Posts Tagged ‘fight back fridays’

Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets (Photo Contest & Giveaway)

Friday, July 31st, 2009

All right folks, National Farmers Market Week begins this Sunday, August 2. Here’s your chance to support your local farmers and vendors and get more than just yummy, fresh food in return. foodietots love farmersmarkets

Submit a photo of your tot(s) at the market to the Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets Flickr pool during the week (August 2-9) and you’ll have a chance to win a kid-sized reusable market tote filled with foodie goodies. For an extra entry into the drawing, blog about your local farmers market with a link back to this post &/or retweet a link to the “Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets” Flickr pool.

Remember it’s hot out there, so head out early and pack your reusable water bottles! (Need more encouragement on why you should explore your local farmers markets with your kids? Read my article on “Healthy Habits Take Root at the Market.”)

(Sharing this at Fight Back Fridays hosted by the Food Renegade; check out this week’s round-up for more resources to find fresh, real food for your family.)

At Market: Cherries, Charcuterie & Canteloupe (and a Honey Bee love note)

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Updates on the early July finds at our local farmers markets, and scroll down to learn why you should satisfy your sweet tooth with something honey-sweetened today!

At the Del Ray Farmers Market: Last week we returned to the Crystal City Farmers Market to check out its newest additions, and returned to the Del Ray Farmers Market after a weekend out of town. It seemed like summer took forever to arrive and now berries and cherries are making their fleeting appearance while the first peaches are already trickling in. Sweet corn is also making its first appearance, but we held off on that and instead picked up a cute, sweetly fragranced cantaloupe from Three Way Farms and sour cherries from Toigo Orchard. The melon was enjoyed for breakfast, wrapped with some not-at-all-local Ibérico ham (jamón) — but, I rationalized the purchase as supporting both a local chef, José Andrés (the importer) and local cheese shop La Fromagerie.

del ray farmers market july

At the Crystal City Farmers Market: Earlier in the week, at Crystal Farms, we were pleased to see the two charcuterie vendors had arrived, Red Apron and MeatCrafters — with the latter cooking up a generous amount of samples to satiate the hungry boy. We brought home the patriotic Capital half-smokes this time, but the Merguez lamb sausage and sopressata were my personal favorites. The boy strutted through the market as if he owned the place — since this is an after-work market it doesn’t attract as many families as weekend markets, but there were plenty of kids helping out their parents at the stands.

crystal farms arlington va

The boy was thrilled that Kuhn Orchard had saved the last kid-sized cup of berries “just for me!”, bought purple string beans from a young assistant at Barajas Produce, chips and tomatillo salsa from the mom and daughter team of Salsa las Glorias, and had an involved chat with the J-Wen dairyman’s son about the various flavors of milk offered. (The boy settled on chocolate for himself and root beer for his father.) This market seems to be doing quite well, and the summer produce bounty is only just beginning so be sure to visit soon. They’ve also instituted a bag share program, where you can drop off extra reusable shopping bags that may be cluttering up your house or car, and pick one up if you forgot to bring one along. Fantastic idea.

Love food? Eat Honey July 10, Save a Honey Bee! Today is “Don’t Step on a Bee Day,” originally conceived don't step on a bee dayto discourage people from going barefoot in the summer, and then stepping on a bee. The holiday was re-purposed to highlight the plight of the North American honey bee, whose declining numbers could seriously jeopardize our future food supply. (Serious Eats has a short video that explains colony collapse disorder.) So eat something honey-sweetened today (real honey, preferably from your local farmers market) and raise a glass to our friends, the honey bees! If you’re in the DC area, get a bite to eat at the Fairmont Hotel or Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, both of whom raise honeybees on site, or drop by Buzz for free “honey cups” for the kids and an assortment of Josh Short’s honey-sweetened desserts.

Sending this honeybee note over to Fight Back Friday at the Food Renegade – take a look for more real food inspiration!

Food Independence Day (a Locavore’s 4th of July)

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

You may have seen this floating around the internet lately, but the intrepid locavores who spearheaded the White House Organic (WHO) Farm movement have moved on to encourage all 50 states’ governors (and Washington’s Mayor Fenty, I presume) to serve local and sustainably sourced foods this Independence Day. Take a moment to sign the Food Independence Day petition and see if your governors have responded. Locally, Kim O’Donnel reports that Maryland Gov. O’Malley’s July 4th menu will feature, naturally, Chesapeake Bay crabcakes and salad greens from the first lady’s vegetable garden. Join the cause by declaring your own independence from the industrial food system (seen Food Inc. yet?) and plan your own locally-sourced July 4th meal.

5 Tips for A Local 4th of July Cook-out:

local grassfed burger

  1. Make those burgers local and grassfed — and avoid worry over the latest e.coli beef recall.
  2. Buy the buns from a farmers market vendor or local bakery — they’re fresher and most likely made without the high fructose corn syrup and preservatives of most supermarket brands.
  3. Stick with seasonal veggies — sweet corn is just beginning to appear here, along with fresh from the field tomatoes, garlic and plenty of herbs for a homemade fresh salsa.
  4. Skip the made-in-China, flag-covered disposables — take sheets outside or have the kids decorate a (recycled) kraft paper banner to use as a tablecloth — local and green.
  5. Nothing’s more patriotic than domestic beer or wine; just skip the (now Belgian-owned) Bud Light and search for a local craft brewer or vineyard, or stir up a red, white and blue sangria with berries from the farmers market. (And reserve some of those berries for a family-friendly cobbler for dessert!)

