Crown Point plant sale

DSCN2611On Friday afternoon, Britt and I went to the Crown Point plant sale to get some organic vegetable plants for our gardens. What a perfect day to visit the farm. People were happy, the sun was shining, and the veggies looked great!

I got some nasturtium to attract beneficial insects and repel bad ones, kabocha squash, zucchini, melons, greens, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers. Even though I got too much, I learned a lot and I’m excited to see what we can harvest starting next month and throughout the summer.

DSCN2607

Where do you get plants for your garden?

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Nelsonville Folk Festival

Nelsonville Folk Festival
Hydration stationThis weekend, my lovely friend Maria and I went to the Nelsonville Folk Festival in southern Ohio. Maria has friends in a few of the bands and I wanted to see Todd Snider. It ended up being the greatest festival I’ve ever been to, by far. Seriously, hippy heaven. It had a green focus, with a water bottle refill station, recycling, compostable cutlery, (some) vegan food, solar power, oh the list goes on and on. Read about their environmental efforts here. My favorite was the long line at the water bottle refill station.

at the farmhouse

After the festival on Saturday, we stayed at a farmhouse back in the country. We went for a peaceful walk the next morning and a bike ride in the afternoon (with a few episodes of Downton Abbey in between). At night, I slept up in the guest room and was joined by a bat around 2:30 a.m. You know I love bats, but not in my sleeping quarters. I escaped and crashed on a couch downstairs. It was so lovely to wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and wind blowing softly through the trees.

We’re makin’ money out of paper, makin’ paper out of trees.
We’re makin’ so much money, we can hardly breathe.

-Todd Snider, ‘Stuck on the Corner’

Todd Snider

Todd Snider

On Sunday, I went back to see Todd Snider and I was not disappointed. He’s definitely my favorite “barefoot folk-singing hippy” (a line from one of his songs). He ran up on stage without shoes, of course, and gave us a great set of music. I can’t even tell you how much I love this guy. I hope you’ll check out some of his music for yourself. You might start with

  • Dollface
  • The Ballad of the Kingsman
  • Sunshine
  • Alcohol and Pills
  • Is this thing working?

Todd sings about the environment, bullying, poor people, traveling, current issues, and drugs. He had a great time on stage and smiled the biggest, most charming smile after each song. He didn’t play his harmonica, but he did have a peace sign button on his vest.

All in all, a perfect weekend. Can’t wait for next year’s festival!

Shivering Timbers

Shivering Timbers

Jorma Kaukonen

Jorma Kaukonen

Todd Snider

Todd Snider

Todd Snider

Summer fun at Crown Point

Crown Point Ecology Center, our local CSA, is hosting some great events in May.

IMG_7811Rain barrel workshop, May 12

The rain barrel workshop is Saturday, May 12, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. You can make your own rain barrel and learn about water resources. Registration deadline is April 30. (You know how much I love rain barrels, right?)

Organic plant sale, May 19, 20

The Crown Point organic plant sale is Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20. You’ll find the area’s largest selection of organic plants, along with activities for families.

The Crown Point calendar has all the details.

Vegan Iron Chef

Vegan Iron Chef at Who's Your MamaThree student teams from The University of Akron (I’m so proud!) competed in the Vegan Iron Chef at Kent State University today. There were plenty of fresh and spicy scents and samples to go around.

Turnout was pretty good. And everyone enjoyed the rice salad, featuring Forbidden Rice, and cellophane noodles with sesame seeds and red onions. Tasty samples!

There was a good discussion about the importance of eating local food and supporting CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and farmer’s markets. All the chefs used local or organic ingredients, many of which came from the Rootstown farm.

Ramps and morels

At the professional competition, Don King showed off his recently collected ramps and morels (right). Check out his blog, Don the Mushroom Hunter.

We didn’t stick around for the professional competition, but the excitement and positive energy inspired me to look into entering the competition next year.

Vegan Iron Chef

First place among the student competition went to team 1, who made an Indian dish with rice, lentils, and butternut squash with a pea, carrot-ginger, tomato raw cocktail. (right, below)

Vegan Iron Chef at Who's Your Mama

UA’s Garde Manger Club will post all the recipes from the student competition on their Facebook page. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes.

Team 3 took 2nd place with their vegan gyro made with cauliflower, chickpea patties, homemade pitas, and an avocado tzatziki. Yum!

Vegan Iron Chef

It was a hot competition, and team 2 took 3rd place with a smoky Asian tempeh, eggplant, and rice dish.

Sadly, none of the student chefs were vegan, and only a few of the professional chefs were vegan, though there were some vegetarians in the chef group. But, we were happy to see such a lively, positive, and encouraging crowd for this event. We found the dishes a little over-spiced, but the students probably knew they were appealing to a crowd of meat eaters. They knew their audience.

The presentations were all interesting and fun. The student teams had to use

  • local or organic ingredients
  • the mystery ingredient, which was green garlic
  • a raw dish

Each team prepared their dishes for five judges, and at least 30 samples for the crowd (my favorite part!). Two lucky judges were chosen from the crowd, and they judged each dish based on

  • flavor
  • presentation
  • use of local or organic produce
  • originality
  • use of raw ingredients

It was fun to see them calmly and expertly preparing their dishes, and then rushing to “plate” them for the judges. We were so impressed by the student teams. I hope they will continue cooking vegan dishes for themselves and others.

“Who’s Your Mama?” kicks off with Vegan Iron Chef

Kent State University, home of the “Who’s Your Mama?” week-long Earth Day and Environmental Film festival, will host its 4th Vegan Iron Chef competition this Sunday, April 22, from noon to 5pm in the KSU Student Center, 2nd floor dining center. Witness professional teams and student teams compete for the Vegan Iron Chef, and enjoy vegan samples. What else?

  • Garde Mange fruit and vegetable carving display by students from The University of Akron
  • Ice carving by Kent State University’s John Goehler
  • Music by Zach

Full details here, including profiles of the competing chefs. It’s open to the public. (Yay!)

The “Who’s Your Mama?” Earth Day party just keeps getting better every year. The festival officially opens with the Vegan Iron Chef on Sunday, followed by films and food demos throughout the week, and ends with the block party on Saturday, April 28, featuring cool bands, cultural events, animals, exhibits, and more.

Have you ever seen a cooler name for an Earth Day festival?

Celebrate Earth Hour tomorrow

Saturday night, we will celebrate Earth Hour by turning off all (non-essential) lights from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011. –EarthHour.org

Earth Hour raises awareness of energy consumption. More importantly, it shows you that you don’t need all the lights on all the time. So, light a candle and enjoy a quiet hour in honor of the Earth.

Will you unplug?

Today is the National Day of Unplugging. It started last night at sundown and goes until sundown tonight. (I missed it, so maybe I’ll try it tomorrow.) The idea is to get away from our glowing screens and reconnect with each other.

Shut down your computer,” the pledge states. “Turn off your cell phone. Stop the constant emailing, texting, tweeting and Facebooking to take time to notice the world around you. Connect with loved ones. Nurture your health. Get outside. Find silence. Avoid commerce. Give back. Eat Together.”

Can you live without your phone? Twitter? Facebook? Blogging? Email? Shopping? Pinning?

I’ll admit, I’m hooked on Twitter and Instagram, and my iPod is basically an extension of my hand. But I took the Facebook app off my iPod, so that’s no problem. Email, phone, shopping… easy to avoid for a day. Sadly, I have papers to grade and they’re all on the computer. Maybe I’ll pledge discipline to get those papers graded (without my online distractions extending the process) and spend more time with my family. I can make that pledge. Tomorrow.

Do you ever unplug?