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Kimchi Latkes!

Every year I choose a different culinary tradition to model our Holiday dinner around.  We’ve done Victorian England, with Roast Goose and Christmas pudding, we’ve done Shanghainese Soup Dumplings, once visiting my Sister and Brother in Law we did Puerto Rican Christmas. Bringing in these varied traditions helps to educate me as a cook and to educate my children with the many flavors of our abundant human experience. I can’t remember which year we chose to cook traditional Hanukkah treats but now Latkes always make an appearance in our home around this time of year.  So simple and so good.  And I love how the story of Hanukkah resonates especially around the time of the Winter Solstice.  As the nights get longer and the days get shorter the story of Hanukkah meditates on finding a miracle of light in the darkness and finding freedom in the midst of oppression. And of course the tradition of eating fried foods to celebrate the miraculous oil that lit a single lamp for 8 days…  a holiday that celebrates with fried food!!!!  That is a wonder for sure!

This year I can’t believe that I’ve never thought to replace the onion in the Latke recipe with kimchi before.  It is simply amazing!  You can add more spiciness, more chiles or gochugaru to the mix if you like.  I doubt you can make these and not fall in love.

Wishing you all a great miracle this Hanukkah.

 

Kimchi Latkes

2 cups shredded potatoes (I like em with skin on but either peeled or not is fine)

½ cup of kimchi that has already had all the juice squeezed out of it.

3 eggs

3 heaped Tablespoons flour

Salt and Pepper

More chiles/gochugaru (optional)

Oil for frying (we used peanut oil but your choice of high heat oil)

 

Put shredded potatoes in cheesecloth or nut bag and squeeze as dry as possible.

Cut the squeeze dried kimchi into small dice or tiny strips.

Beat eggs.

Combine potatoes, egg, kimchi, flour, (gochugaru if you want), salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy skillet with a ¼ inch of oil on the base to medium high heat.

Press heaping spoonfuls of potato mixture onto the hot skillet squashing the pancakes down to ¼ – ½ inch thickness.  Cook until brown on both sides…  approximately 3 minutes each side.

Serve hot with apple sauce and sour cream – YUM.

Ecosalon Foodie Underground: You Can Ferment That

Foodie Underground: You Can Ferment That

by on August 6, 2012 in Food

You’ve been making your own kombucha for months (ok, years) and pickling is old news to you, but have you taken your fermented food obsession to the next level? Grabbed a slot at the local market and opened up a stand to sell your goods? Spend any time at your weekend farmers market and you’re sure to find an artisan pickle, kraut or kim chi maker.

We can pickle that,” might be the mantra of any lover of the television show Portlandia, but all jokes aside, fermented foods are good for you (and often served in mason jars). Making fermented foods at home however is one thing, running your own fermented business is quite another.

“You should start a restaurant/catering company/baking business/etc.” are words that many a foodie have heard from a friend or two, but turning a passion for food into a business is a feat in and of itself, which is why it’s inspiring to meet people that are doing just that. I perked up recently when I got an intro to the co-founder of what a friend called “the most elegant pickle company on the planet.” When you’re the Foodie Underground columnist, you just can’t turn such an introduction down.

The pickle company is called Esoteric Food Company, based in Boulder, Colorado and responsible for jars of fermented goodness like Beets, Hijiki & Kale and Dill, Caraway & Cabbage. As they put it:

We love food. Learning about food culture is our impetus, our drive and our reward. We live to tinker with, to savor, to understand flavor and nutrition in old and new ways. We simply love making good things to eat to share with others and these pickles are our way of inviting you in to the esoteric circle.

If there ever was an intriguing food mission statement, that might just be it.

I caught up with co-founder Willow King to learn more about the fermentation business and we even got a recipe out of the deal.

Tell us about your food background, what got you into fermented foods in the first place?

