Local Food Festival and Field Day

LocalFoodFest

Local Food Festival

& Field Day

Discover the Many Faces of Local Food

Sunday, October 12, 2014 from 11am-4pm

At Gutierrez-Hubbell House
6029 Isleta Blvd. SW, 87105

By Tiffany Terry, MRCOG Agricultural Collaborative

At the sixth annual Local Food Festival & Field Day, we invite you to enjoy fun with your friends, family and neighbors while you “Discover the many faces of local food.” This year’s festival offers so much! New events and offerings include:

  • a beer garden by Marble Brewery,
  • horseback rides by 4-H,
  • a community seed mural project with the SEED Collective and ABC Library mini “seed library”,
  • “Ask a Gardener” by Master Gardeners, and
  • food drive collection stations for Road Runner Food Bank!

This is in addition to festival favorites like the Edible Santa Fe chef demos and pie contest for kids and adults, FREE cooking and gardening workshops, live music, storytelling, poetry reading, horno bread baking, 4-H petting zoo, face painting, rock climbing and more!

Appreciate the crisp fall morning and scenic views when you join the coordinated BikeABQ ride to the festival. Park your bike with the bike valet, stroll and shop on grassy fields with booths by local farmers–like Wagner Farmsand other local food entrepreneurs lining the way. Make sure to bring your reusable bags and take advantage of all the great local products these small business owners offer! You can sit a spell in the ample shade with refreshing options like cold local beer from Marble Brewery’s beer garden, tasty meals and beverages from the ABQ Food Truck pod and enjoy chef demos, live music, storytelling, poetry, workshops and more.

Qualifying “local food” vendors (e.g., farmers, salsa makers and other value-added producers) and community organizations interested in participating can still reserve a space at the festival. Read about the “local food” criteria and sign up at bit.ly/1sc94R7.

In the new, outdoor art exhibit, “Faces of Local Food,” you will find beautiful photo posters of people you know and care about from farmers to eaters, community builders to policy makers, parents to children and many more sharing why local food matters to them. We hope these “many faces” and personal insights will increase awareness of how we are all part of the greater local food community in New Mexico, and how it is a part of each of us. There is still time to participate in an online version of the “Faces of Local Food” exhibit, too. Submit your own photos and join the “Faces of Local Food” online exhibit at www.ediblesantafe.org.

The Local Food Fest strives to be as sustainable and low impact as possible with efforts from community partner, Knowastethe “resource recovery rangers.”

See you on Sunday, October 12! For more information:localfoodnm@mrcog-nm.gov or (505) 724-3619.

Kombucha: “The Tea of Immortality”

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By Amylee Udell

Kombucha now occupies an entire refrigerated section in the Co-op. Kombucha is sweet, fermented tea. It is fermented by a SCOBY, a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, also known as the mother or the mushroom. The SCOBY grows by consuming the sugar and changes the tea into an acidic, fizzy drink, often compared to champagne or cider, moving closer to vinegar in taste the longer it ferments. It’s been around for awhile, with references to it made in China in 221BC.

As with many supplements, its proponents believe it has health improving abilities. Due to its lactic acid fermentation, it’s a probiotic with digestive and immune boosting benefits. It’s full of beneficial yeasts, anti-oxidants and enzymes, offering a detoxification effect. It contains high amounts of glucosamine, benefiting joint health. Its many amino acids and several B vitamins also boost its nutritional properties. Most people using it for detoxification are seeking its glucaronic acid, a naturally occurring acid produced by our liver to bind up toxins and poisons and carry them away. The Chinese, who first wrote about kombucha, attributed many additional healing properties to it. The list is much longer than this, but includes alkanization of the body, alleviation of constipation and headaches, improved skin conditions, improved eyesight, and reduced ulcers.

My main reason for consuming kombucha, a.k.a. the “Tea of Immortality,” is it’s taste. My kids also enjoy it. When made at home, it’s very affordable but I’m so very glad it’s available commercially. Prices begin at around $3 for 16oz and go up to almost $4. If making your own you’ll spend $.50-$1 per gallon! Beyond price, when you make your own you can control ingredients.

Kombucha is only sugar and brewed tea. Many commercially produced kombuchas have added fruit juices and sugar AFTER fermentation to appeal to a broad audience, but you can adjust for sweetness in your own brew. Some commercial brews may also be pasteurized, killing the beneficial bacteria and altering some of the constituents. Finally, it’s very easy to do. If you can boil water, you can make kombucha.

