Monday, April 27, 2009

Link alert: One Block Diet

Blog alert: I found this great new locavore blog, One Block Diet, and highly recommend adding it to your reader.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Five Points Bakery: Being a locavore just got easier

This weekend was pretty darn exciting over on the West Side. Just a couple short blocks from my house Five Points Bakery opened its doors and sold out of bread within two hours. My boyfriend and I walked over today around noon and were lucky enough to snag a loaf for our late breakfast. It was delish.

Besides the fact that Five Points is owned and operated by a couple living a block away from the bakery, besides the fact that their bread is 100% grain and made from locally-grown wheat stone ground on site, besides the fact that Five Points partners up with the good folks at Promised Land CSA (my CSA!) to purchase their wheat and products--THEY OFFER A BREAD SHARE.

I am so out of control excited about this share.

Five Points is offering a 13-week, $65 bread share. They'll have four shares every year, one per season. The summer share offers a multigrain pan bread, a honey wheat loaf, a cinnamon raisin, and a specialty bread. You select the kind you want and stop by one of the pick-up locations every Thursday to take it home. You can also add muffins, cookies, and their house-made pizzas to your share as well.

As we walked home from the bakery today, Sean and I talked about the summer ahead and how easy it will be for us to eat local. Between our CSA share, our new bread share, and an endless supply of deer meat from Sean's brother (that's for him, I'm a vegetarian), we hardly have to grocery shop.

Now, on to the chickens...

Community Gardens Growing In Buffalo

The Buffalo News has a great feature today on the rise in community gardening and urban farming in Buffalo. Check it out here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wilson Street Urban Farm Approved?

Please see this article from today's Buffalo News about a possible agreement between the Stevens family and the City of Buffalo to create their two acre urban farm in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Garden Is Growing

I know we have now quite shaken off the final grasp of winter, but we are definitely getting close. About a month from now, many of us will be taking to our yards to start digging and planting in earnest--finally free of frost worries we can start putting our plants and seeds in the ground. In our house, this process began around mid-March.

My husband came home with a few packets of seeds, some seed starting soil (more peat than soil--a nice mix) and some small plastic trays. He spent the day planting the seeds for his tomato and pepper plants. We also have onion and pumpkin seeds that will go right into the ground in mid-May. Whenever Dan comes come with his seed envelopes and little bag of potting mix I always know that winter won't last too much longer--that we are going to make it through the cold and windy days and enjoy sunshine and Buffalo's incomparable summers soon.

I love watching the sprouts grow on our table before we can plant them outside. It always seems like such a time of hope. Every day they are different. At first, just black soil. Then maybe just the faintest hint of green breaking through the top of the soil. Before you know it, you come home from work one day and there is an explosion of green shoots all climbing toward the sun streaming in your kitchen window. All the plans made in the dark of winter when poring over the Burpee catalog and dreaming of a world turning green and then bursting with life are slowly starting to become reality. I am already looking forward to biting into that first sun-warmed tomato and slicing up that first pepper. This year will be particularly exciting in our house as my husband and I try to learn the lost arts of canning and preserving.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter = Polish Food & Springtime!

Every year for Easter, my husband and I host dinner for his family. We don't really celebrate Easter as either a religious or chocolate bunny-oriented holiday, but we do use it as an excuse to have a little feast of Polish food (makes sense, as my husband's family is Polish). My contributions are usually more traditional American fare--ham, some sort of cheesy potato dish, and green bean casserole (I'm from the Midwest--it's practically mandatory). My husband spends two days before Easter making pierogies from scratch--one batch using farmer's cheese as the filling, and one batch stuffed with sauerkraut. I abhor sauerkraut, but adore the cheese stuffing. I have also heard of pierogies stuffed with potatoes, onions, or prunes. Can't say the prune ones sound too appealing.