My business partner Mara grew up in Hong Kong and is a long time sushi chef and general food goddess. She and I started getting together for “Food Mondays” about 2 years ago and making things that were hard, weird or that we just generally curious about. We made raw cheeses, butter, sausage, sourdough, we canned and we fermented. Something about the ferments sort of just took over (no pun intended) and we have been doing them ever since. We have a mutual friend in town who has grown many businesses from Karaoke bars to energy drinks and he encouraged us to take it to the wholesale level. Mara and I are both English majors and at the time I was teaching Literature and Mara was teaching yoga and getting ready to give birth to her third child. It seemed like a bit of a pipe dream, but we starting tinkering with label designs, jar options, a website and pretty soon we had a business on our hands.

You have everything from carraway to kale… how do you come up with your recipes?

Our recipes come from both Asian and Euro traditions- Korean, Japanese, Polish, Scandinavian, German. They are a pastiche of flavors from our past and new combinations. This week’s market specials were daikon and d’anjou pear kim chi, juniper berry kraut and brined baby carrots with dill.

Why do you think fermented foods have had such a revival? 

Fermented foods are a really great metaphor. They are a sort of alchemy that you can eat and I think people are really waking up the fact that sanitized, factory made, processed foods have lost a lot of their magic by the time they make it to your mouth. There is a growing awareness and live, raw, organic foods can balance and support our immune and digestive systems, as well as boost our moods.

You are certainly part of a growing movement of artisan food makers. In a world of mass marketed foods and big businesses, why do you think “underground” businesses like yours are seeing such success and positive response? 

We know so many amazing food crafters- bakers, jam makers, kombucha and jun brewers- you name it. It is really encouraging to see these small businesses thriving and really being supported by their communities. In many ways, we are just going back to what we have always known: Good food is simple and comes straight from the source. We like to know who is making what we are eating- it is the oldest form of food safety!

How does one get started doing their own fermented foods?

Fermenting vegetables is a pretty simple process and very fun to experiment with. Fermenting dairy and meats can be a bit more complicated and requires exact procedures and temperatures to be safe. If you are interested in experimenting we recommend starting with simple sauerkraut and then expand from there.

Recipe: Simple Sauerkraut

To begin you will need a ball jar, 1 medium cabbage, sea salt and starter like whey or for a vegan option you can use kombucha. Each starter produces different results and flavors so you can try a few and find the one you like best.

Core and shred the cabbage and then spread on a tray or work surface. Pound the cabbage with a wooden hammer (or a rolling pin can work) until the juices start to release and the cabbage softens. Place in a wide mouth ball jar and press down with a fist (you can use a cabbage leaf as a top and the press on that) until the veg is submerged in liquid- you can add the starter at this time. Cover and leave at room temp for about 3 days- you may like it stronger in which case you could let it go a few more days. When you are satisfied with the taste transfer to cold storage where it will last for up to 6 months.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s weekly column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground, discovering what’s new and different in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to the culinary avant garde.

Image: Esoteric Food Company

Ozuke and Boulder Shout Out in The Guardian UK

 

Boulder: a Rockies’ road to extreme sports, yoga and smoothies

Gateway to the Rocky Mountains, the ‘republic’ of Boulder, Colorado, is also a bastion of liberal, exercise-crazy freaks

A mountain biker at sunset in Boulder, Colorado

Boulder and the scenic regions around it are ideal for extreme sports. Photograph: Soubrette/Getty

The Republic of Boulder, as Boulder, Colorado, is fondly known, is a town of almost 100,000 people nestled up against the red sides of the Flatirons in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The “Republic” has a reputation for being at once snooty and strange, a combination that works to bring in tourists and keep out the haters, who love to criticise this odd university town for being a bastion of liberal, peace-loving, spiritual, exercise-crazy freaks.

And we are, and are proud of it. Even the preppy country-club conservatives (there are more than a handful) are openly accepted by the town as they, too, study Buddhism and drink green smoothies. So open-minded we can’t even hate the haters, Boulderites are known to live on raw foods, drink local gluten-free beer, and have become the poster children for cannabis legalisation: because we are so left of centre, we meet up in the back with the libertarian right and want to live as we please, mountain bike where we will, and go to our chiropractor/acupuncturist/psychic when we need to.

North Boulder is your spot to visit like a local. Start by getting a green juice on Pearl Street at Whole Foods Market and a jar of Zuké pickled beets, by Esoteric Food Company, which is the celebrity pinnacle of the flourishing farmer’s market locavore scene here.

