Author Archives: Vanessa

Growing hyperlocal ice cream flavors with Cultivate the City

On August 16, Slow Food DC and Snail of Approval winning Cultivate the City held an ice cream making demonstration in a slightly unusual location: the rooftop of a hardware store on Bladensburg Avenue! This particular rooftop has been transformed into the home base for an urban garden center and CSA that is changing how we think about growing food in dense urban areas.

Cultivate the City is the work of many people in the community, with Niraj Ray running the show and Dan Weisshaar managing the farm. Their focus is on maximizing growing potential by implementing vertical gardens and building a steadfast volunteer force rooted in existing communities. Cultivate now has 25 gardens throughout the city, a full-fledged CSA program for both produce and seedlings, and they’re always trying out new things including growing plants from the Slow Food Ark of Taste catalog.

For our H Street Farm rooftop garden tour and frozen treat session, Chef/Farmer Dan introduced us to lemon basil and melon sorbet and chocolate mint ice cream featuring herbs from their garden, of course. The delicious cantaloupe melon had been a volunteer that sprouted in the compost pile from last season! We also taste-tested papaloquelite (a common Mexican culinary herb that tastes a little like cilantro) and bitter melon (a fascinating and unusual plant that’s also full of nutritional value) along the way.

Also on the rooftop were three greenhouses and an aquaponics operation: a closed loop growing system featuring basil, tomatoes, and tilapia sharing the circulated water. (Fish fry later this fall, btw.) Niraj emphasized that some people have misconceptions about hydroponics being less flavorful than soil-grown, but this is because the hydroponic tomatoes we usually have access to have been shipped great distances. Produce that is picked at peak when fully ripe and fresh — including hydroponically grown veggies and herbs — and served immediately, locally, has absolutely the best flavor!

One of the major goals Cultivate aims for is to help people understand farming, gardening, and cooking as viable occupations.  The H Street Farm aggregates produce from their 25 gardens across the city and distributes it to CSA clients, local restaurants, and locals who volunteer with them. The business also focus on working with the communities around their gardens to help locals learn to grow their own food, offering services such as a home consultation for just $100 or the option to work at the farm for discounted CSA shares and event passes.

The ice cream was tasty, the garden beautiful, and Cultivate the City is truly Good, Clean and Fair! Check out Cultivate’s upcoming volunteer opportunities and events here.

Preserved strawberries and ground cherries!

Farm Tour, Lunch, and Cider Tasting at Linda’s Mercantile (Winchester VA)

Join Greenease and From the Farmer for a tour of David and Linda’s Lay’s Farm – Linda’s Mercantile!

Linda’s Mercantile, now in its 6th year, grows fresh produce and fruits. They are also home to five greenhouses they use to get a jump start on tomatoes and growing greens. Onsite is also an apple cider distillery, and their onsite market gives consumers access to home made pasta sauces and apples sauces using the farm’s own produce!

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At it’s simplest, From the Farmer is a service that brings the farmers market to consumers’ front door. We source fruits and veggies from local, family farms and deliver them directly to our customers in insulated baskets. Delivery occurs overnight, so that when you wake up your produce is waiting for you (we like to think of ourselves as the veggie milkman). Unlike a traditional CSA, we operate all year long; there’s no cost to join, no obligation to receive a delivery, and orders are customizable, too. It’s an awesome way to eat seasonal, super fresh, local produce, without giving up total control of your refrigerator! We also offer fresh local bread, and coming soon– local eggs!

Join us on Saturday, June 14 for a farm tour & lunch. The farm is approximately 1 1/2 hours from DC. We will be leaving DC (Dupont Circle) at 9am, and returning that evening by 5:00/5:30pm. The tour includes:

  • Roundtrip Transportation (Pick Up in Washington, DC – Dupont Circle)
  • Tour of Linda’s Mercantile farm and greenhouses
  • Tour of Winchester Ciderworks Distillary & Cider Tasting*
  • Lunch and beverages
  • A thank you gift from Greenease, From the Farmer and Linda’s Mercantile

*You must be 21 to attend the cider tasting component of the program.

 Purchase tickets here.

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 About the Chef:

Chef Amy Hakola is originally from Alabama and the mother of 2 very active boys. Amy attended the Opryland Hotel Culinary Institute in Nashville, TN working in all aspects of foodservice at the hotel. After her apprenticeship, Amy became a private chef which then led to a catering career. Along with her catering partner, Amy created a Savory Cheesecake line offered in various stores across the country including Neiman Marcus, Whole Foods and Zabars. After moving to Winchester Amy started Wild Flour Kitchens offering in-home cooking classes. Most recently Amy has teamed up with Linda’s Mercantile to offer take and bake entrees utilizing all that the farm has to offer.

Sponsored by Greenease & From the Farmer

With Special Thanks to Farmer David Lay from Linda’s Mercantile & Chef Amy!

 

 

Behind the Kitchen Door: Tour & Demo at Union Kitchen

Sunday, March 30th

2:00-4:30pm

Be the first to get a behind the scenes tour of Union Kitchen, DC’s first kitchen incubator where dozens of food entrepreneurs launch their businesses! We will get a chance to see many of them in action including the delightful Chris Johnson of Cured DC. Chris will lead a private demo of his marvelous charcuterie products. In addition to tasting what we make you will get a chance to purchase goodies to take home with you.

This price is a special offer for our partners of Slow Food DC. We are honored to support this organization and hope you will too. We will meet at the NoMa metro station to walk over together with the possibility of further exploring the neighborhood following the tour.

Have questions about Behind the Kitchen Door: Tour & Demo at Union Kitchen?

Contact Taste of Place

Click here to purchase tickets today!