When I was back in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to get a tour of Growing Power, an urban farm in Milwaukee. In an an abandoned greenhouse and the surrounding lot, Will Allen and his associates produce an astounding amount of food — from fresh greens and watercress to tilapia and ducks, chickens, and goats. And it’s in the middle of one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, which is otherwise woefully underserved with healthy food options. Check out the New York Times Magazine profile of Allen to see how he’s inventing the future of agriculture.
It will of course be interesting to see how this is implemented — and how it’s impacted by the dire financial climate of both the city and state — but looks like some promising intentions from San Francisco’s new food policy. Key components include sourcing local and sustainable food for city purchases, and an immediate audit of all public property to document spaces appropriate for food production. Kudos to the mayor, and let’s hope the Board of Supervisors will back him up as the plan gets rolled out.
(Cross posted at GastroNomalies.)
As I do most Tuesdays on my lunch hour, I headed over to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in downtown San Francisco. It may have been a typical foggy and cold summer day by the bay, but the fruit and vegetable bounty was looking pretty nice. Here’s what I saw:
Strawberries - $3.50 / basket or $9 for three baskets (basket = big pint)
Raspberries & Blackberries - $3.50 / half pint
Baby leeks - $1.50 / bunch (~5 leeks per bunch)
Bontje new potatoes - $2.50 / lb
Redjack cherries - $4.75 / lb
Peaches / Plums / Apricots - $3.00 / lb
Early girl tomatoes - $3 / lb
Little gem lettuces - $6 / lb
Plenty of other goodies, but a lot of it you see year-round here, like greens, peas, and carrots. Everything I priced was organic.
- Let Congress know they should pass a food safety bill with teeth.
- An interesting examination of the ways in which the aforementioned legislation would enable better tracking of food distribution through standardized data.
- A story from the Sunday New York Times about one chef’s service in a homeless shelter.
After a salad of red and green gem lettuces with a Dijon and shallot vinaigrette, we needed a little palate cleanser before the main course. I’d been planning on a simple citrus sorbet, but lo and behold, the bins at the farmer’s market on the Tuesday before the party were overflowing with the first cherries of the season. I’d forgotten how early they come in California.
Picking favorites is not something I like to do, but if forced to decide, I’d have to come down on the side of stone fruit. Intensely juicy but still crisp, I can scarcely gobble up enough cherries, peaches, nectarines, and plums during the summer months.
While a plate of whole, fresh fruit on its own (or with a towel, in the case of the juiciest peaches) will never disappoint, sorbet is an easy alternative to highlight the vibrant flavors of these drupes. Puree, strain, sweeten, and freeze, and you get a cool, refreshing bite that melts down to pure nectar.
I added just a few drops of rose water to my puree, which gave the sorbet an additional layer of flavor complexity. When a few scoops were served with a nasturtium leaf and flower, the dish combined spicy, sweet, fruity, and floral tones in a way that I’ve only otherwise experienced with wine. Palates were indeed cleansed, and titillated, too.
Bolton said the source was drawing, “a deductive link,” between Sotomayor’s thoughts on Puerto Rican food and her other statements. And I guess the chain goes something like this: 1). Sotomayor implied that her Latina identity informs her jurisprudence, 2). She also implied that Puerto Rican cuisine is a crucial part of her Latina identity, 3). Ergo, her gastronomical proclivities will be a non-negligible factor for her when she’s considering cases before the Supreme Court.
San Francisco’s unlicensed street food vendors are running up against city regulations. I can see a place for the health code as it applies to sit-down restaurants, but can’t we adopt more of a fend-for-yourself attitude for food served out of carts or little red wagons? What’s next, a crackdown on lemonade stands?