When I was a freshman in college, my Saturday running path led me right past a farmer’s market. Each week I observed patrons in the market, coffee cups in hand, canvas bags hanging on their shoulders, conversing with friends, neighbors or farmers, seemingly having a pleasant time.
This was my first impression of the connection people could have to really fresh food. At that time in my gustatory path, I ate uninspired dorm food – cereal at least two meals a day, some over-steamed vegetables and iceberg lettuce salads.
When my dorm time ended I had to make culinary choices for the first time in my life.
Every spring I get excited about the start of the growing season. You may think that my name being Matt Flower drives this next statement, but really, I treat it as a family reunion. Each week old friends come back to visit — either nesting in the same woods, growing in the same spot, slithering by the same log or fluttering in the same area. One of my favorites friends of spring are the common violets — a small purple flower of the forest, field and lawn. Despite its common appearance and stature, the common violets is a giant among edibles. Packing as much vitamin C as a whole orange and the leaves are one of two wild plants topping the vitamin A charts, this flower makes a great edible.
Connecting people with both their community and their environment is at the heart of what we do. One of the ways we accomplish this is through sustainable food programs like these!
Looking for an economical way to stretch your dinner dollar and be more frugal with food? If you’re partial to poultry consider getting the whole chicken! This recipe for baked chicken meatballs is just one way to move beyond the breast and take advantage of the multiple meals you can get out of a whole bird. Want to get more creative? Then check out our hands-on Cooking Circle: Using the Whole Chicken class Monday, December 9th and learn how make chicken salad, curry, stock, and more!
Indian Mac' and Cheese, Corn Poha, Masala Chai. Are these delicious treats making your mouth water and your stomach grumble? If so, come check out this amazing cooking class offered at the Urban Ecology Center's Riverside Park branch next Monday, November 4th! You'll learn how to make and taste-test FIVE quick and delectable Indian vegetarian dishes from accomplished cook, Susan Pack.
Every fall, I see dozens of pumpkins put out as Halloween decorations, and I wonder if people realize the nutritional benefits from this wonderful squash cultivar. Saving the seeds for roasting and using the pumpkin "meat" for making pumpkin butter are my favorite uses - and as a bonus make wonderful gifts during this season of family get-togethers. How nice would it be to receive a small jar of pumpkin butter and nice loaf of home baked bread? I know I'd be jazzed! Each batch of treats comes out a little different every time I cook, but this tests my creative culinary skills. Here are two of my favorite recipes for you all to enjoy!
We are proud to be a community partner for "More Than Honey," a new documentary that is showing at this year's Milwaukee Film Festival, which occurs September 26th – October 10th. But what's all the buzz about? "More Than Honey," created by the Swiss filmmaker Marcus Imhoof, looks into the intriguing world of bees and their relationship with mankind, nature and our future. The film, full of close-up footage of bees and their hives, takes us around the world to see how honeybees are treated.
I love late May and June. So much. The garden is begging to be planted and late May is typically when you are able to harvest your first salad/veggies from the garden. There is something so satisfying about being able to harvest and wash veggies that have been grown in your gardening space. Oddly, I have always found it kind of bittersweet too. Sowing, watering and weeding your plants as they grow connects you to them and that piece of land. When I harvest that plant, I am grateful but I also left wanting more...that is why succession planting is so fantastic!
If you have visited the Washington Park Branch within the last three months, you have probably noticed the big map hanging up on the divider in the main classroom. And upon closer investigation you may have wondered what in the world our Young Scientists are doing by walking across America? Well, three months ago on Martin Luther King Day, we embarked on a grand adventure to walk across the country.
The Riverside Park Center was bustling last Saturday! The 11th annual Local Farmer Open House attracted approximately 1,000 people to our Riverside Park branch to meet local farmers and learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Visitors chatted with 17 local farmers as the farmers enthusiastically shared information about their farms, their philosophies, and the food they grow. The workshops, including: Introduction to CSAs, Cooking from Your CSA Box and Multiple Biological Effects from Low Level Pesticides in Foods, were packed and people were enjoying good food and good conversations throughout the day. Thank you to the farmers, the presenters, the food trucks, and to all of you who attended. Hope to see you next year!
Take a look at these photos from the event: