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11 Last Minute, Local and Good Food Gift Ideas

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courtesy of Awesome Cookie Company

 

Waited till the last minute to shop like we did? Here’s some of our favorite go-to good food gift ideas that we’ll be using to make it look like we spent all year prepping and pondering over our favorite people.

(Shhhh… they won’t need to know until after the holidays that we didn’t even step outside our own backyard to get them!).

1. Arizona Wine Travel Card

+DETAILS: Brought to you by AZ Wine Lifestyle, the AZ Wine Travel Card gets the wine enthusiast in your circles exclusive discounts on over 30 AZ wineries and over 25 restaurants, resorts and attractions that support Arizona’s winemakers.
+ORDERING: AZ Wine Lifestyle website
+NOTABLE: Buy 2 cards, get 1 free! See details on website.

2. Awesome Cookie Company Cookies

+DETAILS: Small-batch artisan cookies like Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip or Famous Cranberry Oatmeal
+ORDERING: online or in the Phoenix area
+NOTABLE: Arrives in a beautiful Ball glass jar!

3. Devoured Food + Wine Classic VIP Tickets

+DETAILS: New this year: VIP tickets to the ever popular and always sold-out annual culinary event Devoured Food + Wine Classic
+ORDERING: online or by calling the Phoenix Art Museum at 602-257-2124
+NOTABLE: This event is already sold out for GENERAL ADMISSION. VIP tickets will go fast!

4. Edible Baja Arizona and Edible Phoenix Magazines Gift Subscription

+DETAILS: Both part of the Edible Communities arena, these two magazines showcase the food cultural best of their Arizona region.
+ORDERING: Save your friend a trip and subscribe them to either or both of these elegantly written and beautifully photographed magazines. Edible Baja AZ subscription can be found here and Edible Phoenix can be found here.

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courtesy of Hayden Flour Mills

5. Hayden Flour Mills Wheat, Grains, Flours and Vintage Sack Tees

+DETAILS: The Zimmerman family is restoring more than just a name with their family business; they are restoring heritage food, redefining health and reviving taste. And their t-shirts are cool too.
+ORDERINGonline or in the Phoenix area
+NOTABLE: Ask about their gift baskets!

6. Iss’s Magic Mixes: Oatmeals with a Kick

+DETAILS: Melissa Webb has found a way to get us to eat something healthier this holiday season, and not even know it. Her sweet treat is a delicious oatmeal that even comes with a healthy diet success story.
+ORDERING: Online or Farmers Markets in Arizona
+NOTABLE: Purchase before December 24th and receive a Free Burlap backpack (See details on Facebook)

7. La Bella Terre Pure Botanical Sugars

+DETAILS: While owner Terri Nacke might believe that a balanced life is defined by a cookie in each hand, she also believes it is defined by everything in moderation. This is exactly why her small-jar pure botanical sugars are made with organic sugar and with essential botanical ingredients like lavender or bergamot lemon and suggest a sprinkling or smidge for your pastries and cocktails.
+ORDERING: online or in the Phoenix area
+NOTABLE: Good Food Finder special! Order before December 31, 2013 and get 25% off of entire order. Use code 2013HOLIDAY25.

8. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Basket

+DETAILS: If you’ve never had or given a Community Supported Agriculture basket before, you’re missing out. The gift that keeps on giving, a true CSA is one that directly supports a farmer up front, allowing them to run their business and keep food on their own tables during off-seasons while providing the recipient with fresh, healthy and tasty food.
+ORDERING: Check out our list of CSA options around the state. 
+NOTABLE: Order a Maya’s Farm CSA before December 21st and gift a second at $50 off the regular price.

9. Mesa Community College Gift Certificate

+DETAILS: Full disclosure here; our very own Natalie Morris is crossing fingers that you’re going to give the gift of education for the holidays so that you can support the Sustainable Food Systems program she believes so much in (and teaches) at this college.
+ORDERING: Gift Certificates come in $50, $150 and $250 and can be used for tuition, fees and books. More details here.                    +NOTABLE: Enrollment for the Sustainable Food Systems program is happening right now. Single classes, an AAS Degree or a Certificate program is available. Details are available here.

10. Native Seeds/SEARCH Heritage Seed Collection

+DETAILS: This newly released collection of seeds from our friends at Native Seeds/SEARCH is a diverse array of some of their most popular native Southwestern US and Northwestern Mexican seeds ranging from Chimayo Chile to Navajo Winter Watermelon.
+ORDERING: Online

11. Portsmith Co. Handcrafted Minimalist Wallets and Bottle Openers

+DETAILS: Craft beer lovers can unite over these beautifully handcrafted accessories that won’t weigh their pockets down or lighten yours at prices of $45 and under. Made of birch, oak, walnut or stainless steel, these made-in-Arizona simplistic trendsetters will get and keep the holiday conversation going.
+ORDERING: online or in the Phoenix area

courtesy of Portsmith Co.

courtesy of Portsmith Co.

Posted 12/19/13 - View comments

4 Local Places & 1 Great Organization to Order Holiday Turkeys


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Search local to support local. It’s not just a tagline for us, its a commitment and we want it to be yours too. Support your neighbor this holiday season by purchasing from Arizona family businesses, beginning with the bird on your Thanksgiving table.

GOOD FOOD Tip: These aren’t your deli-case turkeys! Farm-direct and free-running turkeys truly define the word fresh and therefore full of taste. Those that know, know. Don’t hesitate; orders are taking place now so your turkey is chosen, harvested and prepared for you just in time for the holiday. Quantities are limited. Ordering deadlines have been listed below when given and if not, generally will be on a first come, first serve basis. A general rule of thumb is a pound of turkey per person or two pounds if planning to have fun with your leftover meals!

Chiricahua Pasture Raised Meats (Serves Southern AZ, Central AZ)

+DETAILS: Pasture-raised, non-GMO, 14-20lbs
+COST/ORDERING: Price is $4.40 per pound. Place an order online through website form. A $20 deposit will be collected at that time and the difference will be collected at time of exchange.
+ORDERING DEADLINE: unavailable
+PICKUP DATE: Tucson deliveries are scheduled for November 16th and Phoenix deliveries are scheduled for November 22nd. See website or contact them for your pick-up site.
+DEPOSIT/PAYMENT: $20 deposit at time of order. Difference at time of exchange.
+QUESTIONS: questions@cprmeats.com  or call 520-507-3436

Read more…

Double Check Ranch (Serves Southern AZ, Central AZ)

+DETAILS: Pasture-raised, non-GMO, 14-20lbs
+COST/ORDERING: Prices are $5.00 per pound. Send an email to sophia@doublecheckranch.com or order in person at farmers market locations (St. Phillips Tucson, Central Market Phoenix, Gilbert Market, Phoenix Public Market)
+ORDERING DEADLINE: November 15
+PICKUP DATE: Phoenix Public Market on Saturday November 23 or at St. Phillip’s Farmers Market in Tucson on Sunday November 24.
+DEPOSIT/PAYMENT: $20 deposit collected at time of order. If ordering via email, send a $20 check to 1941 E. Lee Street Tucson, AZ 85719 no later than November 15. Otherwise, payment collected on-site.
+QUESTIONS: Email sophia@doublecheckranch.com

