Apr 042016
 

Here in New Orleans, we are fortunate to have so many folks who are enthusiastic about urban farming and gardening projects. The only thing is, there are so many different organizations and farms that it is difficult to keep track of them of all! Not any more—our new calendar features all of the events we can find. Whether you’re looking to take a class, attend a plant sale, or go to a fundraiser, you can find it all here! And if you’re putting on an event, we would love to share it with the community! We welcome you to contact us at whynolafarms@gmail.com.

Click here to view the Community Events Calendar!

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Feb 152016
 

Every Monday from 4-7 pm at the Whole Foods Market on Broad Street in Mid-City, the ReFresh Community Garden hosts a farm stand where you can purchase vegetables and locally produced food items. The ReFresh Project, SPROUT NOLA, and Faubourg Farms are all selling vegetables that are harvested the same day from the ReFresh Community Gardens and another garden in Mid-City. At this small market, you can meet your farmer and your food producer.

From the left: Community gardener Lexa, Emily from ReFresh and SPROUT NOLA, and mentor farmer Monte from Faubourg Farms

From the left: Community gardener Lexa, Emily from ReFresh and SPROUT NOLA, and mentor farmer Monte from Faubourg Farms

Faubourg Farms offered free salad samples of “Mom’s Dressing,” along with komatsuna pesto samples, while community gardener Lexa offered shoppers asian pickles and daikon kimchi samples. Lexa plans to sell different kimchis and pickles as her vegetable harvests change with the seasons. SPROUT NOLA and the ReFresh Community Farm had many greens and other veggies for sale this week–and at a very reasonable price!

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Feb 112015
 

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Rutabaga is far from popular these days. No one talks much about the root vegetable rutabaga. Instead, rutabaga lingers on the shelves, while eager customers quickly snatch up the trendy, more attractive kale leaves. But rutabaga deserves so much more, and not just because it’s a fun word to say.

A cross between turnips and cabbage, rutabaga is packed full of vitamins – especially in vitamin C and A. An excellent alternative to the potato, rutabagas offer fewer carbohydrates, although potatoes still contain more nutrients. If you boil both potatoes and rutabagas and combine them in a mash, you may find yourself fighting your family for seconds.

Baked Rutabaga Fries

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Ingredients:
Two large rutabagas
1 tbsp pecan oil
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp of fresh or 1/2 tbsp dried thyme and rosemary
Additional favorite spices*

 Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Wash and peel rutabagas. Slice into french fry shapes.
3. Toss rutabaga fries with enough pecan oil to coat. Add salt, herbs, and whatever else you like and mix until fries are evenly seasoned.
4. Place fries on cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper and cook for 20-25 minutes.
5. Use with your favorite condiment and enjoy!

Note that the fries will not turn out as crispy as potato fries do, but they are still tasty!

*Hollygrove now stocks cayenne pepper, hot lemon pepper, and jalapeno spices from Klein & Sons

Feb 092015
 

Why NOLA Farms is officially back after a long hiatus! Since we believe in eating locally year-round, we will be featuring many more local recipes with every season. Our focus will be on using all-local ingredients, although we will also post recipes that include some non-local ingredients (because who enjoys flat baked goods?). Thanks for reading and we look forward to posting a lot more!

Jul 092014
 

Over 25 participants braved the heat of the summer on Sunday, June 29, to attend an urban farm bike ride adventure to the Westbank. Riders began meeting up for the ride at the Zeitgeist (1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd) at 11 a.m. and departed at noon to make the 12:30 p.m. ferry across the river to Algiers.

Participants gather at the Zeitgeist before the ride

Participants gather at the Zeitgeist before the ride

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Riders wait for the Algiers ferry to arrive

The first of the three gardens the group toured was the Federal City Community Garden (400 Guadalcanal St.). Garden members were kind enough to provide refreshing flavored water, tomatoes,  and non-alcoholic mojitos to participants.

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The Federal City Community Garden was established about a year ago at the former decommissioned Navy base in Algiers. Master gardener Cynthia Metcalf would pass by the abandoned, decrepit tennis courts nearly everyday which she called an “eyesore.”  With 2,000 residents in Federal City who had nowhere to garden, she began to think about the possibility of utilizing the space for gardening. While some folks thought her idea was out there, she went for it. With a Home Depot grant and a donation from the Master Gardeners of Lousiana, she was able to obtain cinder blocks and soil for the garden.

