DIY skill training in eugene and beyond

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Resolved to improve your DIY skills this year?  Winter is the time!  Take advantage of rainy days in Eugene to attend one of many classes and workshops on gardening, keeping various helpful critters, or food preservation.

The Fun with Fermentation festival at the WOW Hall on January 12, 11:00-4:00, is now in its fourth year.  I’ll be holding a workshop on fermentation basics — making kim chi and sampling salsa and other goodies.  And that’s just the beginning! There will be plenty of fun, learnin’, and fermented food tasting for all.

The OSU Oregon Master Beekeepers program starts in Eugene on January 16, 2013. See their website for details about the apprentice program and class schedules.

The Lane County Extension Master Gardeners are beginning their annual certification training.  It starts Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 1685 W 13th (at Chambers) in Eugene. Here’s a taste of the schedule:

  • 8:30-11:30 a.m. is Tree ID with Steve Bowers;
  • 12:45-3:45 p.m. is Tree Fruits with Ross Penhallegon [in his last few months before retirement — congratulations, Ross!];
  • 3:45-4:15 p.m. is an informational meeting about the Pruning Specialist Program.

All MGs are welcome to sit in on classes, of course, but the public is welcome, too – $25 per class.

Another event:  Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 7 p.m. for the Master Gardener Seminar: Backyard Homesteading with Bill Bezuk. Note new location: EWEB North Building, 500 E 4th Avenue, Eugene. Free, bring a friend.

Lane/Douglas Counties Extension Master Food Preserver full certification class series will begin in April.  We’re taking applications now until March.  And don’t forget that Master Food Preserver winter workshops in Eugene are in full swing:

MFP Winter Saturday Special Classes:

Registration is now open for three 2013 Winter Saturday Specials workshops. Take one, two or all three of the classes. Cost per class is $25 if taken individually or take all three for $60. Print off the registration form and mail check made out to OSU Extension Service to 783 Grant Street, Eugene, OR 97402. Workshops are held at the Community of Christ Church, 1485 Gilham Road, Eugene from 10 a.m. -2 p.m.

  • January 12, 2013 – Soups & Stews: Learn to make Lamb Basque, Moroccan Chicken, and Irsh beef stews. Soups made will be Cambodian Sweet and Sour, Cuban Moros & Christianos, and Mexican Gazpacho. All served on rice. Credit card payment $25.
  • February 9, 2013 – Get a great introduction to the many varieties of beans and how to cook them even for dessert. Credit card payment $25.
  • March 9, 2013 – Discover many new whole grains and grain-like foods. Learn basic cooking techniques and ways to use grains in your meal-planning for health, economy and taste. Credit card payment $25.

MFP Spring Saturday Special Classes:

Registration is also open for three 2013 Spring Saturday Specials workshops. Take one, two or all three of the classes: Cheese Making, Fermentation, and Intro to Canning.

  • April 6, 2013 – Cheese Making: Learn the basics in this hands-on class. Make soft cheeses to taste and take home. Credit card payment $50.
  • May 18, 2013 – Fermentation: Learn tips on fermenting dairy, bread, pickles and other fermented delights. Hands-on class. Limited to 12 students. Credit card payment $50.
  • June 8, 2013 – Intro to Canning: Learn about equipment, tips for success, and what is safe to do at home and what is not. Credit card payment $20.
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thanksgiving in eugene 2012

In addition to the Fill-Your-Pantry event with local beans, grains, and produce available for bulk sale in Eugene (deadline to order ahead is today, event on Nov. 18), and the Holiday Farmers Market at the Fairgrounds beginning this weekend, you might be wondering what else is available for a local Thanksgiving supper in Lane County.  Well, wonder no more, and make your plans soon!

Poultry and Other Meats

  • Biancalana Pork Growers have their own turkeys and chickens this year, although I can’t find anything on their Facebook page.  Great sausage (try the apple-rosemary) for stuffing, too.  Email da915@comcast.net.
  • Boondockers Farm has succulent ducks and chickens.  More information on their website.  They might be able to make one more delivery run to Eugene?
  • Long Tom Grazing Company has pastured turkeys at $6.25 a pound. Every turkey comes with a bonus — free vegetables!  5 lbs. potatoes and onion and decorative gourds! All organically grown. Email ltgrazing@gmail.com.

Need help with your turkey preparation?  Call the annual Oregon Statewide Holiday Food Safety Hotline at 1-800-354-7319.  November 13 – 16; Tuesday thru Friday: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; November 19 – 21; Monday thru Wednesday: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Staffed by Master Food Preserver volunteers from Douglas and Lane Counties.

Pies

Visit these local bakeries/shops for more information about varieties. Plus, you’ll be able to sample some of the goods.

