Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Workshops on urban homesteading this Saturday in Mount Rainier

From email:

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? As part of the Mt Rainier Better Block Project, we're hosting a series of free urban homesteading classes.
The event is scheduled to run from noon-6pm on Saturday, April 9th with a raindate of Sunday.

Find more info on the rest of the festival online here, and let us know you're coming on Facebook!

Free Urban Homesteading Classes - held in a vacant lot at approximately 3841 34th Street, 20712

Learn how to save money and eat well by growing, preparing, and preserving food at home! Eating locally is good for you and the environment, and it doesn't get any more local than your own backyard. This free workshop series is presented by Mt Rainier/Brentwood neighbors and by the Neighborhood Farm Initiative. Each class will last about 45 minutes.

12:30: Preserving herbs through drying, vinegar, and alcohol
1:30 Intro to Backyard Composting
2:30 Natural Pickling: How to make delicious live-culture pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut
3:30 Bread & butter: How to make butter and no-knead artisan bread at home - it's simple!
4:30 Intro to Canning: The basics of canning jams/fruit, pickles, and tomatoes

Popup Urban Farm Store: Ready to get started? Finished compost, row cover, and other gardening/homesteading supplies will be available for sale by the Neighborhood Farm Initiative, and we'll have some free seeds on hand for giveaway! NFI is a non-profit educational urban farm operating in NE and SE Washington, DC - check it out! Also, available for sale will be Leafyhead Lotions and Potions.

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Rising food prices and shopping smart (at Florida Market)

The media, in the US and globally, is full of stories about fast rising prices for food. See "What do rising food prices mean" from the USAID blog. This is attributed to a number of things including weather-related losses, rising oil prices (which also affect the cost of fertilizers), and competition between crops grown for ethanol production rather than food.

One way to save money is buy products in larger sizes and from less costly providers.

That's as good a reason to buy at Florida Market as any I can think of...

But it's also about thinking about how you cook. For example, I have a bad habit of buying vegetables with my eyes--I buy something I see because it looks good--and then I don't get around to cooking it.

So having some regular recipes where you can cook in part to "use up" items before they go bad (or after they already are going bad) is a great strategy. Plus, it allows you to buy what we might call "seconds" in terms of quality (e.g., some of the items at Mexican Fruit) and make something really good.

- pasta sauce/ragout/primavera -- I just dice a bunch of vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, various kinds of peppers, tomatoes, etc.), throw in some garlic and spices (oregano, thyme, coriander, etc.) and cook it down. I can add sauce if I want, it's great on pasta.

- crock pot vegetable chili recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine, I think the December issue, again, I add vegetables to this based on what is lying around in my fridge. It's a great recipe in that it uses winter squash. It's on the sweet side.

- smoothies are a great way to use fruit

- sweet breads for bananas, etc.


Florida Market mini-directory printout

I just realized that I never put a link in this blog to the 8.5x11 printable handout version of the Florida Market directory created by Christopher Taylor Edwards and myself.

I'll also add a link in the right sidebar.

And yes, it's time to update it.

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Goat in the city

Today's Post food section article on goat, "Goat meat, the final frontier," neglected to list many sources of goat within DC ("Where to get fresh goat in the D.C. area"), with the exception of the Bloomingdale Farmers Market.

While the farmers markets and the listed farms feature locally-sourced goat, other sources listed aren't necessarily directly sourced from local farms. Many of the markets carry the same kind of goat available at vendors in the Florida Market, including:

- All-African Food Store (on 6th Street behind the Farmers Market building)
- Caribbean Crescent (Halal meats) (on 5th Street)
- Obeng International Market (300 block of Morse Street

The proprietor of All-African mentioned to me in a conversation a few years ago that he sells about 15 goats every weekend.

Although, the article points out, indirectly, that we need to update the directory information to list goat as well as "beef, pork, and poultry."

We'll change that in future versions.