Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alice Waters support for The Healthy Schools Act

Right now there is burgeoning movement towards incorporating healthy food, gardening and environmental stewardship into the DC Public School curriculum. We have been involved in a few small projects over the years. Currently we are collaborating with new and old friends and colleagues and working on a couple school/ garden /health projects that we hope will be pilot programs that can be replicated throughout the country to holistically improve health of school children (more about all that as the projects develop).

Simultaneously The Healthy Schools Act of DC introduces exciting legislation that contains many important Farm to School initiatives, as well as other initiatives designed to improve the health and well-being of District school children and to “green” District schools.
At the end of last week there was a hearing for the Healthy Schools Act. Alice Waters wrote a statement in support of the act:

For over a decade, I have had the privilege to witness the extraordinary and undeniable effects of an edible education on children. The Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley runs a teaching garden and kitchen that are integrated into the curriculum of the school. Through the years, we’ve learned an incredible lesson: when children grow it and cook it, they will eat it. And not just eat, but enjoy themselves at the table with their classmates and teachers. Then they graduate, and extend these values about work and the environment into their community and out to the world.

We’re not alone in Berkeley! There are programs all over the country that are working to bring all children into a new relationship with food, and in each case- whether it be in New Orleans or Los Angeles- the resoundingly positive results are the same.

From our experience at the Edible Schoolyard, my colleagues and I now understand the qualities of our program that are key to its success. First, the interaction between the garden and the kitchen is profoundly important. When children see a seed transform from the soil and end up on their plate, they make the connection between nature and their own health. And, as with any case in education, the teaching staff plays a pivotal role. It is essential to have a dedicated garden and kitchen staff, and not just for the ensured maintenance of the land. These teachers connect the subjects the children are taking in school to the garden and kitchen classrooms. They are the stewards of a simultaneous education, one in which the planting of seeds breathes life into the math lesson, or the pounding of wheat enlivens the history class.

The Healthy Schools Act understands the whole vision of schools as guardians of our children’s health. Among other things, it sees that right there, in the middle of every school day, lie time and energy already devoted to the feeding of children. We have the power to turn that daily school lunch from an afterthought into a joyous education, a way of caring for our health, our environment, and our community. When this legislation takes effect in Washington, D.C., it will signal best practices to all of us and pave the way for our nation to follow suit.

Alice Waters
Founder, Chez Panisse Foundation
Owner, Chez Panisse Café and Restaurant
March 26, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Quick trip to Mexico

We got back from a four night trip to Mexico on Wednesday night and dove right into a busy work schedule. Over the weekend we did flowers for a large wedding at the Fairfax Hotel in DC and had a great group at the house for a Home Restaurant.
Before it become too distant a memory I want to share some information and fabulous contacts from our trip...all very highly reccomended.
Flew direct from Dulles to Cancun, rented a car and drove about 2 hours south to Tulum.

-La Via Laktea,ideal for us, isolated and pristine. Our palapa opened onto the sea, we slept with the sound of the ocean and the hospitable owner served delicious coffee in the morning.
-Hechizo, outstanding dinner in walking distance from La Via Laktea. The Chef comes to the table and discusses available ingredients and how to prepare them to best meet your desires.
-La Flor de Michoacan, a cafe with the most amazing assortment of house made popsicles I have ever seen including pineapple chili, tamarind, guanabana, rambutan...
-hand-made tortillas with fresh guacamole and habenero salsa, pretty much everywhere
-fresh coconuts, red papaya and mango with lime, chili and salt, all available from street vendors in every small and large town
-Sian Ka'an Biosphere, a protected area you cannot enter without a guide...we were lucky to meet Fernando Rosado who shared his extensive knowledge of Sian Ka'an with us. He is happy to set up excursions based on your individual interests, soleil_playe10@hotmail.com. Fernando is an expert on the flora and fauna or the area as well as Mayan culture.
-Coba, rent a bike, get a guide, arrive early before the crowds
-Cinote Dzitnup, beyond refreshing...not over developed...there are many others in the area that I am sure are also fantastic, would like to spend time exploring more!
-Chitzen Itza, go early which might require spending the night in the area, we stayed at Hacienda Chiten, go into the nearby town of Piste for dinner. Try to get a private tour with the older guide named Pedro (I have misplaced his phone number but will add later if I find it...just by asking at the site you could locate him) who is an enthusiastic world traveler, knows Chitzen Itza thoroughly, is obsessed with the Mayans and full of engaging theories about not only the Mayan culture but also world history.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Snapshots from the last few days in and around Sian Ka'an, Mexico...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bake-In NYC!