Read more…

Ridgeview Farms (Serves Central AZ, Northern AZ)

+DETAILS: Pasture-raised, 12-20lbs
+COST/ORDERING: Price is $3.75 per pound. Place an online order through contact form on website or in person at Gilbert Farmers Market.
+ORDERING DEADLINE: until gone
+PICKUP DATE: Weekend of November 23rd and 24th, Phoenix east valley. Notifications will be arranged upon order.
+DEPOSIT/PAYMENT: Payment collected on-site.
+QUESTIONS: Call Byrnie at 928.308.1825

Read more…

The Meat Shop (Central AZ)

+DETAILS: Pasture-raised, All-Natural, Various additional options. 12-22lbs
+COST/ORDERING: Varied prices due to options. Call 602-258-5075 for prices and to place an order.
+ORDERING DEADLINE: November 20th
+PICKUP DATE: November 23rd-November 26th. Pickup date depends on turkey option chosen.
+DEPOSIT/PAYMENT: $25 deposit collected at time of order, difference paid at time of pick-up.
+QUESTIONS: Call 602-258-5075.

Read more…

Heritage Foods USA (Serves Nationwide)

+DETAILS: Heritage turkeys. Pasture-raised, All-Natural, etc. 8-20lbs
+COST/ORDERING: Roughly $10/lb plus shipping. Free shipping over $299. Order online. Other holiday heritage foods including pork, beef, goat, lamb, bison, duck, anchovies, geese and more available. Gift options available.
+ORDERING DEADLINE: until gone (and going fast!)
+PICKUP DATE: Shipping available only. Various shipping options available.
+DEPOSIT/PAYMENT: Full payment due at time of purchase.
+QUESTIONS: Call 718-389-0985 or email info@heritagefoodsusa.com

Read more…

Posted 11/05/13 - View comments

Free Cheeseburger Day at Joe’s Farm Grill

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If Arizona’s weather isn’t enough to lure you outside, then this deal should be.

The annual Free Cheeseburger Day at Joe’s Farm Grill is on Wednesday, Nov 6. It is their way of saying “thank you” to their loyal regulars for making this local and family business a success and a way for new people try their food at no cost to themselves. Make an afternoon of it for you and your family by joining one of the liveliest parties in Gilbert and enjoying the agricultural surroundings of Agritopia and the Agritopia Farmer’s Market, which will be open for browsing and shopping.

DETAILS:

Where?

Joe’s Farm Grill
3000 E. Ray Rd. (1/4 mi W of Higley Rd.)
Gilbert, AZ 85296

When?

Wed., Nov 6 from 10a to 3p

What?

Free: 1 Cheeseburger, Hot French Fries, Fixings and Soda or Water

Stuff to Know!

1. One per person, kids get a kids size portion.
2. You must be present to get your meal, no taking one back for a friend at the office.
3. No call-in orders.
4. No other food items will be sold on that day.

Posted 10/29/13 - View comments

Download: Conservation You Can Taste from Gary Nabhan, Slow Food USA

 

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When research began for Good Food Finder a little under three years ago, the publication of the work was a way to tell the stories of family farmers and food artisans. Each profile within the directory became a snapshot into the not-always-easy lives of what it is to choose to have or be grandfathered into a small-scale food business.

Good Food Finder also quickly became a way to document and promote the diverse variety of foods each of these food providers were offering. As an Arizona native, I’d be lying if it wasn’t a way for me to prove to the rest of the world that AZ has more to offer than just the 5 C’s (add in the infamous “cactus” catch-all we seem to be known for as well). But it was more than that too. Cataloguing “Cherokee purple tomatoes” instead of simply “tomatoes”, “Grenache” instead of “red wine” or a “porter” versus just a “beer” allows Good Food Finder to tell an even better story of history and of circumstance.

Because of this the growth and usage of so many wonderful products being used in our state today, I had the pleasure of being involved with the Conservation You Can Taste publication in collaboration with Gary Nabhan, Slow Food USA, Chefs Collaborative and some of my favorite colleagues in the good food movement. It is a piece designed to reflect the growth of these diverse food varieties over the last fifteen years from the perspective of the farmers, ranchers, artisans, champions and preservationists that have contributed to their success. It is now available for free download and will be available in print at the end of the month.

 -Natalie 

Posted 10/23/13 - View comments

Butternut Squash and Kale Couscous Salad

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I love this time of year when wintery squash brings comfort to meals. And while the weather is chill in the evenings, but a bit warm during the afternoons, I still like to keep my dishes light and refreshing. So when preparing my Butternut Squash and Kale Couscous Salad, roasting is my preference because it brings out the sweetness of the squash and honestly, the crispy edges get me every time. It is the perfect compliment to the saltiness of the parmigiano reggiano and the subtle flavors of fragrant rosemary and citrusy lemon. I can’t begin to tell you how this dish makes transitioning from summer to autumn weather a delight.

Butternut Squash and Kale Couscous Salad
Serves 8

Ingredients
1 butternut squash, seeded and diced
1 white onion, chopped
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 kale leaves, torn
3 cups Israeli couscous, cooked
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
parmigiano reggiano, shredded

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil; set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the squash, onion, rosemary and oil. Season with salt and pepper and pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes (until tender). Turn on the broiler to brown the squash lightly; then remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes.

Combine the kale, couscous and lemon juice in a separate bowl and pour the squash over the top. Season with salt and pepper and mix gently. Sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano and serve.

Posted 10/03/13 - View comments

The Founder of La Bella Terre Spills Her Sweet Story

Photo Courtesy of Bodega at FnB Restaurant

Photo Courtesy of Bodega at FnB Restaurant

We recently asked Terri Nacke, the founder of the Arizona-based pure botanical sugar company La Bella Terre, to tell us what sugar meant to her. If you’ve been following her on social media, you’ll know this is more than just a sweet tale.

I was recently asked the question, “How did you come up with the idea to make Pure Botanical Sugar?”

I will never forget the exact moment when I was looking out on a breathing garden masterpiece, as a whisper of wind softly caressed the plants. It was in that exact moment, the idea was born. “How can I share this with others, I thought?” It began, with cookies.

I believe there is no accident that I was given a name that means “harvester”. As I recall, my first memories were spending time in the garden and kitchen with my grandmother; I simply never left the comfort of that curious place. I am very fortunate, that little did I know, those early days would be the beginning of my life’s work in the culinary arts and plant sciences.

Back to the cookies… As a kid, I always asked to make cookies. I think it was because I got to stick my nose and my finger in the mixing bowl, especially when the butter & sugar were being mixed together, that unforgettable soft caramel smell and taste was my heaven.