Some favorite summer cook-out recipes from the archives, for added inspiration:

My son has requested that we spend the holiday at the Farmers Market and the pool, and I’m happy to oblige — with perhaps a few minutes spent getting a fresh Pennsylvania cherry pie in the oven. What’s on your plate for the holiday?

(Submitting this to Fight Back Friday over at the Food Renegade – go check it out!)

Sustainable Fish Soundbites

Friday, June 12th, 2009

New here? Please pull up a chair (okay, odds are you’re already sitting) and let me point you towards some kid-friendly recipes, farm visits or local farmers market reports. If you like what you see, you may be interested in subscribing to the feed or signing up for free e-mail updates. And please leave a note to say hello!

There’s been a lot of press lately about top sushi Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s refusal to stop serving critically-endangered bluefin tuna in his celebrity-frequented, highly-lauded Nobu restaurants. Greenpeace and those barton seaver food and wine national harborsame celebrities have recently launched a boycott in hopes of forcing a menu change.

Meanwhile, here in the District, sustainable seafood ambassador Barton Seaver has just opened Blue Ridge, where he describes his mission as, “making broccoli sexy so you’ll have less room for the shrimp on your plate.” He’s not out to tell you what not to eat, he says, just as long as you’re not eating more than 4-5 ounces of a sustainably-harvested seafood species at a time.

At last weekend’s Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor, where Seaver gave a cooking demo, I was amused to see the Alaska seafood industry handing out sustainable seafood guides that just happened to be the same size and format as the Seafood Watch guides by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The difference? The industry-produced brochures assert that environmental contaminants like PCBs that are highly-publicized are not actually a problem in the US. (Really? Then what’s with this new warning about dangerous PCB levels in Atlantic rockfish, eh?) Alaskan seafood is generally one of the more sustainable options, as event speaker Dan Shapley of The Daily Green poinwild natural sustainable fishted out, so it’s unclear why they felt the need to spread misinformation.

Word Oceans Day was earlier this week, but you can still take a moment to sign a message to your legislators asking them to ban mercury-producing chlorine manufacturing processes; yes, the same mercury that gets into our soil, water, and fish…

Making smart seafood choices is complicated enough without having to try to discern which guides are scientific and which are just clever marketing. Here’s a look back at a “Sustainable Seafood 101″ post I wrote earlier this year, part of the FoodieTot’s Sustainable Family Supper series. (And my contribution to this week’s Fight Back Friday, hosted by Food Renegade.)

Dining Out in the Neighborhood (and a review of La Strada in Del Ray)

Friday, June 5th, 2009

As we begin One Local Summer this week, it’s a good prompt to remember to eat locally when dining out as well. Family-owned, independent restaurants are struggling in this economy, and don’t have the corporate safety net that chain restaurants do. We’re lucky to live in a neighborhood with several great independent establishments that also emphasize fresh, local ingredients.

la strada del ray alexandriaWe recently celebrated a family birthday at a fairly new addition to our neighborhood, La Strada in Del Ray, Alexandria. La Strada has been open for about a year, and was top of the list of places we’ve been meaning to try. My in-laws were in town for my father-in-law’s birthday, so we thought it might be a family-friendly yet celebration-appropriate choice. It probably helped that we were dining on a slow Monday night, but the staff was warm and welcoming, even going out of their way to secure a birthday cake on extremely short notice. It is owned by a lovely family; Chef Stephen Scott has two young children and his mother graciously exchanged grandmother stories with my mother-in-law.

la strada del ray alexandriaWe had just enough room at the round corner booth, though on busy evenings I imagine the outdoor patio would be a great place to eat with kids. The boy was supplied with reading material and crayons while we waited for our orders to arrive, and the food was a great blend of fresh, seasonal ingredients incorporated in classic Italian dishes. You can check their website for daily specials featuring local produce. My father-in-law loved his light-as-air gnocchi in a hearty meat sauce; the husband and I split a family-size portion of ravioli in a morel cream sauce. It’s a little more upscale than your typical neighborhood Italian restaurant, yet the family-style servings enable you to enjoy great food without breaking the bank.  For an even better deal, visit La Strada during Del Ray’s Dining Week, which kicks off today and runs through June 14. La Strada is offering a 3-course dinner for just $29. Any restaurant that can satisfy picky New Yorkers and an active 2.5-year-old is a winner in our book. (Restaurant photo by La Strada.)

La Strada Osteria & Enoteca
1905 Mount Vernon Avenue
Del Ray (Alexandria), VA 22301
703.548.2592
www.lastrada-ontheave.com

discover del ray dining week

“Discover Del Ray” Dining Week, June 5-14, features special deals at just about every restaurant in this kid-friendly neighborhood, including the deal at La Strada, 15% discount at Caboose Cafe, and free gelato at Cafe Pizzaiolo. Visit the website for full details.

(Shared with Fight Back Fridays hosted by the Food Renegade. Visit the round-up for more inspiration from fellow real food lovers!)