local. We get a lot from Skaneateles. A lot of produce comes from Baldwinsville as do most of our products. Our shelf items are not local. How exactly does the co-op work? The biggest part about the co-op is it is a member based
co-operative, where they are not only members but owners. They all put in a share of money, it is democracy based, the owners will vote for the board, about 6 people on the board, and every 2 years we have a new election. Our board members make the big decisions. We have a general manager and he does the financing, he is not the owner of the store. How does one get involved or join the co-op? They just give us money and we give them discounts. It is literally that easy, 100$ to join, they can pay it all at once or over a year. If you are a senior it is just 50$. We take emails for updates and letters. Is there anything else you want to say about the co-op in general? I love working there. Going to work and seeing the same people. I have met awesome people just off the streets, even some SU professors. I can almost call Syracuse my home even though this is only my 2nd year here. Everyone is so friendly, saying “oh you go first in line” just very well moraled people come in.
Interview with Earth’s Own employee How long have you been working here? I started working here when we opened a little over a year ago. What is your favorite part about working there? I really enjoy the people that come in, and working at a grocery store that promotes natural and organic foods. Who are the usuals? Adults? Families? Students? We do have some usuals that frequent our store, usually couples and other people from the neighborhoods. What is the most popular seller? We sell a lot of kombucha. Some people drive here quite
a ways and stock up on it. Where do the products come from? Our manager orders our products. But some of the produce comes from local farms. Is there anything else you want to say about the store in general? We have a lot going on here. We have a café which has fresh made food, and lots of gluten free baked goods. We also have different classes, usually gluten free and raw food preparation classes. Sometimes we also have reiki massage demonstrations.
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The Buzzzzzz About Bees by Colleen Gallagher
ithout honeybees, life would be barren and desolate because 1/3 (or about 90 crops) of the crops that we depend on here in U.S agriculture would simply vanish. In case you cannot fully grasp exactly how much 1/3 of all crops is, here’s a small list to help clarify. Bees pollinate: onions, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, watermelons, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi, celery, beets, cabbage, apples, tangerines, coconuts, cucumbers, nuts, lemons, limes, squash, carrots, figs, mangos, tomatoes and the list really goes on and on. Besides how grateful we all are for those foods, honey bees also are the most economically valuable pollinators of agricultural crops. In America, it is estimated that they bring in $15-20 billion dollars annually. They are also the only bee species kept commercially in the United States. In the United States, pollination services are provided by commercial migratory beekeepers to support agriculture. Beekeepers travel with their bees from state to state to provide pollination services to crop producers. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2007 Census indicates that there were about 28,000 operations with 2.9 million bee colonies in the United States.The majority of these, more than 2 million bee colonies, are reported to belong to commercial migratory beekeepers. Honey bees do not only help to pollinate our food plants. They are also responsible for pollinating plants that in turn help us to breathe. Obviously, the honey bee is also responsible for making honey, which is the complex substance made by the bees as their primary source of food. Honey bees use nectar to make their honey. Nectar is almost 80% water with some complex sugars. Bees get nectar from flowers like clovers, dandelions, berry bushes and fruit tree blossoms. They use their long, tubelike tongues like straws to suck the nectar out of the flowers and they store it in their ‘honey stomachs’. Bees, therefore have two stomachs. A regular one and one to collect honey in. The honey stomach holds almost 70mg of nectar when full and it weighs almost as much as the bee does. They visit between 100 and 1500 flowers in order to fill their stomachs. And it takes them Once the stomachs are filled, the honeybees return to the hive and pass the nectar onto other worker bees. These bees suck the nectar from the stomach through their mouths and then chew the nectar for about ½ an hour. During
this time, enzymes are breaking the complex sugars in the nectar into simple sugars so that it’s more digestible and less likely to be attacked by bacteria.The bees the spread the nectar through the honeycombs where water evaporates from it, making it a thicker syrup. The bees make the nectar dry even faster by fanning it with their wings. Once the honey is gooey enough, the bees seal off the cell of the honeycomb with a plug of wax. The honey is stored until it is eaten. In one year, a colony of bees eats between 120 and 200 pounds of honey. With all of these cool facts aside, they are in grave danger because of a strange phenomenon called, colony collapse disorder . In colony collapse disorder (CCD), honey bee colonies inexplicably lose their workers. CCD has resulted in a loss of 50 to 90% of colonies in beekeeping operations across the United States. If this continues, the human race could be in serious trouble! Since this is such a ‘new’ topic, solutions to how to stop the collapse of hives are still being found. Scientists have identified CCD as the biggest issue against stable bee hive populations therefore a lot of funding has gone into solving that. Of course, becoming a beekeeper is one very important solution. If you are not interested in doing that, buying local honey from beekeepers in your area is a good thing to do. Another is to have a garden and not use pesticides. Honey bees have been pollinating plants so that all organisms can thrive on earth for millions of years now. However, if in jeopardy of losing this population of bees, we will lose a vast majority of the plant life that is dependent on pollination to survive. As Albert Einstein has said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live?” The frightening question is “How true is this statement?”We can brag relentlessly about our knowledge on the advancement of science and technology today, but how much do we really know about the world we live? Have we blatantly and foolishly taken the nature of bees for granted? Not only will the quality of human life decrease, the quality of life on this planet will be in grave danger. No one wants to see things get worse. It is far better to be an optimist than a pessimist in these uncertain times. Together, we must help the bees fight for survival.