I have been on the natural foods path for decades, it seems like yesterday when I was in my tiny neighborhood health food store; it was like a beam of light was leading me to those golden bags of dehydrated cane sugar and whole wheat pastry flour. The rest is history… I have been on a crusade ever since to take care of my sweet tooth in a healthy way. There is something to be said for life in balance: mine of course, a cookie in each hand.

Terri

“I believe that its a new, old way to use sugar.” – Terri, in the new La Bella Terre packaging facility.

Back to the garden… The Pure Botanical Sugars story simply starts with searching the beautiful earth, foraging for the finest botanicals and plant essences. The sugars are carefully crafted by hand to give you our botanical best. The stars have miraculously lined up and La Bella Terre’s Pure Botanical Sugar Collection is ready to be shared. I believe that it’s a new, old way to use sugar. Please be inspired!

La Bella Terre’s Fair-Trade Pure Botanical Sugar is made from Certified Organic sugar cane grown in the Americas. The cane juice is naturally rich in molasses, vitamins and beneficial trace minerals. It starts as fresh sugar cane; it’s then pressed, evaporated and crystallized.

Like our sugar partner, La Bella Terre has a strong commitment to sustainable Non-GMO agriculture. In adherence with strictest organic standards, the sugar cane fields are green cut and are not burned or treated with herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. This is better for the environment, which is ultimately, better for us all. This truly creates the highest quality, most delicious-tasting, unrefined sugar you can find. No chemicals or animal by-products are used to make or decolorize the sugar making it ideal for vegans too.

We have sourced our sugar with a guarantee that the farming cooperatives are paid directly for the cane they grow and mill. This means that the farmers can compete with factory farms, cultivate the quality of their crops, send their kids to school and build thriving communities.

I thank you for choosing La Bella Terre’s Pure Botanical Sugar and sharing in my vision to make the world a sweeter place.

–Terri

The Goods

- Company/Product: La Bella Terre, pure botanical sugars
- Where to Find Them: Bodega at FnB Restaurant, Urban Table at Old Town Farmers Market, MixUp Bar at T.Cooks, Shine Coffee
- Coming Soon: AJs Fine Foods and Whole Foods across Arizona

Posted 09/19/13 - View comments

Benefit Farm Dinner at Fossil Creek Creamery Features Chef Collaboration

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Take a weekend staycation in beautiful Pine-Strawberry, Arizona to enjoy some good food served by a local chef collaboration and support a good cause as well.

Join the Ranch at Fossil Creek for their 3rd Annual Farm Dinner on Sept 21, 2013, at Fossil Creek Creamery in beautiful Strawberry, Arizona. Three outstanding local chefs will dazzle you with their menus using locally-grown and farmed foods being served outdoors at the farm!

Whether you are a full-tilt foodie or a lover of all things local, you are in for an epicurean adventure that supports local producers. Chef Akos Szabo of M Culinary Concepts, the premier luxury catering company in the Southwest and the primary caterer for signature Arizona events including the Waste Management Phoenix Open, will coordinate the effort. Joining him will be Executive Chef Mark Hamilton from the Rim Golf Club, and Chef Tracy Dempsey, owner of Tracy Dempsey Originals, well-known for her pastry sensations offered at several locations in the Valley.

New this year, the Farm Dinner will feature a course prepared by the owners of Urban Survival, Ray Stephens and Julie La Magna. Their wonderful organic food items are amazing and have quickly become a staple in the locally grown food scene showcased in several Arizona farmers’ markets. And we hear, the bread to be served will be from Phoenix favorite, Noble Bread.

Adding to the fun, will be Dr. Jazz and the Heartbeats, our local Dixieland jazz group that will fill the rim country air with their extraordinary music.

DETAILS:

Date: Saturday, September 21 at 4:30 p.m.

Location: Ranch at Fossil Creek, 10379 W. Fossil Creek Rd. Strawberry, AZ 85544

$75 per person (taxable donation to benefit Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction) – reservations are limited to 175

Call 928-476-5178 or send an email to info@ranchatfossilcreek.com

John and Joyce Bittner

John and Joyce Bittner

Posted 09/07/13 - View comments

You Did It: USDA Declares National Farmers Market Week

Photo courtesy of Gilbert Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of Gilbert Farmers Market

You’re an old pro at the farmers market system. You know the tricks of the trade: getting in early to snag those beautiful blue eggs, dodging through the aisles only stopping to give a quick 1-2 peck on the cheeks of your fellow die-hard and maybe, just maybe, swinging by to savor a buttery croissant from the newest breadbaker before heading off to brunch. Or maybe you’re the type to take it slow, arriving early, strolling along and taking it all in. Either way, you’ve been doing this forever.

So, why is the USDA just now declaring a National Farmers Market Week you might ask? Because of people like you. YOU have created a demand. YOU have proven that you like what you see, feel and receive as a result of being and shopping in a public marketplace. There’s just something about that interconnectedness with the sights, sounds, colors and personal interactions that makes it more special than heading off to the grocery store each week. In just the last 5 years, 5000 farmers markets have been added to the list of registered markets in the United States; YOU did that.

And because of it, locally-based small businesses are seeing an increase in their own demand like never before. And better yet, this is a direct sell opportunity for them, which means your money only supports them and their families. Its a win-win-win-win for you, them, our communities and the health of our food system.

A study by the Project for Public Spaces revealed that people who shop at farmers markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, while they would only have one or two per visit to the grocery store.

Let’s ensure that this isn’t the latest food trend. Keep showing up; keep shaking the hand of your local farmer or artisan so that your demand is evidenced and the supply from our small family farms has no choice but to increase. YOU can do it.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?

1. Try New Things

Head to our Good Food Finder and explore what else is out there. Look for these people at your local markets and try them out. You never know what you’ll find or who you’ll meet. 

2. Travel and Explore New Markets

Arizona’s landscape is extremely diverse and allows for a variety of growing seasons. It also makes for fun road trips! Take a day or even a weekend staycation and explore Arizona’s farmers markets wherever you go.

3. Cook at Home

For some, it might sound difficult or like quite the undertaking, but experimentation is most of the fun! Set some goals for yourself whether one new food per week or once per week at the dinner table with family and get experimenting. Here’s a Farmers Market recipe written by one of our own Good Food Finder contributors to start you off. 

4. Think Beyond Food

Farmers Markets are usually filled with so many more purposeful small businesses involved in more than just food. Think outside the box, increasing your own impact and support them too. Here’s a list of local, small businesses we like to refer to, from household cleaning to auto repair and beyond. 

Why Farmers Markets Infographic

Posted 08/09/13 - View comments

The Hill Tells Meatless Mondays to Take a Hike

534363_10151601346118098_630926952_nRecently, Meatless Monday stirred up some chatter after livestock industry promoters put a halt on their campaign up on Capitol Hill. The complaints were based on Restaurant Associates (the company that serves the cafeterias in House office buildings) posting information in dining areas and on its website promoting a plant based diet on Mondays.

Let’s not jump to conclusions, this is not an undercover vegan activist agenda, there was still meat available on Mondays. The signs were simply highlighting the veggie options and facts that eating less meat can help reduce the heavy load livestock farming places on the environment and our health.  

