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slow food day: the dig-in

So on yesterday’s post I told you guys that it was National Slow Food Day – of course, this was reason enough for my professor to organize a “dig-in” event on Saturday. He encouraged everyone on campus and in the local community to come up to Hamilton and join our Food for Thought class in…

harvesting…

POTATOES!!!

You might be thinking that potato-harvesting is anti-climatic and somewhat unglamorous, but unless you haven’t done it, you don’t really know how rewarding it is.

In many ways, it’s a lot like looking for buried treasure – you’re digging around, not really sure where your taters are, just kind of hoping that you’ll stumble on a bunch.

breaking earth

But once in a while, you’ll overturn a mound of dirt and BOOM find a huge jackpot of potatoes. It’s very satisfying, and almost addicting.

SHE HIT THE MOTHERLODE!!!

hardworking students and professors

i think the professor found one!

lots of worms were unearthed

maybe there are potatoes under there?

yes!!

And then you kind have to train your eyes to look past all the dirt and learn to differentiate between rocks and potatoes. It’s easier with the lighter-colored variety, but with the darker ones, if you’re not careful you might just end up re-burying them.

You had to get your hands dirty, but a lot of people got into it – by the end of it, I think we had all developed a kind of “potato-radar.”

Here are the fruits tubers of our labor:

the smaller "cups" variety - these are the potatoes of the infamous Irish Potato Famine

fingerling and blue potatoes from the community farm

And here a couple more photos from the farm yesterday:

of course, there's always weeding that needs to be done

the last of the tomatoes

scarlet runner beans; aren't they gorgeous? you don't find that kind of purple in nature very often.

grape-harvesting

so sweet and tart - we just had to try some

One of the women who came up to the college yesterday (the one with the curly auburn hair) was a Slow Food friend of my professor who runs a catering service. When she saw how beautiful are grapes were looking, she offered to take some home and juice them for our class on Monday.

mm.. can't wait to taste the juice from these guys!

After the dig-in, we were invited to a potluck dinner for all the people in the Slow Food movement in the Mohawk Valley. Of course, I didn’t have a ride, but I really wanted to go so Debra (the juicing woman) offered to give me a ride there. Yay for nice strangers!! On our way there, she told me about what she does – it’s actually pretty amazing. Debra literally does everything there is to do about food. She’s an ex-restaurant owner who now runs a catering service, as well as teaching sessions in the community on how to eat more healthily. She cans and pickles almost everything she can, and was even telling me how she had just made her own Proscuitto (drool). She even offered to have some kids from our class come down for a canning/pickling tutorial! She’s really a fascinating person and it was great meeting her – she has some very forward and  ideas for the food community around here, and it was awesome hearing about how she’s going to get those things done.

We were the first ones to arrive at the park for the potluck, so I helped her unload the food that she brought. Most of it were pickles that Debra had made herself.

pickled pears, asparagus, cucumbers, beets, green beans, garlic scapes...

Do you see it? The jar 3rd from the left in the picture above? Can you tell what it is???

KIMCHI!!!!!!!!!

OMGOSH IT’S KIMCHI!!!! I just about cried for joy when I saw this jar. Apparently, Debra’s been very into Asian cuisine recently, so she paired that with her canning skills and tried her hand at making kimchi.

i sample everything. but of course, the kimchi was my favorite.

Of course, this tasted distinctly different than the kimchis that I usually eat at home or at Korean restaurants. But the flavors were there and they were so familiar – it was so good just being able to taste them. I can’t believe I’ve survived a month without kimchi – trust me, this was very badly needed. I was amazed at how everything just worked out like this. Oh kimchi, how I missed you…

Along with her pickles, Debra also brought a feta-olive-canteloupe salad:

I know, it sounds weird right? But watermelon and feta is actually a really popular (not to mention delicious) combination and this was just a twist on it.

After labeling everything,

we sat around and waited.

It was a little worrying at first, because it seemed like it was only going to me, my professor and Debra at the party. But people slowly started trickling in, and by the end we were all feasting on delicious homemade food.

bean, potato and parsley salad

my professor brought goat cheese and crackers. mm... i <3 chevre

beet, sweet onion, and apple salad

mixed greens salad with a variety of heirloom tomatoes and a balsamic vinegar dressing

molasses cookies - they tasted like gingerbread :)

carrot cupcakes

There was also a warm pasta salad and apple crisp. I actually ate waaaaay too much, because at the beginning there wasn’t that much food and I was just like, “Oh, I guess I’ll have to fill up on these.” But then more people started coming with more food, and I had to try those too! So yeah… I overate, and a food baby ensued. But everything was so good… Especially the desserts. And the cheese. And the kimchi. -o-;

Not only was the food good, but the conversation was also fascinating. The people gathered around this table were all part of the Slow Food Movement and included everyone from professors to farmers to a professional photographer. It was a huge privilege being able eat with them and listen on how they’re planning to push the community here to more local and organic foods. It was really inspiring, and I’d love to become more involved with this movement, even though I don’t live around here.

So that was my day yesterday! It was an incredible experience, and I was amazed at how everything worked out, from getting a ride down to the potluck to the kimchi to being able to meet such amazing people. I’m telling you, I don’t think it was coincidence…

I really hope there are more opportunities like this in the future. Well, actually there’s going to an “Eat Local Challenge” at Hamilton on Tuesday, and of course I’ll be there, taking picture to post on the blog. It sounds really fun, and  that should be up sometime this week! Well, it’s a Sunday and homework beckons, so I guess that’s it for now. I’ve been really good about blogging this week, and hopefully I can keep that up. HWAITING!!!!

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Discussion

6 thoughts on “slow food day: the dig-in

  1. This looks like a great day. Now, I would like some Korean food.

    Posted by Spencer | September 27, 2010, 6:38 am
  2. the best thing about organic foods is that they are free from hazardous chemicals that are present in non-organic foods”`-

    Posted by Tea Dress : | October 29, 2010, 2:10 pm
  3. I feel like I say this every time but,you’re adorable!! This whole day sounds amazing, and all the veggies/fruits you picked look gorgeous

    Posted by Andrea Kang | November 6, 2010, 1:45 pm
  4. organic foods are the best for our health since they are free from dangerous chemicals and toxins -~`

    Posted by Electric Burner | November 17, 2010, 8:38 pm

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