Friday, May 27, 2011

Slow Beer

Hello everyone!

I wanted to announce that the Slow Food Beer Event is official! On Saturday June 11th, we'll be joining Brian Gilbert, Linfield professor and brewmaster, for an informative presentation about the art and science of brewing. Following the presentation, we'll be getting a tour of Heater Allen Brewery here in Mac with Rick Allen, and he'll be tasting Heater Allen beers afterward! Are you excited yet??

All the specifics are posted on the events calendar page... just click on the tab above! Please spread the word!

And to wet your appetite, check out this article in the latest edition of MIX magazine. If you haven't run into MIX before, it's a really great resource for those who imbibe, and would like to do so locally. Every month there are features about local beer, wine, spirits, and food that will give you great ideas for your next outing, or, in the case of this article, home (brewing) projects! Nate Query, bassist for the Portland based band the Decemberists, gives us the 101 of homebrewing, and makes it look easy and fun (which it is!).

If you have questions or want to RSVP for the SFYC Beer Event, contact Beth at

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plans for Your Thursday Night?

Hi everyone!

Summer is poking its head out of the clouds today, and gosh does it feel good. Hopefully you all have a chance to enjoy the sunshine!

I wanted to remind you all about a great event happening right in downtown Mac this week. Katherine Cole, author of Voodoo Vinters, will be visiting Third Street Books tomorrow night along with five area wine makers. The discussion will center on biodynamic winegrowing in Oregon. I wrote about Cole’s book a couple of weeks ago now. You can find the original post and event details here.
This is sure to be a fun and informative event. So, if you don’t have plans tomorrow night, mosey on down to the bookstore! Event starts at 7 pm.


On a different note, I wanted to apologize for not writing a lot lately. Honestly, I have used up my stores of foodie book reading and (hopefully) clever commentary… so I’m spending a little time refueling. Here are a few things for you to look forward to on the blog in the coming weeks:

More book reviews!
Currently on my reading shelf:

The Resilient Gardener, by Carol Deppe
The River Cottage Cookbook, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Get Cooking, by Mollie Katzen
Plenty, by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon
and more!

Upcoming events!

The Art and Science of Brewing with SFYC
featuring Heater Allen Brewing, from right here in Mac!

The Coop Tour!

A July farm tour

SFYC’s 100 Mile Diet Experiment

Ongoing Blog Projects

“Fruit of the Month”
It’s getting close to fruit season in Oregon! Each month we’ll feature a fruit, offering recipes and sourcing ideas to help you take advantage of summertime bounty.

Beth and Erik’s 100 Mile Diet
Yep, Erik and I will be guinea pigs for you all! Our plan is to eat a 100 Mile Diet for the entire month of August. I’ll be blogging about it regularly, as we plan for, cook, and (hopefully) enjoy living on foods produced in a 100 Mile radius of McMinnville.

As always, I welcome your commentary and feedback. Leave a comment on a post and contribute to the conversation! Follow our blog on your Google account! Send the link to friends! And as always, let me know what you want to hear! I’m always looking for new blog topics and materials. If you find something or have an idea, feel free to leave it in the comments or send me an email:

Thanks! I hope you stay tuned!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bring Your Boots! Come Out to the Farm!

Hi! So I thought I had posted this back on Wednesday... but apparently it didn't stick up here. Sorry for the late notice!!

Despite the fact that the spring weather can't seem to make up its mind, Slow Food is super excited about our first farm visit of the year! We'll be out at North Valley Farm in Yamhill, learning all about grassfed lamb and fiber.

The tour will get underway at 11:15 or so, followed by a potluck out in the field! Our lovely hosts are providing a delicious lamb dish to share, and we would love to see you out there! Bring your boots, perhaps your rain gear, a dish to share, and a smile!

Further details, directions, and contact information can all be found on our Events Calendar Page--just click on the tab above.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Next Weekend

Slow Food is hosting it's first farm tour of the season next weekend! We will be visiting North Valley Farm out in Yamhill. North Valley Farm specializes in heritage breed grassfed lamb as well as fleeces and yarn. You can read more about their farm at their website! Details of the event can be found on our events page (click on the tab above).

We're really excited to have the chance to learn about North Valley's unique enterprises! Please join us!

