Tag Archives: Sustainable Dining

FARMERS MARKET MEALS AND THE COMMUNITY OF FOOD

“Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. And we nourish all those things when we eat well” ~ Michael Pollan

We just wrapped up Farmers Market Week in Minnesota. While the markets happen year round, these seven days are designated annually as a time to highlight the numerous impacts that our farmers markets, and the farmers that source to them have on our communities. The markets are bustling gathering places where consumers go to connect with growers over the beauty and importance of local food. There is a unique grace about these interactions that rarely occurs in any other venue. The farmers markets are places we visit to nourish our minds, senses and bodies.

Read more for a photographic journey of some of the vibrant dishes I’ve created recently using fresh farmers market produce.

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FOOD AND WINE ON THE FARM: A SUSTAINABLE MINNESOTA DINING EXPERIENCE

“The greatest lesson came with the realization that food cannot be reduced to single ingredients. It requires a web of relationships to support it” ~ Chef Dan Barber

Sultry summer winds carried the enticing aroma of local ingredients cooking over an open fire, while guests who share a mutual appreciation for sustainable food sourced close-by, strolled around the vast property before sitting down to enjoy a much anticipated dinner together. This is the type of event that I daydream about during the brisk Minnesota winters. Last month we attended our first farm dinner of 2021 at Iron Shoe Farm in Princeton. Carla Mertz, owner and operator of the farm is known for raising her animals ethically and for her firm commitment to sustainable agriculture. Her partnerships with nearby farmers and chefs are numerous and highly regarded. These farm dinners are a way to showcase fresh, locally grown ingredients through the creation of innovative and flavor-filled dishes. Carla’s association with local chefs, Minnesota Cooks and the Minnesota Farmers Union are the types of farm to fork relationships that give prominence to the essential nature of our local food community.

Continue reading FOOD AND WINE ON THE FARM: A SUSTAINABLE MINNESOTA DINING EXPERIENCE

Farm To Plate Recipe: Sustainable Sunday Brunch Made With A Farmers Market Bounty

“Food is about making an interaction with ingredients. If you talk to them they will always tell you a story” ~ Chef José Andrés

This food story begins with a Saturday trip to the Mill City Farmers Market in Minneapolis. I made my first visit of the spring season yesterday. The farmers market is an immersive experience for me and it was exciting to feel the energy of that environment again. Ingredients have a history and it’s wonderful to interact face to face with farmers and purveyors, and to hear them describe the essence of the flavors and origins of their products. There is an ambiance about it that is like no other.

The recipe I am sharing today is composed of all items purchased at the market. Read on for more.

Continue reading Farm To Plate Recipe: Sustainable Sunday Brunch Made With A Farmers Market Bounty

Kernza® whole grain salad with roasted butternut squash, bacon, crumbled goat cheese, fresh arugula and pomegranate seeds

I have recently started sharing a weekly sustainable Sunday post via my Facebook and Instagram pages. This is central to my mission to bring more attention to the subject of sustainability and the importance of acquainting ourselves with our essential Minnesota farmers and the local food journey from farm to plate. The goal of these posts is to regularly introduce readers to dishes that I create using locally grown, sustainably sourced products and/or ingredients, or restaurant meals that follow the same guidelines. I am looking forward to integrating the Sustainable Sunday feature as a continuous addition to the The Empty Nesters Kitchen Blog.

