Access to locally-produced foods is improving quickly around New Orleans. How quickly? Just ask someone gearing up for this year’s Eat Local Challenge, which asks people who sign up to eat foods produced within a 200-mile radius of New Orleans for the month of June.
“It’s so much easier now than when we started this, and that was just three years ago,” says Lee Stafford, co-founder of the annual event. “We can get more food at the grocery stores and there are more specialty shops for some of the stuff that had been hard to find before, especially meat. The first week is still hard, but once your refrigerator is filled with all local items you’re good to go.”
Stafford and Dr. Leslie Brown, a Covington pediatrician, started the Eat Local Challenge after learning about a similar event in the Midwest. They saw a New Orleans challenge as a way to encourage people to explore the richness of our local foods and connect with local food producers.
While a lot of this comes down to making careful decisions when choosing foods, the Eat Local Challenge has evolved into a month of events, from workshops on making your own wine, sausage or gelato, to a bicycle tour of urban gardens to wild berry foraging excursions over the levee along the batture.
Slow Food, an international organization for local and traditional foods, celebrates its Terra Madre (“Mother Earth”) Day each year on Dec. 10, when its various chapters around the world each hold their own events. Last year, these numbered over 1,000 celebrations in 125 countries and this year New Orleans will have its own Terra Madre Day event once again too.
After a two-year hiatus, Slow Food New Orleans was re-launched this past fall and on Dec. 10, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the local group will host a Terra Madre Day event at Cleaver & Co., the new, whole-animal butcher shop Uptown.
Travel around the south Louisiana countryside and you’ll find a lot of car snack-ready boudin and you’ll see a lot of small, family-run farms. Now, there’s an outpost for both of them tucked away along an Uptown neighborhood.
The new butcher shop Cleaver & Co. opened last weekend with an inventory of meats procured from small farms and ranches from bayou country to the Cajun prairie, a range charcuterie made just behind the sales counter and a heap of hot boudin ready to eat on the spot.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), in partnership with The Sierra Club and The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), hosts its seventh annual National Dump the Pump Day Thursday, June 21.
The goal of National Dump the Pump Day is to make citizens aware of the benefits of using public transportation as opposed to driving: reducing the carbon footprint, decreasing fuel dependency, minimizing congestion and saving money on gas, maintenance, insurance and parking.
(More details—including how to ride with Gambit and get your #DumpthePumpNOLA pictures posted—below the jump.)
Home to one of the world’s great estuaries and blessed with year-round growing seasons, it’s always been easier to source up local provisions here in Louisiana than some other places.
Still, building your diet completely on foods produced nearby is no cinch. But those are the marching orders for people participating in the second-annual Eat Local Challenge, which begins next week and asks people who sign up to eat foods produced within a 200-mile radius of New Orleans during the month of June.
They will get plenty of help from the local foods enthusiasts behind the Eat Local Challenge, however. Pay your $25 registration fee and you get a starter kit with a local food products resource guide, a 10 percent discount on locally-grown products at the Hollygrove Market & Farm, access to the Eat Local Challenge online recipe forum and invitations to official events, among other perks. On the Eat Local Challenge Web site, you’ll also find listings for 14 weekly farmers markets around the region, a local planting guide to grow your own and resources for kids.
On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart interviewed Brad Pitt — but time ran out before they could discuss New Orleans recovery. So Pitt stuck around and they put an extended interview on The Daily Show site, in which Pitt discusses progress in New Orleans, an upcoming eBay auction to benefit the Make It Right foundation and an expansion of the Make It Right program to Newark, N.J., where they're now building homes for veterans.
Referencing Pitt's looks, talent and charitable contributions, Stewart joked, "I really wish you were kind of a dick. But you're not."