A good friend of mine shared this with me. Her good friend Elizabeth Puccini was unwilling to sit idle while the school she sent her young child to, and others throughout the city, were not going to allow home-made foods at school fundraisers and instead encourage the sale of Doritos and Pop Tarts! I wish I could be in New York on Thursday to join. This is the Press Release...

Contact: Elizabeth Puccini Tel: 212-674-7408 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Cell Phone: 917-620-5577 MARCH 11, 2010 Email: ecini@yahoo.com
BAKE-IN RALLY AT CITY HALL THURSDAY, MARCH 18TH, 4-6PM To Protest New Chancellor Regulation Banning Home-Baked Foods from School Fundraisers While Allowing Doritos and Pop-Tarts Instead
On February 24, 2010 the Panel for Educational Policy was scheduled to vote on revisions to the Chancellor Regulation A-812 banning home-made foods from school fundraisers while permitting Doritos and Pop-Tarts instead. One mother, Elizabeth Puccini, stayed until 11:35pm to voice her opposition to the Regulation. She warned Chancellor Joel Klein and the members of the Panel that should the revisions pass, they would “incur the anger of many parents.” The Panel voted unanimously in favor of the revisions.
Now Elizabeth Puccini, whose child attends The Children’s Workshop School in the East Village, is organizing with other parents a “Bake-In” down at City Hall in Park Row Plaza (1 Centre Street) on Thursday, March 18th from 4-6pm to let the Chancellor and the Panel members see for themselves parents’ outrage. The rally will have one table featuring the approved DOE food items and another table featuring home-made foods cooked by parents and their children. The ingredients of all the foods will be on display so that the public can decide for themselves which treats are healthier for children. Hundreds of parents from all over the city are expected to turn out.
Council Member Gale A. Brewer will be attending the rally. In 2009, Council Member Brewer introduced Resolution 2300, calling on the Department of Education to amend Chancellor’s Regulation A-812, in order to repeal the City’s ban on the sale of baked goods from schools. Council Member Brewer will be reintroducing this resolution at the March 25, 2010 Stated Council meeting and will be seeking a public hearing on this important issue.
At the bake-in, parents will be echoing Council Member Brewer’s call to repeal the Regulation and to allow home-made cookies and banana bread back in the schools. Parents will also be asking the Chancellor to make parents part of the discussion when it comes to their children’s health. Parents want the Department of Education to understand that they know what’s best for their children, not Pepsi Cola or Kellogg’s, which are the major beneficiaries of the new Regulation. Parents strongly feel that junk food has no place in our public schools and is certainly not the solution to fighting childhood obesity.
Press is invited to attend the rally at 4:30pm when parents and children will be speaking about the harmful consequences of the new Regulation, why bake sales with home-made foods are so critical to preserving music and arts programs during a time of severe budget cuts, and what the Department of Education can do to genuinely improve children’s health.
If you’d like more information about the bake-in or to schedule an interview, please call Elizabeth Puccini at 212-674-7408 or email Elizabeth at ecini@yahoo.com. You can also obtain information about the rally and a copy of the regulation at nycgreenschools.org.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mid March at 1508

Last night we had a bunch of firsts...all first time Home Restaurant guests, first of the season- shad roe, morels, fiddle head ferns and a sparkling wine that we were the first to serve in the US! Thank you to everyone who joined, we enjoyed your company.

March 13, 2010


Shad Roe with Mustard, Lemon and Arugula Micro Greens
Salsify with Caramelized Onion
Shiitake and Leek Soup
Arepas with Avocado and Cilantro
Roasted Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted Parsnips

Bay Leaf Martini
(Ch. de Roquefort) Cotes de Provence ROSE 'Corail' 2008
wine notes-Corail’ is the domaine’s rosé and it has classic Provencal characteristics: bright strawberry/ raspberry fruit with a lively palate and a clean finish. The wine is made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan and Clairette.


