Dear Local Gourmands,
This weekend I escaped the city for a long-overdue visit to a friend’s house in Amherst, MA. Though the familiar farms along the winding roads were quietly awaiting spring, local food enthusiasts were keeping Wheatberry Café hopping on a Saturday morning. The bakery that uses locally grown grains to bake bread and pastries boasts an open kitchen where a wooden hand crank mill presides. Wheatberry has partnered with a nearby farm in Hadley to establish a grain CSA, and as my friend and I munched away on locally raised turkey and pulled pork sandwiches, CSA members drifted through to grind their shares and take home fresh flour. I’m not sure about the ratio of New Yorkers who store sweaters in their ovens versus the number of those who bake bread regularly, but I wonder if there would be a market for a grain CSA in the city. At Just Food’s annual CSA in NYC conference last year, guest speaker and renowned farmer Cheryl Rogowski urged the audience to not just think outside the box when it comes to new ways of making farming possible and profitable, but to think “wild and willy.” At this point, anything goes. This year’s conference will take place on February 28. Bring your ideas, your questions, your straw hats/thinking caps.
Tuesday, February 16, 6:30-8pm
Eat What You Grow, Grow What You Eat
The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs
100 Frost St., Williamsburg
Rooftop farmer and founder of Growing Chefs, Annie Novak, leads a series of classes at the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs on how to start your own edible urban garden. Over the course of four class sessions she’ll guide students through the necessary winter-time tasks, seed ordering, and plot preparation to make way for a successful growing season ahead. Sign up now as this course is sure to sell out fast!
Tuesday, February 16, 6:30-11pm
Mardi Gras at Back Forty with Sixpoint Brewery
190 Ave. B at 12th St.
Let the good times roll at local-leaning Back Forty where Mardi Gras is fetted in style with a Cajun feast by chef Shanna Pacifico. Jeff Gorlechen and Ian McConnell from Sixpoint Brewery will be on hand to talk up the night’s selection of suds, and celebrate their little brewery that could as it turns five. The four-course Big Easy menu will be paired with Sixpoint’s finest, the tables will be communal, the party as gritty as we northerners know how.
Tuesday, February 16, 7pm
Bushwick Food Co-op Food Film Fest: The Real Dirt on Farmer John
236 Troutman St., Bushwick
Make your way to Bushwick for a screening of The Real Dirt on Farmer John, “the epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer.” Mingle with fellow farmers and good food fanatics, delight in Tandem’s hot cocktails, and get to know the folks who are heading up the Bushwick Food Coop. Tonight’s screening is co-hosted by NewSeed Advisors.
Tuesday, February 16, 6:30-8pm
What to Eat: Diet, Nutrition, and Food Politics:
An Evening with Marion Nestle
The New York Academy of Sciences
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
“This evening, Marion Nestle will address the science of nutrition, explaining how hard nutrition science is to do and to interpret, and yet how easy it is for food marketers to confuse the science to sell products. Nestle will discuss the hot topics of sponsored science, functional foods, health claims, and self-endorsements, with plenty of time to answer audience questions.”
Thursday, February 18, 6:30pm
Southern Cooking in New York City
The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Ave.
Reservations required, purchase tickets hereThe Museum of the City of New York, in partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance and Mississippi Development Authority/Division of Tourism, will host a discussion focusing on how The Great Migration transformed the culinary culture of the North. Leading the discussion are Jessica Harris, author of a forthcoming history of African-American foodways, and one of the 50 founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance. In 2007, she took leave from Queens College (where she is a full professor) to assume the Ray Charles Chair at Dillard University in New Orleans. And Ted Lee, one of the James Beard award-winning Charleston Lee brothers. Ted, along with his brother, Matt Lee, is at work on a book of essays about New York City food culture. The work will certainly examine the influence that South Carolina natives have had on New York, but at its core, the book will be a celebration of the multicultural delights of our nation’s culinary capitol. John T Edge will moderate the discussion.
Thursday, February 18, 7-11pm
The Art of Eating In Book Launch Party
The Bell House
149 7th St., Gowanus
Join Cathy Erway, the brain behind the blog, Not Eating Out in NY, for the launch of her book, The Art of Eating In, which documents her two years doing just that. Join the author for a celebration complete with a home cooked crostini competition. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Just Food and Oxfam relief efforts in Haiti.
Of note a few weeks down the road…
Monday, February 22
Get Fresh Dinner to Support BK Farmyards
Get Fresh Market
370 Fifth Ave., Park Slope
Sup to support the creation of BK Farmyards’ 1-acre schoolyard farm at Brooklyn’s High School for Public Service. Feast on a three-course, locally-sourced dinner at Park Slope’s cozy Get Fresh Market.
Tuesday, February 23, 7pm
Anthology Film Archives
Tickets, $15 (proceeds benefit Just Food)
Kerry Trueman, blogger extraordinaire of Eating Liberally and the Huffington Post, hosts this month’s Hungry Filmmakers screening at Anthology Film Archives. The roundup of six new films and shorts focus on furthering a conversation about sustainable food in a social and welcoming environment. A panel discussion with the filmmakers follows.
“Throughout the films in this lineup, our filmmakers explore the dire effects of over fishing and the underlying causes of food-borne illnesses, the lack of fresh food in underserved communities, and the growth of sustainable food production practices that are inspirational to all.”
Films: FRESH Ana Sofia Joanes, MAD COW INVESTIGATOR Nancye Good WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE? Catherine Gund, THE END OF THE LINE Rupert Murray, FLY ON THE WALL Jenny Montasir.
Saturday, February 27, 7pm-midnight
Growing Chefs Benefit PartyUrban Rustic
236 North 12th Street, Williamsburg
“Join us on Saturday, February 27th as we gather foodies, green thumbs, and chefs to celebrate the art of eating well from field to fork. Hosted by local foods based specialty shop Urban Rustic, the evening will include an endless sampling of seasonal local treats prepared on site by the culinary team at Growing Chefs in partnership with Brooklyn Standard. Look forward to live music to get your foot stompin’ and a spectacular auction guaranteed to make your green thumb start itching to grow.”
Sunday, February 28, 8:30am-6pm
Just Food’s Annual CSA in NYC Conference
Teacher’s College, Columbia University
The great thing about the off season (as it were) is that it gives us all a little down time (or at least time indoors) to plot and plan for the year ahead. Take part in Just Food’s annual CSA in NYC Conference on February 28 to converse with farmers, food activists, and advocates from around the city and state to talk about how to start a CSA, how to strengthen the one you are a part of, issues facing regional farmers, and how we can all maximize our roles in the movement to increase access to locally grown food throughout the city.