Hear Professor Beatley speak about the history of the Hundred Mile Thanksgiving!

In this video segment, our very own Professor Tim Beatley from the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning speaks about the history of this exciting event. Please follow the link below!

 

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Wade’s Mill Trip – Part II

Tucked away in the village of Raphine, VA just off 1-64 between Lexington and Staunton, is a little piece of the 18th century. This rare piece of history, Wade’s Mill, dates back to 1742, and still has many of its original components – including a functioning waterwheel that drives the millstone that grinds wheat, much as it when it was first built.

Our group arrived at the storybook house one Saturday and were soon  greeted by a wiry, white-haired gentleman who referred to himself as a miller – a term, I realized, one rarely hears anymore. Jim Young happily explained the inner-workings of the mill, from the way wheat and corn is routed through the mill, to the challenges of keeping an antique waterwheel up and running.

The interior of the mill was simple and rustic. One corner had a built-in fireplace. Another held several bushels of whole grains of soft wheat, soon to be milled. The mill itself is four stories tall, with each portion of the building having a purpose. Grain is moved around with a nifty system of grain elevators and spouts, moving the wheat and corn into the water- and electric-powered mills (unlike industrial mills that use massive rollers instead of millstones, as Wade’s Mill does.)

It was a fascinating to see an old-fashioned way of processing food – one that doesn’t involve reducing food to its simplest compounds and recombining them into a product that only vaguely resembles food.  A visit is highly recommended.  After you see whole grains converted into tasty, nutritious flour, you might just be motivated like I was to devoting the rest of the day to baking fresh bread and cookies.

Wade’s Mill Trip – 10/24/09

Great field trip to Wade’s Mill Saturday!  Here are a few teaser photos from the trip – check back soon for a full account of the trip.  Also, check out their website for more information about the mill:  http://www.wadesmill.com/

Canning and Fermenting!

Prepping the apples

Prepping the apples

 

cookin

busy stovetop

Participants from the 100-mile Thanksgiving Committee, Slow Food and the UVa Community Garden showed up on Saturday, Oct. 10th to can some delicious apple sauce and begin the fermentation process for some festive sauerkraut. Dana provided the mason jars and two bushels of apples, Prof. Beatley loaned us his table-top apple grinder, Chelsea brought the cabbage, salt, cranberries, carrots, radishes and juniper berries for the sauerkraut, and St. Paul’s graciously let us use their kitchen.

We made applesauce in two different ways:  first by peeling, coring and cooking the apples, and second by chopping the apples into quarters, cooking them for a couple minutes, and then sending them through the grinder to weed out the stem, seeds and unusable bits. Using the grinder was a huge success, as well as quite entertaining to watch. Dana walked us through the canning process – the importance of having a new mason jar lids to create a strong seal, and sanitizing the jars and lids by submerging them in boiling water. We ended up with more than enough apples for all of our mason jars, and had a significant amount of fresh apple sauce to take home.Grinders

Using the grinder

Using the grinder

 

Fermenting was a new process to most of the group, and Chelsea explained that it was basically submerging vegetables and fruit into their own juices, and adding sea salt to create a chemical reaction that preserves them while making them more nutritious.  Popular fermented foods include kimchi, beer, gin, pickles, sourdough bread, miso, yogurt, and tempeh. The critical ingredients are sea salt, lack of oxygen and cool temperatures. Chelsea referenced the book, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, for this recipe:

  1. Chop or grate cabbage.
  2. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage.
  3. Add other vegetables. Grate carrots for a coleslaw-like kraut. Other vegetables I’ve added include onions, garlic, seaweed, greens, Brussels sprouts, small whole heads of cabbage, turnips, beets, and burdock roots. You can also add fruits (apples, whole or sliced, are classic), and herbs and spices (caraway seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds, and juniper berries are classic, but anything you like will work). Experiment.
  4. Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.
  5. Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth to keep dust and flies out.
  6. Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. This can take up to about 24 hours, as the salt draws water out of the cabbage slowly. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
  7. Leave the crock to ferment. I generally store the crock in an unobtrusive corner of the kitchen where I won’t forget about it, but where it won’t be in anybody’s way. You could also store it in a cool basement if you want a slower fermentation that will preserve for longer.