  • Mom’s Pies (traditional pies from a venerable Eugene baker)
  • Noisette Pastry Kitchen (traditional pies from our newest, wonderful bakery)
  • PartyCart (traditional pies to order, all local ingredients)
  • Red Wagon Creamery (ice cream pies and a layered ice cream cake, local ingredients)
  • Vanilla Jill’s (ice cream, frozen yogurt, and traditional pumpkin pies with sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free options)

Prepared Dishes for Takeout/Order Ahead

  • Ivy’s Cookin’ (vegetarian meals? I don’t see their menu on their website yet)
  • Heidi Tunnell Catering (from her post on the Food for Thought on KLCC Facebook page: “We’ve got a list of Thanksgiving items that folks can purchase from us. Items are all available a la carte from appetizers to the whole turkey (brined or roasted), sides, bread and desserts. Menus are available by a link on our website. Or they can come pick one up at our kitchen in Creswell we can also email menus as well. Orders are due on Sunday, November 18th; pick up happens the day before Thanksgiving and items come complete with cooking instructions.”
  • Marché Provisions (Beaujolais Nouveau tasting and lots of other goodies)

Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving:

  • King Estate (full Thanksgiving spread)
  • Govinda’s (vegetarian)
  • Marché for breakfast
  • EDIT: Excelsior (see comments)
  • EDIT: The Barn Light after 7 p.m. (sandwiches, full bar, coffee downtown: see comments)

Did I miss your favorite place?  Let me know (with as many details as possible, including contact information) what else is on offer for Thanksgiving in Lane County!

carts and a cold one TONIGHT!

The third annual Carts and A Cold One Cook-off at Ninkasi Brewery will be held tonight!  The festival is a benefit for Slow Food Eugene‘s programs: School Gardens Project, Farm to School, and Terra Madre Program.  Carts battling for supremacy: Vanilla Jill’s Frozen Yogurt, The Sandwich League, PartyCart, Rolling Stone Pizza, and Sammitch.  Way cooler than Faerieworlds, in my opinion, but I’ve never really been one for elven ears or excess vowels.  If you want a taste of what you’ll see, watch Whiteaker tastemaker Elliot Martinez on a short film from last year’s CACO.

Also: listen in on Food for Thought on KLCC today at noon with Laura and Ryan, who will host Farmer John Karlik of Sweetwater Farm.  They’ll discuss the local food movement, a new farmer’s market in the Fairmount neighborhood, and Sweetwater’s efforts to bring fresh produce to a low-income neighborhood in Springfield with LCHAY, WFFC, and Dari-Mart.

And a note to project managers: if you want me to promote your food-related festival in Lane County or thereabouts, send me a very short blurb (paragraph-length) and .jpg image like the one above at least a week in advance to my Facebook page or email at wellsuited [at] gmail [dot] com.  The easier it is for me to post, the more of a chance I’ll be able to do it.

sweetwater farm’s two new markets — and one partnership with dari mart!

Excited to learn that two of my favorite local farmers, Lynn Crosby and John Karlik of Sweetwater Farm/Good Food Easy CSA, are breaking ground yet again!  That’s Farmer John, above, at this year’s Fun with Fermentation festival.  Creswell-based Sweetwater Farm has two NEW farm stands, one in the Fairmount neighborhood at 19th and Agate on Sundays, and one in an unexpected place — outside the Dari Mart at 1243 Rainbow Drive (at Centennial) in Springfield on Wednesdays.

As excited as I am to see Sweetwater join together with a new local meat and poultry vendor Fair Valley Farm (Edited: some of the participants I listed earlier are not participating) at the Sunday market from 10-2:30, filling a void in our week full of markets, I’m even more excited about the Springfield market on Wednesdays between 4 and 6 p.m.

Why’s that, you say?

It’s not just because today, Wednesday, July 25, is their grand opening with cooking demonstrations and a kids’ activity area from 4:00-6:00 p.m…

It’s what this Springfield market represents: a growing movement to bring healthy and fresh local food to areas that don’t have easy access to fancy supermarkets and almost daily farmers markets like we do in South Eugene.  Dari Mart, a family-owned local company that also operates Lochmead Dairy, has almost 50 stores in the Willamette Valley, and we are so thankful for their interest in sustainability initiatives.  Last year, they formed a partnership  with several local non-profit organizations (including the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition and NEDCO (Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation) of Springfield) to improve good food access and fight childhood obesity in what are called “mixed-income neighborhoods.”  The organization spearheading the effort, Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY), notes that Dari Mart is a pioneer in this type of partnership, as there aren’t many mid-sized chain operators interested in connecting with local farmers and non-profits to introduce fresh produce and other healthy food to the convenience store.  You can learn more about LCHAY’s initiative called the Healthy Corner Store project, and more about Dari Mart’s efforts to bring fresh food to its customers, here.

Sweetwater Farm has been selling produce now for a few weeks at Dari Mart’s Centennial location, and Lynn tells me that it’s been going well so far.  Come make it even more of a success today, and enjoy their official grand opening!