Continue reading Kernza® whole grain salad with roasted butternut squash, bacon, crumbled goat cheese, fresh arugula and pomegranate seeds

Chef Danielle Leoni: Global Sustainability Activist and Conduit for Change

“For my whole life, all I’ve wanted is to do good” ~ Chef Danielle Leoni

On a recent trip to Arizona, Executive Chef and Co-owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Danielle Leoni gave me the gift of her time, which happens to be in short supply these days.  We conversed about what launched her path as a chef activist and restaurant owner, as well as the innumerable innovative impacts that she has been making in the world of food.  In particular, her support of local agriculture, school nutrition issues, responsible sourcing of sustainable seafood and her newest business venture, Big Marble Organic Ginger Beer. She exemplifies what it means to have a full plate.   Continue reading Chef Danielle Leoni: Global Sustainability Activist and Conduit for Change

Sustainable Travel: 3 Days at CASA MÃE In Lagos, Portugal

“Putting tourism on a sustainable path is a major challenge, but one that also presents a significant opportunity”  ~ Klaus Töpfer

We find travel to be exciting and alluring and John & I derive an indescribable amount of positive energy from immersing ourselves in other cultures. In our daily life, we try  try to live by the adage, “take only memories, leave only footprints.”  This is why the ability to combine our adventures in Lagos, Portugal with a stay at a hotel that shares our passion for sustainability was remarkable in so many ways.

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Farm to Fork Sustainability: The Story Of Skuna Bay Salmon

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”  ~ Loren Eiseley

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeanine Siemens of Skuna Bay/Grieg Seafood.  Skuna Bay is owned by Grieg Seafood and is the premium seafood product that Grieg Seafood produces. I had the good fortune to meet Jeanine at the Women Chef’s and Restaurateurs conference, held in Minneapolis this past April.  I attended a panel discussion called: Skuna Bay From Farm To Table: The Complete Breakdown.  This was a fascinating and informational session where Jeanine talked about the important work that Skuna Bay is doing to impact the seafood world. Jeanine is dedicated to the craft of  raising farmed salmon.  She is a specialist in her field and was one of the first females to enter this profession.  Jeanine shared the Skuna Bay story and then partnered with Chef and butcher Erika Nakamura to demonstrate how to properly filet (break down sushi style) a gorgeous Skuna Bay salmon. 

 

Following a wonderful post-conference phone conversation with Jeanine, I also had the opportunity to talk with Dean Trethewey, production director of Grieg Seafoods.  Like Jeanine, he has been in the industry for a very long time, 25 years to be exact.  Dean worked on commercial boats prior to this role. In his role as production director he oversees all of the certifications and regulations for Skuna Bay.  He looks after all of the sea sites and supports the farmers to make sure they have all that they need to do the job of growing healthy salmon.  Dean noticed many years ago that the wild salmon industry was beginning to struggle and was excited about being a part of an aquaculture business that took pressure off of those wild stocks. 

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Sustainable Living Recipes: Carrot Cake Made From ‘Rescued Carrots’

“Use Everything – Waste Nothing”  ~ Quote by Anthony Bourdain (from Wasted: The Story of Food Waste, a Netflix documentary)

John and I recently attended the Taste the Waste event at the Red Stag Supperclub in NE Minneapolis.  The mission for this function was to bring awareness to the enormous amount of food that is wasted annually.  Food is wasted at every link in the food chain,  from farms to homes to restaurants to grocery stores and beyond.

Continue reading Sustainable Living Recipes: Carrot Cake Made From ‘Rescued Carrots’

The Farm To Fork Project: How We Can Work Together To Achieve Sustainability

“If you just think exclusively about what would be the best tasting or most profitable, you’re just not seeing the big picture”

~ Dan Barber

Sustainability. What does it mean? And why is it so important?

You will get a multitude of answers to the above questions depending on who you ask. It can vary based on a myriad of factors including the environmental, social and economic conditions in a given region.  

The EPA’s formal definition of sustainability is:

“The idea of sustainability—commonly defined as the ability to maintain or improve standards of living without damaging or depleting natural resources for present and future generations—was ingrained as a foundation of environmental law with the signing of the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act.Jun 26, 2018″   ~ United States Environmental Protection Agency

What I know for certain is that instituting sustainable living habits into our daily lives is crucial to our future, and we need to work together to achieve long-term sustainability.

Continue reading The Farm To Fork Project: How We Can Work Together To Achieve Sustainability