Making Kombucha

To make kombucha you need sugar (white works the best, some people are successful with honey), water, black tea (some people use green, but no Earl Grey or teas with flavoring oils) and a SCOBY. You can get a SCOBY from a friend; each batch of kombucha makes a new SCOBY layer so there’s usually plenty to share. You can also make one from bottled kombucha. This takes a little time, but if it’s your only option, it will be worth it. Finally, you can buy a SCOBY. La Montanita carries Oregon Kombucha’s starter kit for $13.99. It contains a live culture, organic black or green tea, and a brewing guide.

Making kombucha is as simple as making sweet tea, letting it cool, and then adding your SCOBY. Your SCOBY will take the shape of your container and most people suggest a glass jar (a gallon pickle jar works great) or a ceramic crock, but never metal. Kombucha needs air so a wide container works very well. Cover it with a cloth to keep out any dust and debris. Let it sit for several days to weeks. In the summer, mine starts to ferment in a few days. In the winter, it will need a week. The longer it sits the more sour it gets, and less sugar and caffeine it contains. If it gets too sour use it like vinegar in salad dressing, to marinate meat, etc.

Most people will bottle their kombucha when it’s to their taste. You can strain it as you bottle to filter out yeast floaters and “blobs” of loose SCOBY, using mason jars or rubber sealed, wire-top bottles. Airtight lids help achieve and maintain a nice fizz. Before closing the lids, many people will add a little sugar, fruit juice or fruit, as well as herbs or spices, and leave their bottles out for a second fermentation and stronger fizz. After the second fermentation, refrigerate your bottles.

To save space and time, I now do a continuous brew. This means I take mine straight from the crock into my glass. When it starts to get low, I brew more tea, let it cool and add it directly to the crock. Those who promote this method say having the mix of older and newer kombucha gives you a more beneficial blend of enzymes, bacteria and yeasts. But I simply find it much more convenient.

Kombucha works by the process of lacto fermentation, not alcoholic fermentation. But it CAN contain .5% alcohol. If you are extremely sensitive to caffeine, you may also need to take a test run. Green tea has less than black tea and the finished kombucha will have 1/3 to 1/2 as much caffeine as the tea used to make it. If you do struggle with too much caffeine consumption, research using different types of teas, a second steep of tea to decaffeinate, longer brew times, and more.

As with any food preparation, make sure you have clean hands and clean tools. Should you see any mold, discard your batch and the SCOBY and start over. A SCOBY will feel rubbery and be light and consistent in color, though you may see stringy brown yeast threads. The newly growing one will be transparent. A black SCOBY should be discarded. Extra SCOBYs can be given away, composted, fed to chickens and other pets, added to smoothies or made into jerky.

As with all fermented and homemade products, have fun experimenting to find what is right for your family. Kombucha is a great soda replacement! You can customize it in so many ways, including adding lavender mint , blueberry or other juice and the ever-popular ginger flavor. There is no shortage of kombucha variations online to spark your creativity!

Maize Maze at Rio Grande Community Farm

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Freak Out of Fractals: This Year’s Maize Maze at Rio Grande Community Farm

By Kemper Barkhurst

Rio Grande Community Farm has sponsored an annual cornfield maze in Albuquerque since 1997. This year’s maze promises to be among the most complex and confounding yet, tracing the shape of a funky fractala mathematical, detailed pattern that infinitely repeats itself (think: what you see in a kaleidoscope). In partnership with the City of Albuquerque Open Space Division and the Fractal Foundation, this year’s Maize Maze celebrates the complexity and joy of fractals, a mathematical and artistic concept applied in the areas of art, technology, urban planning, computer and video game design, medicine, and more. Beyond a fun family experience, everyone can learn something from the amazing concept of fractals.

Rio Grande Community Farm is one of the oldest parcels of continually farmed land in the United States, situated on one of the earliest Spanish Colonial settlements in the Rio Grande Valley, an agricultural heritage dating back more than 1700 years. Years of hard work have transformed the previously neglected land into community gardens, wildlife habitat, and certified organic croplands, providing educational experiences, community service projects, recreation, and entertainment to the Albuquerque community while protecting the environment and honoring New Mexico history. By partnering with the Fractal Foundation, this year’s maze promises to deliver on the foundation’s mission to “use the beauty of fractals to inspire interest in science, math and art.”

