Sunday, September 11, 2011

HomeGrown Ann Arbor

Usually, it takes Sophie about 20 minutes or so to fall asleep. She lies in her crib and me on the futon next to it- I tell her stories, or she rattles on about everything and anything that goes through her precious little mind (last night, she pretended that her teddy bear had a poopy diaper and enacted the entire diaper-changing routine, complete with asking me for wipe wipes, diaper cream, and a clean diaper...). But tonight, her head barely hit the mattress and I think she was out like a light, although not before declaring, "I'm happy, Mama. Are you happy?" :)

And that's because we had just spent the last 2 hours at the HomeGrown Festival in Kerrytown. Basically a celebration of local farmers, growers, food purveyors, and makers of all things local, it was a wonderful event filled with good food, music, dancing, and just a vibrant atmosphere of community and cheer. Whether it's turkey, tomatoes, or tofu, all the ingredients used by the vendors came from local farms (see links to specific farms here) and so there was a definite sense that we were supporting the people who grow our food. Between Jude and I, we shared duck confit and BBQ brisket sandwiches from Tracklements and a chicken/chorizo/okra stew from Grange- astoundingly good. Sophie wasn't as concerned about the food (although she didn't complain about her slice of vegan pizza and chocolate chip cookie) and alternated between riding on my back on the Ergo and running around with Jude. What she enjoyed most- the dancing :) There was a music stage set up and different local bands played throughout the night. Sophie LOVED the music and spent most of the night twirling, spinning, jumping, hopping- basically grooving to everything that was playing. She especially liked Saints of Soul playing James Brown- in the words of Jude, "She's getting her mind blown by Soul..." :) She-- and her parents-- was also enthralled by The Appleseed Collective, an Americana-jazz-folk foursome whom we've actually heard playing at Selma Cafe when my parents were here over Christmas. A little gypsy, a little dixie, they've got a wonderfully eclectic sound that got all three of us quite smitten. This video doesn't do them any justice but Jude felt compelled to record down a little of what we were enjoying (not in video- Sophie kicking her feet and bobbing her head to the music as she sat on my back on the Ergo):

Speaking of all things local, today was our first pick-up from Harvest Kitchen, a prepared foods CSA that we just signed up for. Two years ago, we signed up for a farmshare with Tantré Farms (see here), and while it was a great experience, it also got a little overwhelming during those weeks when we were just overloaded with too much produce (there's only so much sweet peppers I can handle over a 2 week period, or all those tomatoes and basil!...) What Harvest Kitchen does is to get around that by preparing meals for you using the same locally-sourced, organic, and sustainably-grown ingredients you might otherwise have gotten through your CSA. Everything on their menu comes from local farms so you know that you're supporting community agriculture. Every week, you get enough food for about 3 to 4 meals which really helps us since both Jude and I both now have full-time positions and making good, healthy dinners has become tricky business. We're hoping that with Harvest Kitchen, we now need only to plan dinners for a few nights per week, or make something simple (like a carb or salad dish) to augment what we've gotten from them. Best of all, the food tastes like what we would make for ourselves anyway- curries, stews, pasta, soups, etc. We didn't get a full share last week but we did buy a portion of lamb curry which was delicious. You could tell that it was definitely homemade- the flavors were fresh, delicate, not too salty/sweet/aggressive like what you would get at a restaurant, and there was the plus of knowing that everything came from Michigan growers. This week, our full share consists of black bean corn salsa, chicken chili, baked beans with pork, verde rolls, beef and potato stew, and corn griddle cakes.

Our share this week
Our share this week
Every week is inspired by a different cuisine-- 2 weeks ago was Italian, last week was Indian, and this week's Southwestern. We haven't tried anything from this week's share yet, but as I packed the food into the fridge (photos here), I got really excited just reading the labels of what each box contains.

And it's things like this-- and like HomeGrown-- that make us grateful for Ann Arbor :)

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