Food of the (near) Future

Despite the fact that I haven't seen but a mere patch of ground at our home since prior to Christmas, despite the fact that we still have a foot of snow almost everywhere I look, despite the fact that just looking at flip flops gives me chills, the eternal optimist in me spent the balance of the weekend ordering thousands of heirloom vegetable seeds for this year's crop at our little micro farm.

Ideally, if the sun and rain cooperate, (and the sheep don't bust through the fence and help themselves to beds upon beds of gorgeous heirloom kale, leeks, peppers, brussels sprouts, beets, salad greens, and herbs, as happened briefly on one unfortunate day in October), those seeds and their resulting crop will then become a huge percentage of our food for the coming year, and many of the ingredients that I will cook for you here.

If you are bitten by the promise of dirt under your fingernails and eating within a five minute radius bug too, here are a few of my best resources for heirloom seeds and plants.  Each offer a mind-bloggling assortment of vegetables, fruit, and herbs.  They also fiercely protect seeds of endangered heirloom varieties so generations to come will have a vast diversity of produce available as well.


Wild Turkey
Nothing like a little wild turkey to follow a blizzard.

This was the scene out my bedroom window this morning.  The sheep were highly amused.


Speaking of Wild Turkey, I definitely plan on warming up at the end of this long snow day with this recipe for a Hot Toddy, posted this morning by Edible Manhattan.  Lemon, honey, clove, cinnamon...

Sweet dreams.

I just realized that this summer it has already been two years since we were given two of our most affectionate sheep, Blanche and Stella, by our friend and farmer, Eugene Wyatt, of Catskill Merino Sheep Farm.  We still think of them as the new babies of our bunch.  They were rejected by their mothers when born, so were "bottle babies" and good ones for us to take to a new home and flock.  We had to think fast when we got the call that we could come pick them up---finding a printer box in the attic that would safely transport them home.

Here is a short video I made at the time, announcing our new additions to friends and family.

The time has passed so quickly.

[caption id="attachment_87" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="Blanche & Stella"][/caption]

A Vegetable Grows in Long Island City
The Brooklyn Grange is planting a 40,000 square foot vegetable farm on a rooftop in Queens.

[vodpod id=Video.3671422&w=425&h=350&fv=]

I heard about this project initially when taking a pizza class a couple of months back with guys from Roberta's and Pulino's.  They mentioned that seedlings were planted, and the Brooklyn Grange team was close to securing a rooftop.  The plan is to raise an acre of organic vegetables, create a green space smack in the middle of the city, have a neighborhood farm stand, and supply area restaurants with the most local food they could imagine (delivering on bikes whenever possible!).

The group is in the final week of their Kickstarter fund raising campaign.  They have just under 25% of their goal left to raise.  If you are not familiar with Kickstarter--it is a site where you can donate as little as $1 to a project of your choice, but unless the goal is met by the deadline, the group won't get any of the money pledged.  Take a peek, if anything just to learn a lot more about this important, innovative, and delicious project.

Spring’s ahead.
Upstate New York, March 14, 2010.

[caption id="attachment_255" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Oregano returns."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_256" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="First chives of the season."][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_257" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Thawed sheep pen.  (We're definitely not in Brooklyn anymore.)"][/caption]

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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