Growing Up: Seed to Plate

Sometimes the best childhood memories we hold are the simplest: riding a bicycle for the first time, attempting to win the 6th grade spelling bee and placing second, or being rewarded with your favorite warmed drink after working hard on a snow day. There is a moment in every adult’s life where we look back and wonder how much more simple things were in our youth when one day could be filled with never-ending amazement.

As our lens on the world gets older, we can sometimes feel the urge to make things more complicated then they need to be. It is then we need to remind ourselves that sometimes the smallest changes can have the greatest effect.  In our current food system we see ammonia being added to our meat to achieve a “more appealing pink“, chemicals previously being used in bombs for World War II as fertilizers for our crops, and heritage breeds of pigs are being considered “invasive”. Should the days of naturally pink meat, food grown from healthy soil, and healthy animals die with our memories?

As Cocina Campesina works on a menu full of tender love and care to incite those delightful memories of childhood, we request that you ask yourself: “what would your childhood self think of our food system today?”

A Message from Jim Brett of Slow Food Western Slope

ImageWestern Colorado’s North Fork Valley is under attack! The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has put 22 oil and gas lease parcels, totaling 30,730 acres, up for sale in August 2012. All of these parcels surround the Valley.

Act now! Use our template or send your own comments to the BLM before the January 9th deadline!

This Valley is an agricultural gem that embodies Slow Food’s principles of envisioning a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the planet, and good for those who produce it.

There are over 70 winemakers, farmers, orchardists, ranchers and agricultural businesses in North Fork Valley – all of which depend on good and clean water, air and soil. If oil and gas interests start production on these leases, the very lifeblood of the agricultural producers will be seriously threatened and probably ruined since the parcels include the watersheds of the entire Valley. And just as damaging, air pollution will engulf the Valley. This is totally unacceptable.

Because of the high concentration of naturally-grown and organic farms and the resultant rural quality of life that has existed for over 100 years, the North Fork Valley needs to be preserved. The growth and persistence of the Valley’s food/wine sector has stimulated growth in agri-tourism, which has sustained the Valley economically during the period of a national economic downturn. If oil and gas interests start production on these leases, the rural quality of life will be lost. We need to take action to stop this from occurring. The North Fork Valley is a prime example of a working sustainable economy, which would be sacrificed if the land were to change.

Anyone who supports sustainable agriculture must take a stand.

It is imperative to send comments to the BLM by January 9, 2012. Click here to send a message – feel free to personalize it.

Thank you,

Jim Brett 
Slow Food Western Slope

To learn more about what is at stake, visit:
Citizens for a Healthy Community
The Conservation Center
North Fork Fracking
Don’t Frack the Fork [Video]

Brighten your Spirits

Randa Duffy of The Speakeasy is a master mixologist by extension of a strong passion for food. Being rooted in cooking and baking ultraganic vegan cooking, she has the intense knowledge of putting flavor profiles in the spotlight. She specializes in hitting different parts of the tongue to accentuate the ingredients her liquid creations are rooted in. She achieved her start with humble beginnings and humor. By luck of a “free-box” she picked up a ridiculous William Sonoma bar guide book and plunged herself into a world of spirits. She combined her love of fresh local humane ingredients into her cocktails. Working her way up from friend tastings, private events, and now bar resident of The Handmade Homemade Marketplace. She is truly holistic with her ideology of drink essentials: knowing where it’s coming from and how it’s prepared.

The Speakeasy is full scale bar featuring organic and locally distilled spirits and liqueurs, and Colorado microbrews and homebrews, mixed with organic agave based sodas, homemade organic infused agave nectars, and other fresh, organic (and all vegan) ingredients.

I am honored to say that Randa Duffy will be in full charge of drink pairings for the launch meal. I hope this news brightens your spirits in a way that it has brightened mine.

Coffee in the Morning and Music in the Kitchen

The launch of Cocina Campesina is mirroring how I tend to start my day: dancing to some soulful sounds while anticipating my first cup of smooth caffeinated beverage. I proudly say that More Than This and Crema will get our first dinner off to a proper start, providing live music and coffee.

Crema

“When I think food justice, I think of giving justice to the food that you are preparing. We get these amazing ingredients, both local and internationly. Fresh produce, meat, & coffee. And it is our duty as preparers to not fuck it up.

A taste of crema

Crema is the lovely layer of thickly effervescent foam that defines well-crafted espresso, an emulsion of the essential oils contained in the coffee. This presence of a thick layer of richly aromatic, reddish brown crema indicates that all culinary factors were met satisfactorily during the preparation of the shot. Espresso is all in the nose. The aroma of espresso lives in the crema so swirl it around. Get your nose right down in there. Inhale deeply.”

-Noah Price, owner of Crema

Coffee

Brandon Carter with Josh Taves.

More Than This

More Than This: This femme-tastic duo met while canvassing for the local rape crisis center back in autumn 2009. Combining sultry vocals with jazzy piano texture, they create a unique folk sound, with a twist of R&B and rock. More Than This is turned on by new wave, and loves to squeeze fresh juices from the 80’s, with a special inspirational love for Roxy Music. To these funky ladies, Food Justice means access to local, affordable, non-GMO produce and other healthy goodies for all, but especially for marginalized communities and peoples.

-Celeste Spink and April

Check your produce for blemishes

Ripe for the Picking?

Heels deep in sandy soil I make a find of the year. ¡Qué bendición, what a blessing!  Maturing about one hundred-ten days after planting, a melon that can grow to twelve inches in length and be six inches in diameter falls upon my hands. Being surrounded by families and their young on a U-Pick farm day, I couldn’t help but feel indecent when contemplating the juices this fruit contained underneath its hard skin. Who brings their children to such a sensual place?! This family farm yielded fruit with the distinguished quality of keeping long into the colder months when fresh fruit is nonexistent and highly sought after.

Hidden Blemishes

Why is that experience set apart so uniquely?  We tokenize what is really healthy food creating an elitist novelty. Meanwhile, we lose a history of labour and craft by welcoming large scale agriculture “goods” into our kitchens; a heart of most homes. What does it say about our hearts when ingredients virtually untouched by human hands enter our bodies? What does it say about our sense of empathy when we support a food system that keeps its poor malnourished and underfed?

There’s a not-so-positive feedback loop that is created when the able consumers buy nutrient-dead food. It gives a stamp of approval that our society is complacent in sustaining ourselves with food soaked in the blood of farmers, the diabetic poor, and World Bank-indebted countries. Complacency in gluttony is no longer acceptable. So if you are in the place of privilege,  please check your produce for blemishes.

Taken from site with an informational video about farmer suicides in India.

Pre-Heat the Oven

Pre-Heat the Oven

This picture was taken from a website that has instructions on how to build a simple wood-fired cob oven

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… The people who give you their food give you their heart.”

-César Estrada Chávez

A shout out to the food obsessed: The first ever Denver Pop-Up restaurant for food justice is firing up its kitchen! Prepare your palate to be mesmerized, tantalized, and challenged. A peek-a-boo menu (Half the fun of eating is the unexpected, right?) is in the works of being sent to your mailbox. Only a few ingredients used will be revealed. Try a taste-bud game of clue to keep you occupied until the debut dinner!