Meditation on the Continental Divide Yoga in Boulder … find some peace amid the extreme sports. Photograph: Annie Griffiths Belt/Corbis

Then head on to a yoga class. The yoga attitude lives large in this town, as does being a professional athlete training at altitude – but that’s harder to drop in on.

If you want authentic Boulder, skip the big box yoga places that have popped up and visit the Anjaneya Yoga Shala, a little studio owned by long-time Boulder yoga teacher Jeanie Manchester and run out of her garage. These classes, which will introduce you to yoga, meditation, and real live Boulderites with time in the middle of the day, will make you hungry.

Head for Lucky’s Bakehouse and Creamery on Broadway Street and indulge. You can sit out at the front and watch the parking lot, the kids on bikes, the dogs and their walkers, as you sample one of Lucky’s renowned cinnamon rolls before you head on the obligatory Boulder hike.

Boulder is about extreme sports: extreme hiking, century (100-mile)bike rides, and skiing your age in days every winter. But everyone loves the Anne U White Trail. Named after Anne Underwood White – an environmentalist, scientist and open-space advocate, who donated 20 acres for the creation of this trail – this is a three-mile trek where you do need to be careful about real Boulder mountain lions as you follow the bed of a creek through a verdant valley.

Fig and goat's cheese tart, Lucky's Bakehouse and Creamery<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
” width=”460″ height=”277″ /> <span class= Fig and goat’s cheese tart, Lucky’s Bakehouse and Creamery

Real locals eat out. A lot. Who you’ll spot at the finer restaurants includes families, college students, couples on dates, workers from the funky ad agency with the “Disruptive Thinkers” bus and cannabis capitalists with new money. The people at the next table at Radda, a NoBo Italian fave run by a local who rides to work on his sexy black motorcycle with his dreads flying, are likely to be wearing patchouli and eating an enormous amount of food for obvious reasons.

To fit in you need to … wear yoga clothes, go hippy chic, or settle into real designer clothing. All of which reminds you that Boulder has been invaded by New York and California transplants with money and taste. Luckily, their clothes are resold at Common Threads, an essential stopoff for fashion followers and yogis alike, with consignment clothes curated by the hip 30- and 40-something employees who live in the mountains but like a good label.

Beware Chief Niwot‘s curse – the one that says once you fall in love with this place you are doomed to spend eternity trying to find a way to live here. That’s a modern paraphrase, but it does justice to the strong feeling this place inspires in visitors and locals.

Michelle Auerbach, author of The Third Kind of Horse

The Pickling Revolution takes Boulder

The pickling revolution takes Boulder

By Camilla Sterne

Photo by Camilla Sterne

You wouldn’t think things stuffed in jars and steeped in salt, brine, spices or even their own fermented juices could be beautiful. But all lined up, pickles present a range of unique natural colors. There’s something enchanting about tidy jars all in row holding fragrant and shapely combinations of carrots, beets, onions, ginger, cauliflower, cabbage, soybeans and peppers. The result is far from our pickle archetype, but instead presents an artful array of colors, shapes, tastes and textures.

Throughout Boulder County, citizens and businesses alike are lining their shelves and pantries with a similar assortment of carefully pickled goods. A long-standing cross-cultural tradition has found its place in the community, in the form of instructive classes and local products.

Three Leaf Farms and Cure Organic Farm in the Boulder area offer classes in these time-tested techniques, classes that fill up quickly, according William Kelley, chef at Zucca Italian Ristorante and teacher of the pickling class at Three Leaf Farms.

“First day we had sign-up for this class, I mean granted it was only eight people, but it filled up on the first or second day,” Kelley says of the upcoming July 20 class.

Both Kelley and Marilyn Kakudo, pickling instructor at Cure Organic Farm, have noticed a resurgence of interest in the craft of pickling. So why the sudden interest in a process that has been in use for thousands of years?

“I think people are trying to eat closer to home. And here in Colorado since we don’t have produce year-round, the only way you can really eat local in the winter-time would be to preserve in some way,” says Kakudo, who teaches the six-person class at Cure Organic Farm.

