Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Listen To My Radio Interview

2009-09-01: UPDATED with a new link that should work better, although it shows obnoxious ads.

click here to download

This past Friday, I was interviewed by the incomparable DJ Adira on WMPG, Portland Maine, 90.9 FM. In between musical selections, which ranged from belly dance to kirtan hip-hop to klezmer to tango to bluegrass AC/DC covers (whah?), we talked about:
Visit this page to listen to the interview. It takes place over the course of 90 minutes. Another huge thank-you to DJ Adira for having me on her show.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Boycott Whole Foods? I Think Not.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, Inc., wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal that has caused a great kerfuffle. In this editorial, he presented his thoughts about how to improve health care in the United States. I would encourage anyone who's interested to read his editorial.

I agreed with most of what he said in the editorial, I disagreed with some, was neutral on some, and I will not be boycotting Whole Foods.

Why not?
  1. Anyone who pays attention already knew that John Mackey was a libertarian, a proponent of a limited role for government. Heck, I don't even really pay attention, and I still knew this. So the opinions he expressed should not have shocked anyone.

  2. You want to boycott Whole Foods. Where else do you shop? Do you know the political views of the CEOs of all the corporations you give your money to? Are they more to your taste than Mackey's? Mackey is not the only shareholder of Whole Foods; do you know the political views of all the other shareholders? Have you done a thorough survey? If you're in a boycotting mood, it's possible that there are other companies or products more deserving of boycotts, for one reason or another. (I personally boycott Coors, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, fast food, and diamonds. Probably some other things, too.)

  3. I believe that Whole Foods, on the whole, has had a net positive effect on our food system. Sure, it's not all good. But it's also not all bad. I think they have raised more people's awareness of food in general, and "organic" food in particular, than any other single organization in the US. Whole Foods is a first step towards "real food" for many people.

  4. I already buy all the produce I can from farmers' markets; all the meat I can from traceable sources (viz. Meat Of Known Origin); and as much dairy as I can from small farmers, as much of it raw as possible. Righteous, yes? But what if some of my farmers have political views that I disagree with? Oh my goodness! Have I asked all my farmers about their political views? Of course not. Shall I ask them about their religious beliefs, too?

  5. During the summer, I hardly shop at supermarkets. There are better places to buy food. I plan to continue avoiding supermarkets into the winter. I am on the board of The Boston Public Market Association. Our goal is to create an indoor, year-round food market serving greater Boston. If you want real food, spend your time and energy (and money) helping us, rather than boycotting supermarkets! Give us money—your gift is tax deductible. Find us on Facebook and on twitter.
That's all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Will Be On The Radio 8/21/2009 10:30AM-noon

I'll be live with DJ Adira in the studio on her show Shaken and Stirred, playing some tunes with her and saying whatever we feel like saying about food and stuff. Broadcasting from Portland, Maine on WMPG. Click here to listen, Friday morning at 10:30AM!

Monday, August 17, 2009

How to Get Raw Milk in Massachusetts

Folks ask me where/how to get raw milk in Massachusetts.

Here are some options:
  • Get yourself to a Massachusetts farm that is licensed to sell raw milk. This is the easiest option. The closest farm to Boston is Oake Knoll Ayrshires At Lawton's Family Farm in Foxboro. I blogged about it here. You have to schedule an "orientation", so that they can meet you, and then you have to call a day ahead whenever you want milk, so that they know how much milk to get from the cows! They only have 10 or so cows. Besides milk, they sell a few other products. NOFA lists other Massachusetts raw milk farms here. Besides Oake Knoll, I've been to Upinngil Farm in Gill: also Ayrshire cows, great milk, and cheap!

  • Pick up some raw milk on your next trip to Maine or Connecticut. Make sure to bring a cooler or an insulated bag. For extra points, bring an ice-pack of some sort, or ask for ice at the store—some stores will give you ice for free. I've purchased raw milk at Rosemont Market on Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine, and at the giant Whole Foods in Portland. Also, I've never been, but my friend recommends Golden Harvest Market, in Kittery, Maine.

  • Join a buying club. One of the most popular is Just Dairy. Just Dairy carries a fantastic variety of farm fresh products, but their membership fees are high if all you want is some milk now and then. Mr. Tarzan is a new buying club that I blogged about here. Unfortunately, Mr. Tarzan's geographic scope is somewhat limited, at least for now. There are periodic rumors of new buying clubs emerging in JP and in Cambridge, but I don't know if they've gotten any traction.

  • Start your own buying club. All you need to do is get a bunch of people together, take turns driving to a farm, and figure out the finances and logistics to everyone's satisfaction. Harder than it sounds; but there's definitely demand for it. And if it goes big, there's no reason you can't pay yourself for your time.

  • I have heard that there are dairy cow share programs in Massachusetts. I don't know exactly what the authorities think of this, so I won't provide any details.
As far as other raw dairy products go:
  • Raw milk cheese is legal, so long as it is aged at least 60 days before sale. (This is a federal law.) Roughly speaking, hard cheeses are old, and soft cheeses are young. So raw cheddar is easy, while raw brie and farmer's cheese are problematic. I did have some brined raw feta a while ago that was fantastic. It may have been under brine for more than 60 days, but I'm pretty sure it violated the spirit of the law. I'll have to try making some myself.

  • My understanding is that you can't (legally) buy raw cream, raw butter, or any other such "processed" raw dairy in Massachusetts.
That's what I know. Please comment if you have additions, corrections, questions, or whatever.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Canvolution in Somerville, August 30

My friend Linsey is organizing a food canning workshop in Somerville, MA, on August 30, in canjunction with Cans Across America. As part of this event, I will be doing a short lactofermentation talk and demo. (That's sauerkraut and pickles, folks!) Full details and sign-up info here.
Plus, it's never too early to sign up for my full-on, two-part food preserving class through the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.