In case you’re unfamiliar, the whole philosophy behind the Meatless Monday project is that going meatless once a week will help curb preventable diseases and help reduce the carbon footprint our diet has on the planet.

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Restaurant Associates had tried promoting the veggie options only once in June, when livestock groups responded, stating that “‘Meatless Mondays’ is an acknowledged tool of animal rights and environmental organizations who seek to publicly denigrate U.S. livestock and poultry production…”.

After this statement was made and a letter sent, the House felt “bullied”  by the livestock  producer group Farm Animal Welfare Coalition into eliminating their Meatless Monday endorsement (The Farm Animal Welfare Coalition is a group that represent industry meat producers dedicated to raising animals to slaughter, not to advocate welfare).

While this is a great example of big meat industry’s hand in politics and our inability to acknowledge the scientific evidence associated with a diet filled with cheap meat, but what I find most fascinating is the clear concern the meat industry has for losing business to more sustainable meat options.

The fact that big meat corporations are monitoring the progression of the food movement and its spread to House eateries, is great news. The more we speak out, the more they have to be scared of, because our tolerance is waning for meat that is produced at the expense of our environment and without consideration of animal welfare.  Despite the wide spread adoption of Meatless Mondays by families, schools and restaurants, this isn’t the first smack down the program has received. Last year the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) was similarly pressured into removing language promoting Meatless Mondays from a sustainability newsletter, after hearing from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association. The association’s president, J.D. Alexander, said the idea “should be condemned by anyone who believes agriculture is fundamental to sustaining life on this planet.”

Sustaining life on this planet? That seems a little backwards considering all the pressure raising cattle in the industrial model puts on the environment.

Notorious BIG (AG) Here’s a few of the destructive outcomes driven by factory farms and industrial agriculture:

  • -Habitat degradation
  • -Loss of biodiversity
  • -Soil erosion and desertification
  • -Air and climate pollution: The livestock industry is the largest and least regulated source of water pollution in the nation and largest source of climate changing methane gas. 
  • Health Problems: Eating meat has been consistently linked to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and diet-related cancers.
  • -Animal welfare concerns, example: CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) Animals raised in confined, stressful, antibiotic filled conditions with extremely restricted opportunities to express their natural behaviors. 

Estimates by the Humane Society of the United States says that if every American embraced Meatless Mondays, we would need to raise 1.4 billion fewer farm animals (in factory farmed conditions!) and make an impact the same as taking 500,000 cars off the road per year.

First time hearing all this? Check out Forks Over Knives for a crash course on why eating less meat really matters.

There’s great news…palates are a changin’!

USDA data indicates that the average American will consume 12.2 percent less meat and poultry overall in 2012 than they did in 2007. The choices meat eating Americans are making are shifting to healthier, more sustainably produced meats. Shoppers are more aware of animal welfare issues and are seeking alternatives to conventional meat products.  GO US! But there is still much to do..

Take action! Share this video on your social media outlet of choice.

  • -Try out a Meatless Monday yourself!
  • -Stick to it! There are so many great recipe ideas out there!
  • -Check out sustainable meat choices in The Good Food Finder today!

The most satisfying part of the meat situation is that you truly have the power to create change and right away! The whole Capitol Hill debacle shows that Big Ag is watching what we eat, so lets make our food movement into a statement so strong no one (no matter how big) can continue to ignore it.

Authentically yours,

Mira

Photos by Mira Word

Posted 07/16/13 - View comments

Peach and Goat Cheese Tart Recipe

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Arizona summers are the best because of the wonderful peaches we get to enjoy through August. Peach pies and jams come to mind, but today I’m craving something a bit sweet and savory. Isn’t that the best combo after all? You get the best of both worlds, and don’t worry if you need a moment to salivate over what’s coming up – a Peach and Goat Cheese Tart.

Usually the hot weather has me in mood for eats that are chilled and involve little to no time on the stove or in the oven, but I couldn’t help myself. Luckily puff pastry bakes quickly, and in this case, puffs perfectly around thinly sliced peaches sprinkled with crumbles of goat cheese and flakes of thyme. A simple drizzle of the sweetened balsamic vinegar and we can now both check off “good eats” for today’s to dos.

Peach and Goat Cheese Tart Recipe
Serves 2

Ingredients
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 peach, thinly sliced
1 oz goat cheese, crumbled
4 sprigs thyme, leaves
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry using a rolling pin; then transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Top the puff pastry with peach slices, and sprinkle goat cheese and thyme evenly over the top. Bake for 15 minutes in the oven; then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over the tart (to your preference), slice and serve.

Posted 07/09/13 - View comments

Episode 5: Will Work for Good Food Podcast / Casey Stechnij of Superstition Farm

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Hold on to your seats ’cause this story is a wild ride.

This is about the little farm that could.  We have the intimate story of Superstition Farm straight from Casey Stechnij himself.  He shared with us his family farm history recently and we thought that it was an important one for you to know about the business of being a dairyman.

We asked that he would record his story for our podcast.  And he did.  Lucky you.

Click to listen: Episode 5: Will Work for Good Food Podcast with Casey Stechnij / Superstition Farm

They are running a fundraising campaign this month to help jump start funding on their latest project: a micro-creamery.  In fact, there are many fundraising campaigns going on right now in the Valley who need your help, like the lovely ladies of Rainbow Valley Heritage Foods in Maricopa and Foote’s Hold Dairy in Dudleyville who are in need of equipment due to their unexpected move to a new space. Please consider joining their campaigns or sharing their stories.

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Editors’ Note: Superstition Farm is a current client under our former services-based business model. The story shared in this blog is their own. 

Find more dairies and good food on Good Food Finder.

Posted 06/17/13 - View comments

Good Cookin’

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While I have never considered myself to be a fantastic cook, I love to embrace some good cookin’ experimentations in the kitchen. We often find ourselves so caught up in a whirlwind of days with family, kids, work, the internet and all other things in between, that we rarely slow down enough to chop our own veggies. What if one of the best things we could be doing for our health, the environment’s and our family is to simply mess around with good ingredients more often?

I truly believe we find time for the things we value the most. The values we have deemed important are at the root of the things that seem to control our lives; maybe it’s money, relationships, kids, Facebook, the television, or other activities. With all the possibilities that fill our days, sometimes the last thing we feel like doing is cooking. So we have an endless amount of choices to do the work for us. While fast, frozen and take out food may be convenient and fulfill our need for instant gratification, it does no service to our physical and social health. The consequences of a diet filled with highly processed food with chemical additives and non organic ingredients are endless. Michael Pollan talks about this in an interview about his latest book on this subject, Cooked.

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“We don’t value cooking,” he says. “We’ve fallen into this mode where we let the corporations do the cooking for us. The problem is, they don’t do it very well.”