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Honey Recipes on page 13
A Year of Local Eating: Tips, Recipes and Resources for the Aspiring Locavore by Jennifer Spoor
Locavore: The newest trend in environmentally conscious eating, being a locavore involves purchasing and eating foods within your self-defined food-shed (usually about 100 miles from where you live). www.locavores.com
ecoming a locavore is a great step towards improving your health and your overall awareness of what you are eating. Typically, people take a month long locavore challenge to begin their transformation to eating and shopping local. The challenge is a great primer, with its shortterm commitment you can simply explore the pros and cons of local eating, meet some local farmers, explore local markets and get a taste of the fresh goodness available within your foodshed. Eating local isn’t just good for your community; it is good for our environment. It’s hard to believe that the average meal travels 1500 miles from farm to plate (slate.com/id/2200202/) when you begin to experience the abundance of fresher, tastier, healthier food available within 100 miles of your home. Below I offer some tips, recipes and resources to aide in your journey to become a locavore, season by season.
Spring: The Season of Birth Green Tip: Plant your favorite vegetables in your backyard using raised beds or a local community garden. Don’t have a local community garden? Start one! Extremely Green Tip: Adopt chickens to fertilize and aerate the soil, keep the pest population down and to provide you with fresh eggs. Chickens are surprisingly low maintenance and can live in urban back yards.
Resources urbanchickens.org: provides instructions on how to care for chickens as well as pointers on why chickens make the perfect pets raisedbedgardening.com: construct a raised bed garden in your own back yard! communitygarden.org: tips for an aspiring community gardener; learn to network, establish and sustain a community garden
Summer: The Season of Growth and Life Green Tip: Walk, bike, or carpool to your local farmers market or join a CSA (community supported agriculture) for all of your fresh food needs. Extremely Green Tip: Compost your food scraps outside in a heap compost – or indoors with a vermicompost (worm compost). Resources localharvest.org/farmers-markets: is a site that will help you locate your local farmers market csacny.org: explore the local community supported agriculture throughout Central New York. journeytoforever.org: a comprehensive indoor and outdoor composting resource
Autumn: The Season of Abundance Green Tip: Purchase locally canned and preserved goods in preparation for the winter Extremely Green tip: Can and freeze your own food for the winter Resources http://www.pickyourown.org/: offers instructions on how to can and grow your own winter supply of food 8 • Eat Here • December 2010
Winter: The Season of Rest Green Tip: Invest in a good cookbook so that your frozen and canned goods stay exciting and new Extremely Green Tip: Host a locally themed potluck and join Slow Food USA Resources Slowfoodusa.org: is an organization that seeks to make eating good, clean and fair promoting the community aspects of eating
LOCAL SPRING RECIPE: Creamy Asparagus Soup Serves 8
LOCAL SUMMER RECIPE: Cucumber Salad Serves 8
Ingredients: 1 ¾ lbs asparagus Local Sunflower Oil 2 medium white onions, peeled and chopped 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped 2 quarts local, organic chicken or vegetable stock Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Ingredients: 4 cucumbers, thinly sliced 1 small white onion, thinly sliced 1 cup white vinegar ½ cup water ¼ cup stevia sweetener 1 tablespoon dried dill, or to taste
Chop the tips off of asparagus and put these to one side for later. Roughly chop the asparagus stalks. Get a large, deep pan and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Gently fry the onions, celery and leeks for around 10 minutes, until soft and sweet, without coloring Add the chopped asparagus stalks and stock and simmer for 20 minutes with a lid on. Remove from the head and process with a food processor or blender. Season the soup bit by bit with salt and pepper. Put the soup back on the heat and stir in the asparagus tips, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few more minutes until the tips have softened.
