Category Archives: Metro DC Events

Non-SFDC events that are in line with what SFDC believes in

Urbana cooks up seasonal pasta with some young sous chefs

“It’s important to any good chef to use what’s grown nearby. It’s fresher and it tastes better,” Chef Ethan McKee explained to Ms. Burkett’s 3rd grade class as the group stood at the entrance to the school garden at Francis Stevens Elementary, with me, their FoodPrints* teacher, nodding enthusiastically and passing out harvest scissors. “That’s why today we’re going to use what’s growing in your garden to fill the raviolis and make the sauce for the fettuccine noodles. It’s early spring, so we have spinach and collards and fresh herbs to work with. If we were making pasta at my restaurant, Urbana, in the summertime, we’d be using lots of tomatoes. But it’s too cold for tomatoes to be growing now. Speaking of cold weather, what do you think we could use in the fall? Can anyone think of a fall vegetable?”

“Pumpkin?” a shy 3rd grader offered.

“Yes!” Urbana’s executive chef beamed, “It’s one of our most popular ravioli fillings in the fall. Nice work. Okay, now let’s get harvesting some spinach for our spring pasta!”

 

Twenty minutes later,  we were back in the FoodPrints teaching kitchen giving our hands a good scrub with soap and water before student groups dove hands first into the flour set up at the cooking stations around the room. Over the next two hours, the Snail of Approval-winning chef talked us through separating eggs, making the dough and then rolling it through a series of settings on the pasta machines he’d brought along, then cutting and filling our fresh pasta.

We were a good team: I washed and minced our garden harvest and cooked things up with lots of garlic for the ravioli filling (it was a FoodPrints class after all, and we always use lots of garlic) and the sauce while Chef Ethan moved about the room offering guidance and suggestions, pointing out how nice and smooth one group’s dough had become, complimenting another group on their patience as different students rolled it through the machine, smiling reassuringly at our parent volunteers who had never made noodles from scratch before. As Ethan dished up our freshly cooked up pasta, ours mouths all began to water, and I marveled at this wonderful 3rd year of partnership between a public elementary school, a nearby restaurant, and a local nonprofit.

Seriously, though, third graders making pasta from a pile of flour and eggs? How did it all come out?? 

Delicious!

 

*FoodPrints is the education program of FreshFarm, another DC-area Snail of Approval winner! If you’re interested in volunteering with FoodPrints classes at one of the program’s 13 DCPS partner schools, contact FreshFarm.

Bountiful Gardening

It may still feel like winter, but gardeners in the region have our sights set on springtime….

Last weekend, many hundreds of DC-area gardeners and food activists converged on Wilson High School in Tenleytown for Rooting DC — a free, day-long conference that has been going since 2008. SFDC has been a part of this event for a number of years, with board members hosting an info table and hands-on workshops on seed saving and pickling.

At this year’s RDC, board members Mark Haskell and Ibti Vincent led a group of nearly 50 beginning gardeners through the process of planning an urban, small space garden plot. The group shared ideas and anecdotes about selecting plants and configuring small spaces to maximize food production. From basic considerations about sunlight needs to more advanced planning for succession planting and interplanting for low-input, high-yield production, we looked at ways to keep our gardens growing through all four seasons. We offered suggestions to cut down on labor and costs, and to increase the likelihood of success in the garden for beginners: using some perennials and self-seeding varieties, limiting the number of crops during times we tend to be out of the area (deep winter, summer vacation), companion planting to deter pests without chemicals, and finding friends and neighbors to help with the garden. (Who are we kidding, they are tricks useful for experienced gardeners, too.) It was a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to using some of these strategies with our school garden partners in the coming year.

Interested in volunteering at a garden-based SFDC event and flexing your (experienced or aspiring) gardening muscles after a long winter? Sign up for our free SFDC monthly e-newsletter to keep up with events we’re planning.

Happy (almost) springtime, DC gardeners!

“All Roads Lead Back to Food” – Food Tank’s Third Washington, DC Summit

Partnering with the World Resources Institute and the George Washington University’s Sustainability Center, Food Tank hosted its third annual Washington, DC Summit on February 2.  With a nod to the political changes that emerged from 2016, the focus of this year’s summit was “Let’s Build a Better Food Policy,” offering perspectives and recommendations for improving food systems both domestically and internationally.  Once again, the summit featured an impressive line-up of speakers, moderators, and panelists touching on nearly the full spectrum of food issues, including food policy, trade, climate change, labor, infrastructure, nutrition, and food access.