His whole book focuses on the importance, history and culture of cooking. He argues that people who cook eat healthier diets regardless of what they are cooking. If we can set aside a hour a day for cooking with fresh ingredients we will automatically improve our diet and spend more time with the people important to us. The decline of home cooked meals can be linked to the wide spread damages we have seen to our health (think diabetes, obesity, heart disease) and to our land like decreased soil quality, biodiversity, and increased use of synthetic chemicals and on and on.

We also lose the sense of how cooking connects us to the rest of the world. Food is a common necessity shared by all humanity no matter where you call home or what spices flavor your food. Food holds history and identity for every culture. It is something to be shared and experienced together. We dilute and devalue food when we eat in our cars, while on the phone, or walking to the next appointment. Even if we can’t cook or pack lunch every day, even making a small effort to prepare more meals at home can be a fun new adventure and really make a difference. Instead of supporting Big Ag and their poor practices, we can support our immune systems! Cooking can be cheaper than eating out all the time too. Pay a visit to the bulk isle and try out some grains like lentils, quinoa, or chickpeas and use the left overs to make new combinations for lunch the next day!  The ease in which we can buy and eat  is something we should be deeply grateful for. So why not spend a little more time cooking and counting our blessings?

My Summer Go-To Meal in 15 Minutes 

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When I’m in a hurry or not feeling like cooking I usually just throw a bunch of veggies together for a yummy salad or pita! This is great for summer because you don’t have to turn on the stove.

If I have some kale on hand I will prepare that first to get it soften up a bit by adding half an avocado, some olive oil and lemon juice. Then let it sit while preparing the salad.

First I wash the produce and then chop all the veggies. I like to use tomato, bell peper, onion, cucumber and of course an avocado. Feta cheese gives it an extra kick too! I mix it all up in a bowl with lemon, olive oil and a little balsamic then stuff in the pita bread or eat alone as a salad.

Five great sites for cookin’ ideas!

www.sustainabletable.org

Local Farm Foodie

Michael Pollan’s Suggestions 

MeatlessMonday.com 

Chocolate Covered Katie

Forks Over Knives Recipe Guide

As always search the Finder for fresh ingredients near you and check out some of our posts about yummy recipe suggestions!

Authentically yours,

Mira Word

 

Posted 06/11/13 - View comments

Will Work for Good Food Podcast with Emma Zimmerman of Hayden Flour Mills

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Good Food Ally Natalie had just spent a weekend with the Zimmermans (Jeff and daughter Emma) of Hayden Flour Mills at the national gathering of Slow Money when she called me and said “we have to interview Emma for our next podcast.” Natalie explained how their family history is steeped in good food and I needed to help tell everyone all about it.  Well, I do aim to please.

I met Emma in the back of the Pane Bianco restaurant where the Zimmerman’s mill is currently located to talk shop and all about ancient grains, her mom’s involvement in food and how they got started with becoming champions of ancient grains and connecting the people within the community to create a sustainable food movement to make something very old, new and cool again.  Enjoy the podcast:

Will Work for Good Food Podcast / Episode 4 - Emma Zimmerman

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(Photo credit: Jennifer Woods)

Posted 06/01/13 - View comments

Enjoy Cocktails and Samples from Queen Creek Olive Mill’s Restaurant Trattoria del Piero at Biltmore UNION After Hours this Saturday

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If you’re into good food and fashion, head over to UNION Biltmore on Saturday, June 1st, 2013 from 5-10PM for the first UNION After Hours celebrating just that at the right time of day.

Queen Creek Olive Mill‘s satellite restaurant Trattoria del Piero, located at UNION Bilmore will be offering cocktails and food samples by Chef Philip Occhipinti for the ticket price of $30 which also gets you more food and drink by Chef Andrew Nam of Stingray Sushi while you shop for summer sunnies to sport at the farmer’s markets this summer during Framed Ewe optial boutique trunk show.

The SUPER Trunk Show by Framed Ewe is open to the public and offering raffle tickets at $5 which can be purchased until 8PM on Saturday, June 1st. Winners will be announced on Sunday, June 2nd via Framed Ewe Facebook page.

UNION After Hours tickets which can be purchased here include cocktails and food samples from the chefs at Trattoria del Piero by the Queen Creek Olive Mill and Stingray Sushi.

Proceeds from this event benefit the Arizona Humane Society.

See Union After Hours Facebook event page for more information

Posted 05/28/13 - View comments

Good Food Waste

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Wasting good food has always been frowned upon. There is something uncomfortable about throwing away perfectly good food or even tossing inedible scraps in the bin. But some how we have lost touch with waste being a taboo concept and instead, embraced it wholeheartedly. Every year in America we throw away 96 billion pounds of food. That’s 263 million pounds a day [1]. Part of eating and advocating for good food is being responsible with its waste. Food loss and waste amounts to the careless use of resources like fresh water, land, energy, human labor and money, which all translates to the unnecessary emissions of greenhouse gasses.

 In the USA, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of its methane emissions [2] . 

Food waste is spurred by cosmetic standards that encourage farmers to throw away perfectly good produce because it is not the expected size or shape. We are so used to perfect shiny apples and round red tomatoes that we have lost our appreciation for mother nature’s variety and character. We are repulsed by worm holes or bruises as if our food actually came from someplace dirty…

An example was given in this awesome TED Talk by Tristram Stuart of the waste that ensues because of our lack of enthusiasm  for the unattractive outcast, the bread heel. When was the last time you ordered a sandwich at a cafe and got the heel? Some places embrace creative reuse measures like croutons and bread pudding,  to compensate for our picky standards. But many simply throw out perfectly good and fresh bread every single day. It seems as though the policy and practice behind our current food system encourages the squandering of resources and is down-right unproductive.

According to the UNEP, Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes) [3].

The good news is that there is so much we can do about food waste! I have taken a new found enthusiasm for composting and also felt inspired after hearing our fellow community Seedspot member, Morgan Coffinger, share her new compost accelerator business Bokashi Evolution. They offer a great composting kit to fit into any lifestyle and strive to address food waste issues with a holistic solution that encourages local action.

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We all contribute to this mess but because food is a shared human experience, we all have the power to make a positive impact. A good first step is to simply keep track of your daily food waste. The weight and speed of how fast it piles up is fascinating. Other good tips include things like:

- better planning at the grocery store – only buy what you are going to use/eat.

- make lists (like a meal plan) — and really stick to them during the week.

- keep stock of staple items to go with fresh produce (like bread in the freezer, pasta in the pantry), and

- manage left overs.  As in, make sure you eat them. Give them a creative new twist like incorporating them into a salad or sandwich the next day!

- start composting and snag a composter from your local waste management company. Jen wrote a post for Chow Bella listing where you can get a free or low-cost recycled garbage can composting container for your yard in Phoenix.

Also, go right to the source and support farmers who compost, practice good waste management, and recycle nutrients back to their land, like Singh Farms and Duncan Family Farms (though most all of the small-scale farmers in Arizona manage their waste smartly).

Food waste is a big lessen that there is no such thing as ‘away’. Just because we can toss items into our garbage cans at such convenience and watch them get hauled out of sight, does not make that the end of their presence in our lives.

