Saturday, February 28, 2009

White Cow Dairy and Rene Russo at Wegmans

So, fellow Locavore blogger Ann and I went to an event this morning at the McKinley Wegmans today featuring Patrick, the farmer from White Cow Dairy, and Hollywood actress Rene Russo (Major League, The Thomas Crown Affair, etc). As we arrived we ran into Lisa Tucker of Edible Buffalo with whom I'd shared e-mails and a phone conversation, though we'd never met in person. We had a great conversation about some exciting local food things coming up (what I'm most excited about? maple weekend in March--check it out in the winter issue at

Then Ann and I went over to the sampling area where Ms. Russo was greeting people and helping pass out samples of yogurt from White Cow. Apparently, she is a friend of Patrick, the farmer/owner of White Cow, and came out to Buffalo to help him promote the expanded sales of his yogurt at Wegmans. If you are a regular at the Bidwell-Elmwood Farmer's Market you have probably met Patrick before--a rangy, friendly guy who is very enthusiastic about his work at the dairy. Patrick's farm also produces maple syrup, though he is not the maple expert--he has an arrangement with his neighbors where they take on the maple syrup processing.

White Cow Dairy yogurt is delicious. Tangy, almost like Greek yogurt, and made in small batches in a variety of flavors. There is even a new flavor named in honor of President Obama. The yogurt is sold in glass containers, which helps keep the flavor fresher. The yogurt is sweetened with maple syrup from the farm.

Ann and I had the chance to talk with Rene Russo for a few minutes and she seemed truly delighted to be in Buffalo, despite the cold. She said it was a nice break from LA. A really pleasant and lovely woman, and nice to see her putting some star power behind a Buffalo-area product that she believes in.

Here are some pictures from this morning's event:

Patrick, farmer and yogurt genius

Rene Russo

Lisa Tucker and one of the interns from Edible Buffalo

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brooklyn is the New Berkeley

The New York Times has a fascinating article today about Brooklyn as an incubator for loacally produced foods that goes beyond urban agriculture to artisanship. A great read, and hopefully we will see something similar develop in Buffalo someday. We already have Spar's Sausages, Choco-Logo, and many other promising shops. You can read about Brooklyn as the new artisanal foods incubator here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Flapjacks for the Farm Event

From Erin Sharkey at the Growing Green program at the Massachusetts Avenue Project:

"All you can eat pancake extravaganza!

Come out and support Buffalo's urban youth farm and the young people that make it happen. Come out of your hibernation and fill up on a steaming hot short stack to benefit one of the coolest youth programs around.

$7! is all it costs to positively impact their lives as they strengthen the local food system, reclaim vacant lots, work on a nationally award winning urban farm, become agents for healthier food and environmental stewardship in their schools, learn about how to run a social enterprise, start Buffalo’s first aquaponics system, teach others how to grow their own organic produce, support local farmers, and advocate with groups across the nation that healthy food is a right not a luxury!


Flapjacks for the Farm
A benefit breakfast for the Growing Green Youth Farm
Start Time: Saturday, March 7 at 9:00am
End Time: Saturday, March 7 at 12:30pm
Where: Trinity Episcopal Church

Monday, February 16, 2009

CSA Commitment

Yes, two posts in one day. Trying to make up for my severe lack of posting lately.

Dan and I finally took the plunge. We bought a share in the Promised Land CSA, and I am excited about it. I am looking forward to a summer of trying new vegetables and experiencing firsthand how a CSA works. I think Whitney was a shareholder of Promised Land last year, and I do remember her saying it was a lot of produce for two people, so we may have to start learning our canning and preserving skills right away!! Dan is more nervous than I am about it--he thinks it is going to be a lot of work, especially for two people who have been relative veggie-phobes for so long (not that we don't like our veggies, just that we usually don't stray from a few reliable favorites). I look at it as an exciting food adventure--and it will help me meet my New Year's Resolution of trying one new fruit or vegetable each month (last month it was Forelle pears--okay but not great. This month I tried beets but I think I actually had them once before and they were not fresh so I don't think that counts.)

