Friday, October 8, 2010

Making a Living

I woke up this morning thinking about the new days sun coming up and the life of one of the many farmers I know. Hard work at daybreak that continues until the sun goes down with a couple of meals in between is the life of a chosen few.

If you ever go to an area of the country where organic gardening is the norm, food in the raw or cooked state becomes more sustainable and appreciated. In Northern CA , my sister Chris and I visited a market in the middle of an old town that labeled the produce by the growers name. You could actually "see" the farms and know where your food came from. That was about 3 years ago and it's more prevalent now than then. Hopefully at some point more folks will appreciate their food and the growers who put long hours in everyday to bring good health to those who choose their product. Anyway, I've yet to see that come to this area with the exception of Modocs market bringing in local food and actually acknowledging the grower..kudos to you! My point is that many of us grow organic for ourselves, few of us get the idea of not poisoning our food source, some of us won't whine when we pay more for safe food, and one family in this area is REALLY trying to bring more knowledge, variety, and quality to this community. I truly hope for the success of Nate & Diane Fingerle's RiverRidge Farms outside of Roann. Nathan and his family (including his father) work non-stop to provide local, organic produce at a reasonable price. From a small plot and a dinky greenhouse to the expansion of most of their yard and the additions of multiple greenhouses, he's able to supply North Manchester school systems (as one example) with fresh greens and salad ingredients. I find this amazing! It takes calculations, determination, time and money to generate enough food for this project, but they make it work. Not to mention they are supporting an ever growing family of their own. I guess I feel proud to know them, proud of their work, proud to know they want to share food for others that is SAFE to eat, and are carrying on a humble way of life that anyone can appreciate. Most of us know where live and the gardens are accessible most of the time with a little area for on site market. You can find more information about RiverRidge Farms on a great site that can also steer you towards other products in our area as well by looking up . Happy Eating!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Foodies Critique!

Call it mean, call it fussy, call it snobby, call it educated but I live the life of a foodie. I shoot food of what I grow, prepare, eat and experience during travel and growers farms. Rarely do I really "like"much of the local prepared food but tolerate it to have an occasional meal out. You have to admit, there's not many choices in Wabash, Indiana that are not fast food. So, when the newly revamped downtown hotel became Charlie Creek Inn opened "Twenty", it was my duty to check it out. It is impressive to look at from the outside and having been through it in different phases of reconstruction it is just as beautiful on the inside. Having helped open two restaurants myself, I know there are always bugs to work out in the first several months of business. The staff was plenty, the room decorated stylish, our seating was window, it was clean, inviting, and friendly . What could go wrong? The answer-nothing. From the get-go even tho I drilled our waitress on the freshness of fish and the sides she handled it well and was glad to get answers. Here's what gives me a clue on freshness---the salad was NOT brown! Laugh if you will, but in Wabash I've gotten several brown salads, returned them and got the same quality BACK! Greens looked great, the veggies were fresh and my husbands Caesar looked wonderful with the Parmesan crisps that were right on! I ordered Panko scallops with wasabi and a horseradish mashed potato that came with a quick sauteed veggie mix. Steve ordered the Cioppino which I hadn't seen on a menu since living in the N.CA Bay area. Does one really get a good fish stew in the Midwest? YES! Haven eaten Cioppino in SF it's hard to compare since the fish is different. There it's a mixed variety of fresh crab, mussels, clams, shrimp, and whatever white fish is seasonal during that time (usually Nov.-April). Here, the chef creates a decent job for what is available. So, I tasted it several times--I like a fishy stock taste and thought it weak, but the seasoning was good, the fish fresh and cooked properly and the presentation tasteful. As for my dish-well, it was outstanding! Since I am a wasabi fan, I requested more but to tell the truth, I wouldn't have changed a thing...amazing. We ordered a creme brulee to split for dessert . It was portioned fine for sharing and came with fresh fruit. The exterior had it's usual crunch and the custard part was creamy and showed off the vanilla taste as the seeds from scraping the bean were not strained away. Yum. All in all, our dining experience was a good and we look forward to another visit-I hope you are able to take advantage of what Twenty has to offer .
Please keep up the good work! You can check it out on thier web site too!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Wasn't there a Pure Prarie League song like that? This little flower was the first on our property to bloom..what a struggle poking thru a dried leaf! Musta really wanted to make its way to the sunshine! Nice seeing the first signs of spring even though it's not warm enough to plant much. I even saw some garlic popping thru from Octobers planting. Woo hoo!