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Community Project Kick-off 2017

Join us this Saturday, January 7, for our First Saturday Community Project at your Downtown Farm. The farm is always open for you to visit, but on the first Saturday of every month, rain or shine, hot or cold, we invite you to help us build and grow our farm.

E.A.T. South has a very dedicated staff of two, and to keep the farm growing, keep the chickens happy and everything in good repair, your time and energy is needed. Working together as a community, we can get a lot done, make new friends, and have fun, too.

Throughout the year, project start times may change a little so make sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter. This Saturday, we’ll get started at 9 am.

Farmers use the winter months for repairs and maintenance, and that’s exactly what we will be doing this Saturday. Several of our tables need new coats of paint, and we have this lovely lemonade stand that could use a little help, too. Please dress for the weather and the possibility of paint on your clothes.

Individuals, families and groups are welcome at First Saturday Community Projects. If you are a part of a youth, school, church or other community group that would like to volunteer at the farm, we can schedule other volunteer days and times as need. Get in touch with us at farmer@eatsouth.org. See you Saturday!

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Kid Books for the Holidays or Anytime

Need last minute gift ideas or just something to keep kids busy during these damp days of no school? Here are some farm-y books tested and approved by your farmer and her family.

Market Maze by Roxie Monrore  

How does food get to the farmers market? From fish to eggs to vegetables to flowers, each page follows a truck taking a different item to market. The pages are covered with lively illustrations that include hidden pictures, too. This book is definitely six year old approved and would probably work for four to eight year olds.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

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Have you visited E.A.T. South's chickens? This novel features several of our chicken breeds, but as special as our chickens are, they are not quite as exceptional as those in this novel (as far as we know).  Through letters to her Abuela and others, follow Sophie Brown as she adjusts to her family's move from L.A. to the country and discovers that the chickens she inherits from her great uncle do more than lay eggs. A fun read aloud book and great for fifth graders through middle school.

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

Friendship, sacrifice, good pigs...E.B. White had a talent for observing animals and nature. If you haven’t read this book in a while, go get it. Read it yourself. Try not to cry if you're reading it aloud.

Gone Crazy in Alabama, Rita Williams-Garcia

This book is set on a Prattville farm around 1970. No spoilers, but one of the book's conflicts mirrored a story from my own Alabama family so it feels true to the state. It's the third book in a trilogy for middle readers, but I have to say I completely enjoyed the series myself. Start with One Crazy Summer (Newberry Honor and National Book Award Finalist) then P. S. Be Eleven.  The trilogy follows the Gaither sisters from New York City to Oakland to Alabama and touches on significant people and events straddling the late 60s/early 70s - from the Black Panther Party to the Vietnam War to Shirley Chishlom to the Jackson Five. 

Stay warm, read, and Happy New Year everyone!

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Recipes & Scenes from Garlic & Ghouls

Planting garlic at Garlic & Ghouls

Planting garlic at Garlic & Ghouls

More than fifty people joined us for Garlic & Ghouls on October 22, and if you couldn't make it, it's not too late to plant your own garlic at home. The Alabama Extension Service has tips to make your garlic crop a success. 

E.A.T. South Board Chair Carolyn Strickland discussing her garlic recipes.

E.A.T. South Board Chair Carolyn Strickland discussing her garlic recipes.

Roasted Garlic

Ingredients: one or more whole heads of garlic, olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel and discard papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving the skins of individual garlic cloves intact. 
  • With a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top of the cloves, exposing the tops of the individual cloves of garlic.
  • Place the whole heads of garlic in a baking pan cut side up. (A muffin pan works great and keeps the garlic heads from rolling around.) Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed garlic head. Use your fingers to rub the oil into the garlic cloves. Cover the bulb with aluminum foil. Bake at 400 F for 30-35 minutes or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.
  • Allow garlic to cool so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small knife to cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a small fork or fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic out of their skins. 
  • Spread garlic on bread or eat however you like it or mash it with a fork for other cooking projects.

Roasted Garlic Gravy

Ingredients

  • 1 head of roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Roast garlic as described in the recipe above. 
  • Remove roasted garlic from individual cloves and mash with a fork.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the flour whisking constantly until the flour begins to brown. Add the broth, continuing to whisk, and bring  mixture to a boil.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve with mashed potatoes, faux turkey or any other dish that needs a savory upgrade. 

Adapted from this roasted garlic gravy recipe (with video instructions, too!).

Parsley-Garlic Chimichurri

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley with softer stems
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Roughly chop the parsley with a knife. This will make processing easier. Add parsley and garlic to food processor and pulse a few times to mince. Add remaining ingredients and pulse a few times more. Slowly pour oil through the food processor chute while tapping the pulse button. Just pulse enough so that everything is mixed. 

If you like the crisp taste of parsley, use sauce immediately. Letting it rest in the refrigerator overnight will balance out the flavors. 

Use as a marinade or with roasted vegetables or mix with a little vinegar and oil for a salad dressing. You might want to eat this on a day when you won't have to socially interact with anyone face to face. Adapted from this chimichurri recipe.

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from Farm...to Table

I like E.A.T. South and I like what ya'll are doing. E.A.T. South helped in our transition to featuring locally procured lunch specials. I don't think I would have thought about this stuff if it weren't for your presence here.