We serve the American stuff I make along with pierogies, polish sausage, lots of rye bread, and of course a butter lamb. I had never heard of butter lambs before I married a nice Polish boy, but now I can't imagine an Easter table without one. One of these days we may even get around to making our own butter lamb for the table instead of just buying the ones Wegman's sells (which are made by a vendor at the Broadway Market, which we know we should visit in person but the crowds are just too crazy this time of year).

I hope everyone has been enjoying the lovely weather the weekend, and celebrating this weekend's holidays if that is what you do. I think Spring is definitely on the way, and I love Easter as a way to welcome the new season. The world is starting to bloom again, and soon it will be time to start planting the summer garden.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Support Grows for Wilson Street Urban Farm

Check out the following blogs, opinion pieces, and articles for the latest on what is going on with the Stevens family's proposed urban farm on Wilson Street: (This includes information on how you can reach out to City Hall and express your support for both the Wilson Street proposal and the chickens in the city proposal that Councilman Rivera is considering.)

Also, if you are a Facebook user, you can join a group supporting Wilson Street Farm.

It's great to see all this buzz about urban farming in Buffalo. I hope it leads to a real discussion of how we can creatively reuse our vacant parcels of land.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Urban Farm Story Updated

Here is the latest from the City of Buffalo, Habitat for Humanity, and the Stevens family on the proposed urban farm near the Buffalo market. Go Councilman Franczyk!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

City of Buffalo Turns Down Urban Farmers

Please see this article in today's Buffalo News about the recent decision made by the City of Buffalo to reject an application by a family wishing to purchase two acres of land near the Broadway Market to convert 27 vacant lots into a small farm. Two acres in an area that could be described as part of Buffalo's "food desert" no less.

Typical of Buffalo's current "leadership" they have turned down the farm proposal because they hope they'll be able to find someone else who wants to develop the land.

This blog has not been much of a political forum, and I don't intend to turn it into one, but I am going to digress from that for a brief moment because I am outraged. This decision is very typical of the short-sighted way the City of Buffalo is currently being run. Buffalo has approximately 3,200 ACRES of vacant land, many owned by the City itself and poorly kept. I do not understand what is so important about these two acres that they would turn down people with an actual PLAN for productive reuse in favor of potentially having another developer express interest in the future. Commissioner Brian Reilly reasons the decision out by saying that Habitat for Humanity may be interested in building on some of those vacant lots, as if there are no other vacant lots or properties even within that immediate vicinity that would be suitable.

The City of Buffalo seems to be waiting for some goose to lay a golden egg in that neighborhood. A plan for productive use that is workable now should trump any notion of luring some new enterprise (one perceived as likely more profitable and prestigious no doubt). The City of Buffalo doesn't exactly have a set of laurels to rest on in terms of promoting large scale development within City limits so lets turn some of our excess land over to entrepreneurs who have a chance of making this city better street by street and block by block. That is how we will achieve real progress and finally deal with the city's immense vacancy crisis.

People with such a narrow view of what is possible for this city have no business running Buffalo's government.

(Please note that this post reflects my views, and my views alone--I am not speaking on behalf of any of the other four contributors to this blog in any way.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Councilman Rivera is Pro-Poultry

The Buffalo News continued its "chickens in the city" coverage with an article today about Buffalo Council Member David Rivera's visit to Monique Watts' chicken coop on Rhode Island Street (in David's district). Rivera's office is looking into changing Buffalo law to allow for small urban coops. You can read the story here.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that Council Member Rivera is a friend of mine, and someone whom I admire very much. So, I am admittedly biased. However, I think it is great that Rivera is taking a serious look at this issue and I hope his colleagues address this issue with the same thoughtful consideration as Council Member Rivera. I think allowing small chicken coops in the city will add to our quality of life and increase access to delicious, nutritious free range eggs. My nieces have raised chickens at their house out in the country for years (since before the youngest was in kindergarten) and I have seen firsthand what a fulfilling experience it is for the whole family, in addition to providing food.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More on City Chickens

Donn Esmonde's column today comes out in favor of allowing chickens in the city. You can read it here.