Celebrate with Rio Grande Community Farms at the opening night of the Maize Maze on Friday, Oct. 3 at 5pm, and enjoy pumpkin painting, fractal building, hay rides, local food trucks, and more! Hours for the maze from Oct. 3 throughout October are Fridays, 3pm-6pm, Saturdays, 11am-6pm, and Sundays 11am-6pm. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for kids aged 4-12 years. Kids age 3 and under are free. Stay tuned for special events scheduled throughout the month of October, such as moonlight maze walks, live local music, and nature talks The maze is also open for arranged group visits; special group discounts apply. Group visits are a terrific educational activity for classes, companies, teams, or other groups.

Also the weekend of Oct. 3 is Quarantine Collapse at dusk. Quarantine is an interactive zombie experience in the maze. Tickets – $20 (Ages 13 or older).

This year’s Maize Maze is sponsored by Presbyterian Healthcare, Soo Bak Foods, 99.5 Magic FM, NASH FM 92.3 KRST, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. For more information about the maze and related activities, visit http://riograndefarm.org/events/maize-maze/. Arrive by car or bike, and make sure to check the web site for directions and parking instructions. For more information about the Fractal Foundation, visit http://fractalfoundation.org/.

Ancestral Pesticides Exposures Linked to Multigenerational Disease

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By Beyond Pesticides Staff

Edited and reprinted with permission from the journal Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2014

New research from Michael Skinner, Ph.D.’s laboratory out of Washington State University finds that—yet again—exposure to pesticides may have devastating consequences for future generations. The study, “Pesticide Methoxychlor Promotes the Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Adult-Onset Disease through the Female Germline,” published in PLOS ONE, finds that gestating rats exposed to the pesticide methoxychlor develop a higher incidence of kidney disease, ovary disease and obesity in offspring spanning three generations. The incidence of multiple diseases increased in the third generation, or in “great-grandchildren.”

This study suggests that ancestral exposures to methoxychlor over the past 50 years in North America may play a part in today’s increasing rates of obesity and disease. The epigenetic changes observed were specific to methoxychlor exposure, and Dr. Skinner says his findings have implications such as reduced fertility, increased adult onset disease and the potential to pass on those conditions to subsequent generations. “What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass this on to your grandchildren in the absence of any continued exposures,” says Dr. Skinner.

Methoxychlor is an organochlorine compound which, though eventually cancelled in 2003 in the U.S., was initially developed as a “safer” replacement to DDT. It was first registered in 1948, and has been used to control various nuisance species including cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies and chiggers, as well as various arthropods that attack field crops, vegetables, fruits, ornamentals, stored grain, livestock, and domestic pets. Methoxychlor can behave like the hormone estrogen and profoundly affects the reproductive system. It is also listed as a persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemical by the EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program. PBT chemicals are of particular concern not only because they are toxic, but also because they remain in the environment for long periods of time, are not readily destroyed, and build up or accumulate in body tissue.

Previous studies have demonstrated that exposure to chemicals, including fungicides, dioxins, and other endocrine disruptors, can have severe health impacts on offspring. This study builds on a history of research showing that pesticides—even a decade after banned—can continue to impact health across generations. Evidence of multi-generational impacts from pesticide exposure is not isolated to laboratory animals. A 2007 scholarly reviewed paper, entitled Pesticides, Sexual Development, Reproduction and Fertility: Current Perspective and Future Direction, by Theo Colborn, PhD. and Lynn Carroll, PhD, points to studies linking the legacy chemical DDT to transgenerational health effects.

Dr. Skinner, who has been studying the genetic effects of pesticides for 15 years, is also the author of the landmark study that links exposure to the insecticide DDT with multi-generational effects. In addition to two important studies, Dr. Skinner’s lab has also documented epigenetic effects from a host of other environmental toxicants, including plastics, pesticides, fungicides, dioxins, hydrocarbons and the plasticizer bisphenol-A or BPA. He has published over 240 peer-reviewed publications. For more information or to see the full studies go to www.beyondpesticides.org.

 

 

Happy Birthday Westside!

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Happy Birthday Westside!

Save the Date! We invite you to join us on October 25 at our Westside store to celebrate one year. We will celebrate with cake, grilling on the patio, a puppet show, live music, a $100 shopping spree give-away, and lots more!

We’re particularly excited to host a fruit and veggie costume contest. Start planning your get up for a kale dress, carrot top, or banana super hero suit now! Everyone is eligible to enter, winners will receive great prizes like gift certificates, delicious treats, and recognition on our website.

Hope to see you there! Let us know you’re coming.

Westside Birthday Party RSVP