If we chose to interact with our food a little longer from start to finish, find joy in natural beauty flaws, we can change waste into something attractive and productive.

Authentically yours,

Mira Word

Photo credit to Tristram Stuart and Morgan Coffinger

[1] check out Dive! the documentary for an eye opening introduction to food waste.

DIVE! Trailer from Timmy Vatterott on Vimeo.

Posted 05/21/13 - View comments

Lemon Braised Artichokes over Spaghetti Recipe

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Artichokes are in season and a trip to Crooked Sky Farms was in order to harvest a fresh bounty for my Lemon Braised Artichokes over Spaghetti. This dish is quite the homage to Spring when fresh and light meals are what we look forward to enjoying on the patio underneath twinkling lights and amongst great company.

While braising may sound like hours of cooking is required, artichokes are an exception. Seasoned liberally with herbs and zesty lemon, it takes no time at all for these artichokes to be infused with vibrant flavors. Come to think of it, as I pulled the braised artichokes from the oven, I quickly thought these would be delicious on top of garlic-rubbed toasted crostini. I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

For now, a quick toss in hot spaghetti and spinach was perfect. For those carnivores out there, adding grilled chicken that’s been marinated in lemon juice and garlic would be perfect – and maybe a shaving of parmesan cheese as well. Cheers to a wonderful meal and Crooked Sky Farms for growing such wonderful artichokes.

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Lemon Braised Artichokes over Spaghetti Recipe
Serves 6

Ingredients
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 lemons, juice and zest
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp dried rosemary
3 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
pinch of ground pepper, plus extra for seasoning
6 medium to large artichokes
1 lemon half
1 lb thin spaghetti noodles
4 cups baby spinach, washed

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the olive oil, lemon, thyme, fennel seeds, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper in a baking dish; mix well and set aside.

Snap the outer leaves from the artichokes. Cut off the top half and using a paring knife, trim down to the heart and rub cut surfaces with the lemon half to avoid discoloration. Cut the heart in half and scrape out the choke with a spoon. Cut each piece in half again and coat in the herb mixture. Cover the baking dish with foil and cook until the artichokes are tender, about 45 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to the package. Drain the noodles and in a large bowl, toss the spaghetti with the spinach, artichokes and herb mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Joanna Meyer, writer of the Baked by Joanna blog, studies Food Industry Management at Arizona State University and is an aspiring Food Creative. Aside from being a wonderful daydreamer, she enjoys gardening (veggies and fruit of course!), snapping photos of delicious meals and sharing her love of everything edible. To learn more about Joanna and her enthusiasm for food, please visit bakedbyjoanna.com and follow her on Twitter @bakedbyjoanna.

Posted 05/10/13 - View comments

Photo Tour of Aaron Chamberlin’s Phoenix Public Market Café Opening Tomorrow

IMG_9476If you’ve been to St. Francis you already know Aaron Chamberlin’s signature style of locally-sourced foods, simply prepared and offered in a space with textural modern design.

The all-day restaurant simply called, Phoenix Public Market Café, opens tomorrow and we got a chance to sneak in and give you a photo tour of what you’ll find at this much anticipated restaurant, giving new familiar energy to the space.

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After entering through the main entrance, the coffee/cocktail bar is to the right featuring a pass through window to the outdoor patio.

IMG_9481Rotisserie chicken will be an anchor on the menu here.

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Freshly baked pastries on display next to the walk-up ordering counter.

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In addition to the freshly prepared foods, you can find locally-sourced retail goods including but not limited to, Chris Bianco‘s tomatoes, McClendon Select beans and popcorn, Refresh Glassware and Millie’s Caramels.

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We love the mini milk jug silverware container.

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Ok, you’ve placed your order at the counter and swung by the condiment bar with loads of choices.  Here, why don’t we let Aaron Chamberlin tell you what will be there.

Listen: Aaron Chamberlin describing the condiment bar & sparkling water station.

IMG_9497Grab a glass and head to the self service water station with both still and sparkling water, for free.

Here’s Monday’s draft of the menu, thanks Natalie for helping with the photo.

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The pork confit sandwich:

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Chino salad:

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Garlic bread:

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Aaron Chamberlin and his wife Lee Del Real:

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The restaurant is located at the 721 N Central, Phoenix, AZ.  More information can be found here: Phoenix Public Market.

Find more good food on Good Food Finder.

 

Posted 05/07/13 - View comments

Interview with Caitlin Smith of Dynamic Farms

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Have you heard of Dynamic Farms yet? If you haven’t, here’s your chance to get caught up. We ran into Caitlin Smith at the Central Farmer’s Market recently and wanted to learn more about the farm she and her partner Tim Carrillo runs in Tempe.  We love their vibe and want to spread the love of this young urban farmer couple who started up Dynamic Farms two years ago.

Here’s our interview with Caitlin who shares the challenges of farming in the desert, her favorite swiss chard pesto recipe and their plans for expansion.

What is Dynamic Farms?

Dynamic Farms is a pesticide-free urban farm located in Tempe. We specialize in naturally grown produce for local restaurants and farmers markets around the valley. We also sell our vegetable plant starts at farmers markets for those who want to start edible gardens and urban farms of their own!

Who is Dynamic Farms?

The team behind Dynamic Farms consists of Arizona natives, Tim Carrillo, 24, and Caitlin Smith, 22. We started Dynamic Farms almost two years ago by transforming all 7,000 square feet of our backyard into an edible urban farm. Although it’s just the two of us that built and run the farm, we couldn’t have done it without the support of our families.

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What makes your farm different?

Our farm is different because we took the training we received while working on a 6 acre, certified naturally grown production farm in Virginia and combined it with our knowledge of urban farming to create Dynamic Farms. We did this to ensure we’re producing the highest quality, natural vegetables at a production level but doing so on a much smaller scale. We do everything by hand, we grow everything from untreated, organic seed, and we don’t spray any chemicals or pesticides. We’ve also designed our beds so that everything is protected under shade cloth, allowing us to grow even tender greens during harsh summer months.

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You mentioned that you don’t have separate day jobs that that you’ve jumped in head first. How has that been so far?

Ditching our day jobs and jumping in head first has definitely been a heck of an experience! Farming is unpredictable which makes some months much more challenging than others. I think at the end of the day though, it only pushes us harder because it’s all we’re riding on. It forces us to go outside of our comfort zone because we don’t have that nice financial cushion to back us up. Some months it can be really scary but we did it because we believed in it, and because it’s our passion to help feed and educate others.

Where can people find your food?

You can find our produce and plant starts at the Central Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and the Ahwatukee Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. You can also find some of our produce at St. Francis restaurant in Phoenix as well as the Lobby Grill in Phoenix. We love getting to interact with the public at the markets but it’s been a lot of fun getting to see delicious ways our produce is being used at local restaurants around the Walley.

What’s been the biggest challenge of becoming a farmer?

