Peach and BarBQ Festival at Blue Pike Farm – July 29th

Looking for something to do on Thursday evening (4-7pm)?  Why not stop by Cleveland’s coolest urban farm on East 72nd for some fresh local peaches, BBQ, and organic, sustainable farm stand produce?  Farmer Carl Skalak prides himself on growing heirloom and unusual varieties of all your favorite veggies – tomatoes, peppers, beans, greens, etc.  And, he uses all organic and sustainable farming methods.  It’s practically too good to be true.  Stop by and you’re sure to find something interesting AND delicious.  He also carries local free-range eggs, grass-fed meats, and local fruits and berries from the area’s best producers.

Blue Pike Farm is located on East 72nd, right off 90 at:
900 E. 72nd St
Cleveland, OH 44103

By |July 26th, 2010|Cleveland, General|

Debunking Protein Myths – Workshop Tomorrow at the Cleveland Foodbank

Tomorrow at the Cleveland Foodbank I’ll be doing a free workshop, talking about protein and protein myths.  Did you know that much of what you’ve heard in the last 10 years about “healthy” proteins can actually be harmful to you?  I’ll bebunk these myths, and provide information on the healthiest sources of protein out there.  Cooking demo and tasting included!  See my Events calendar for more details.

By |July 21st, 2010|Cleveland, General|

Precious Seasonal Produce: Tomorrow at 10am at the Cleveland Foodbank

Seasonal produce is one of the greatest gifts nature provides us.  Yet with our global economy that allows us to import fruits and vegetables from around the world and different climates, most of us have lost touch with what eating seasonally even means.  I’m not exempt from this – just a couple of years ago, before I really got into holistic health and nutrition, I had no idea what fruits and vegetables were popping out of the ground when.  And the prospect of learning seemed a bit overwhelming.  But since then I’ve started paying more attention, started my own home garden, joined a CSA, and learned about the many health and environmental benefits of eating with the seasons.  And I can say I do feel more in balance as a result.  Now when I have cravings for citrus in January and strawberries in June, I feel good about it, because my body seems in touch with what it needs.  (And, I don’t feel bad about wanting nothing to do with salad throughout the winter!). 

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at the Cleveland Foodbank about the importance of eating seasonal produce.  The Cleveland Foodbank is lucky to receive tremendous amounts of Ohio produce that it then disperses to areas that are in-need.  If you’re a member of an agency that works with the Cleveland Foodbank, this workshop is open to you!  I’ll talk about what it means to eat seasonally, discuss some of the many health and environmental benefits of eating this way, and provide some recipes along with a cooking demo and tasting.  Hope to see you there!

By |June 9th, 2010|Cleveland, General|

Egg myths debunked

There’s a great article on yahoo today about eggs.  The article debunks 4 common myths about eggs – focusing on which factors make eggs healthier vs. which don’t matter.  The kind of eggs you buy is important, and myth #3  in the article does a good job explaining why.  (Preview – it’s about the types of food the chickens eat, not necessarily organic vs. not).  Myth #4 is also great to read, for anyone who’s been seduced by egg substitutes.

 I like eating eggs because I do think they’re tasty, healthy, and they’re also FAST.  The best eggs I’ve found are at the farmer’s market at Shaker Square.  To find the best eggs near you, ask at your local farmer’s market what the chickens have been eating.  If they’re allowed to roam the pasture and therefore eat grasses and insects, you’re good to go.  Then, when you eat the eggs notice the color of the yolks.  They should be a deeper orange than the ones you’ve been buying.  This indicates better flavor and nutrition – quite a good deal!

By |May 12th, 2010|Cleveland, General|

It's CSA season!

I can’t wait for my CSA to start in another month or so.  Tomatoes, peppers, salads, greens, beans, herbs, fresh eggs, and many more, are foods that taste SO much better when they’re coming from a small local farm. CSAs are one of the most convenient ways to buy, and there just happens to be a fantastic variety of CSA options in NEO. 

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it refers to programs that bring fresh, locally-produced farm goods straight to you, the consumer.  Local Harvest  has a great overview of the history behind CSAs and the reasons for their existence, but here’s a quick summary:

“Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”

The same Local Harvest website also has a search function, so you can put in your zip code and find a CSA near you.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

Blue Pike Farm – the best urban farm in town, right on E 72nd by the lake.  Farmer Carl uses sustainable and organic farming methods .  He’ll happily show you around the farm and bend your ear on anything that interests you.  He’s also having an open house this Saturday the 15th – shoot me an email if you want details.

