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:
Walk the aisles of the New Orleans Food Cooperative’s gleaming new grocery store in the Faubourg Marigny, and it seems there’s something to catch the eye or spark a question on every shelf and in every bin, from rare heirloom produce varieties to specialty meats to vitamins and tinctures.
This Saturday, Nov. 12, in those same aisles you’ll also find free samples galore and farmers, vendors and other representatives ready to answer your questions and share their back stories.
The Food Co-Op’s 4,800-sq.-ft. grocery opened one month ago in the multi-use Healing Center complex and Saturday marks the store’s grand opening celebration. This day has been a long time coming from the Food Co-Op, which formed nine years ago with the goal of making healthy, sustainably-produced food more accessible in New Orleans, so for Saturday’s celebration the group is putting on a big community party with food, music, demos, samples and tables from local artists and community groups. The event goes from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free.
“There will be constant, non-stop samples, vendors presenting their wares, discussing their product or their farm,” says Elizabeth Underwood, outreach manager for the Food Co-Op. “It’s a great opportunity for people to build relationships with the source of their food and to know where they’re food is coming from and how it got here.”
Lately the name Hollygrove has been turning up on menus at more and more New Orleans restaurants, where it’s practically become a byword for locally-sourced food.
It refers, of course, to Hollygrove Market and Farm, which is an urban farm in its own right, a market for other small-scale farmers and artisan food producers around the area, an education center and a hub for the local food movement.
The increasing frequency of such menu shout-outs to Hollygrove are just one sign of its impressive growth. October marks the group’s third anniversary, and in that short span it has developed a thriving network of restaurant clients and a distribution system that includes five weekly locations around town, as well as door-to-door delivery of market boxes.
“It’s really grown in these three years beyond our wildest expectations,” says general manager Paul Baricos. “That has a lot to do with our partners and our volunteers, because we couldn’t do it on our own.”
This Saturday, during its regular weekly market at Hollygrove headquarters from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the group and its supporters will celebrate its birthday with a party including live music, farm tours and lots of food. A collection of local vendors will be on hand, Baricos says, including many serving vegan fare. There will also be a cookout where more carnivorous customers can sample grilled goat, with meat provided by Ryals Goat Dairy, a favorite at local farmers markets. The party is free and open to the public, while prepared foods and the normal market haul will be available for sale.
NOLA Food Swap
Another upcoming event at Hollygrove also promises to showcase the growing momentum in the New Orleans local food scene, and it sounds like a delicious showcase at that.
So what do we, humans in the year 2011, do with this object that some older people in our families tell us was once used to "look up phone numbers"? You can recycle it: both the City of New Orleans and Phoenix accept phone books as part of their curbside recycling programs. If you don't want to recycle it, consider reusing it. There are plenty of fun ways to ascribe some purpose to this giant thing of paper you never asked for. You could use your phone book for ...
1. Arts and crafts projects! With a book containing hundreds of pieces of paper that are not at all relevant to you, the possibilities are endless for anyone with crafty inclinations. You could paper mache something — maybe a headpiece for your Halloween costume? This website has an easy, illustrated guide to get you started. You also could use your phone book for pressing flowers and leaves, which can then be used to make bookmarks or other sweet things for your mom.
2. Roach (and other large insect) killing. Phone books are heavy and cover a large area, so they are ideal for throwing at roaches if you have bad aim.
Remember those super-ambitious plans to turn a former railway into a 3-mile park running from Lakeview to the French Quarter? Now that new contracts have been signed, the project is finally getting some legs. The Lafitte Corridor revitalization project — which will develop bike paths, green spaces, community gardens, "green rooms" for events, and other features — begins its community meetings tonight.
Bart Everson, president of the Friends of the Lafitte Corridor, told Gambit in March that these meetings are a huge part of the planning process. "(The corridor) goes through a number of different neighborhoods, and people presumably coming from different areas and backgrounds are going to have different ideas about the process," he said. "The greenway has to reflect the communities' desires or it's not going to be successful. It's our role to make sure the process at this stage is an honest, open, transparent process and the community really is engaged."
In November 2009, the city picked Austin, Texas landscape architecture and urban planning firm Design Workshop for the project, backed in part by an $11.6 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). An audit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development screened all projects using CDBG funds, so in January 2010, the city prematurely terminated its contract with Design Workshop. Then-incoming Mayor Mitch Landrieu asked Mayor Ray Nagin to freeze all city contracts. So by the end of Nagin's term, no bidder had been selected for the project — but when the project was rebid, Design Workshop was re-selected in August 2010.
"We don't foresee it as just another tourist attraction," said Design Workshop's Steven Spears. "It'll be something more profound. Tourists and locals will be able to use and enjoy (the greenway) for alternative transportation (and) recreation."
The project team, led by Spears, is made up of urban planners, engineers, architects, and environmental consultants. Topics for community meetings include recreational programs, housing, job opportunities, arts, environment and health, and transportation.
The "Lafitte Corridor Connection" meetings being today at 4:30 p.m. at Sojourner Truth Community Center (2200 Lafitte St.) and continue through Aug. 19. There also are open house-type events from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily all week, where you can stop by and check the project's process and suggest ideas. Those open houses are at Sojourner Truth as well as Grace Episcopal Church (3700 Canal St.).
Hit the the jump for the full schedule.
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