Kelley, too, has noticed an increased awareness of pickling, particularly in the broader foodie world.

“Right now what’s trending are means of preservation like curing, smoking and pickling,” says Kelley. “Nationwide, you read a lot of articles from Bon Appétit to Food and Wine to publications in Chicago, New York, L.A.; all across the nation they’re doing pickles and whatnot. In Colorado we do have a little bit more want or even need to do it, because it gives us an extension of the season.”

But the term “pickling” is not limited to one specific technique. Quick pickling, fermentation pickling, relish pickling — all of these methods have received greater interest and recognition.

Kakudo will teach traditional pickling at her class at Cure Organic Farm, and attendees will leave with three jars of traditional cucumber pickles. Kelley, however, plans to cover all three techniques.

“I will be going over every process of pickling, from the quick pickle to the fermentation to the relish,” he says. “But we’re going to be making quick pickles to allow the people from the workshop to have something to take home with them.”

And amateur picklers seem to be open to different techniques, though fermented pickles are of particular interest to health-conscious consumers because of a recent wealth of information on the positive benefits of probiotics.

Boulder-based company Esoteric Foods has broken into the local fermented pickle market with its variety of krauts, and in two years has expanded from its first sale at Lucky’s in North Boulder to selling its products in more than 65 natural grocers. Co-founders Mara King and Willow King will also teach a class in pickling on Sept. 10 at the Lyons Farmette.

“For us fermentation in some ways is sort of a philosophy, if you will,” says Willow King. “It’s like this sort of magical interaction between the world we can see, the vegetables, the salt, the things that we’re touching, and this invisible world, which is all the microbes and the friendly bacteria that come into the process and make the food this super-vital, healthy, raw food that then, when we ingest it, kind of invigorates the whole digestive and immune system.”

Willow King credits the success of their Zuké “pickled things” to the supportive Boulder food and entrepreneurial community as well as the growing awareness of the health benefits of fermented products.

“I think there’s a real renaissance of sort of hands-on, do-it-yourself food processing,” Willow King says. “People are getting a lot more interested in where their food comes from, and once they know where it comes from, and how things are made, which is really how this business was born.”

In keeping with the conventional purpose of pickling, Esoteric Foods is trying to create much of its product at the end of the season, when there is excess crop production.

“We’re trying to buy as much local produce as we can when it’s plentiful, pickle it and then have it to sell throughout the winter until we break back out into spring,” Willow King says.

Pickles are not just practical, either. Many picklers are partial to the aesthetic qualities of pickled varieties. Willow King’s favorite Esoteric Food product is the Zuké beets, dulse and kale recipe, pointing to the deep purple color as part of her attraction to the recipe.

“My kids are huge fans of them,” she says. “You can always tell when they eat them because they have these big purple mustaches.”

King pickles for her young children, as does Kelley, who praises the process for its ease and low cost.

cuisine_lead_2.jpg

Photo by Camilla Sterne

“I have three children, and a wife and a dog,” he says. “It gets expensive buying vegetables, unless it’s the summertime. The seasonality of it marks up the price. Pickling gives me the opportunity to have that type of ingredient to utilize on my own without having to necessarily pay for it.”

But many people do pay for their pickled goods, which can be found at local vendors for not-so-minimal prices. Lafayette vendor Isabelle Farm Stand carries Esoteric Foods products as well as the canned and pickled creations of Boulder-based MM Local.

The employees at Isabelle Farm Stand are no strangers to the pickled revolution. A big underground food movement is “starting to bubble to the surface and pickle,” says the farm stand’s wholesaler, Tyler Bair.

The place is teeming with farmers, all of whom seem to be extremely familiar with pickling. And most of their farmers do their own pickling, according to employee Annie Beall.

“Everybody gets the leftovers, and the best way to use them is to pickle them,” says Beall. “I bet there are a few of them around, they’d probably give you tips.”

There is one thing all picklers agree on: It’s easy to do. With one caveat: Be wary of the health risks of pickling at home. Kakudo warns about the hazards of air entering canned goods during the brine pickling process.