Toss together the cucumbers and onion in a large bowl. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and pour over the cucumber and onions. Stir in dill, cover, and refrigerate until cold. This can also be eaten at room temperature, but be sure to allow the cucumbers to marinate for at least 1 hour.
LOCAL AUTUMN RECIPE: Apple Pie Serves 8 Ingredients: 2 Cups Flour ½ cup butter 2 tablespoons ice water 6 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced ½ cup white sugar teaspoons ground cinnamon 2tablespoons all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons butter
LOCAL WINTER RECIPE: Chili Serves 8 Ingredients: 1 lb local, organic beef 1 large red bell pepper chopped 1 cup sweet corn 1 large onion chopped 10 large tomatoes stewed 2 cloves garlic ½ tsp chili powder ½ tsp cayenne pepper ½ tsp salt Pepper to taste Brown the meat in a saucepan. Add the vegetables together and bring to a boil. Add spices and simmer for 1 hour. Add meat and simmer for an additional hour. Serve warm.
Mix 2 cups of flour and ½ cup of cubed cold butter together – adding water slowly, until you reach desired consistency. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place sliced apples in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Stir well and pour mixture over apples. Cut half of butter or margarine into small pieces and add to apples. Toss apples until thoroughly coated. Pour apples into pastry-lined pie pan. Dot apples with the rest of butter or margarine. Place dough on top. Seal edges and cut steam vents in top crust. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Serve warm with local whip cream.
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Historically, farmers’ markets have been the center of cities and main location for purchasing food as well as public gatherings and social interactions. Markets declined as people moved out of cities and had more options to buy food, but as the environmental movement grew so did an interest in food once again. Over time markets have become more popular, especially in communities striving to reach sustainable goals. In Bill McKibben’s The Year
The Eat Local Contest…
of Eating Locally, he stated that the number of markets in the US has increased from 1,700 in 1994 to 3,700 in 2002. Since then the number has rise, as many small farmers’ markets are springing up in cities and communities across the nation. This provides an opportunity for markets to take on sustainable initiatives as they make a comeback and are again becoming major sources for food purchasing, social interactions, and serve as a place for community involvement and awareness.
And win up to $2,000!!!*
Why eat locally grown foods? Well, why not!? When you buy direct from local farmers, your dollars stay within your community, and strengthen the local economy. More than 90¢ of every dollar you spend goes to the farmer, thus preserving farming as a livelihood and farmland! Who wouldn’t want to do that?
The Challenge: Eat Local. All day. Every day. For an entire year. Show the proof and you can win up to $2,000*!
If interested, call 1-800-LOCAL! Toll free! We look forward to hearing from you. *Some exclusions apply. Side effects may vary. Extreme happiness, satisfaction and peace may affect certain individuals participating in this challenge. If you have had past experiences with harming the environment, talk to your doctor before applying.