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Cynthia Metcalf explains the history of the garden to participants

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Today, the garden has 23 growers. Half of the garden beds are occupied by military families and the other half by Westbank residents. Two of the beds are owned by the military school and police.
“It’s been great for the community,” said Metcalf. “It’s really brought people together.”
As participants explored the many garden beds, entire families were at the garden for the event to show off their hard work. Huge bushes of basil and flowers filled a few beds to the brim, while other garden beds had flowering okra plants and various hot peppers growing. This year, they are trying to grow their own popcorn.
“I’ve heard growing your own can be compared to the difference between Hershey’s and Godiva chocolate,” explained Metcalf with a chuckle.

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Purple and green basil

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Flowering okra plants

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Visitors are invited to join the garden

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For only $20 a year, you can lease a garden bed, which includes all plants and seeds in the price. Metcalf was proud to note that the garden is growing “too much food!” Her motto is, “grow food, not lawns.”

Urban Farm Bike Tour participants pose outside of the Federal City Community Garden

Urban Farm Bike Tour participants pose outside of the Federal City Community Garden

The next stop on the tour was the Magellan Street Garden (3320 Magellan Street, Algiers). Lead gardener Tony Lee welcomed participants with a big smile as they parked their bicycles in the designated “Bike Parking” area across the street.
“I almost didn’t want to host you all because I wanted to join the bike tour myself,” said Lee with a chuckle.

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Lead gardener Tony Lee

Raw vegan chef Dominique Bachemin was on-site preparing green smoothies with various produce including mustard greens, kale, dates, mint, and banana.

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Raw Vegan Chef Dominique Bachemin

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Pineapples growing in one of the beds

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One of two ponds inside the garden

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Participants in the tour were fortunate to have LaFiets, a custom-built beverage bicycle, join them along for the ride. LaFiets provided riders with free lemonade and ice tea, and they also captured a time lapse video of the entire event.

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The third stop on the tour brought riders into Algiers Point, at Algiers-Behrman Community Garden (615 Opelousas Ave.). The gardeners set out watermelon for participants to enjoy as they wandered past the chickens, garden beds, and vertical growing set-ups. A few of the gardeners who have plots came out in the hot heat to chat with everyone, although they normally operate on such different schedules they rarely ever see each other. One gardener tends to the chickens while another manages empty plots.

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With the ferry just a short ride away, riders quickly headed over to the terminal to catch the 4:45 p.m. ferry in time. The ride ended at the Eat Local Challenge finale party at Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio (1226 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd). Participants and Eat Local Challengers feasted on grilled shrimp and squid, raccoon po-boys, local cocktails, and rosemary ice cream.

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Raccoon po-boy

Everyone who attended the ride had a blast – many thanks go out to all of the gardens that were involved, the Eat Local Challenge, LaFiets, and the NOLA Social Ride. For further information about the gardens and the people behind them, view the article below:
http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/features/9559277-171/locavore-bike-tour-pedals-past

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Jun 292014
 

Why NOLA Farms is presenting a series of local recipes for the Eat Local Challenge throughout the month of June

Please note that this recipe is not 100% local. The tasso has spices in it that are not local. You can choose to omit the tasso, but it really does bring a lot of flavor to the dish.

White beans with tasso and kale

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Tasso from Cleaver and Co.

Homemade vegetable stock

White Beans and Purple Rice with Kale
4 cups fresh white beans
3 ½ cups of water or homemade vegetable stock
1 package tasso
1 ½ cup onions, diced
1 ½ cup bell pepper, diced
3-5 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup green onion, chopped
½ jalapeno, finely diced
1 bunch kale, chopped

Method:
1. First, brown the tasso with garlic and jalapeno in a non-stick pan.
2. Remove and place tasso mixture into a large dutch oven or pot. Add onions, bell peppers, and kale to a non-stick pan and sauté down until translucent.
3. Add onions, bell peppers, green onions, kale, stock, salt, and beans to pot.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally.
5. Allow the beans to cook for an hour and a half, or until the beans are creamy.
6. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

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Jun 222014
 

On Saturday, June 14, the Eat Local Challenge hosted a locavore market at the O.C.H. Art Market inside the Zeitgeist in Central City.

The market presented several different vendors. From local soaps, salsas, art, vegetables, and jewelry, it was hard to leave without purchasing something. A string band played for shoppers and provided entertainment for hungry and thirsty customers of The PDR NOLA and Church Alley Coffee Bar. The Eat Local Challenge offered free local jasmine and brown rice and even sold local oranges, yes…in June!

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Local tomatoes, garlic, rice, and oranges were available from the Eat Local Challenge

David Young from the Capstone Project was there to answer questions about his non-profit organization. A new company, Si Se Puede Salsa Co., debuted their tasty salsas and jam at the market. They sold sweet fruit salsa, a spicier tomato salsa, pepper jelly vinaigrette, canned pickles and beans, and various flavors of jam. Cleaver and Co. had canned red beans and rice as well as their homemade beef jerky for sale.  Another vendor sold all vegan baked goods and the New Orleans Community Printshop had shirts and prints for sale.