Have a good weekend, all.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Cramp in My (Planting) Style

Hello all,

Well, the sun is here! (At least for a while.) My planting bug is definitely in high gear, and I thought I'd talk this week about some of the challenges I've faced with learning how to garden in town--in pots, on balconies, and in other places that kind of cramp my style.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the country, and we almost always had a large garden right out the kitchen door. Now I’m hitting a pretty steep learning curve trying to grow in small and less-than-ideal spaces. Currently I live in an apartment with an indoor cat that loves nothing more than to destroy every other living thing that enters our door. I do have a balcony, but it gets pretty limited light while simultaneously getting baking hot on summer afternoons. And (this is the hardest part for me) any time I do want to plant it takes an awful lot of planning: I have to buy potting soil and compost, which seems absurd somehow; I have to figure out what to plant things in; I have to adjust to harvesting just a few leaves of lettuce at a time, not baskets. I also have to think carefully if I plant anything that isn’t hardy, as it will have to live in my bedroom all winter, with almost zero light and constant threat of feline meddling. Blurg. So not ideal for someone who wants to grow things, and who tends to plant with spontaneity rather than forethought (I’m working on that).

Thankfully, there is a community garden in McMinnville. For a minimal input of money and monthly volunteer hours, I have access to a little less than 100 square feet of growing space. The soil is a bit tired and clumpy, and until very recently was quite swampy. Still, I grew a lot of food in that row last summer, all while working two jobs and leaving the plants mostly to their own devices. This year I’m hoping to do better—starting some of my own plants and hoping to extend my harvest with some succession plantings. I’m also itching to do some winter gardening (I really do love kale an awful lot).

In reality, and despite my wining, I have a pretty great situation for someone living in town that wants to grow food (a community row and a balcony?). Not to mention that we have a great farmer’s market all summer, so I don’t need to worry about growing gobs of stuff—I’m mostly growing because it’s fun and rewarding. Still, I’m struggling to learn how to do all of this. I thought today I’d share a few things I’ve been learning about gardening when you have limited time and space. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there, and if you have any advice for me (and others like me), I’d love to hear it!

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

The first thing I’ve done is to start an herb garden. Herbs are sturdy plants, fairly straightforward to grow, are less susceptible to pests and disease, and pack a major culinary punch. It only takes a couple of branches of fresh oregano to make a pasta sauce stand up and take notice, and a single sprig of fresh rosemary will perfume a bean soup. They also do very well in pots, and most are hardy enough that I won’t have to cart all of them inside come November. Currently I have rosemary, lemon thyme (delicious!), mint, oregano, and chives. I’m already planning on adding sage, as well as Moroccan mint, anise hyssop, chamomile, and lemon balm (for teas), and maybe lavender and nasturtiums. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep them all going, and even harvest extra to dry for the winter pantry!

Second, I’ve started some greens. Greens have shallow root systems, grow quickly, and don’t mind being in containers. Plus, there are an amazing number of varieties grow! Right now I have baby arugula, and I’m planning on adding small-headed romaine and some loose-leaf lettuces to the mix (my cat destroyed my first flat, so I’m starting over again). I might also add some beets and radishes for their leaves: they make great spicy additions to salads.

Third, I’m planning on rounding up some large pots to grow cucumbers and summer squash out on my balcony. These guys sprawl a lot, taking up space in my community row that I’d rather give to tomatoes, potatoes, and stuff for the winter garden. Luckily, I have learned that they don’t mind containers, and can be trained vertically so they don’t take up too much space. I’m excited to also add nasturtiums to the mix: edible and colorful and easy to grow. That’s pretty much the mantra for small space gardening, I think.

There is a lot to learn about small-space gardening. Luckily, thanks to the local food and DIY movements, there is also a lot of information out there. Almost all gardening magazines address issues of limited time and space; there are a number of blogs that are written by folks living in cities who are gardening on windowsills, balconies, and in their bathrooms; and, of course, there are a bunch of great books out on the subject. Below is a list of resources that I’ve been utilizing.

If you have any other resources (or hints or tips for us small-spacers), feel free to post them in the comments!
Happy growing!

Apartment Gardening, by Amy Pennington
(This author lives in Seattle, and is familiar with both our rainy climate and the challenges of urban spaces.)

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries
, by Andrea Bellamy
(Good advice for the vegetarian and vegan crowd in addition to the aspiring small space gardener.)

The Edible Front Yard, by Ivette Soler
(For those of you who have yards, this is the guide to making that space produce for you!)

Grow Great Grub, by Gayla Trail
(Another good starter guide to gardening in containers.)

The Heavy Petal Blog
(Great advice for urban gardeners of all types, including those who want to grow food and ornamentals.)

Organic Gardening Magazine
(At times fluffy and unfocused, but this standby has shifted focus to address an urban audience.)

Urban Farm Magazine
(A new publication out on food production in urban areas.)