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90 Acres by Nick D’Alessandro
fter hearing from my friends about their new jobs as valet parkers at a brand new restaurant called 90 Acres, and about how crowded and in high demand the restaurant actually is I wanted to see for myself. They told me stories about how the restaurant is isolated down a windy two mile road that you have to drive through the restaurant’s own farm, where it gets essentially all of the ingredients used in the restaurant. To me this seemed like an extremely wealthy restaurant posing as sustainable farm that is environmentally proactive. Being an ESF student I was reluctant in what my friends were telling me so I did a little research about the restaurant by my self. My first experience was picking my friend up at work, and seeing the enormous amount of cars parked in the valet as well as self parking lots. The ride to the restaurant is actually close to my house, but I had never seen a farm/restaurant combination before. The road is typical for the area, Pluckemin and Bedminster Township where the majority of New Jersey’s farms are located. This created more interest in this place for me and I decided that I had to try it out for myself. Regardless of the my friends warning of the extremely expensive dinners and VIPs that frequent 90 Acres, I tried to get a reservation in July for my family and I, and I was told there was nothing open for dinner until September. A threemonth wait to eat at a restaurant. I was already going to be up in Syracuse for school, so there was no one that I could try the experience that the restaurant boasts. This is when I decided to do a little research online to find out if this restaurant really lived up to its name. On the restaurants website the first thing that comes up is a black screen with white lettering that reads, “90 acres is an epicurean oasis that upholds the agricultural authenticity of the surrounding area.” The statement disappears approximately 30 seconds and then the picturesque images of the farmland and the restaurant itself appear. To me this seemed like a red ropes and velvet carpet type of place but this was just my initial reaction just from the website alone. I knew I needed more information about the types of food they serve and if all the food or just a few items make it from the farm to the
table. One of the positive things I felt was that the restaurant is located on a fully functional farm, and I guess at least some of the food had to come from it. While other restaurants claim to have a similar setup yet they import there farm fresh foods more than grow them. This may be a ploy to trick customers into thinking that they are doing an environmental good deed so to speak, when in reality not everything comes from their farm. This was when I found a New York Times article called, “Food from the farm and from beyond” by Karla Cook. She described the restaurant as a “bucolic slice of heaven”. After reading this article I found that the restaurants webpage was not lying or putting up a false front. They claim 95% of the food served on premise comes directly from the 90 acre farm which surrounds the restaurant. The only food group that is served that does not come from the farm is fish. It may seem like common sense, but there are plans for future fish farming operations. Cook said that the cooks try to focus on the season and serve food accordingly. She also commented on the fairly priced entrees, anywhere from 24 to 35 dollars. This restaurant may seem like a stretch and too good to be true, but honestly being an environmental student I find little to argue with about this place. Hopefully I will be able to dine at this establishment and write my own review in a future issue, but even though I have never been I feel like this concept is a very good one and more restaurants can follow suit. The restaurant is only a year old, but according to my friends who work there business is booming. If in years to come this restaurant paves the way for others it can have a reducing effect our reliance on imported foods, and help people to not only eat locally at their houses but also at nearby restaurants that serve only local food. This would be a great way to reduce large shipments of food across the country and reduce our carbon monoxide emissions enormously. Hopefully I will try to get a reservation and dine here myself, because to me this is the beginning of a new day, where farmers and restaurant owners cooperate, reducing prices, reducing shipping costs, and increasing the deliciousness of locally grown food, straight of the farm.
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Food Deserts: How accessible are fresh produce and healthy foods? by Rosalia Lucero
here’s no doubt that humans have come a long way. For the majority of our existence we were hunter gatherers, moving from one place to another in search for food. Then, as our population grew we settled down and with the help of sophisticated tools we became farmers. Our ability to grow our own food and domesticate animals provided us with a readily supply of food. From then on, we were constantly improving our techniques to increase our yields and have successfully been able to produce food at a wide-scale. Yet, despite all this progress, our basic need for food is not being met. It appears that in some parts of the United States, years of progress is reverting. Here in Syracuse, neighborhoods such as the Near Westside have fallen victims to what experts are calling ‘food deserts’. ‘Food deserts’ are broadly defined as areas with limited access to affordable nutritious foods, usually occurring in low-income minority neighborhoods. In these areas, liquor stores, fast-food chains and corner stores are more accessible than grocery stores and residents are more likely to resort to greasy fast food or salty snacks instead of a healthy meal. As a result, these areas tend to have high rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and infant mortality. Areas like the Near Westside, were once thriving metropolis neighborhoods with an abundance of grocery stores. With pressure from the automobile industry, the government started pouring billions of dollars in building highways for personal transportation; this lead to the building of the infamous I-81. When wealthy and middle-class Americans began moving out of the city and into the outskirts, businesses including grocery stores followed. This is the story of inner-city neighborhoods like Syracuse’s Near Westside. Despite the dwindling population and tough economic times one grocery store remained in Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood. Nojaims Supermarket, located at 307 Gifford St, opened in 1919 and has since remained a source for fresh food and jobs for residents of the neighborhood. Paul Nojaim, the owner, admits it hasn’t been easy, but keeping the
store opened is a way of showing his commitment to the community that has been home to his family for generations. Nojaims Supermarket has been a vital source of fresh food for the low-income minorities of the neighborhood. It is not a big store, but has expanded to include a pharmacy and and bank. Along with access to food, Paul Nojaims feels access to healthcare is also important, which is why he helped open a clinic next door. Syracuse’s Near Westside has the nation’s sixth highest infant mortality rate, which medical anthropologist Sandra Lane attributes to the inability to access fresh produce and other healthy foods. Nojaims Supermarket has done a great deal of service for the community, which is why it won the Near Westside Business Award in 2009. Recently, it created the Food Works program to help young children understand how food gets to the table, from the farm to the grocery store. The program hires teens of the neighborhood between the ages of 14-18 to work at Nojaims Supermarket, and during the summer they have the opportunity to not only learn about the trade, but also practice marketing skills to create their own product to sell in the supermarket. In addition, the program has volunteers from varying professions that serve as mentors to these kids. Paul Nojaims comments that the program is already starting to see results, with many of the kids going to college. When asked about the future of the Near Westside, Paul Nojaims is optimistic. “I noticed more people are starting to talk about the issue”, he says “and now Syracuse University and other schools are starting to get students to learn outside the classroom by dealing with real life problems such that is part of the Near Westside Initiative.” With the Near Westside Initiative plans to revitalize the community, Paul Nojaims hopes that the neighborhood will have a bright future.
