food + drink North Carolina Dreams

Going to the Market…

I wish I was. While I can’t make it for tomorrows Farmers Market, if you are in the Watauga County area in the morning, check it out. Here the teaser for this week…

Shoppers at Watauga County Farmers’ Market will find many good things not available in stores. Katinka Day will have some great tasting but impossible to ship heirloom tomato varieties German Johnson and Mountain Pride along with grape and Roma tomatoes. Katinka will also have locally grown Sugar Baby watermelons and some really good cantaloupes.

Enjoy fried green tomatoes? Kenneth Oliver specializes in rainbow colors and will be glad to supply you with a few green, red or yellow tomatoes, purple, red or Giant green peppers, or some nice looking cabbage. James Wilkes of Faith Mountain Farms will have plenty of Kandy Korn this weekend, sunflowers and Zinnias for arrangements, and lots of basswood and just a little sourwood honey to offer. Try some of James’ home baked organic breads and stop next door for some free trade organic freshly roasted coffee from Bald Guy Brew.

Shady Grove Gardens has bright and festive bouquets of Dahlias and Zinnias as well as uncommon flowers such as purple and lime Lisianthus.

Travis Tinsman of Mountain Heritage Crafts is a new vendor at the market this year, with handmade Appalachian style birdhouses decorated with natural materials gathered right here in the region.

Members of the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture will be at the market each Saturday to give out information and ask for volunteers for their local food project and the community food assessment. Stop by and pick up some free seeds suitable for planting in late summer or early fall.

Watauga County Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We are at the Horn in the West, turn next to First Citizens Bank on Highway 105 Extension and go to the top of the hill. We will be there rain or shine!

Grab some of the local produce and enjoy a meal for me. There is something about the mountain air that makes all food taste good but there is something bout mountain grown food that just tastes great. Go, meet the farmers, buy some food…enjoy the community…I wish I was there.


The Bush Administration Drops The F-Bomb on Appalachia

It’s not straight from the VP’s mouth, but it’s straight from his policy book. Energy companies rule and all you folks living in the neighborhood can “just go f— yourselves” to quote on Administration Official.

The one thing that has been consistent about the Bush Presidency is that never have so many environmental laws been gutted, overwritten, or just plain ignored in such a short amount of time.

New rules would ease coal mining restrictions | – Houston Chronicle

The Bush administration wants to quit requiring coal operators to prove that their surface mining will not damage streams, fish and wildlife.Under proposed new regulations that it will put out Friday for public comment, strip mine operators would have to show only that they intend “to prevent, to the extent possible using the best technology currently available,” such damage.

I think the kicker is this from the end of the above article though…

The latest changes to the buffer-zone rule were first proposed more than three years ago.

At a hearing in March 2004, opponents talked of floods and flattened peaks and of homes swept away or devalued in central Appalachia.

A lawyer for the National Mining Association said the mines’ preference was to get rid of the rule entirely, because it is confusing and there are other protections for streams in federal law.

The telling part of that final statement is left unsaid in the article though..

Clean Water Action: Save Our Mountains, Save Our Streams

The Bush administration has changed Clean Water Act rules that prohibit dumping of wastes, especially mountaintop removal coal mining waste – but also hardrock mining waste, construction and demolition debris, and other industrial wastes – to bury streams, wetlands, lakes, rivers, ponds and other water bodies around the country.

This May 3, 2002 rule change puts virtually all of our nation’s waters at risk by overturning a 25-year old regulation that forbid the use of wastes to fill and bury waters.

Then there is this article:

EPA eliminates Clean Water Act protection for many non-navigable waters and wetlands

As a result of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule changes to the enforcement of the Clean Water Act, it now only automatically applies to permanent navigable waters and the wetlands attached to these waters. Intermittent and non-navigable waters and their wetlands may or may not be protected depending upon other criteria including whether or not they are attached to navigable waterways. These changes were the result of a Supreme Court ruling last year that ruled in the words Justice Anthony Kennedy that there must be a “significant nexus” between a wetland and/or waters and a navigable waterway. The cause of the navigable water requirement in the Supreme Court’s ruling is the wording of the Clean Water Act itself, which under Title I Section 101(a)(1) states:

it is the national goal that the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters be eliminated by 1985.

So the protections the Mining Association Lawyer was talking about don’t exist…Are you surprised?

