Sunday, June 27, 2010

Brew of the Barrens - The Recipe

For the many who have asked about the recipe for the "Brew of the Barrens" homemade root beer we have been making at the market, here it is:
Put 3.5 gallons of cold Glasgow Water Company water in a five gallon cooler. Add 6 cups of white sugar and stir it until fully dissolved. Add 2 ounces of root beer extract (it takes some research to find it, but it is available - Mc Cormick even has it in the spices area of larger grocery stores). Then add the secret ingredient, four pounds of dry ice from Glasgow Ice Company! This puts on the big show with all of the smoke and fog coming off of the mixture...put the top on the cooler LOOSELY and let the brew work for about an hour, stirring occasionally to keep it all going.

On the other hand, you could just keep coming back to the Bounty of the Barrens Market to get your local root beer fix!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Localism in Action

Yesterday I had an experience that was a perfect example of why ownership matters and why the very happiest shopping experiences come in locally owned and operated businesses. It was a simple, yet elegant and totally satisfying experience at Square Deal Lumber Company.

Wednesday night was the first evening of the week that I had time to mow my yard. Of course, it was also too hot for humans to actually be outside, so I waited until nearly dark to do my work. As is usually the case when I try to squeeze an outdoor task into a very limited time slot, something went wrong. This time it was my trusty Echo trimmer that refused to run long enough to tame the weeds around my yard.

Thursday morning I threw the trimmer into the back of my car to drop it off at Square Deal Lumber where I had purchased it many years before. Since we are in the heart of the mowing season, I fully expected them to take the unit in and tell me it should be ready in a week or so, but that is not what happened in this wonderful little establishment owned and staffed by folks who live right here among us. When I walked in the door with by dress shirt and tie on while clutching a very used trimmer, I was immediately acknowledged and within minutes a very nice fellow was asking about my problem with the trimmer. As I described the symptoms he took it out of my hands and walked toward his work bench. "Have you got a minute?" he said, "because if I don't fix it now it is going to be sometime tomorrow before I can get to it." "Why of course I have a minute," said I (even though the prospect of getting it back the next day was way more than I had hoped for).

In five minutes he disassembled, diagnosed, repaired, and returned the trimmer to my hands repaired. He also refused to allow me to pay for the repair! This, friends and neighbors, is not something that would occur at any big box retailer or foreign owned establishment. This is the kind of treatment that can occur in small towns where the locals support these businesses by trading with them even though the initial price might be a little higher than the big box retailer. This is the very heart of localism and the concept of a sustainable local economy where we vote for our happiness with the dollars we spend every day.

Cheers to you Square Deal Lumber Company! Now my neighbors will not have to look at my unkempt yard any longer.

Big Day at the Market Tomorrow!

All Bounty of the Barrens Market Days are exciting. What other word could describe the opportunity to purchase real food, local food, clean and unadulterated food grown by extremely cool folks that live no more than fifty miles from your dinner table?

This Saturday's special offerings will include breakfast prepared by Joellen and John Tubbs. They grow real blueberries right here in the Barrens and they are going to do a blueberry pancake throwdown in the BOTBM food tent that will make you want to throw rocks at your normal breakfast fare! Up on the BB&T - HVAC Services - Square Deal Lumber stage will be Glasgow's own Eric Albany.

Over at the Sustainable Glasgow tent we will be once again, thanks to the fine folks at our own local ice company - Glasgow Ice, preparing our Brew of the Barrens homemade root beer and we will be passing it out for free. With a little luck (and a lot of work by Lauren), we will have our EBT/Debit Card machine working too so you will be able to use EBT cards and regular debit cards for purchases at the market.

Mindy McCully and Kristin Goodin from the Barren County Extension Service Office will also be there to show off their cucumber salsa recipe, and the usual group of fantastic vendors will be on hand to share the fruits of their labor. I can't wait to see you there!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Come to BOTBM Tomorrow!

Time to make plans to attend Bounty of the Barrens Market, behind BB&T on West Main, 8:00 - noon tomorrow. Music will be by Tambra Cambron and her students, local breakfast will be served, local vendors will bring all sorts of locally grown and made items for your enjoyment. We will even have more locally brewed root beer! See you there!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Simple Sandwich - Not So Simple

I am looking for something more elusive than good seats at a concert -- I want a local sandwich with turkey or ham on it that has no other ingredients other than that which was produced by the fowl or the pig. This should be simple, but it isn't for me.

Ever since mine eyes were opened about the horrors of our industrial food system, I thought I was getting good unprocessed turkey or ham by shopping at the deli department of local grocery stores. Surely, I thought, if I step up and point to a turkey and tell the nice deli folks how many pounds of it I want and how thick to slice it I am rewarded with the real thing, but, alas, a friend has revealed the truth. The packaging the deli folks peel back to slice off my sandwich staple tells the real story. That oven baked turkey breast actually contains: Turkey Breast, Water, Modified Food Starch, Lactate, Salt, Honey, Corn Syrup Solids (here too!!!! good grief), Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Sodium Diacetate, and it was browned in Oil. As Charlie Brown would say, "ARRRGGGHHHHH!"

Michael Pollan says that if your grandmother would not recognize something as food, don't eat it. My Grandmother never served me any Sodium Diacetate. The folks at Harvard School of Public Health recently confirmed that processed meats are strongly implicated in our spiraling rates of diabetes and heart disease. This study just came out a couple of weeks ago.

So what is an aspiring locavore and dedicated sandwich-for-lunch person supposed to do? Really, I want to know. Other than regularly baking my own ham or filling a crock pot with a turkey breast, is there a way for me to purchase a nicely sliced pound of turkey or ham for my daily bread? When I go to a local restaurant, is the turkey on my hot brown or club sandwich from someone's processed meat inventory? I'm afraid to find out the answer to that, but am eternally hopeful that I will find out that they cooked it and sliced it themselves.

So, I ask you vendors at Bounty of the Barrens Market; I ask you potential local entrepreneurs who might be thinking of opening a real deli, when will I be able to safely go home and make myself a turkey sandwich again? I await your advice with the faint aroma of carrageenan on my breath.