The biggest challenge with becoming a farmer is that the days are long, the work can be exhausting, and the pay isn’t always great at first. Farming is also very unpredictable, especially in Arizona. One particularly bad summer afternoon, or random frost in December can wipe out an entire crop of something if you’re not prepared. It’s also been tough for us because we’re competing with big, well established farms who have access to acres of land, machinery, and green house systems. Our farm is very mom and pop-ish compared to them because we’re operating on such a small scale which sometimes hurts us, and at other times helps us.

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What’s been the biggest unexpected reward of farming?

The biggest, unexpected reward would probably be all the amazing people it’s given us the opportunity to meet. Every time we’ve left a farmers market or just dropped off a delivery at a restaurant, we leave feeling great because we got the chance to help others nourish themselves and their families through a local, sustainable economy. We’ve made some great friends, learned some awesome growing/cooking tips, and have met a few characters along the way.

Any favorite summertime recipes?

One of our favorite summertime recipes is a pesto recipe with a twist. This recipe uses swiss chard instead of basil, and you also use cilantro, jalapeño, lime, and garlic. We found the recipe here: http://www.closetcooking.com/2012/02/swiss-chard-pesto.html and it goes great on a cold pasta, or on sweet potato tacos!

Where will we find you when you’re not farming or at the markets?

When we’re not farming or at a market we’re spending time with our animals or families. We’re big foodies so we love getting little treats from the farmers markets every week and getting to cook or bake something up with it at home. I’m currently going to school at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts for a Transformational Psychology degree that focuses on holistic nutrition and urban farming. We also love staying active and making yummy green juices with veggies from the garden!

Any special summer tunes you’re listening to right now to keep you energized out in the dirt?

Our average farming tunes usually consist of Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Passion Pit, or sometimes even a little Justin Timberlake! It varies from day to day, more relaxing days get more of a bluegrass feel while our hard work days require something more energetic to push us through.

Any fun future plans for Dynamic Farms in the coming months?

Right now we’re currently working on expanding Dynamic Farms to an acre pasture over in Laveen where some friends of our have agreed to let us farm on a small portion of their land. Right now we’re just using it to experiment with different growing methods to improve our knowledge but we hope to soon use it to provide more great produce for the markets and restaurants!

Find Dynamic Farms and more like their on Good Food Finder.

 

(Photos 1 and 3 by Jennifer Woods, 2 and 4 courtesy of Dynamic Farms)

Posted 05/06/13 - View comments

World Naked Gardening Day: Saturday May 4th

Did that say naked? Whatever it takes to bring attention to growing, right?

Gardening in your birthday suits sounds sorta fun and a little crazy, especially if you have nosy neighbors or if your garden is in the front yard.

World Naked Gardening Day started in 2005 by the Body Freedom Collaborative, a collaboration of naturists, otherwise known as nudism.

“Second only to swimming, gardening is at the top of the list of family-friendly activities people are most ready to consider doing nude,” according to the WNGD website.

If you’ve been wanting to participate, this weekend and it’s ninth annual celebration, we should have some nice weather to give it a go.

Check out more details on this global event http://www.wngd.org at your own risk.  It’s not really safe for work, or in internet speak, NSFW.

However, for the record, we think there are far more dangerous things to look at besides naked folks surrounded by their garden.

Posted 05/03/13 - View comments

For the Love of Goats: A Visit to Black Mesa Ranch

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A few months ago, I stumbled upon an article about a Tucson couple, David and Kathryn Heininger, who decided to leave the rat race behind for an adventure in off- the-grid homesteading in Northern Arizona. Soon thereafter, they serendipitously found themselves starting a goat cheese dairy on their property called the Black Mesa Ranch. When I learned that they would be hosting an open house in April, I jumped at the chance to meet this amazing couple and their goats in Snowflake, AZ.

Black Mesa Ranch’s normal, in-season, milking string consists of thirty Nubian does. Including young stock, bucks, and retired does, the ranch typically has around fifty goats total at any given time. Nubian goats are known for their adaptability to desert environments and produce the highest percentage of butterfat content in their milk; a cheese maker’s dream.

Providing the absolute top quality cheeses starts with raising and caring for goats like they are part of your own family. That’s what these goats are to Kathryn and David. This is most evident in the extensive online photo albums, bios, and updates of each of their goats on their website.

Kathryn manages the “girls”, while David, a professionally trained chef, is the artisan cheese maker. The beauty of Black Mesa Ranch is David and Kathryn’s simple and practical approach to producing a superior product. Simply put by David, “happy goats make happy milk make happy cheese”.

Kathryn spearheaded the efforts in BMR becoming “Certified Humane” in 2007. The Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program is a certification and labeling program that is the only animal welfare label requiring the humane treatment of farm animals from birth through slaughter. The goal of the program is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices. To date, BMR is one of a handful of goat dairies in the country that holds this coveted recognition.

In addition, where most ranches separate the baby kids from the adult goats, the kids at BMR roam freely with the rest of the herd, which is reflective of their natural habitat. At the same time, the kids are bottle fed to properly socialize and create a bond between them and their human caregivers. These were the friendliest and happiest goats I have ever encountered.

Their herd of goats range freely across their 280 acre ranch where they forage across the desert landscape. This produces a seasonal flavor to the cheese, depending on what the goats have been feasting upon. This is a highlight to foodies and top local chefs eager to discover the seasonal differences in flavors within the cheese. Black Mesa Ranch cheeses are sought after by top Arizona restaurants such as Quiessence, FnB, and Rancho Pinot.

But simple doesn’t always mean easy. The “girls” need to be milked twice daily. While many commercial dairies “pool” their milk over several days to make cheese, BMR’s milk goes straight from the milking parlor to the cheese kitchen where they make their cheese twice a day. They work in small batches (no more than 14 gallons at a time) to ensure quality control. Kathryn jokingly states that working on your own ranch means that “you can pick the 16 hours of the day you want to work.” But their efforts shine through in their award winning cheeses that regularly nab top honors at the annual American Dairy Goat Association competition.

Their fresh goat cheese is distinctively creamy with a subtle hint of tartness, without the harsh “goaty” flavor many other cheeses have. But perhaps the best testament to this was seeing seven children at the open house ravenously devour the cheese and chocolates in the tasting room. I was lucky to have gotten a couple of bites. On a seasonal basis, BMR produces an array of chocolates and other confections. Their made from scratch goat milk fudge (no fluff here) is to die for delicious.

Black Mesa Ranch is also known for their breeding and selling of nationally recognized Nubian goats. The superior genetics of their goats (has earned them top awards year after year by the Dairy Goat Association among other distinguishments. Their website also chronicles a kidding diary by Kathryn, and a wealth of information on how to raise and care for your own goats.

David reflects, “I think the love we have for the animals, and the love they have for the ranch, and being here, and doing what they do naturally, I think that passes through to the cheese.” We couldn’t agree more, Dave.

You can find Black Mesa Ranch products at CSAs around Arizona, Whole Foods Markets as well as ordering online at www.blackmesaranch.com.

Here’s the video Whole Foods made last year at Black Mesa Ranch:

Allyson Perreault is a food writer and recipe developer.  She is the creator of www.localfarmfoodie.com, which features cooking and eating locally in Arizona. She is trying to convince her husband and HOA to let her have a goat.