Can’t wait to taste that ‘kraut in a couple weeks! Thanks Dana and Chelsea for being troopers and putting in those extra hours!

 

Chopping cabbage and other veggies for sauerkraut

Chopping cabbage and other veggies for sauerkraut

 

 

Sauerkraut

mashing of the sauerkraut

 

Some gorgeous sauerkraut

Some gorgeous 'kraut!

 

We’re in the News!

Check out this article in the newest edition of Edible Blue Ridge about our local Thanksgiving dinner!:

http://www.ediblecommunities.com/blueridge/fall-2009/the-100-mile-thanksgiving.htm

Edible Blue Ridge, a local magazine “celebrating the food culture of Central Virginia, season by season,” is a great resource for information about local food folks and happenings.

Schedule of events leading up to the Hundred Mile Thanksgiving!

The Thanksgiving Committee is very excited to announce our schedule of events leading up to the big day! We’re organizing these trips to spark interest in local food systems and showcase the many options to eat locally that we’re lucky to have here in the Charlottesville/Albemarle region (plus, lets be honest, who doesn’t want to sample delicious apples and cider, etc.?) Of course we’ll be collecting ingredients along the way for the recipes we’re putting together for Thanksgiving. We hope that you’ll join us for any/all of the events that pique your interest….

*Saturday, October 10th – canning and fermenting workshop (St. Paul’s Church on the corner; 1pm – 3:30pm)

*Saturday, October 24th – trip to Wade’s Mill (flour) and Rockbridge Vineyards in Raphine, VA

http://www.wadesmill.com/

http://www.rockbridgevineyard.com/

Saturday, November 7th – Vintage Virginia Apples Fall Festival (10am-5pm) in North Garden, VA

http://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/

Saturday, November – trip to Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA to pick up turkeys!

http://www.polyfacefarms.com/

Friday November 20th – HUNDRED MILE THANKSGIVING DINNER @ St. Paul’s Church, Charlottesville

*Spots in carpools should be available on a limited basis for each of the above events, so don’t let a lack of transportation stop you from coming with us…

We will continue to post to this blog if any of the above information changes, so be sure to check back frequently. Also, be thinking about those recipes….if you have a good one and want collaboration and/or help with finding local ingredients for it please share it here as well! Lastly, if you know of any awesome local food vendors feel free to give them a shout out on the blog….it’s always good to get the word out about awesome farmers and foodies in our local Charlottesville community.  Happy (local) eating!

SPA visits the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello!

Five of us here in the Student Planners Association (SPA) made the trip up to Mont Alto (the hilltop adjacent to Monticello) yesterday for this year’s Heritage Harvest Festival.  We had a blast!!

My personal highlights:

-the worm composting demonstration…..looked kind of gross at first, but it was AMAZING how quickly stuff in the worm bins (mostly fruit rinds, peels, etc)  decomposes into very rich compost that plants apparently go crazy for.

-a real, old-school blacksmith demonstration!

-the tomato tasting booth.  A couple of farmers had set up a booth where people could sample tons of diverse tomato varieties. They were delicious, and some varieties were at the peak of the season.

-the view from Mont Alto is spectacular.  You should check it out sometime….gorgeous, panoramic views of Albemarle County and Monticello.

We came back to Grounds with tons of new information about not only the local food scene in C-ville.  We may have also come back to Grounds a collective ten pounds heavier because of all the delicious food we ate up there.  The lineup of weekly or bi-weekly events (all focus on some aspect of local food in the Albemarle region) that S.P.A. is planning leading up to Thanksgiving is providing us with tons of inspiration, even though Thanksgiving seems kind of far off right now.  Keep checking back, we’ll put the schedule of events up here pretty soon!

-Emily Laetz

SARC ’10