This Administration has systematically destroyed the laws and policies put in place to protect Americans. Be it your health, your jobs, your right to an education…None of these things matter to this Administration. The only thing that matters is that the companies with the most friends and relatives on their boards continue to do business unfettered by legal restraints. Even if it takes rewriting the laws in the late night committee meetings on the eve of the vote…

If you have stuck with me this far…go write a letter to your Representatives in Congress. Tell them to say NO…NO to Mountaintop Removal…NO to Water Pollution…NO to Air Pollution…NO to Drilling in ANWAR…NO to the indiscriminant drilling in the Rockies…Aw hell, just tell the to say NO to Bush and Chaney for a change.

For more info and to Take Action follow these links…

eco-living food + drink sustainable_living

Watauga County Farmers’ Market News

One of the things I miss now that I’ve returned from my virtual Valle Crucis vacation was spending time at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market. The virtual meals I ate on this summer’s trip were delightful if only because of the ingredients supplied at the Market (OK, in all honesty, every meal eaten with a view from the mountain is pretty dang good…Even hot dogs) . Yes folks my tongue is sticking so far into my cheek it’s a good thing I’m typing and not speaking ’cause nobody could figure out what I was saying otherwise…The point I’m trying to make is, from my past visits it looks like ya’ll have a great resource going here, you really should use it and get to know the folks raising the food you eat. Not every community has the option.

Third Week of August, 2007

One of the advantages of shopping at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market is not only the number of varieties available, but that specific information is available about each variety directly from the grower. Tomatoes and peppers in particular have a wide range of tastes. You can select either sweet or hot banana peppers grown by Don and Roger Owens, or perhaps you would prefer their jalapeno or bell peppers. Roger and Don also offer grape tomatoes, Mountain Gold, Mr Stripey, and pink heirloom tomatoes, along with White Half-runner beans. Kenneth Oliver will have Early Girl, Better Boy and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, green and purple bell peppers, and both red and white potatoes this weekend. Reba Green will not only have plenty of Pink Girl and Better Boy tomatoes for the market, but she should also have enough Silver Queen corn for everyone to get a taste of the homegrown goodness.

Richard Boylan will have lots of garlic in diverse types that are sure to include your favorites. Iva Lee Hayes will certainly have fresh kraut by the Saturday after this coming one, but in this warm weather it is possible it will be ready even sooner.

Landscape plants and shrubs are also available and blooming in variety, such as Alicia Breton’s selection of Hydrangeas including Tardiva and Limelight. While you are comparing types you are invited to relax in one of Sheila Sherman’s custom Adirondack chairs and see the matching accessories all in western red cedar.

The Woodlands Barbecue Restaurant will be on hand this Saturday offering up plates for your lunchtime enjoyment. Meals will be on sale starting at about 11:00, and they are expected to go quickly!

Watauga County Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We are at the Horn in the West, turn next to First Citizens Bank on Highway 105 Extension and go to the top of the hill. We will be there rain or shine!

Source: Watauga County Farmers’ Market News

From just down the valley (virtually speaking) Tom Philpott has this to say at Grist about the new criticism being tossed at the local food proponents…

Attention farmers’ market shoppers: Put that heirloom tomato down and rush to the nearest supermarket.
By seeking local food, you’re wantonly spewing carbon into the atmosphere.
That’s the message of a budding backlash against the eat-local movement. The Economist fired a shotgun-style opening salvo last December, peppering what it called the “ethical foods movement” with a broad-spectrum critique.
Among the claims: organic agriculture consumes more energy than conventional, and food bought from nearby sources often creates more greenhouse-gas emissions than food hauled in from long distances.

I really like his reasoning behind the criticism…

The sustainable-food movement’s achievements have thus far been largely cultural. In other words, despite all the attention from celebrity chefs, best-selling authors, and, ahem, environmental webzine columnists, the vast bulk of food consumed in this country still travels gargantuan distances, consumes unspeakable amounts of fossil fuel in its production and distribution, and leans heavily on poisons and water-polluting artificial fertilizers.

Followed by…

And while the sustainable-food movement’s power may be causing vapors within the pages of the Economist and the New York Times op-ed page, Wall Street hasn’t gotten the memo. In the stock exchanges, shares in agribiz powerhouses Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, John Deere, Smithfield, and Tyson are all trading at or near all-time highs. That means that the “smart money” isn’t quite as impressed by the rise of buy-local campaigns as commentators on either side of the food-miles debate are. For unsentimental investors, the profit prospects for industrialized agriculture, geared for long-haul distribution, are rosier than ever.

If you haven’t discovered Tom’s thought provoking pieces at Grist yet, click on over and read some of what this Valle Crucis farmer has to say. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Source: If buying locally isn’t the answer, then what is? | By Tom Philpott | Grist | Victual Reality | 16 Aug 2007