Closely tied to food policy in the United States is the farm bill, an omnibus, multi-year law that governs a wide spectrum of agricultural and food programs.  With the farm bill up for renewal in 2018, speculation about how the new administration will shape this piece of legislation is off and running.  Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of the GW Sustainability Center, predicted there could be a push to “sharpen the knives” on the organic portions of the farm bill.  While this might have been a fairly easy cut several years ago, today more and more consumers are seeking out organic products, and companies are responding.  Anne O’Connor from Organic Valley, the largest farmer-owned organic cooperative in the U.S., pointed out that organics are a $43 billion industry and the fastest growing sector of the food industry.  Organic Valley alone is a $1 billion company working with 2,000 farmers across 35 states, producing only organic products.  This type of consumer driven demand, which now has the attention of major corporations, will not be easy for legislators to ignore.

Likewise, the popularity of farmers markets and demand for seasonally grown foods is also growing, but that demand must also be accompanied by consumer awareness of what it actually costs to produce food.  With more than two-thirds of farmers working second jobs just to make farming viable FRESHFARM Markets Executive Director Mike Koch, stressed that the perception of farmers markets as expensive flies in the face of economic reality.  As a small organic farmer herself, Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree knows these challenges firsthand.  Shifting more funds toward local food programs and infrastructure, said Pingree, is critical to keeping farms connected, solvent, and a viable option for new, young farmers.

Food access is another important and politically charged issue that will certainly be part of the next farm bill discussion.  Matthew Herrick, a senior Vice President at the public affairs firm Story Partners, noted that certain members of Congress are already proposing to decrease the budget of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), despite the program’s proven success in achieving the lowest rate of child food insecurity in our nation’s history.  Reduced federal funding for these types of programs could mobilize local governments to become more proactive, as exemplified by Washington DC’s Food Policy Council, which brings together stakeholders and government officials to discuss local food business, access to food and nutrition education, urban agriculture, and food-system education.

While many other threads emerged from the one-day conference, each speaker was clear that none of these issues can be considered in a vacuum.  To paraphrase the World Resources Institute’s Janet Ranganathanj, “All roads lead back to food.”

 

 

A Preview of What’s in Store for the Snail of Approval Party

rislogo1This year’s Snail of Approval Party is just around the corner – Saturday, April 18 at Ris – and in addition to celebrating a new batch of awesome Snail winners, there’ll be all sorts of goodies to enjoy!!  First, Chef Ris has prepared an incredible menu for all to enjoy, including:

  • Fresh Ricotta Gnudi-smoked tomato vinaigrette, spinach and lemon salt  
  • Mini Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with mustard cream
  • Eggplant Parmesan Sliders
  • Fried Scallops on Fried Lemon with tartar sauce
  • Goat Cheese, Fig and Olive Crostini
  • Deviled Eggs
  • An assortment of chocolate and lemon tarts
  • A specialty, seasonal cocktail

Plus, new Snail of Approval winner Port City Brewing Company will be pouring tastes of their local craft beers, and new winner Meat Crafters (formerly Simply Sausage) is providing samples!

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But the fun doesn’t stop there – we’ve got an amazing selection of products and experiences from our region available at our silent auction.  Check out the list below to find out what great items you can come  bid on:

  • Gift packs from Olio Olive Oil
  • A Staub Dutch Oven
  • A Growler Pack from Port City
  • A Tasting at Barrel Oak Winery
  • MOM’s gift certificate
  • A Fresh Farms Market Gift Basket
  • A Barrel Kit from Copper Fox Whiskey
  • A cooking class with Chef Mark Haskell
  • Fermentation Crock Pottery from Artist Marlisa Jeng
  • A Le Creuset Casserole Dish
  • An incredible array of cook books from Phaidon Books
  • Coffee Classes from Vigilante Coffee
  • Autographed Washington Capitals Player Card
  • Infield Box Tickets to a Washington Nationals Game
  • Glens Garden Market CSA Share
  • Mosser Glass Crystal Cake Stand
  • Gift Certificate from Route 11 Potato Chip Company
  • A night at Belle Meade B&B in Sperryville Virginia
  • Beehive Handmade: Pewter Measuring Spoons
  • Tickets to Contemporary Vegetarian Cuisine Cooking Class with the Guiding Knife
  • Wine Tour and Tasting at Chrysalis Vineyards
  • Group tour and tasting at South Mountain Creamery
  • Distillery Lane Ciderworks Cider
  • Book Lecture and Book Nora Pouillon at 6th & I

We hope you to see you there, so get your tickets now!!

