Reflections on Our First Dinner

It went well, really well. All the ingredients made it to the kitchen, most of them made it into the food… except the sage, which I forgot and is still sitting in the fridge. The food all came out the right temperature at the right time, and people had fun.

But I’m a perfectionist on a mission – I want my ingredients to be 100% local, and after 2 full weeks of hunting down ingredients like it was my full time job (because well, it sort of is), I only managed to get 26% of my ingredients from a source that was within 100 miles of where the meal is being prepared and served. Our average ingredient traveled ~760 miles. That feels like a huge failure.

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Legacy Gardens

I met Toni on Noreen Thomas’s Mystery Food Tour (totally worth checking out if you haven’t!). Sometime between quietly touring an Amish Homestead and impulse buying an apple tree, I learned that Toni was a farmer. I asked if she happened to have any Kale for a dinner I was planning and she said “sure!” and quickly rattled off all the other produce she had available.

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What’s in season?

Years ago I was wandering through a grocery store chain with an Italian friend, muttering “are raspberries in season?” She was shocked that an American would be thinking about seasonality in produce. Though I accepted her praise, (like you do) it made me feel a little guilty – I still had no idea if they were in season and wouldn’t until years later, when I lived in a cabin in the woods surrounded by wild raspberry bushes.

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Fargo Family Dinner: Summer 2016

Documenting my 9-week journey to create a local, sustainable, affordable, balanced, satisfying and tasty meal in Fargo, ND

There are a lot of reasons to eat local. When I lived in Vermont, I found myself doing so almost by accident. I’d poke into the farmer’s market to pick up Melissa’s honey, or drive out to Laurie’s farmstand for some raw milk. Local eggs were everywhere and I could even sign up for a yearly consignment of local pork chops from Jill.

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Vermicomposting Bin, Part 1

Why vermicompost (compost with worms)? Well if the allure of playing with worms isn’t enough to tempt you (it was for me) then you might be pleased to know that food waste that has been fed to and pooped out of a worm turns into “worm castings,” a fantastic and natural fertilizer you can use in your house plants, office plants or garden. You also get a little compost tea, which when diluted (1:10) is also excellent for the plants in your life.

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Dear Food,

Dear Food,

I can’t remember when we met, but it feels like you’ve always been a part of my life. I have very few memories of you from when I was young… I remember carrying cloves of garlic around in my pocket, microwaving eggs as an “experiment”, or getting my hair caught in the blender. But mostly you were just there, silently, without demands, taking care of me.  

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Can a food market bring a fragmented community together?

“I was studying abroad in Argentina,” says Caroline Myers, Communications Coordinator for Marketshare. “My Spanish skills weren’t very strong and my host mother made a big dinner for me for my birthday. I was really homesick. I was turning 21. I didn’t have many friends.

“My host family had a house out in the country and they took me there and prepared the most delicious meal, an Argentine Asado (barbecue), for me. It was the best meal I had while I was there. The best part had to be the dulce de leche ice cream covered with bananas.

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What Makes a Good Host Anyway? Part 2

In Part 1 of What Makes a Good Host Anyway?, Carolyn and I laid out the broad strokes of event planning … but I’m never going to throw a gala (… god, I hope I’m never going to throw a gala) so how can I scale this down to the kind of event I find most challenging: A well-facilitated collaborative conversation?

Annie Swank of Drink Tank does this professionally, working at “the overlap between design thinking and dinner parties”.

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