Everyone who's visited the Arabella Station Whole Foods should be acquainted with the absolute nightmare that is navigating the store's tiny and crowded parking lot/partial stock room, which is a dark, narrow minefield of potential fender-benders and verbal disputes with uppity clientele. The stresses of worrying about getting in a minor car accident with a yoga mom in a Lexus or ramming into a crate of gourds while trying to back out seem to have taken their toll on one man, who pulled a gun on someone at the store over a parking space. Things totally got real at the Whole Foods parking lot.
The Uptown Messenger reports a man was walking to his car when another man confronted him, accusing him of parking over the yellow line. After the errant parker walked away, the other guy blocked him in with his own truck and then pulled out a revolver. Looks like someone could use some kombucha!
This incident is like a not-funny (well, sort of funny) version of that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David rails on a guy outside Pinkberry for what he calls "pig parking" — which is exactly what the guy at Whole Foods did.
Pig Parking is frustrating, as it results in a contagion of Pig Parks, but it doesn't merit threatening to shoot someone. This may be the first time fictional Larry David handled a situation in a more civilized manner than someone else.
Via Uptown Messenger
The Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center has long been a New Orleans destination for alternative film. Starting this weekend, it will also be a spot for alternative brunch, one featuring a menu composed entirely of local foods.
On the second Saturday of each month, Zeitgeist hosts the OCH Art Market, an eclectic gathering of arts and crafts vendors in Central City, and for this upcoming edition, on Saturday, Jan. 14, it will also see the debut of the Local Foods Café, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The café is a partnership between NOLA Locavores, a group that promotes eating locally-produced foods (and that organizes the annual Eat Local Challenge), and PPX Dinner Club, a pop-up eatery run by chef Matthew Elliot Kopfler and Tess Monaghan.
Zeitgeist’s building doubles as the NOLA Locavores headquarters, so it’s providing the space, and PPX will handle the cooking. While this is the first incarnation of the café, Lee Stafford of NOLA Locavores says he hopes to develop the concept into a permanent local-foods restaurant.
“We’ve been wanting to add a restaurant at Zeitgeist for a while,” he says. “We’re starting with having it at the art market because we’ll get the traffic we need, but the end goal is to have a locavore café there open seven days a week.”
Like any red-blooded Louisiana-American, you'll likely be plunging your Thanksgiving turkey into the golden pool of a turkey fryer tomorrow. You'll plunk it on the dinner table or buffet, shove a knife into its side and declare victory in the name of America the Beautiful.
But waiting by your garage is a lonely, festering pot of spent cooking oil with nothing left to fry. What are you going to do with it? Well, you can donate it. Yes, your used turkey grease is a valuable commodity for some, and there are plenty of folks willing to take it off your hands — like Operations REACH's Gulfsouth Youth Biodiesel Project.
The program collects used cooking oil from turkey fryers to be used for biodiesel fuels rather than see it poured down a storm drain — which you should definitely not do with your oil even if you don't donate it. By 2012, the project seeks to recycle more than half a million gallons of oil into biodiesel.
A full list of drop-off locations and dates after the jump:
In honor of Thanksgiving, my Cuisine page column this week looks at the rapid rise of locally-grown foods around New Orleans. With so many more urban farms, community gardens and farmers markets, it’s easier to get food with local pedigree on your holiday table this year than it’s been in generations.
“It’s beyond marveling,” says Richard McCarthy, executive director and a founder of the Crescent City Farmers Market. “Sixteen years ago when we started the market we had to think we were a little crazy believing we could help revive our traditional food system, but today people in New Orleans are eating local like nobody’s business.”
Neighborhood-based markets have a long history in New Orleans, where at the start of the 20th century there were more than 30 city-owned markets in operation. The only one of those remaining is the French Market, which after a prolonged and pricey renovation does today have more viable fresh food options.
Meanwhile, there has been a surge in the number of independently-run markets around town and across the New Orleans region, the result of decidedly grassroots efforts.
They’ve brought a lot more options to the table when you’re shopping for your holiday feasts or any time at all. Here are the basics on local markets, arranged by the day you choose to shop:
God's speed, Rodrigue
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