Contributors Poster Snail 2015_Final_3-1

 

Oct 4: Volunteer at Common Good City Farm

    

Join Common Good City Farm and Slow Food DC for a day of Volunteering on the farm.  Common Good City Farm is a half-acre urban farm and education center growing food for low-income residents in Washington, D.C. and providing educational opportunities for all people to help increase food security, improve health, and contribute to environmental sustainability. Located in the LeDroit Park community, where one third of residents live in poverty, the farm grows over
5000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce to provide to the community.  But they need help do to so, so come join in in the harvest!
 

 When: Saturday October 4, 9:30am-12pm
Where: Common Good City Farm, V St NW between 2nd and 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 

Cost: Free, but space is limited so RSVP is requested, email shelu@slowfooddc.org

Find out more about Common Good on their website. We look forward to seeing you there!

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!

RECIPE: Pickled Lemon Rosemary Green Beans

With the help of a conference assistant, my fearless fellow food lover/SFDC board member/ace photographer, Shelu, and 30 avid novice pickle enthusiasts, this Saturday we made 60 jars of pickled cucumbers, beets, turnips, grapes, and green beans. Small batch, of course — this wasSlow Food workshop, after all.

rdc pickling workshop - march 2014

I guess with the recent rise of artisanal pickles in popular foodie culture I should not have been surprised that the hands-on pickling class sold out within hours of being posted on the Rooting DC website. But still. In case you missed the  session, the recipe for surprisingly tasty pickled grapes can be found here. And because I like you, Slow Food community, the irresistible pickled lemon rosemary green bean recipe is below.

Incidentally, this recipe makes one 8oz jar. (See? Small batch, but it scales up easily.) Adapted from a recipe in the Washington Post Food section, Sept 2010.

Combine in an 8oz jar:

  • ¼ cup + 2 TBSP water
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar

Once everything is dissolved, add in:

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled — ours was from nearby Claggett Farm
  • 1 thick strip lemon zest (I use a veggie peeler to make these)
  • clean green beans, ends snipped – as many as will fit

Add additional white vinegar as needed to be sure beans are submerged. Seal, shake a few times, and refrigerate for 1 week before devouring. A great way to use the bumper crop of beans I always seem to get in the garden. Great in a bloody mary or as an alternative nibble to olives.

What’s your favorite pickle recipe?

Contest: what are you doing with your summer bounty?

Calling all local foodies,

One of DC’s coolest farmers’ markets wants to hear what you’re doing with late summer’s bounty — the dishes you’re making with market ingredients — and they’ve got a prize to say thanks for sharing your seasonal creations….

Post your favorite Labor Day recipe using at least one ingredient you’ve bought at the Columbia Heights farmers market and enter to win a trendy “No Farms, No Food” cap! (All the cool kids are wearing ’em.) Whether it’s an original recipe or simply a photo of your creation and a link/credit to the original author, to be eligible you must note which ingredient(s) come from CHCM (and if possible which CHCM farm/vendor). Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, September 5th at midnight!

Entries can be:
1. Tweeted (@chfestivus)
2. Posted on CHCM’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/chfestivus)
3. Posted on CHCM’s blog (via the “comment” feature)

More details, as well as some recipe ideas to get you started, can be found here.

How tasty is YOUR tomato?

This past Saturday, I joined a panel of esteemed judges to taste some of the District’s most delicious homegrown tomatoes. The Tastiest Tomato Contest — the first event leading up to the third annual DC State Fair — took place at the Columbia Heights farmers’ market, and to delicious success. (The actual fair will be held near Barracks Row on Saturday, Sept 22. More details are here.)

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The most discerning tomato judge arrived just after the official panel turned in our comments….

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We were glad to learn that the seven-year-old connoisseur concurred with our assessment, and the awards ceremony proceeded as planned. Congratulations to John Andreoni, who walked away with this year’s “Tastiest Tomato” award (and a 1-year subscription to Washington Gardener Magazine) for his sweet yellow winner!

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The remaining tomatoes found their way into Chef Kenneth’s fattoush, enjoyed by many a passer-by at the market following the competition — no use letting good tomatoes go to waste!

Want to strut your gardening and/or culinary prowess at this year’s DC State Fair? From homemade pies and cupcakes to jams to pickles to homebrew to The Ugliest Vegetable contest, there’s sure to be an event to suit you. The full list of 2012 contests and sign-ups can be found here. It’s going to be delicious…. (And in case you’re wondering, there’s already a waiting list to be a judge for the pie tasting event.)

[Awesome photos courtesy of David Manuel.]