“There’s a whole science and food safety issue about canning; whenever you can food you have to make sure you’re canning food that has a certain amount of acidity,” says Kakudo.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many home picklers and canners are unaware of the risks of Botulism, a serious illness caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can find its way into canned goods if pickling methods aren’t executed properly.

Pickling in vinegar also tends to diminish some of the nutritional content of food, according to Kakudo and Kelley.

“The rule of thumb is that any time you take something from a raw state and you cook it or manipulate it, especially when you add intense pH levels on each side, you are going to break it down and it will lose some nutritional value,” says Kelley. “It’s definitely better to eat fresh and raw as far as nutritional value is concerned.”

Most pickles are used to augment a meal, whether through texture, spice or even color on the plate, and according to Willow King, many cultures have used fermented pickles to aid in the digestion of meats.

“It’s also just sort of a side, so you always have a pickle as a palette cleanser or a flavor enhancer with each course,” Willow King says. “There’s lots of fun creative ways to use it.”

Willow King suggests using Esoteric’s krauts on salads, in sandwiches and even in something like a fish taco. Kelley uses pickles at the Zucca Italian restaurant as a subtle palette enhancer.

“It’s a nice accoutrement to our paninis for lunch, our antipastis, our saloumis. We utilize pickles in lots of different ways. I’ve got pepperoncinis on my calamari dish, we have pickled red onions in our pork chop dish.”

And the vinegar brine in non-fermented pickles doesn’t have to go to waste, according to Kakudo, who suggests using the solution in place of vinegar during cooking.

However, the outburst of published books on pickling, pickling classes and pickling companies is still in its relative youth. It has yet to be seen whether the pickling craze will last as long as the preserved goods themselves.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

Love Dessert? Check out 101 Sweet Pastry

Pastries by Dorian O’Connell

Love Dessert?  Then this might be for you!

101 Sweet Pastry, changing the world bite by bite offers a weekly dessert club. Dorian, the founder/creator, is an amazingly talented pastry chef, who surprises us with her sweet & savory treats. If you think you would like to subscribe to Dorian’s weekly offerings, visit her blog and sign up to receive her newsletter. She uses organic duck eggs, seasonal fruit, and the finest ingredients in all of her creations.  Conveniently, there are NO Club commitments.  Are you home one week, and gone the next? No problem, Dorian sends out an email every Monday. Just place an order by 9 am Tuesday, and pick-up Friday. Every week is delicious and inventive. This week, we enjoyed a delicate plum tart with puff pastry, and a cherry clafootee (kla-foo-tee). As always, perfectly scrumptious!

Your Brain on Yogurt

 

logoRead Article Your Brain on Yogurt featuring Esoteric Food Co.

Farmers Market: We Have Moved

Well, summer is officially here and I have the first of the season cherries to prove it.  We have been busy in the kitchen with both our steady flavors and the market specials that we have been doing for Saturdays. The list reads a bit like a series of unusual matchmaking: horseradish&sorrel, juniper&mustard, ruby kraut with calendula, sour cherry & rhubarb, scapes & chard, anchovy &pear… tune in next week to find out who meets who in the pickle dating scene.

We also wanted to let our local folks know that our Farmer’s Market stall has moved from our prime spot on the main drag to a sweet shady hollow on the Canyon side of the market. Please come see us in our new location!

A thunderstorm is brewing and I can just hear all the newly planted tomatoes and climbing beans singing for joy.

Happy Weekend y’all.

 

Daily Camera- Farmers Market Celebrates 25 years

This was a great piece about the BCFM and it’s history- we are so happy to be a part of it! For a link to the article or to see the video they did at our kitchen: http://bcove.me/ce3uw7z3

Boulder County Farmers’ Market celebrates 25 years as a growers-only marketplace

This year’s season kicks of Saturday in Boulder and Longmont
Posted:   03/31/2012 02:38:14 PM MDT
Updated:   04/01/2012 01:24:56 PM MDT

 

In the fall of 1986, a half-dozen Boulder County farmers came together around a vision: to create a market for farmers — run by farmers — where vendors could sell what they’d grown directly to the local community.