Grass Fed Beef

While shopping at Wegman's on Friday night I noticed that they now have a more prominent section devoted to organic, free range, and grass fed meats. I was planning to make an asparagus and beef stir fry on Friday night so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally try grass fed beef. Up until then, I had not been able to find it in too many places locally without going seriously out of my way (which I usually don't have time to do).

The stir fry recipe I used came from a great new cookbook--Bon Appetit magazine's Fast, Easy, Fresh Cookbook. Loads of simple recipes and the first large, mass-market cookbook I have seen that highlights local food, CSAs, and the importance of eating fresh/seasonally. The section on vegetables is even divided up by season. Basically, the recipe called for toasted sesame seeds, red onion, asparagus (frozen, as it isn't really available fresh this time of year--though it will be soon!!), and thin slices of sirloin in a hoisin sauce. Simple and delicious--probably took me about an hour to make from slicing everything to toasting the sesame seeds to making the brown rice on the side. Both my husband and I agree it was a hit. I only wish I'd taken a picture to post.

I had expected grass fed beef to taste significantly different from corn-fed. It seemed to me that the differences were more subtle, but also delightful. Perhaps it was also because I used sirloin, but the meat was much more tender and had more flavor than the corn fed, but in a subtle way. In an odd way, it actually seemed more like eating actual MEAT, if that makes sense. Dan and I eat a good amount of bison meat (bison tacos are amazing, as are burgers--though the meat is so lean and tender it takes a bit more work to turn them into patties) and I think the grass fed beef was closer to bison meat than to the more typical beef we are used to. It was expensive, but definitely worth it.

Does anyone know of a good local producer of grass fed beef and free range chicken that is easily available? I know there are a few suppliers in Chautauqua County, but are there any closer? Or any retail outlets that offer the locally grown?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back issues of Organic Gardening available online!

Gayla Trail, Toronto resident and gardener extraordinaire, linked to this awesome new development: back issues of Organic Gardening are available online at GoogleBooks. This is a great resource for anyone planning a garden this spring and summer (I also recommend Gayla's own book You Grow Girl).

Check out these hightlights:
  • Browse the April 2007 issue for the perfect tomato growing plan (p. 57) and advice on which plants grow best together (p. 28).
  • Efforts to make kids more garden-savvy are highlighted in the February 2008 issue (p. 30) as well as the Best Varieties of 2007 (p.44).
  • A cover story in the June 2006 issue about growing more in small spaces.

If you find an interesting article you want to share, please leave the issue and page number in the comments section of this post. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Welcome to the “New Carnivore Movement”

This an article about meat – where it comes from, how it’s processed and how people’s eating and shopping habits tend to come full circle. Do you want to know how your meat, when it was alive, was raised? Or which breed of meat you’re buying at the grocery store? Or if the person who took it apart made as little waste as possible? It’s an interesting read for those interested in seeking out and buying meat from our local producers. The article describes the hipster urbanites who are cramming into this shop to learn how to butcher their meat and buy from upstate NY farms. Thank goodness we here at Buffalo Locovore are little closer to the source!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Alfred University Gets Greener

As an alum, I'm very happy to hear that one of WNY's local universities is (literally) buying into the local food movement. Here's the press release about AU taking steps to purchase locally grown products:

This idea makes so much sense, especially since Alfred is nestled in rural farm country and quite frankly, the views out of my dorm's apartment sophomore year always reminded me that there are probably more cows than people living in Alfred.

What really strikes me, though, is how the environmental movement has made its way into our national conversation and culture. When I started at Alfred ten years ago, I intended to be an environmental studies major. When I arrived on campus, I was advised to double major because I was told “environmental studies” wasn’t a robust enough field of study to justify an entire major. Can you believe that now? It seems like you can study just about anything you want related to environmental stuff and get a degree out of it. Which isn’t a bad thing but I’m so amazed and still trying to figure out what where some of the major players (Al Gore?) and events (Hurricane Katrina? Global warming in general?) that really brought the environmental movement to the forefront these last few years.

I’m envious of the kids who get to choose from so many “green” majors today although I suppose one’s actions/career speaks louder than a degree. Now that I work in the business development/advocacy field, I think it would be amazing to be a director or VP of corporate/social responsibility. A green czarina!