The biggest disappointment

AKA Saturday Family Farmed Expo Recap

Saturday was the day that was most geared toward the general public (aka me, in theory), and the one I was most looking forward to. It was a combination of market, Chicago chef demos and workshops. You could get a ticket to just the market & the demos or to all three, or to those three plus a particular lecture (The Sally Fallon Morell lecture).

I chose to get a workshop ticket, but pass on the lecture. Since I wanted to do a workshop in every timeslot, this effectively meant I passed on the market & demos too. I could have attended a bit of the market, but decided sleeping in and breakfast with Bill was a better use of my limited weekend time.… Continue reading →

The 6th Annual Chicago Food Policy Summit

AKA Family Farmed Expo Friday Recap

Friday could reasonably have been termed the “everything insiders” day, because it still wasn’t geared toward the general public (aka: me), but there was a lot more going on. It wasn’t all about money, Friday had a “trade show track” for farmers and restaurateurs, a “school food track” with two sets of discussions going, and a “food policy track”. All of this was under the banner of “The 6 th Annual Chicago Food Policy Summit.”

So, what did the summit bring? For me, a lot of focus on food access, and the opportunity for a lot of help with my new volunteering gig, at the “Pilsen Community Market”. These things were exactly what I was looking for.

The day started, again, with coffee (but no tea!) and an opening panel of speakers.… Continue reading →

Business Advice for Farmers & Food Businesses That is Good for Every Small Business.

AKA “A Partial Recap of Family Farmed Expo’s First Day”

The events opened with a morning keynote speech from Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms. He talked about how he got his start in organic dairy farming, specifically in yogurt, and where the money came from and where he is today. It was certainly an amusing speech, and I think the dairy farmer behind me got a lot out of it.

Basically, the seed money for Stonyfield came from all sorts of people that Hirshberg repeatedly asked for money. He spoke of calling his mother-in-law fairly regularly to help him out with payroll. He spoke of begging from anyone he could think of and how “anyone in a tie” was fair game to ask for a loan.… Continue reading →

How not to use a combination slow cooker & pressure cooker

Do you have “one of these?”:http://www.amazon.com/Fagor-670040230-Stainless-Steel-6-Quart-Multi-Cooker/dp/B001A62O1G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300807848&sr=8-1 It’s a combination slow cooker and pressure cooker. And technically rice cooker, but that seems to be part of the pressure cooker part of this.

We have one. We’ve had it for a bit longer than we’ve had MetaCookbook; maybe a year and three months. It was a Christmas gift from Bill’s father. We love it, and we use it often. Mostly to make overnight oatmeal.

Overnight oatmeal is the best. You grab a cup of steel cut oats, a cup of milk, three cups of water and dump them in your slow cooker. Set it on low for about 8 hours, and wake up to a delicious pile of oatmeal. Seven hours or nine, it all works. You can even use all water, but we like the milk.… Continue reading →

Busy week ahead.

So, it turns out that there’s a big event regarding local foods and their sourcing right in my backyard. Considering I went “all the way to California”:http://metacookbook.com/archives/177-Where-Ive-been-and-where-Im-going..html to learn more about so much about all of this, it only made sense to find a way to get to “Family Farmed Expo”:http://www.familyfarmedexpo.com/ as well.

It wasn’t in the budget, much as I wanted it to be, to get the 3-day all-access passes. However, I got very lucky and won a pair of tickets to the “localicious party”:http://www.familyfarmedexpo.com/localicious/localiciousoverview.html and I managed to finagle the budget to go to the days of the conference as well. I’ll only be going to the “policy” part of Friday (which has three parts to it, a “trade show” for farmers & restaurateurs, a “school food summit” and a “policy summit”), which dropped the cost dramatically.… Continue reading →