City Fresh – a CSA with a conscience, [...]

By |May 10th, 2010|Cleveland, General|

How cool is this? The perks of living in an historic neighborhood..

So this is a kind of random post, and it has nothing to do with food.  But I had such a cool experience this afternoon I just had to share.  Jacob and I live in one of the best neighborhoods in Cleveland to take a walk – in Cleveland Heights near the Cedar-Fairmount intersection.    On pleasant evenings like we had tonight one of my favorite things to do is walk around and look at the incredible homes nearby.  Not one looks the same, and if we wander down Fairmount or over to Ambler Heights the mansions are truly incredible (Tudor mansions, one of a kind stone work, hundred-year old original carvings, etc).  Now I’m not a big history buff, and I don’t necessarily know what I’m looking at, but I do love to look and simply appreciate the craftmanship of it all. 

Well, while out on a walk this evening we noticed that one of our favorite houses is up for sale by owner.  The owner happened to be in the yard doing some yardwork and we struck up a little conversation with the owner.  After talking for a couple of minutes he generously offered to give us a tour of the home.  Now I thought this was pretty cool, but I didn’t even know what I was in for.  This house was obviously old and grande and historic, but what we saw and heard during the tour was a little piece of Cleveland history!  The house was built in 1911 by Kermode Gill, whose family owned the construction company that built  Hanna building, the Allen Theatre in Playhouse Square, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Terminal Tower.  It was designed by Frank Meade, who has been referred to as “Cleveland’s dean of architects”.   [...]

By |April 5th, 2010|Cleveland, General|

Honeybees are sweeter than honey

Perhaps you’ve heard murmerings over the past 5-10 years about the plight of the honeybee, whose population has dropped 50% in the past 50 years in the U.S.  While many of you are probably thinking, “sweet, fewer irritating bee stings for me”, there is much, much more at stake than your carefree picnic time.  Honeybees do much, much more than make honey. 

Honeybees pollinate 80% of the flowering plants in the US, and pollination is necessary for plants to produce fruit.  A huge percentage of our food supply is dependent on this process, and if the bees disappear so will our food.  Here is an excerpt describing just how critical the honeybee truly is to our ability to eat:

“Typically, according to the US Department of Agriculture, these under-appreciated workers pollinate 80% of our flowering crops which constitute 1/3 of everything we eat.Their loss could effect not only dietary staples such as apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers, but may threaten our beef and dairy industries if alfalfa is not available for feed. One Cornell University study estimated that honeybees annually pollinate $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the US. Essentially, if honeybees disappear, they could take most of our insect pollinated plants with them, potentially reducing mankind to little more than a bread and water diet.”

Before 2006 the honeybee population was declining at a relatively constant rate, and was believed to be due to certain pests (mites), pesticides, and reduction in beekeepers and natural bee environments.  However, in 2006 the honeybee population took a major hit, declining by 25% with no understood cause.  This was labeled Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and is characterized by bees that leave the hive and mysteriously do not return [...]

Cleveland v. Forbes, round what the $%#?

By now everyone has probably heard of the Forbes article designating Cleveland as the distinguished “most miserable city” in the US.  Among Cleveland’s many accomplishments listed in this article are its nickname (from the 50s), its failing sports teams (hello, CAVs?), and its political corruption (ok, they’ve got us on that one).  Call me crazy, but something about this article is just plain un-American.  Normally I don’t throw that kind of terminology around, as I’m against blind appeals to nationalism, fear/safety, and other emotion-inducing propaganda, but this time I’m making an exception.  We have a culture that loves the under-dog, embraces optimism and positive change, and puts a tremendous amount of importance and pride on working hard for the future good.  Therefore, this big, money and fame loving magazine creating a wildly generalized list of “miserable” cities (talk about kicking communities while they’re down) just seems in poor spirit.  I’m surprised the issue even sells.

But what really irks me about this article is its flawed methodology (yes, it’s time for economic smack-talk).  As an economist by training, I’m surprised how poorly designed this ranking system really is.  It doesn’t take a genius (or therapist) to know that unhappiness  isn’t solely determined by what’s going poorly (likewise, happiness isn’t only determined by what’s going well).  It has a lot more to do with the balance between the two.  And Cleveland, while we have our flaws, has A LOT of good, even excellent, attributes.  Honestly we’re a little too modest about a lot of them.  Q104 put together a nice little list of things we can and should brag about.  My favorite things about Cleveland include the cost of living, the awesome restaurant scene, the ethnic diversity, University circle [...]

By |February 26th, 2010|Cleveland, General|