With the support of Boulder County, the city of Boulder, some students at the University of Colorado and a lot of volunteers, the Boulder County Farmers’ Market launched in 1987 with the goal of supporting local agriculture. This year, the market — which returns for the season April 7 — celebrates its 25th anniversary.

“Twenty-five years ago in Boulder County, we had some visionary individuals come together and (set up a market) before it was fashionable,” said Shanan Olson, the market’s interim executive

Sue Parsons, right, of Sweetheart Farms, unloads produce at the Boulder Farmers Market on 13th Street in June 1987. Parson still sells at the market, which is celebrating its 25 anniversary this year. ( SUE PARSONS VIA CARNEGIE LIBRARY )

director and a farmer herself. “They consciously decided they wanted to feed their neighbors and families and friends.

“There’s something pretty fabulously amazing about that.”

Over the last quarter century, the original Boulder market has grown into a touchstone of the community; a second market was set up in Longmont; the hours, the days of the week, and the length of the season for both markets have been stretched year after year; and the offerings available at the markets have diversified in creative and unexpected ways.

But one thing has not changed: Every farmer who sells at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market grows his or her own produce, setting it apart from most farmers’ markets across the state and across the country. The premise of grow-what-you-sell is woven directly into the fabric of today’s market, just as it was in 1987 when it began.

IF YOU GOWhat: Boulder Farmers’ MarketWhen: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday, April 7 through Nov. 17; 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Wednesday, May 2 through Oct. 3Where: 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder

What: Longmont Farmers’ Market

When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, April 7 through Nov. 3

Where: Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Longmont

More info: boulderfarmers.org

“It’s always been run by farmers, and it always demanded that the farmer that was selling it had actually grown it,” said Bob Munson, of Munson Farms, who has been part of the farmers’ market from the beginning. “At that time, a lot of farmers’ markets started all over Colorado. (They) quickly became a place where junk produce was sold. You can get junk produce for nothing and sell it for something.”

Downtown roots

The market that began in 1987 along 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue was built on the shoulders of an earlier market that grew up on the lawn of the Boulder County Courthouse in 1975, when Pearl Street was still a through-road.

That small market was organized by Richard Foy and David Bolduc through the Downtown Boulder Association as a way to attract shoppers to the area.

“They visualized that it would be a real nice draw for people to have events down there,” said Munson, who sold at that market with his two young sons. “They made a big banner — a canvas sign — and it could hang all the way across the street or it could hang all the way across trees as you enter the

Chet Anderson, background, one of the founders of the Boulder County Farmers Market, watches one of his workers potting basil plants at his grow operation in rural Boulder County. The market, with locations in Boulder and Longmont, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

courthouse.”

Munson remembers about five other farmers selling regularly at that first market, which ran for a couple hours on Saturday mornings from July into September.

But the market faltered after its 10-year anniversary, partly because of the limited size of its location and partly because of new competition from a short-lived produce and crafts market set up in a parking lot near the site of the current farmers’ market.

“The courthouse lawn was limited in space, and the space was not viable anymore,” said Ulla Merz, who interviewed 10 of the longtime farmers selling at the market for the Maria Rogers Oral History Program at the Boulder Public Library. Merz, co-founder of Bookcliff Vineyards, also sells Colorado

Dennis Vinh of the Esoteric Food Company works on packing some of the company’s Zuké product line of raw pickled vegetables at the company’s facility in Boulder. The company will be selling its products at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market this year. (Paul Aiken / Daily Camera)

wines at the current markets in Longmont and Boulder.

“We were looking for a place with better access — a place more convenient to people,” said Chet Anderson, who helped found the market. Anderson still sells at the market, though he has switched from offering produce to ornamental plants and cut flowers through the business he now owns, The Fresh Herb Company.

The farmers settled on a location along 13th Street for their new grower-run market.

Sustaining local ag

Moving to the new location adjacent to Central Park in 1987 for the official start of the Boulder County Farmers’ Market was made possible thanks to the support of government leaders in the city and county. In general, a groundswell of community support for making sure that agriculture remained a part of the Boulder County landscape was emerging at about the same time that the farmers selling on the courthouse lawn began to look around for a new location.