Photo credit: Allyson Perreault, Local Farm Foodie

Posted 05/01/13 - View comments

Good Food Abound at the Phoenix Style Collective Blogger Conference

Attending the Phoenix Style Collective blogger conference was an opportunity for Good Food Allies to visit with the Arizona blogger scene as it relates to good food – ‘cause we know these bloggers are already sharing loads of good food stories.

We firmly believe that the easiest way to live a happier, healthier life is by knowing where your food comes from, and what we found out after attending the PSCBC was fashionistas are right there with us connecting and sharing.

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We heard from many great speakers like Sarah from EMMA Magazine where they feature delicious recipes as part of their lifestyle content and even have beautiful photos from a shoot they did in Downtown Phoenix at Frances and Urban Cookies (among others) in their April issue. We also love their tortilla española recipe from that same issue.

Chelsea Brown is iced coffee obsessed (we are too) and loves to share her snaps of her favorite local coffee haunts on her blog, Tea Talk. Here she is brunching and toting her adorable Mason Bar Company tumbler of coffee:

Designers and boutique owners know the value of supporting local better than anyone and while blogging may be more abstract we often hit close to home with our agreement on how food and fashion go together.

These style advocates are speaking out about their ideas and inspiring others. We talked to fashionistas who love putting on their favorite sunnies and shopping at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market, the Phoenix Downtown Public Market and other local farmer’s markets.

Jessie from Style and Pepper inspired us all with her blog success and regularly posts about good food, healthy lifestyle and outfits of course. All these amazing ladies and many more came together to learn from each other and share their awesome stories. We all have an interest in creating, whether it’s the latest design, blog or the food on your dinner table.

Photo credit to Phoenix is Haute, EMMA, Tea Talk, and Style and Pepper, respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 04/30/13 - View comments

Free BBQ at Joe’s Real BBQ May 1st, They’re Thanking Customers Again and Inviting You to Donate a Book

Next Wednesday plan to head down to downtown Gilbert to visit one the sweetest dang BBQ joints in the Southwest.  The one with the darling 1929 brick building, murals, smoked meats and that root beer.

Every year, they thank their customers with free BBQ and are planning to serve over 5,000 meals.  To make the day even more special they’re incorporating a book drive by inviting you bring new or gently used books (for adult readers) that will then be donated to the Gilbert non-profit Loving through Literacy.

Here’s a rundown of next Wednesdays giveaway details:
Hours: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm (closed between 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm)
Free meal includes:                
  • Choice of a pulled pork or chicken breast sandwich

  • Fresh homemade coleslaw, BBQ Pit Beans, and a drink.   

  • There will be children’s sized sandwiches available for the little ones

Rules:         
  • Only one meal per person

  • Must be present to receive free meal

  • No take out

  • No other menu items will be offered

If you like virtual parties, too, you can follow along and share using #freebbqday with @joesrealbbq.

More information can be found at http://joesrealbbq.com/.

Editor’s note: We’ve been big fans of Joe and Tad (and the rest of the gang) since we (Jen) was their “Coke lady,” as in Coca-Cola representative back in 2000 when they started their customer appreciation days 50,000 free meals ago.

Posted 04/25/13 - View comments

Local Food Summit May 14th at the University of Arizona Featuring Gary Nabhan

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 4.08.42 PMHeads up Tucsonans and those affiliated with the University of Arizona, here’s a perfect opportunity to share you voice and gather to make some good food work happen.  Local food heroes Gary Nabhan and Dr. Jeff Silvertooth will be speaking about the current state of affairs and what can be accomplished from this summit.

“At this working summit, participants will develop action plans for how University of Arizona entities and partners can support socially equitable, economically viable, and environmentally sound local food systems. To break out of our disciplinary silos, this summit will foster collaboration among various University departments and partner organizations who are working to develop Arizona’s local food systems.”

Gather up your friends and coworkers and let’s continue to foster positive work toward our local food system. Details of the event are below:

University of Arizona Local Food Summit
Tuesday May 14, 2013
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
South Ballroom, UA Student Union
Please visit http://bit.ly/XMVlhA to register
Contact: Jesse Davenport, jmdavenp@cals.arizona.edu

Download the event flyer here: LFS flyer.

Posted 04/24/13 - View comments

The Good Egg

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Growing up around horses, it’s natural to have barn animal sidekicks like chickens, geese, peacocks, and goats running around, too. I was able to observe these animal’s natural behaviors and watch them create bonds, take dirt baths, scratch for bugs and form escape plans to eat an extra flake of hay.

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Many of us already know the horrors of factory farms and how they ruin an animal’s chance to express any of these characteristics. It is always hard to hear or watch the suffering that goes on at the expense of our eating habits but an occasional reminder serves as motivation to get back into action and do our part to look for the good egg of best practices.

Here are 6 good reasons to avoid factory farmed eggs and the labels they hide behind.

#1. Chickens (and turkeys) are not protected under the Humane Slaughter Act, which is a federal law that requires some animals to be rendered insensible to pain before they are slaughtered. Get ready, this next part is hard to read. According to Farm Sanctuary 260 million male chicks are killed each year upon hatching by methods like being gassed, ground up fully conscious, or piped down a tube to an electrified “kill plate” (all female hens are sent to slaughter after they are no longer useful egg layers).

#2. Battery cages are where 95% of egg laying hens spend their lives, commonly hold 5 -10 birds and have less than the size of a sheet of paper to call their own. These cramped quarters lead to extreme feather loss, bruises and other injuries.

#3. Debeaking is a common practice where the tip of a chick’s beak (filled with nerves) is sliced off with a hot blade with no numbing. Debeaking the birds is desired because of the abnormal feather pecking that results from the intense stress the chickens undergo in their situations of confinement.

#4. Forced molting is the intentional starvation (up to 14 days) to create shock in a hen’s body and induce molting that doesn’t happen naturally inside the conditions of a factory farm. This process tricks the hen’s body into laying additional eggs during a time when her hormone cycle would be taking a break from producing eggs.

#5. “Free Range” is a label we throw around a lot and many consumers ease their mind and justify buying eggs because of this label. The USDA definition only states that the animals have access to the outdoors. In reality this means pretty much nothing. No provisions are made to the size, accessibility to this space or to the overall quality of the animal’s environment.

#6. Certified organic is not as good as it may sound. Is simply means that the chickens are fed an organic vegetarian diet and are required to have access to the outdoors but the duration or size is not specified. Debeaking and forced molting through starvation is permitted.

This PBS video can help illustrate some of the labeling myths that confuse us all:

The good news is that there are SO many great farmers that produce eggs locally where chickens have real ability to range free, take a dirt bath, nest and perch. We owe it to these animals to allow them a life of respect and compassion.

Check out the Good Food Finder for a good egg near you!

Authentically yours,

Mira Word

 

{Photo credits: Jennifer Woods and Mira Word, respectively}

Posted 04/23/13 - View comments