Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This just in from the LocalHarvest.org folks. Sign up to get their e-mails and to help the cause

Local Harvest Newsletter, December 23, 2008
Welcome back to the Local Harvest newsletter.
It's nearly Christmas, but instead of sugar plums, I have numbers dancing in my head. Membership and site traffic numbers, year-end and pricing survey numbers. I'm a words-over-formulas kind of girl, so believe me, this is a rare day. Still, these are interesting statistics. Some we feel proud of, some we are humbled by.
Here's a few that please us: LocalHarvest welcomed 3,675 new member listings so far in 2008. That's ten new members every day! Of these, 2,583 were farmers, 590 were farmers markets, and the remainder were restaurants, co-ops, and the like. The LocalHarvest database now offers information on nearly 18,000 farms and farmers markets (etc.) nationwide. As always, our marketing budget for 2008 was exactly $0, so we have all of you to thank for helping us spread the word about LocalHarvest. Mil gracias!
Over 3.8 million people found local food with LocalHarvest's help this year, a million more than in 2007. Our monthly newsletter goes out to 54,000 people like yourself, and 75,000 people get our weekly Keep Me Posted updates. Over 16,200 people bought products through our catalog this year. Numbers on two new LH projects look like this: to date, 831 farmers have Ark of Taste products to their LocalHarvest listings since we launched our partnership with Slow Food in April. In the last two months, nearly 300 farms have started blogging with us, posting stories about life on the farm, recipes, photos, and videos.
We had really hoped to give you the results of our first LocalHarvest pricing project: "How Does Local Compare?" but, unfortunately, we don't have those numbers yet. This is the 'humbling' part I mentioned up top. It turns out that crunching the data in a meaningful way is an exceptionally complex proposition. We've been at it on and off for a week and are still slogging through the fine points. I promise we will keep at it, and I will have the results for you in our January newsletter.
As we approach the end of 2008 we would like to thank all of you for supporting your local farmers and LocalHarvest. In these uncertain economic times, it feels particularly important to spend our food dollars on fresh, nutritious food grown by people whose chosen work is to feed our communities. Real food for the people!
As always, take good care, and eat well.
See you in '09,
Erin BarnettDirector, LocalHarvest
From the LocalHarvest Store:

Hopefully you've finished your holiday shopping, wrapped everything, and delivered all the packages that needed to go somewhere. Should you have one or two people left on your list, though, you might want to consider a LocalHarvest gift certificate. Available in any amount, and applicable to any of our catalog's 5,576 farm products.
Your loved one might very well choose some citrus. Matter of fact, you might yourself. Plenty of other people are, every day. And every day our friendly citrus growers are picking more. We've got all kinds - grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, Meyer lemons and Bearss limes.

If you would like to encourage President-elect Obama to choose sustainably minded Under Secretaries in the new USDA, please sign their grassroots petition. This one is time sensitive, so act now!
Wonderful Winter Squash

With holiday goodies laid out everywhere you go, nutrition may not be foremost on your mind this time of year. But let's take a few minutes to think about feeding our bodies well, even over the holidays. Luckily, winter squash is in season. It IS a most wonderful time of year! Winter squash is a nutrient dense food with many health benefits. In this short article, I'll focus on its protective effect against cancer.(Read on...)
Recipe Corner: Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage By Lorna Sass

During New York winters, I count on the bright orange flesh of butternut squash to cheer me up. I make lots of squash soups-either curried or flecked with fresh herbs-and I pull out my trusty pressure cooker to make a winter squash risotto. (Recipes and More...)
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The following article from the New York Times should be of interest. Alice Waters and others speak out on examples that the First Family and the White House can set regarding sustainability agriculture and healthy cooking. To read the article click this link:
Alice Waters and Obama’s ‘Kitchen’ Cabinet - Well Blog - NYTimes.com

Monday, December 08, 2008

My minister's sermon last Sunday focused on finding our inner Divine child and he mentioned the sense of wonder that our earliest memories of Christmas conjure up.

For me the smell and glow of a Christmas tree early on Christmas morning is a heavenly image without equal.

As readers of this blog already know, I like to buy from local agricultural producers. The products are fresher, I invest my money locally by buying locally, the energy costs of delivering the product are substantially lower, and often the cost to me is competitive and/or cheaper. I like that.

With all that in mind, I can not bear to pay some corporate giant for a Christmas tree that has been trucked in across several states (at least) and has had plenty of time to dry out. Whether here in Florida or near my wife's hometown in western New York state, we like to go to a Christmas tree farm and cut our own.

This is where Bill Dubois comes in. Bill and his wife own a you-cut Christmas tree farm west of Gainesville. They sell sand pines (our preference), red cedars, Leland Cypress, and a few Carolina Sapphires. They also have potted trees for those who want to replant their tree after Christmas. Bill's operation is a sustainable farming operation and new trees are planted each year to replace those that are harvested.

Directions: Farm located at 7818 NW SR45, High Springs, FL 32643, west of Gainesville at intersection of SR 41/27 and CR 232, midway between Newberry and High Springs.
Our suggested route is to take Millhopper Road (Rte. 232) west to Rte. 241. Turn north on 241 and go a mile or so. Turn left onto 232 and follow it to the intersection with Hwy. 41/27. Bill Dubois's farm is on the northwest corner of the intersection. This route is one of the most beautiful roads in north Florida and I highly recommend you follow my directions to Bill's farm.

One note, be sure to put your tree in water immediately on getting home so that the fresh cut will allow transfer of water from your bucket or tree stand. Otherwise, the sap will coagulate and you will need to trim the bottom again to hydrate your tree.
Open:The day after Thanksgiving to December 24, daily, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 352-628-5383.