12 • Eat Here • December 2010
Honey Recipes World Famous Honey Apple Turnovers
Chocolate Date Bars
Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon dried currants 3 Tablespoons finely chopped walnuts 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus additional for dusting 6 Tablespoons honey, divided 2 large baking apples 2 prepared pie dough for single-crust
Ingredients: 1¼ cups hot water 8 oz. chopped pitted dates 1¼ teaspoon baking soda ¾ cup honey ¼ cup soft butter or margarine 1¼ cups flour ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup rolled oats 12 oz. mini chocolate pieces 1 cup chopped nuts 2 eggs
In a small bowl, combine currants, walnuts and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir in 3 Tablespoons honey. Peel apples and cut each in half lengthwise. Trim away stem and blossom ends. Scoop out core from each half with a melon baller, making a wide hole for filling. Divide honey mixture evenly between apple centers. Divide pie dough into 4 balls. Roll each ball into a 6-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Lay 1 piece of dough over each apple half with fillingside up.Tuck and wrap dough around each apple half.Trim dough to fit. Pinch the edges of dough underneath apples to seal entirely. Combine 1 Tablespoon honey with 1 teaspoon steaming hot water. Stir until honey dissolves. Brush mixture over tops of turnovers; dust with additional cinnamon. Transfer turnovers to anungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375°F for about 35 minutes, until turnovers art golden. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining 2 Tablespoons honey. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Simmer water, dates and one teaspoon soda together in saucepan for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. In large mixing bowl, cream honey with butter until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon soda. Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in dates and liquid, vanilla, rolled oats and one half chocolate pieces. Spread batter into greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle remaining chocolate pieces and nuts over top. Bake at 350°F 35 minutes. Cool before cutting into bars. Dessert Variation: Serve warm, cut into squares. Top with soft vanilla ice cream or honey sweetened whipped cream.
Edible Eating Recipes Rosehip Candy
Ingredients: 1 cup Rosehips, rinsed and de-seeded 1/3 cup Sugar 2 T plus 2t Water
Ingredients: 3½ cups Crabapples, rinsed and de seeded* 1 cup water ** 1 cup sugar 2 T lemon juice
Select fruit that is firm and yields slightly to pressure (after a frost the fruit is sweeter- and easier to pick out!)/ Wash rosehips, cut in half and remove hairy seeds (the hairs on some varieties can be irritating if left on your skin but should be easy to rinse off)/ Rinse the de-seeded rosehips/ In a stainless steel pan combine sugar, water and rosehips and turn stove to med/low heat. Spoon syrup over the rosehips, making sure to coat completely inside and out.Cook 5-10minutes, or until the syrup begins to bubble (just before burning/scorching)/ Drop onto prepared wax paper and roll into sugar - make sure to separate roses stuck to each other/ Allow to dry and cool/ Store in a glass container.
Boil water and apples until apples are soft (about 20 minutes dependent on size)/ Mash apples into water until all large chunks are removed -or- strain liquid out (keep!) and press apples through a sieve to mash/ Combine pulp and strained liquid, along with lemon juice and sugar back into pan/ Stir constantly into a slow boil/ Boil until thickened to desired consistency/ Process with a traditional canning method, or freeze for freezer jam *if the crab apples are small, you may want to complete the first step and then de-seed by hand when apples are soft **this can vary depending on the variety of crab apple
Only use stainless steel when working with rosehips - other metals (especially aluminum) cause nutrients to be lost and the metal to discolor 13 • Eat Here • December 2010
Collaborative zine created for Environmental Journalism class.