Smoked Chicken Broth with Handmade Noodles and Red Spring Onion

(Tessier) Cheverny Rouge 2007
wine notes-Philippe Tessier started working with his father at a young age and took over the domaine in 1988 when his father retired. Certified organic since 2004, every parcel is harvested by hand and vinified individually, with natural yeasts. Cheverny is in the north central Loire valley, pretty much in the middle of no-where.
The wine is mostly pinot noir with some gamay noir. It is terrific with food. Flavor is tart cherries, plenty of fruit, but not a hint of sweetness.

Black Walnut Toast with salad of Fiddlehead Fern, Black Radish, Sunflower Shoots and Fennel

(Dom. du Bagnol) Cassis Blanc 2007
wine notes-Jean-Louis Genovesi has a jewel of an estate on the French Riviera in the charming town of Cassis. This bold white wine is a blend of Marsanne (50%), Clairette (35%) and Ugni Blanc(15%). Another great versatile wine to pair with food.

Braised Short Ribs with Morels, Small Potato, Baby Carrot, Baby Beet and Pea Shoots

(Ch. Les Valentines) Cotes du Provence Rouge "Le Punition" 2007
wine notes-This winery was begun by Gilles and Pascale Pons-Massenot in 1997. They sold their graphic design firm in Paris to move to Provence and work with the land. They wanted to begin making wine immediately, so purchased a 100 year old estate (gorgeous land!), whose previous owners always sold the grapes to the local co-op. When the Pons bought the 10 hectare (24.7 acres) of vineyards, there was no winemaking facility. They built a modern winery, and called the domaine Les Valentines after their children, Valentin and Clémentine. They now have 23 ha (ca. 57 acres) of vineyards in AOC Côtes de Provence on clay silex soils. The soil is worked mechanically (no synthetic chemicals are used, the fertilizer being Alpine sheep dung!) and the harvest is by hand.
This wine is about equal parts Mourvedre, Syrah, Cab Sauv, Carignan and Grenache.

Winnimere Cheese and Olive Oil Cracker

Avocado Lime Ice
(Grange Tiphaine) Nouveau Nez - Pet'nat Montlouis 2008
wine notes-Damien Delecheneau is a young enthusiast who is doing precision work at his family's Domaine just outside of medieval Amboise in the Montlouis appellation, having taken over from his father in 2002. 'Everything comes from the vines,' ... he explained his philosophy of careful triage (4 times through the vineyard before the vintage) - using the best quality grapes so as to not have to touch the wine - no yeast, no enzymes, never chapitalized (meaning no sugar added).
This sparkling wine, from Montlouis, across the river from Vouvray, is all chenin blanc. Last night was the first time it was served in the US!

Chocolate Biscotti Tart with Coconut Cream, Fresh Oranges and Vin Santo

Lavender Oatmeal, Pistachio Cardamon and Bay Leaf Vanilla

Thursday, March 11, 2010

sowing the first outdoor seeds of the season

I did not plan to plant this week...but, the seductively beautiful weather and the promise of rain towards the end of the week caused a change in plans.

Monday we planted our first seeds of the season outside. We planted a bunch of greens including: Magenta Spreen, a few varieties of spinach, arugula, curly red mustard greens, endive and cress. We also put in a bunch of peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas.

Prior to planting we turned the cover crop that we planted in the fall back into the soil. We also amended the soil with our own compost and worm castings. We grow a lot in our small space and the soil needs to be fed to keep the plants growing.

Today we decided that we are going to give a significant amount of space to sorrel this year. Every year we grow more sorrel and we never have enough. But for now we have to pause for a moment, it will be a few weeks before we see sprouts and at least that long until we can plant additional seeds that require warmer night time temperatures to germinate.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Abby Greenawalt's Photos of Eco Friendly Foods Beef Harvest

These were the ten photos of Abby's that we displayed at 1508 on March 4th, 2010.

Bev Eggleston, of Eco Friendly Foods, encourages visitors. He claims one of the major problems, as it pertains to our food system, is lack of transparency. Bev maintains, “that if large slaughterhouse practices aren’t witnessed, then they sure shouldn’t be eaten”. We were privileged to observe a ‘slaughter day’, where six cows were harvested for food.

Photographer Abby Greenawalt traveled with us to document the process. We observed cows being killed for food, the artisan approach of hands on animals and the give and take of life in the production of food. Abby’s images stand in contrast to the usual slaughterhouse pictures that depict systematic factory food processing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Last Night, Abby's Photos of Eco Friendly Food Havest at 1508

At 1508 last night we exhibited 10 photos that Abby Greenawalt took of an Artisinal Beef Slaughter at Eco Friendly Foods. A diverse and engaged group attended.