“(The Boulder County Farmers’ Market) got started as a way to preserve local agricultural land — to provide a market for agricultural products so people would keep their farms,” John McKenzie, one of the market’s founding farmers, told the Camera in May 1990.

COMING WEDNESDAYLook for a calendar of Colorado crops and information on what’s new at this year’s farmers’ markets in the Camera’s Essentials section

And it worked, at least for some farmers.

“If it weren’t for the market, we wouldn’t have a farm in the city,” Chuck Rozanski, who grew herbs and vegetables on two-thirds of an acre in north Boulder, also told the Camera in 1990.

Boosted by the new location, the market caught on and grew quickly.

“It started out as something small, and it’s kind of become a summertime event in Boulder every year,” Anderson said. “I’m not sure I could have foreseen it being quite like it is today.”

At its fifth anniversary, between 75 and 100 vendors sold at the market, a 50 percent increase from the market’s first year. That year, 1992, the Wednesday market also launched. (It wasn’t successful until the hours were shifted from morning to afternoon.)

Making connections

Twenty years later, the Boulder market has about 120 vendors and the Longmont market has another 70 or so, and both markets are thriving, though neither can take on many more vendors in their current configurations.

Even so, changes are afoot.

The market has launched a new initiative to help prepared food vendors connect with local farmers to source ingredients for their products. As part of the program, the market has asked the prepared food vendors to come up with three-year plans for how they can incorporate more local ingredients.

“We’re really serious about these connections being made,” said Jenn Ross, who manages the Boulder market. “Sometimes it’s hard for a prepared food vendor to find information on some of the small farms or sometimes it’s hard for a farmer to plan and prepare to sell to these contractors because they don’t have the contact information themselves.”

The ultimate goal is to strengthen the local food economy. And it’s working, at least for one of the Boulder market’s newest vendors, Zuké Pickled Things. The company wants to pickle more local produce for its products, but as a new business, it’s been difficult to know how to reach out to farmers and how to know how much produce they’ll need.

“It’s going to help us so much the way that they’re doing it,” said Willow King, Zuké cofounder. “We say, ‘This is what we need in the upcoming months,’ and then the farmers can kind of come to us.'”

Zuké also plans to buy produce at the market, pickle it during the week, and then resell it at the following week’s market.

“It’s going to be really seasonal,” King said.

At the Longmont market — where gross sales increased 20 percent last year — the changes underway this summer likely will be more obvious.

TIMELINE1975: First Boulder market is established on the lawn of the Boulder County Courthouse, while Pearl Street was still a through-road. It lasted about 10 years, until outgrowing its location and facing competition from a very short-lived produce and crafts market on the site of the current market.1987: The current Boulder County Farmers’ Market is launched as a growers-only Saturday marketplace on 13th Street between Canyon Boulevard and Arapahoe Avenue.1990: The Longmont Farmers Market makes its debut.

1992: The Boulder market launches its Wednesday market, which isn’t successful until the hours are switched from daytime to evening.

1996: The Boulder County Farmers’ Market celebrates its 10th season with a jazz festival, bagpipe parade and what was billed as “Boulder’s largest carrot cake,” designed to feed 6,000 people.

Two years ago, the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department, which runs the county fairgrounds where the market is located, extended the available electric service and expanded the market area to the east.

This year, the department is working to build a pavilion, where people can eat in the shade, and an arbor in the middle of the plaza to provide additional shade, according to Stan Snyder, a landscape architect for Boulder County Open Space.

The improvements are expected to help feed further growth this year, said Lisa Searchinger, the Longmont market manager. Searchinger expects another 20 percent increase in sales this season, thanks to the infrastructure, new vendors and growing community enthusiasm.

“I think people really appreciate our core value, which is we grow what we sell,” she said. “I hear that continually from customers that that’s why they like our market.”

Bridging gaps

Even with an eye toward change, as the market turns 25, leaders are looking back toward their roots.

“We’re celebrating the eaters that come and seek the growers of the food we love,” Olson said. “We’re also grounding. We’re celebrating where we’ve come from and how we got there — the vision of the people who started this as a growers-only market in the first place.”

