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Notable Edibles: Summer 2009

SAVOY SORBET

Summer is the time to indulge in cool, refreshing treats, and there is no better way to do that than with Savoy Sorbet. Linn Madsen has been crafting and selling her delectable sorbets since 2008. Their exceptional flavor comes from organically grown garden herbs and dried spices and flowers, and the frozen treat is a combination of purified water, sugar and the out-of-the-ordinary flavors. There is something for everyone ranging from Chamomile Orange to Lavender to Rosemary Lime Chablis and they are available for purchase at Shed 1 at the Dallas Farmers Market. Sampling is encouraged, and after I tested several while at the market one Saturday morning, I decided my favorite is Lemon Thyme. For a complete list of flavors and more information on other locations to find Savoy Sorbet, visit their website at savoysorbet.com

COMMUNITY GARDENING

Community gardening has become an important part of the locavore movement and an important way to practice sustainability. These gardens encourage self-reliance and community development while allowing you to produce nutritious food and reduce your family food budget. If gardening space is limited or unavailable, finding a community garden can be the answer to your needs. To learn more about them or to find a garden in your area visit: communitygarden.org.

SLOW FOOD DALLAS

Slow Food is a non-profit membership-supported organization that educates people about how their food choices affect their lives and the rest of the world. The 80,000 members worldwide promote the enjoyment of excellent foods and wines, combining efforts to support and promote the local food artisans, growers and vintners and others working to save traditional foods and community. To join Slow Food Dallas or find out more about the various programs and events it sponsors to celebrate the local food tradition, visit their website at slowfooddallas.com.

GOOD FLAVOR & GOOD TASTE
IN THE DAYS OF TASTE

Days of Taste is a unique culinary experience offered to Dallas & Fort Worth area schools. Sponsored by the Dallas chapter of The American Institute of Wine & Food (AIWF), the eight-day hands-on experience introduces over 400 fourth and fifth grade students to nutrition and health concepts, new foods and flavors, a farmer’s market tour, and interactions with local chefs and growers. The learning experience culminates when the students are given money to shop the market for local fruits and vegetables used to create their very own harvest salad.

When Mr. Linke’s fourth grade class walked into the Dallas Farmers Market last month, they could tell that this wasn’t going to be a typical field trip. A tiny plate of fresh ginger, rosemary and olives met each of them as they took their seats at the table. Each of these food items, which many had never even seen before, served up enticing and exotic aromas. They never would have thought that by the end of the day, they’d know how food actually gets from the farm to the table.

Since its inception in the DFW area, Days of Taste has served approximately 4,500 kids, and everyone involved has been overjoyed with the program’s success. With unhealthy eating habits and childhood obesity rates on the rise, the hands-on experience creates a catalyst for behavior changes that are not only necessary, but few and far between. Days of Taste is the only program in the area offering this unique experience.

Days of Taste hopes to reach more children in the coming year, and a second session will be offered in the fall. To learn more about how you can get involved in the AIWF Days of Taste contact Robin Plotkin, Program Director at [email protected] or 214-725-3947

EDIBLE FLOWERS FROM THE SUMMER GARDEN

By Leslie Finical Halleck

“Growing your own” means making the most out of all your garden plants, be they ornamental or vegetable. Many traditionally ornamental plants have flowers that can be cooked or used as a lovely edible garnish. Edible flowers can make a wonderful complement to salads and desserts. While the most commonly used edible flowers tend to be those of cool-season plants like viola and calendula, the summer garden also has a bounty of edible blooms to offer. Young flowers from squash, zucchini and pumpkin plants taste wonderful when boiled, stuffed or grilled. You’ll find squash flower dishes most common in Columbian cuisine. Lavender and basil blooms can be used with cooked meats, mixed green salads and homemade vinegars. Rose petals can be tossed in salads, steeped for tea, and candied for desserts. For a unique anise or licorice flavor, use flowers from hyssop in salads or vinegars. Begonia flowers have a tart sweet flavor that is excellent in salads. Any small edible bloom can also be frozen in ice cubes to fancy up punches and other party beverages. Before you use flowers for food, be sure that the plants have been grown organically and that no pesticides have been applied to them. If you are unsure about plants purchased, grow them organically at home for at least three weeks before consuming any part of the plant you’re serving. Try these blooming beauties in your kitchen this summer. All edible flowers make lovely garnishes, no matter what the occasion. Different flowers
have different flavors so choose those with flavors that will complement the dish you’re serving.

DEEPLY ROOTED: UNCONVENTIONAL FARMERS
IN THE AGE OF AGRIBUSINESS

“Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness”, a recently released book, portrays 3 families in rural America who represent a change in the way we should think about food and agriculture. Lisa Hamilton, journalist and photographer, spent two years profiling the families, including Texas’ own Harry Lewis, an African-American dairyman from Sulphur Springs. Hamilton suggests that one of the best ways to address the problems of our nation’s food system is to go straight to the source – the farmers themselves. Hamilton says that across the country, a courageous group of farmers and ranchers have issued a call to arms to end these unhealthy and unsustainable practices. For them, agriculture is not an industry but a way of life, and humans should be at the heart of it all. Publication Date: May 5, 2009, Hardcover; 320 pages; $25.00 published by Counterpoint, counterpointpress.com

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