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Good Finds: Local Business Captured

Even though anyone with Photoshop has long been able to “instagram” a photo, it’s still easier to add a filter or change the focus with Instagram. That ease makes me go for my iPhone as I make the rounds to local businesses.

And before you ask, why are you putting images on a blog post when they’re on Instagram and now, Facebook+Instagram, I’ll just say that no one venue does it all. Here, I can curate. And believe it or not, not everyone is on Facebook or Instagram.

Crate (above) and red truck (below) both at Porch Light in Portland’s Pearl District, an airy store that places great music.

(Below) Blackboard and reclaimed lumber at The Rebuilding Center of Our United Villages, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable practices by accepting donations of and selling used building materials.

(Below) Donald inspecting free-roaming chickens at the adorable Pistils Nursery on N. Mississippi—
country living in the city.

(Below) The Meadow specializes in gourmet items like this impressive array of bitters as well as chocolates, salts, flowers and vermouth.

(Below) The dry rock garden at the Portland Japanese Garden, one of the many wondrous spots to linger in.

(Below) A recent find at the Portland Farmers Market booth of Sweetwater Farm. Chef Kathryn of The Farmers Feast cooks up mushrooms alongside Sweetwater Farm. In this case, sauteed porcini and Douglas Fir tips.

(Below) Need a newsprint Chinese umbrella, a wooden head or a 10-foot-long paper dragon?
in the Pearl District might just have it.

(Below) I could roam the aisles of Beaumont Hardware store forever. My favorite find was this wall diagram of available springs. If they had let me, I would have bought the display.

And to top it off with something sweet, below is a portion of 21 pounds of Hood strawberries from Sauvie Island Farms, my favorite spot for picking berries through the summer.

Stay tuned for more…

Year of Produce: March, The Final Chapter

radishThis month marks the final installment of a “Year of Produce” in which I charted my fresh produce purchases in illustrated form for a year starting in April 2010. I was curious to see if I put my money where my mouth is about eating locally and, by definition, seasonally. Yes, 2010 was so last year. But April is so now! Which means you can start all over again if you missed the whole thing. Scroll down for March as well as a mini image of each month that links to that month’s post. Each one has some combination of recipes or recipe links, preparation ideas, thoughts on eating locally and other good stuff. So please explore!

With this final post I offer:

• A tally for the year
• Thoughts on what is local
• My observations on the project
• March recipe links
• How to eat seasonally, affordably (prompted by a question someone asked me) Read more

Year of Produce: December

To spend a quarter of December in Peoria, IL, called for extreme measures. Peoria might have an excuse in winter when it comes to fresh local produce. But from my casual observation, finding locally grown (and human-edible) produce is a challenge. The rich dirt of the vast surrounding farmland is home only to corn used for cattle feed and Twinkies. Rumor had it that a new gourmet market opened. I’d believe it when I saw it. But while an expensive gourmet market might offer better-looking organic produce than the limp bundles of kale at Kroger, it doesn’t address the problem of how little local land is used around the country to grow food for people who live there.

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Year of Produce: October

Clobber or feed them? I say feed.

As I started writing this, election coverage murmured on the laptop in the kitchen, while the smell of bacon, vinegar and brown sugar filled the apartment. Collard greens. Election results weren’t sounding good, rekindling the helplessness I’d felt in earlier elections.

What does this have to do with October’s produce? It’s easy to confuse what you can and can’t control in life. You can care deeply about certain issues and not be able to fix them. But that doesn’t stop us from losing sleep and feeling frustrated. I discovered at some point with elections that I actively allowed my energy to be consumed by what I had no control over. Pure laziness designed to appear as though I was an active and engaged citizen. These are places where we often hide, like excess TV watching, ensuring that we’ll keep avoiding what really feeds us—bodily and mentally.

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Year of Produce: September

One thing about a regular, and more importantly, self-directed, non-client-based project, is that life sometimes gets in the way of getting it done. Life, in this case, was cross-country travel, getting walloped by a flu while on travel and attempting to steal moments to get this month’s produce log designed and posted. A laptop with a mouse pad next to it (I have trouble with a track pad for detailed work) does not fit on cramped airplane tray table.

Download September Fresh Eat log in high-resolution. Below are links to previous month’s logs.

Why Eating Healthily Can Be a Challenge

Life gets in the way of a lot of things while we’re living it. Eating is one of them. Or eating well, as in healthily, not fancily. In a recent New York Times article “Even Benefits Don’t Tempt Us to Vegetables,” the author reminds us what a serving is: half a cup of cut-up or cooked vegetables, one cup of fresh greens, half a cup of cooked dried beans, or, if you must, six ounces of vegetable juice.

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A Year of Produce: August

Ear of cornAugust is the much-anticipated month for many eaters when choice is most abundant. Melons, corn, tomatoes, peaches—they almost stand alone as symbols of summer. I look outside at the gray, misty morning and, like many, wonder if that’s it for us. We are summer lovers in the Northwest but we are also rain lovers if we’re willing to admit it. A dormant part of us wants an 8-month excuse to batten down the hatches and curl up with a book, even as we the lament the coming end of sunshine.

But now is not the time for gray skies!

Below is an overview of a debate that unfolded in the press about the folly of eating locally. For recipe goodness, see previous months (links at bottom). You’ll find ideas on what to do with tomatoes, artichokes, fennel, berries, zucchini and more!

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