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Episode 6: Ari Derfel

Program notes:
Ari Derfel is a visionary, and a contemporary entrepreneur. On paper, he is the co-founder along with Eric Fenster, of Back to Earth Catering, Gather Restaurant, and Back to Earth Outdoor Adventures. In theory – if you are a traditionalist when it comes to business, Ari’s way of thinking and doing might seem unorthodox, but he’s clearly on to something big. Ari and Eric created a business plan for themselves, but the core of the plan was based on a set of shared values rather than the bottom line – not that the bottom line wasn’t important – it just wasn’t the main event.  With a shared background in event production and sustainability, as well as a passion for organic food, Eric and Ari joined forces to “green” the event industry. Each of their companies are a direct expression of their values, and operate with the same mission: “We provide experiences that celebrate life, and enhance our awareness of self, community, and the earth.”
When Back to Earth hit the scene, words like “green”, “organic”, and “sustainable” were just beginning to catch and were almost non-existent in the food and event industry. From inception, Eric and Ari built a company with these principles at its foundation. Their goal was to prove that sustainability and health did not need to be an afterthought — it could bring food and events to the next level of quality, elegance, and innovation. Word hit the street quickly, and before long Back to Earth established itself as the premier organic caterers in the San Francisco Bay Area. They received national press and awards and a flood of requests and enthusiasm.
Their most recent vision – Gather,  is an all organic restaurant at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. The David Brower Center is a high-profile development project in downtown Berkeley that will house environmental and social justice non-profits and triple bottom line for profits. To see more about what Ari and Eric have created, visit www.backtoearth.com or www.gatherrestaurant.com.

 

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Episode 5: Emigdio Ballon

A field with quinoa in Bolivia

Emigdio Ballon, is a member of the Quechua Indian culture and was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He earned his Bachelors degree in agriculture at Major Bolivian University of Saint Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia and his Masters degree in plant genetics in Colombia. As a plant geneticist he has specialized in research on quinoa and amaranth grains and has published many articles about them in both South and North America.

Emigdio has served as an organic certification inspector in the United States and has made many presentations at major conferences on agriculture. He has studied principles of bio-dynamic farming at the Josephine Porter Institute of Applied Bio-Dynamics and continues to study and make presentations at various seminars.

In his little free time, Emigdio pursues research into germination techniques for a wide variety of crops, including traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs and herbs indigenous to Northern New Mexico. His other interests include seed saving and sharing, bio-dynamic and organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices. He is also involved with Native American organizations which stress the importance of seed saving and promote the revival and continuation of traditional crops, both nutritional and medicinal. He is a founder of Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute, and is developing projects to support indigenous communities around the globe. Emigdio employs traditional Quechua techniques and rituals which he learned at his grandfather’s side as a boy in Bolivia.

Quechua farming techniques have adapted to the ecological demands of the varied Andean landscape, a steep continuum of warm valleys, high plains, and cold upper slopes.  They use sophisticated irrigation systems to water their fields and often preserve food by freeze-drying it in the cold mountain air. Llama and alpaca herds supply meat, wool, grease, fertilizer, fuel, and leather.  Quechua-speaking groups built bridges and roads throughout the Andes, many of those routes are still in use today.  Quechua artisans produced high-quality textiles and pottery.  Traditional religious practices include the ceremonial use of coca leaf and pilgrimages to sacred mountains, known as Apus.
One of the most well known features of the Quechuan culture is that it is a culture that places great emphasis on community and mutual help (ayni).  The social system is based on reciprocity: you help your neighbors, they do something for you in return.

For more information, visit http://fourbridges.farming.officelive.com

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Episode 4: Alice Feiring

Program Notes: Mighty Wines. Alice Feiring on Holiday Wines Today we’re talking with wine blogger and journalist Alice Feiring, whose writings make an argument for wine authenticity through adherence to old techniques. While she has very strong opinions on all things wine, she is particularly passionate about the organic, biodynamic and natural wine movements. Alice received a James Beard award for a New York Times feature on the many ways wine can be manipulated and she is the author of The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization; and Living with Wine – which she wrote with Samantha Nestor. You can read her blog at  www.alicefeiring.com.

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Episode 3: Terry Walters

 

Program Notes:

Terry Walters, author of CLEAN FOOD: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source.

More than a cookbook, CLEAN FOOD is an encouraging, easy-to-understand guide to eating closer to the source and benefiting from the rich nutritional profile of the best and freshest locally grown ingredients. Terry Walters provides valuable information on how to nourish yourself with nutrient-rich foods in a rainbow of colors and a full spectrum of tastes. Terry’s book empowers you to make changes, big and small, in how you shop for and prepare food so that you can make a big difference in the way you eat and feel. Walters begins with an extensive introduction to the world of CLEAN FOOD where you’ll learn about whole grains, vegetables, legumes, soy, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, and fruit. You’ll also appreciate information on organic versus conventional foods and other considerations that can help you serve your unique constitution — one healthy choice at a time. The recipes, which are organized by season and include several dishes that are perfect any time of year, prove that clean food is delicious food. For more information, visit Terry at www.terrywalters.net

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Episode 2: Dan Barber

 

Program Notes:

Dan Barber Talks Turkey with Kate Manchester

Dan Barber is chef and co-owner of NYC’s Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY, and was nominated for the 2001 James Beard award for best new restaurant. He also serves on the board of directors for Stone Barns, an education center for sustainable food and farm in upstate New York. Sourcing from the surrounding fields and pasture, as well as other local farms within a 250 mile radious, Blue Hill at Stone Barns highlights the abundant resources of the Hudson Valley. There are no menus at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Instead, guests are presented with a list of over a hundred ingredients, updated daily, which contains the best offerings from the field and market.

Food & Wine Magazine featured Dan as one of the country’s “Best New Chefs,” and he has been featured in The New Yorker, Gourmet Magazine, and was included in “The Next Generation” of great chefs in Bon Appétit’s 10th annual restaurant issue.

Today we are talking to Dan about turkey, Heritage breeds, the American Broadbreasted White, and his thoughts on the breeds and how to prepare them.


Kate’s Notes:
Dan recommends cooking a Heritage breed turkey on a low heat, somewhere around 280 degrees. He does not brine, I always have. He had a great point about the subtleties of flavor in the turkey, and that brining may mask those flavors. I will be roasting a Heritage breed turkey next week – Dan’s way – and I will report back to you with a recipe. I couldn’t find one anywhere, and Dan cooks his the way many chefs do – by intuition and feel – no recipe or set time.

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Episode 1: Margerie Bender

Program Notes:

What are Heritage turkeys? According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, turkeys must meet all of the following criteria to qualify as a Heritage turkey:

• Naturally mating: the Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating, with expected fertility rates of 70-80%.
• Long productive lifespan: the Heritage Turkey must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years.
• Slow growth rate: the Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth.

Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in 26 – 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to that of the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.

Founded in 1977, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is the pioneer organization in the U.S. working to conserve historic breeds and genetic diversity in livestock. The ALBC is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect over 150 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction. Included are asses, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.

Bio: Marjorie Bender joined the staff in January 1999 and serves as Research and Technical Program Director. She has a M.Ed. in Agricultural Science from the University of California-Davis, has been involved in sustainable agriculture since 1991, and has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Marjorie’s responsibilities include coordinating the poultry census, promoting rare breeds into appropriate habitats, and working closely with other staff on timely conservation activities. She has led ALBC’s heritage turkey conservation effort. For more information about the work that ALBC does, visit www.albc-usa.org.

Resources for Heritage Breed Turkeys:
Local Harvest
Heritage Foods USA

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