This project is very meaningful to us. Through pollution and the use of antibiotics the present corporate factory farming system effects all of us whether or not we choose to eat meat. Lots of people are aware there is a problem but few offer solutions. Eco Friendly Foods is an exception. Their small slaughterhouse model could be duplicated to provide healthful and affordable meat in place of the present predominant factory farm. Bev of Eco Friendly Foods says that part of this model requires transparency of the process so consumers can know what they are ingesting. We were fortunate enough to witness the harvest first hand and our hope is that these photos can share what we witnessed.

We are committed to this sharing of information and discussion. We are fortunate that Bev is doing the work he is doing and we have access to the product of his labor.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March at Wollam Gardens

Pulsatilla Flowers

Bob Wollam from Wollam Gardens stopped by this afternoon with a variety of beautiful flowers and branches he had grown.

He delivered beautiful curly willow that I plan to use to cover the poles on a chuppah for a March wedding and gifted me all sorts of beautiful and interesting flowers and foliage...a delicate spray variety of pussy willow, some almond branches that should bloom shortly, a fat variety of pussy willow, the most beautiful tall lavender colored sweet pea, an orange ranunculus (hopiong these will be available for my wedding in a couple weeks) and two pulsatillas also known as pasque flowers that I have seen before and Bob is growing for the first time this year.

In addition to what he brought the farm is bursting with early season offerings including faciated willow, anemone and calancho. I am so happy to have local flowers again after missing them for the last few months.

This month he will be planting temptress poppies, stock, sweet peas, freesia, lilies, delphinium, snaps and queen annes lace. All of these flowers can be planted in unheated areas with just row covers to protect them until it gets a bit warmer. Bob promised to bring me some of the fabric for row covers so I can start planting salad greens under them right now.

He said the first heavy snow in December collapsed 2 temporary hoop houses because it fell so quickly and was so heavy. But the later big snow actually has been helpful. The snow acts as an insulator almost like a big blanket keeping what it is underneath it at a steady 32 degrees even if the air temperature falls way below freezing. I also learned that snow is full of nitrogen and therefore acts as a natural fertilizer.

Many of the flowers he has planted especially peonies and other tubers need the cold in order to develop properly...on the other hand if the temperature of the soil goes below 20 degrees many crops will be damaged. Extreme cold uses lots of energy which is both expensive and wasteful. With the cold temperatures lately the snow has helped with keeping some things warm and it has not been necessary to use as much energy as it otherwise would have been.

In the next week or so he expects Dutch iris and freesia to be available.

Tonight I am enjoying my two pulsatilla flowers. Sounds like he will have something new every week and he will be bringing it to sell at the Dupont Fresh Farm Market.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Events at 1508

We have a few upcoming events this month…
This Thursday, March 4th we are having an Open House, Abby Greenawalt's photos of a Beef Harvest at Eco Friendly Foods will be on display. Please join us for some food, wine and discussion…
Thursday March 4, 7:00 – 9:00, 1508 6th Street, NW

March Home Restaurant Dates are Saturday March 13 and Saturday March 27

We continue to get excellent produce from Path Valley Cooperative including lots of greens like pea shoots, red rib dandelion, red kale…a large variety of beets and carrots, celeriac, parsnips, black salsify…Local Rockfish is still available through the end of March… we are looking forward to some early spring lamb, John has been making smoked chicken broth on the wood burning grillery with chickens from Eco Friendly Foods, we recently discovered an amazing American Cheese that is only available now through early spring called Winnimere from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont…

For those of you who have not joined us before:
We start with passing food and cocktails and then move to the dinner table for several courses with wines picked for each. Tom a wine importer with an incredible cellar helps us pick wines to go with each individual course to complement the food.

Reservations: sidraforman@gmail.com
Please share this email with any potentially interested diners. You can also choose a night of your own (other than the ones mentioned above) if you have a group of 10 or more. We can seat 20 for a seated dinner and can accommodate more for a non seated event.

Please advise if you have any food restrictions, vegetarians are more than welcome!

We rely heavily on farmers, a wine importer and other purveyors that we have worked with for years to source ingredients. This time of year we supplement our supplies with some herbs from our winter garden and micro greens we are growing inside. We are committed to using best food practices.