Food and Farm Books to Pre-Order for 2013

As each chilly January day is ever-so-slightly longer than the last, I’ve found myself not only counting down the days until spring, but also the days until two incredible books publish and get into my library, mind and heart: Michael Pollan’s Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Release date April 23, 2013), and Forrest Pritchard’s Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm (Release date May 21, 2013).

The Amazon.com summary of Pollan’s Cooked reveals that the book will explore the four classical elements of food and cooking – fire, water, air and earth – seemingly in the deep, co-evolutionary style of  The Botany of Desire. Pollan dedicates sections of the book and of himself to understanding the human relationship and dependence on the “primal magic” of fire, the “art of braising,” the transformation of grain and water into bread via air, and the genius of fermentation. All of which encourage we readers and food system reformers to continue our quest to bring our meals back to the basics.

“…Cooking, above all, connects us. The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume huge quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.”   – Amazon description

While I hope each year welcomes a little more kitchen and cooking time into my personal food journey, the heart of my education and energy takes place on the farm. Lucky for me and all my fellow farmer friends, Forrest Pritchard, author of Gaining Ground and pioneering farmer at Smith Meadows Farm in Berryville, Virginia, captures the spirit of those experiences and lessons in his blog posts and speaking engagements. Just this weekend, he ignited applause from an audience of farmers at the Future Harvest conference with a pivotal comment during the panel discussion “Down a New Path  – Stories of Change and Transition.”

“We could be considered niche farmers… Or we could be considered early adapters in a new paradigm.” – Forrest Pritchard

A recording of the discussion will be airing this week on the Marc Steiner Show and the Gaining Ground is set to be released May 21st. Until then, Pritchard and Smith Meadows’ free-range meats can be found at several DC, Maryland and Virginia farmers markets.

Upcoming Events: September 2012

September is full of farm-focused-fun. Here are a few local ones we’ll likely attend and are proud to promote:

Pressure Canning Class Prince George’s County Extension Office: Friday September 14th 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The class will teach up-to-date techniques and safety procedures (USDA approved) for canning low acid foods such as meats and vegetables.  Pre-registration required. Tickets are $35 per person and fee includes a copy of “So Easy to Preserve” as well as handouts and materials for a hands-on activity. For more information please contact Norma Fitzhugh at 301.868.8784.

6th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello: September 14th-15th. Pre-Fesitval activities on Friday the 14th include “Growing a Greener World Workshop” with Joe Lamp’l (Reservations Required and tickets are $15) and “Grand Preview Field-to-Fork Dinner and Evening” with Joel Salatin (Reservations Required and tickets are $90).

Baltimore City Farm Alliance 2nd Annual Urban Farm and Food Fair: Saturday September 15th 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. There will be lots of local farms and farmers swapping stories, planting and other activities for kids, and beekeeping demos. More details here.

Herbal Medicine Making and Body Care at Centro Ashé Farm: Sunday September 16th 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This introductory class will be a hands on day including herbal plant walk around the farm, tincture making as well as a medicine making rotation including ear ache oil, tea formulas, herbal salves, and dream pillows.  Each student will leave with their own tincture, salve, tea formula, dream pillow, and ear ache oil, an incredible beginning to an herbal medicine kit! The course will also go through folk medicine making techniques and students will have an opportunity to get hands on harvesting and creating their own medicine!  (Reservations required and course cost is $55)

Farm to Chef Maryland: Monday September 24th at The American Visionary Art Museum. A local culinary competition that benefits ‘Days of Taste.’ 30 Chefs pair with 30 Farms to create amazing dishes for guests to enjoy! ‘Days of Taste’ is an interactive program for fourth and fifth grade students that helps build a food and nutrition vocabulary. (Tickets required. $90 in advance, $100 day of.)

Did we miss any? If so, please email information about your event to: deb@compost2themoon.com