Amanda of Si Se Puede Salsa Co.

Amanda of Si Se Puede Salsa Co. with their line of products

Dominic d'Eustachio sold vegetables and herbs to support a community garden on Port St.

Dominic d’Eustachio sold vegetables and herbs to support the Port Street Farms community garden

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Jun 172014
 

This past Saturday morning, over 45 people headed to the Eat Local Challenge event in Couterie Forest inside of City Park to learn more about wild edible plants. Botanist Dr. Charles Allen led the group on a two-hour long tour throughout the trails in the park and covered nearly every plant that was sighted.

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Dr. Charles Allen shares his expertise with participants

The knowledgeable and witty Dr. Allen captivated participants with his detailed descriptions of plants such as Wild Lettuce, Common Ragweed, Dewberry, Common Goldenrod, and Ladies Eardrop Vine. He explained how the seeds of Peppergrass go well with bread and how he cuts the tips of young Blackberry leaves to make tea with them. If you want to make impressive pancakes, Dr. Allen suggests adding Elderberry flowers. For your next meal of red beans and rice, throw in some dried locally foraged Sweet Bay leaves.

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Elderberry flower

Virginia Sweet Bay leaves

 Sweet Bay leaves

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Foragers hike through Couterie Forest to discover another wild edible plant

As Dr. Allen explained the specifics of each plant, participants passed each one around and tasted the edible ones and examined the few non-edible plants. Some folks gathered plants to take home to utilize later. From Dewberry to Duckweed, Dr. Allen answered questions throughout the hike and uncovered some of the mysteries of Southeastern Louisiana forests.

To learn more about wild edible plants, you can find Dr. Allen’s book Edible Plants of the Gulf South on Amazon.

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Jun 112014
 

Why NOLA Farms is presenting a series of local recipes for the Eat Local Challenge throughout the month of June

Are you starting to miss peanut butter? Luckily, pecan butter is really simple to make and just as delicious. You’ll need a food processor or a blender for this recipe. One cup of shelled pecans will produce one cup of pecan butter. I recommend using at least two cups of pecans – I only made one, and of course it is not enough! The fresher the pecans, the better the pecan butter will taste.

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Honey Pecan Butter

Ingredients:
2 cups pecans, shelled
1 tablespoon honey

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans out on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 5 minutes or until aromatic.

2. After pecans have cooled, place in food processor or blender for 15-20 minutes. When the pecans begin to stick to the sides, start scraping the sides of the processor or blender with a spatula every couple of minutes until pecans become creamy.

3. Place pecan butter in a jar and mix in honey.

Notes: The pecans may not turn out to be as creamy as you are used to, but don’t worry – it will still taste amazing. I suggest adding a little pecan oil to make it smoother.

Jun 082014
 

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If you’re looking for a comfort meal centered around beef, here is just the entrée for you. This recipe incorporates vegetables, fruit, grains, dairy, and protein all into one dish. The meatballs simmer in a tomato and milk sauce for an hour; making them juicy, flavorful, and hard to resist.

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Jalapeño Rice Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Makes 18-20 medium-sized meatballs

1 lbs. ground beef
1/3 cup uncooked rice
½ cup onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons green peppers, diced
4 tablespoons green onion, chopped
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste

For the sauce, combine the tomatoes, milk, two garlic cloves, salt to taste, and the sugar into a saucepan on medium heat. Add a teaspoon of the jalapeño if desired, adjust according to your desired heat level. Allow it to cook down while preparing the meatballs, stir occasionally. Add more milk or water if it becomes too thick.

In a large bowl, add the beef, rice, green peppers, jalapeño, green onions, remaining garlic cloves, and salt to taste. Mix it all together and shape into meatballs.

Over medium heat, brown the meatballs in a large skillet. Drain the fat, then add the tomato sauce to the skillet. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour.

Notes: If you’re worried about the spice level, you can omit the jalapeño and add another vegetable if you wish. The spice level in this dish came out just right for me – it wasn’t too spicy, but I could still taste the jalapeño. If you want more veggies or herbs in your meatballs, add them in. This dish is rather forgiving, so feel free to be creative with it. The sauce cooks down quite a bit, so if you prefer more sauce I would suggest adding more tomatoes and milk.

Produce tip: If you haven’t been able to find local garlic yet, a farmer sells it at The Marketplace at Armstrong Park (901 N. Rampart St.) on Thursdays from 3-7 pm.