- Bob Parker, Owner at Dreamland BBQ and Railyard Brewing Co.

This week we sat down with Bob Parker, owner of two of Downtown’s favorite restaurants: Dreamland BBQ and Railyard Brewing Co.

Beth Anne: Thanks for sitting down with me to give perspective from a restaurant owner in this movement to promote local food. What would you identify as barriers that exist for restaurants to buy from local farms?

Bob: Cost. Convenience. Having it brought to the restaurant. I don’t mind having to pick it up twice a week at different places. We go to the farmer’s market on Coliseum Mondays and Thursdays and we get fresh local Catfish on Fridays from Destin Connection. We haven’t been doing stuff like that on our regular menu, it’s all special.

BA: So Railyard hasn’t always featured a local special. What influenced this transition?

Bob: I like E.A.T. South and I like what ya’ll are doing. E.A.T. South helped in our transition to featuring locally procured lunch specials. I don’t think I would have thought about this stuff if it weren’t for your presence here.

BA: So E.A.T. South played a pivotal role in that?

Bob: I drive by your farm every day coming into town. I don’t think our produce comes from you guys but it’s that reminder that-hey, there’s something happening-there’s food local that we can get that’s good. I wish we could do more, I wish we could do tomatoes seasonally, but they are so expensive. I think when we move our store we are gonna do some of that--we’ll put stuff on the menu that’s going to cost more money-maybe fried green tomatoes. I like what Randy from the A&P Social does-it makes me think about this stuff a lot. I like eating at A&P. Having Central and A&P use E.A.T. South-it helps. Those are the two places where I eat. I would say having those two promoting what they do on social media reminds me of it and then having Ms. Barbara who comes in every morning, Mon-Fri and cooks for us. She cooks, well you’ve had it. I think if you do that consistently for a long time, people start buying into it and participating. When we started about a month or two ago, we weren’t selling much but I think word gets out that hey-there’s a place downtown that’s serving a special every day that’s pretty good that’s not necessarily healthy but it’s locally sourced. We’re not trying to get people to eat unhealthy every day but--come twice a week. It’s something different that we can offer that incorporates some of the local produce and fish. We are not farm to table by any means in the sense that everything we do is like that but I think that would be a cool transition to make as we move over to our new store. With the local beer, I mean we are the only local brewery. If you want a locally brewed beer that was brewed last week you have to go to us.

BA: Do you feel like this focus on local is a movement that’s catching on or do we have a long way to go?

Bob: I don’t know if it’s a long way to go or just that it’s getting the people on board who would be interested in the first place. I think the market is the locally-owned restaurants.

BA: Well I think that’s our focus.

Bob: I’ve learned if you can get us involved in going down to the farm, that actually changes things. We got Randy to come brew beer with us that he will serve at his store--that makes it real.

BA: ...the connectedness….For us I think it’s not so much about moving our produce because our production is very small but it’s about moving local farmers' produce and how we bridge that gap with people.

Bob: With us and them. I don’t know any farmers besides yall.

BA: Yea, to me that’s our role. We know the farmers and we know the restaurants. So we have to find the common space to bridge those connections.

Bob: I think for us some of it’s price-point driven but it's possible to do it as a special. That way we don’t have to buy much and we are able to serve it for a couple of days.

BA: Well and I think as a restaurant owner, it may be possible for you to get to know the farmers and have a conversation with them and be able to work out a deal with them. I think having those relationships is what’s unique about promoting our local economy. You can’t have those conversations and relationships…

Bob: ...with a guy in California. Unless I go there, which I can’t.

BA: Exactly.

Bob: I’d like to go visit some farms. I’d like my people to go see that because ya know, we are city folks now. I grew up in the country with a garden and getting my hands in soil every day but I never do that any more. My kids don’t do that.

BA: I think it would be cool too, and this is big picture down the road, but to maybe have monthly visits with restaurant owners/chefs to go visit a farm and see what they do and see what they have to offer. Maybe even do a little work for them. I like the idea of building the local grower and seller relationship.

Bob: You guys need to be an advocate for the farmer to us. Otherwise, I’m not going to know or be excited about their produce. I would like to have a pig farm one day. I don’t know what that would look like--I don’t want to run it, I don’t want to be a pig farmer. I just want Dreamland to have locally-sourced meat, if I could work that out. I’d like to find a partnership with a pig farm. Maybe it’s a special on the menu. That’s a big picture dream because it’s one of those things that might not be profitable but it would be really cool.

BA: Well I hope that dream comes true! I also think it would be cool. I want to thank you for your time and valuable feedback. I hope this is the beginning to a larger conversation between farmers and restaurants.

 

You can like Railyard and Dreamland on Facebook! Make sure to stop by Dreamland for some famous barbecue and stop by Railyard for the locally-sourced lunch special and the freshest batch of beer in town!

Railyard Brewing Co. is the ONLY brewery in Montgomery. 

Railyard Brewing Co. is the ONLY brewery in Montgomery. 

I stopped by Railyard for their Friday lunch special featuring fresh and local catfish, collards, black-eyes peas, sweet potato and freshly brewed Oktoberfest beer.

I stopped by Railyard for their Friday lunch special featuring fresh and local catfish, collards, black-eyes peas, sweet potato and freshly brewed Oktoberfest beer.

 

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