And if your organization is interested in participating in a similar project or you’re looking to give these folks some welcome media exposure, LCHAY’s contact is Claire Syrett, Manager, Policy and Advocacy Initiatives, Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY), 541-682-4306, claire at lchay dot org.

breaking news for bite of eugene’s iron chef 2012!

Updated:  Congratulations to Chef Jeff Strom of Koho Bistro, Iron Chef Eugene 2012!

Don’t forget about the Bite of Eugene festival, tomorrow, Friday, July 20, from 3-10 p.m.

The Iron Chef competition will feature battles among four local restaurants:  Chef Codi Lapoint of Falling Sky Brewery and Chef Anthony Parshall of Lewis & Clark Catering will face Chef Adam Peterson of Wild Duck Café and Chef Jeff Strom of Koho Bistro.  (Edited to add: Previous reports that Chef Mike Meyer of Red Agave was a competitor were mistaken.)  Celebrity guest judges will include Boris Wiedenfeld, Lance Sparks, and last year’s Iron Chef Eugene, Chef Heidi Tunnell.  To give you a taste of what’s to come, check out some of the dishes in the championship battle of 2011!

And keep in mind that the action extends to sampling other eatery “bites” from local venues like Café 440, Cornbread Cafe, Davis Restaurant, Delacata, Excelsior, Falling Sky, Rabbit Bistro & Bar, and Wild Duck Café, Coconut Bliss, Divine Cupcake, and co-sponsor Lochmead Dairy. (if I missed anyone, let me know!)  A $5 suggested donation will support the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition. There will be plenty of bike parking, music, and an area for the kids.

tonight!!

From the Willamette Farm & Food Coalition:

Tuesday, October 18th, 6-9pm

The Davis Restaurant, 94 West Broadway

The Davis will share a percentage of all proceeds between 6 and 9pm with the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition.

Come for a drink, come for dinner, or come late for coffee and dessert!

The Willamette Farm and Food Coalition urges you to support restaurants that make it a priority to source food from local farms. In our EAT HERE NOW percentage night series, WFFC gives kudos to these businesses and helps to fill them on what is normally a slow night. In exchange, they contribute a percentage of proceeds to WFFC. It’s a win-win situation, and a fun win-win at that.

The Davis has been creating imaginative dishes with northwest ingredients for four years now. Their long bar, unique cocktail menu, and generous happy hours are all key to their happening neighborhood atmosphere.

benefit dinner at rabbit serves up boondockers and creative growers

Lovely fundraiser dinner for WFFC last night at The Rabbit. I got a chance to catch up with my friend and fellow Master Food Preserver Amy, of WFFC and Eugene Local Foods fame, and her husband Matt.  I met a tableful of new people, too.  I’ve been feeling a bit too cloistered, so it was nice to get out and talk to people from the community.

We started out with rabbit pâté bonbons, a fat cube of pâté frosted with foie gras, goat cheese, and some kind of delicious crunchies that may very well have been cracklins.  I am not ashamed to admit I ate about six of them.  Because seriously, WFFC dinner guests, I was NOT going to let those go back to the kitchen if you weren’t gonna eat them.

The tuna was seared and placed atop a nice little salad.  It wasn’t as good as, say, the silky watermelon gazpacho I had last week (and Chef Gil is letting me post the recipe — on to do list).  But it was bright and had enough nice acid to hold its own against the fresh albacore.

The Delaware chicken and Ancona duck were from Boondockers farm.  I had the pleasure of talking to Evan and Rachel, the farmers, and was really blown away by the conservation work they’re doing with the heritage breeds.  They actually breed the ducks on their farm instead of buying ducklings, and they’ve received a grant for an incubator and stock from venerable breeders.  Go ducks!  It’s really impressive and industrious.  They have been also working on other poultry species, including the chicken our chef served in a gallantine with an absolutely beautiful verjus mayo-ish concoction made with verjus, oil, and xanthan.  I was so happy to see the bed of red sweet and sour cabbage with the gallantine, what with my Eastern European fetish and all.

The duck was surrounded by small, jeweled vegetables from the other farm featured that night, Creative Growers, who provided most if not all of the produce.  I liked the addition of the slightly glazed chanterelle — it was like watching summer turn to fall right before our very eyes.  And don’t think we didn’t notice the various gizzardy bits in the sauce.  Pretty sneaky, delish!

The lamb, from Anderson Ranch at Long’s, was also delicious, a swirl of smoked jus jealously lurking around the real star of the show: a blackened, thick, smoked eggplant paste that set off the lamb perfectly. Oh, and the wines were really terrific, too, especially the Riesling matched with the gallantine.  The Lemelson was nothing to sneeze at, either.

And dessert was my fantasy, for the most part.  The pale rose caramel and glazed walnut were the only hint of sweetness.  A walnut cake and underripe seared peach were served with a peeled, marinated (I think) cherry tomato, like a full stop.

Thanks, Rabbit, Boondockers, and Creative Growers!  It was a wonderful meal and I so appreciate your efforts to improve the Eugene dining scene.  You’re doing fantastic work.