Tag Archives: food

What a year! (plus video!)

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Well, here we are, in the sunny dark of winter… that little snowstorm looks to be all the proper weather we’re getting this season. It’s shaping up to be a record drought year, unless the rain comes soon — time to wash the car, hang some laundry, and break out whatever other rain-charms you know, please!

It was a busy year at the B H Ranch — just the way we like it! We grafted new trees, planted our first hedgerows, and brought more varieties of heirloom pears and apples to market than ever before (and converted more than a few people from “pearophobes” to pear-lovers in the process!) Also in the “neat stuff” department: Phyllis and I received a grant to produce a radio series from our monthly program, The Homestead Radio Hour, which means we certainly have our work cut out for us for the winter months… one of the highlights of the year for all of us was going to the National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, where we had the chance to sit down with some of the speakers and farmers we met at the Expo and talk about the future of food and farming, the heirloom movement, and urban gardening and homesteading. (You can hear the interviews on our new web site, homesteadradiohour.com!)

I also spent some time this year working at the University of California Cooperative Extension, with our local Foothill Farming program. The Extension is an incredible resource for local farmers, and one that we have turned to again and again for advice and information, so it was a great experience to see it from the inside — and an office that regularly hosts mozzarella-making demos, visiting livestock dogs, baby chicks, and recipe-testing is my kind of place!

One of my projects at the Extension was to produce the first in a series of short films about local farmers and their work; we wanted to find a way to share with consumers the story of our food, the work and care that goes into producing it, the history of farming in our region, and the power of that direct connection between farmer and consumer. My assignment was to start with the farm I know best — the B H Ranch! Here’s the final product — enjoy this glimpse into What We Do… and keep an eye out for future “Farmer Stories” episodes this year!

And, last but not least, we’d like to send out a giant Thank You! to all the stores, markets, and restaurants that featured our fruit this year. From high school cafeteria to CSA to ice cream parlour, our pears get around!

Auburn Thai Garden, Auburn (fig curry!)
Carpe Vino, Auburn
Flour Garden Bakery, Grass Valley/Auburn
Gaia’s Basket, Auburn
Natural Selection, Grass Valley
Natural Trading Company (CSA), Newcastle
Newcastle Produce, Newcastle
Placer High School, Auburn
SPD Market, Nevada City (our longest-running customer — almost 20 years!)
Sunrise Natural Foods, Auburn
Treats Ice Cream, Nevada City (Pear-Ginger Sorbet!)

Thank you all for a spectacular and delicious 2013! Happy New Year!

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Filed under around the farm, history, Homestead Radio Hour, in the news, Winter

Celebrating Our “Freedom Of the Fork”

Today we bring you two episodes of The Homestead Radio Hour, our monthly radio program on KVMR FM Nevada City. Over the past few years we’ve been honoured to talk with and interview a wide variety of guests, from farmers and beekeepers to local-food advocates and educators; but no matter what the topic, we always seem to come back to the importance of knowing where your food comes from, knowing the people who grew or raised it, knowing how it was made, and knowing how to do a little more in your own backyard.

The two episodes below are especially appropriate, I think, for Independence Day. How do we define “independence” when it comes to consumption? Are we really free if we have to rely on a mysterious, all-powerful system of corporations to decide what goes on our dinner tables? And what happens if, one day, that machinery breaks?

The first episode here — “Independence From The Food Machine” — features local author and real-food advocate Joanne Neft. She started the first Foothill Farmer’s Market in Auburn twenty-two years ago, she has written two beautiful books on how to cook with seasonal, local meats and produce, she has been a tireless advocate for our local farmers and food economy, and that’s just the beginning! Joanne is one of the most inspiring people I know in the world of food and farming, and it was such a treat to sit down with her at the historic Newcastle fruit-packing sheds and talk about the importance, and the joys, of real food. In this episode, we also visit the farmer’s market to talk to shoppers, chefs, and farmers about why they love fresh, local, and seasonal food.

The second episode here is one that I still can’t quite believe happened. We were totally knocked out to get to interview Joel Salatin and Michael Ableman, world-renowned farmer-author-activists, on the Homestead Radio Hour back in January. The whole thing came as a complete surprise — we were planning to talk about the Nevada County Farm Conference, where they were going to be featured speakers, but the last thing we expected when we arrived at the studio was to find Messrs. Salatin and Ableman waiting for us! We frantically scribbled down some notes and questions in the few minutes before the show started, but our semi-panicked frenzy was completely unnecessary; they were so down-to-earth and easy to talk with, and it was a delight just hearing the two of them take the conversation in ways we hadn’t even planned.

I hope you enjoy these two episodes at your leisure on a lovely summer afternoon, preferably with a tall glass of lemonade or a bowl of icy watermelon — the old-fashioned kind, with seeds. They’re so much sweeter that way!

The Homestead Radio Hour, Thursday July, 8th, 2010: Independence from the Food Machine

With hosts Phyllis and Julia Boorinakis-Harper

Learn how you can achieve Independence From The Food Machine! This episode features local farmers, consumers, and chefs, as well as local food advocate and Placer County Real Food Cookbook author Joanne Neft. We talk about the benefits of eating fresh, local, in-season foods and give tips on how to do it without breaking the bank. Celebrate the national treasure of small farmers and CSAs, as well your own backyard, and claim your rights to freedom of the fork!

(Or listen here on the KVMR Podcast Page)

The Placer County Real Food Cookbook : Recipes, photographs, resources and more from Joanne Neft and Laura Kenny

Nevada County Grown : Locally Produced Food and Products

The Foothill Farmer’s Market Association : Local Farmer’s Markets from Roseville to Tahoe and everywhere in between…

The Homestead Radio Hour, January 2012: Joel Salatin and Michael Ableman

With hosts Phyllis and Julia Boorinakis-Harper

Joel Salatin and Michael Ableman visit the Homestead Radio Hour to talk about sustainable agriculture, “integrity food,” and the future of farming.

Joel Salatin is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. His speaking and writing reflect dirt-under-the-fingernails experience punctuated with mischievous humor. He passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm. He is the author of nine books, including The Sheer Ecstasy of Being A Lunatic Farmer and Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World.

Michael Ableman is a farmer, author, and photographer and a recognized practitioner of sustainable agriculture and proponent of regional food systems. He has written several books and numerous essays and articles, and lectures extensively on food, culture, and sustainability worldwide. Michael is currently farming at the Foxglove Farm on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, home of The Center for Arts, Ecology & Agriculture.

(Or listen here on the KVMR Podcast Page)

www.polyfacefarms.com : Joel Salatin – Polyface Farms

www.fieldsofplenty.com : Michael Ableman – farmer, author, photographer

Find more Homestead Radio Hour episodes here on the KVMR Podcast Archive!

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Filed under farmer's market, homestead how-to, Homestead Radio Hour, summer