Friday, December 31, 2010

So what is a localvore then ?

Sounds like some sort of posh y name for somebody who has too much time on their hands.

Well you can be a herbivore or an omnivore, so why not somebody who pays attention to where their food comes from and commits to eating local food as much as possible? This is not some nutcase religion, it is just about eating local. It is not an all-or-nothing venture, it is all about helping the environment, protecting your family's health and supporting small farmers and food producers in your region.

The first bite to being a localvore is to determine what local means to yourself and your family: it could be food from a 100-kilometre radius, if could be from the whole of the South Island or even the whole of New Zealand. It is an individual decision that you need to be comfortable with.

The key is that by creating a boundary, no matter how large or small, you are becoming conscious of the origin of your food. You can even go one step further and draw a circle around your home or region and this will help you with your food choices.

We are all born localvores, it is just that sometimes we forget just what is in our backyard and what is in season.

We may not be able to tackle the big issues of the world, but we are able to help build sustainable and connected communities by supporting each other.

Five ways to become a localvore in New Zealand

Visit a farmers' market. There are now more than 50 located from Invercargill to the Bay of Islands. Some are big, some are small, but the key is that they represent their regional seasons and producers. Farmers' markets keep small farms in business. Rather than going through a middle man, the farmer or producer will take home nearly all of the money you spend on regional produce – there are no on-sellers, resellers or people that just buy at the cheapest price and try to move it as fast as they can, regardless of the quality or where it has come from.

Ask your supermarket manager where your meat, produce and dairy is coming from. Remember that supermarket managers are influenced by what you say and do. Let the managers know what's important to you.

Preserve a local food of the season. By freezing, bottling and preserving you get to eat and enjoy flavours all year.

Have a look for restaurants in your area that support local farmers and producers. Ask the restaurants about ingredients or ask your favourite farmers what restaurant accounts they have. Frequent businesses that support farmers in your region.

Ask about origins. What you may have taken for granted as New Zealand-produced may come as a surprise.


Serve these with dollops of yoghurt for breakfast or dinner, or add a crumble topping and bake in the oven for a quick dessert. If all else fails, just eat them straight from the jar.

2kg whole Marlborough apricots

cinnamon sticks and cloves for each jar

4 cups white wine vinegar

500g Marlborough honey

With a fork, prick the apricots all over and place them into cold sterilised jars. Place two cloves and one cinnamon stick in each jar. Bring the vinegar and honey to the boil and simmer for five minutes until it just starts to thicken, then pour over the apricots. Leave to cool before sealing the jars. For best flavour, leave for one month and use within 12 months.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Taste Farmers Markets New Zealand Awards 2011

Taste Farmers Markets New Zealand Awards 2011: "Objectives of the Taste Farmers' Markets Award

The FM movement is about building and strengthening local communities, supports local businesses. The brand is environmentally sustainable and projects fresh, seasonal, quality. Customers are interested in their health, knowing where their food comes from and are well read and educated people. They’re also looking for social interaction and learning more about food

Objectives of the Taste Farmers’ Market New Zealand Awards 2011

• To celebrate Farmers’ Markets and their regional food producers

• To support regional food producers and networks through celebration of achievements

• To stimulate additional business for Farmers’ Markets and food producers of NZ"

Friday, March 26, 2010

How to make a man cry

I  have found the perfect reason to cry. If you are going to cry, it had better be for a good reason, and one good reason is the new-season white pearl onions from the Marlborough Farmers' Market.
If it is from the farmers' market, that must mean it has been grown in our region (good to keep the money and jobs local), it must be sold by the producer (tick that box – Steve is the man who made me cry), and it must be edible (that's my favourite part).
For a sweet little onion, the white pearl packs a punch, reducing a grown man like me to tears in a matter of minutes as I stood at the bench peeling them in preparation for the potato salad.
The white onion is popular raw or sauteed in salads, as it has a higher moisture content than normal onions and is somewhat sweeter. It is also just as good roasted in its skin (ahh, no more crying).
The onion has been traced back as far as the Bronze Age and was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, and eaten by the Israelites during their bondage in Egypt. Onions were rubbed over the muscles of Roman gladiators, used to pay rent in the Middle Ages instead of money, and were highly praised for their culinary contributions.
No good kitchen today would be without onions in the pantry, so how do we enjoy their oniony goodness with reducing ourselves to tears?
Here is the easy of why we cry: when you cut into an onion, its ruptured cells release all sorts of goodies like allinase enzymes and amino acid sulfoxides. The former breaks the latter down into sulfenic acids.The sulfenic acids, unstable bunch that they are, spontaneously rearrange into thiosulfinates, which produce a pungent odour and get the blame for our tears. But there is more. The acids are also converted by the LF-synthase enzyme into a gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide, also known as the Lachrymatory (crying) Factor. Syn-propanethial-S-oxide moves through the air and reaches our eyes. The first part of the eye it meets, the cornea, is populated by autonomic motor fibres that lead to the lachrymal glands. When syn-propanethial-S-oxide is detected, all the fibres in the cornea start firing and tell the lachrymal glands to wash the irritant away.
Our eyes automatically start blinking and producing tears, which flush the irritant away. Of course, our reaction to burning eyes is often to rub them, which only makes things worse, since our hands also have syn-propanethial-S-oxide on them. It only takes about 15 seconds to start crying after the first cut. That's all the time needed for the syn-propanethial-S-oxide formation to peak.

And you thought onions were just another simple vegetable! So bear up and just slice into them, and remember that Steve, who grew the onions, has to pick and harvest tonnes of them at a time. A little bit of Lachrymatory Factor never hurt anybody.
600g potatoes, unpeeled
4 bacon rashers (Premium Game do great wild pork bacon)
5 Tblsp Marlborough olive oil
1-2 medium-sized sweet onions, sliced into rings
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (Marlborough, of course)
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tblsp wholegrain mustard
Marlborough flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley or other soft herbs, chervil, chives etc
Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water just until tender (about 20 minutes); do not overcook.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the bacon, onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is golden and caramelised.
Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the onion and bacon and chopped herbs to the warm potatoes. Pour over the dressing and toss the potatoes to coat.