Olson — who sells produce from her organic farm, Abbondanza, at the market — said the time is also right for the market to play a role in bringing the community together and educating the public. Interest in local agriculture has swelled over the last several years, and, recently, the Boulder County community also has been embroiled in a debate about how to best use agricultural land owned by the county’s open space department.

A central question in that debate was whether or not genetically modified organisms should be allowed on county-owned land. And while the debate highlighted the increased interest in local agriculture, the GMO issue was extremely divisive.

“I think there’s a desire to bridge some gaps,” Olson said. “The debate that happened last year around GMOs and open space — it really pitted organics against GMOs and vice versa. We’re celebrating 25 years of a growers-only market that has never discriminated against any form of agriculture. … The farmers’ market is such a great place to celebrate all that diversity and all those unique perspectives.”

Olson, who is serving as the interim executive director, said the market eventually will be looking for new leadership. But for now, the board is taking a deep breath and focusing on how to keep the market’s founding spirit alive for another quarter century.

“We want to make sure our next 25 years are about celebrating everyone who’s choosing to support the community in their backyard by going to the farmers’ market and trading and sharing and taking turns with their neighbors instead of industries and corporations,” Olson said.

 

Easy Beer Cocktails

Even Cocks with Tails Appreciate a Good Beer

Even though my dad was a true blue East Coast American boy and mom a Hong Kong Temple Street original… I must admit that there was a lot of Euro-flavor to my early years.  Stories of boarding school atrocities told in a tight circle when my friends and I would “nick out” at night and congregate in the dark safety of the general’s grave.  (Graves of important people in China were massive concrete affairs with tables and chairs and fruit trees to lounge amidst and hide behind) I heard stories of UK M1 rave culture and listened one walkman ear pod per person to mixed tapes with curious throbbing beats in my early teens.  And above all I would be offered booze at dinners when we had guests long before I was of legal age to drink.  Wine and water or shandies.  A shandy is a very delicious lemon lime soda pop mixed half and half with lager.  Hong Kong beer drinkers were all about either San Miguel or Carlsberg back then, both well refined lagers…  easy to drink but still bitter enough to put one or two hairs on your chest.

Alright, the weather has been warming and I did a hike two days ago above Boulder Res and we forgot to bring enough water.  The only thing I could think of on the way home other than willing the clouds to cover the sun was beer.  There is a thirst quenching quality that beer has which is unparalleled and I also remember from my Hong Kong days another simple beer cocktail that seemed to push that instant refreshing feeling into the golden zone.  Lime and Lager is so simple.  1 oz of Rose’s Lime Cordial in your beer.  The back of my neck is tingling just thinking of the mouth filling, fizzing gulpability.

Of course there are many versions of the Beer Cocktail even though strangely enough it’s not something that we often think of.  Mexico has it’s Michelada, lime juice and hot sauce in your cervesa: yeah!  There’s the Black and Tan of course.  The Snakebite and Black from my UK college years, that’s half lager, half hard cider and a shot of blackcurrant liquor: those were oblivion makers which I suppose is just about right for those years, young, dumb and full of…  you know…  willful pizza mistakes.  My fave from my sushi chefing years was the Chocolate Stout.  Murphy’s Stout with a shot of vanilla vodka and a shot of Godiva Chocolate liqueur.  After a hard night of working my tail off it was nice to have dinner, drink and dessert all in one glass.

This post was inspired by my creation of a brand new beer cocktail tonight.  OK I’ve had two of them and I’m a total lightweight these days hence my loose lipped languid lambic prose.  My beer goggles, the whiff of bacon, beans and my husband’s hard work in the kitchen are making everything look like one of those instagram iphone pictures.  Mangoes and Wit.  Yep I said it.  I made some mango simple syrup for my son’s birthday circle yesterday (hawaiian shave ice treat).  First round… Leftover simple syrup from candying orange peel and mango puree mixed with Left Hand Polestar Pils, and second round with Upslope Belgian Pale Ale.  I’m looking across the table at my husband’s Avery White Rascal but I don’t think I’m going to go there, unless I’ve decided that 7.30pm is my new bed time.

Please comment if you have any other good Beer Cocktails you would like to share with me. Night night 😉