A Few Questions with Marina & John Backes of Circle B Ranch

Local Harvest’s Featured Vendor
September 2013
Marina & John Backes of Circle B Ranch
Seymour, MO

Circle B Ranch 02LH: You moved to Circle B Ranch in 2009, where you and your husband started your first commercial farm. What led you to this choice?

CBR: We are passionate about the food we produce and the welfare of our animals. We firmly believe that an animal’s welfare and humane treatment of the animal is vital to the taste and appearance of the meat. We are on the same page with the Slow Food movement.

We considered other species for raising, but felt Berkshire hogs were a better return on investment. They are also hardy, nearly self-sufficient, and not prone to diseases when pasture raised. The Berkshire in particular is a docile hog, well-equipped for pasture-raising. They produce large litters and have good mothering instincts. Their carcass quality and taste are legendary. Red Wattle is also highly compatible to pasture-raising and has good maternal instincts. When crossed with the Berkshire, a whole new dimension of taste is added.

Circle B Ranch 01LH: Why is it important to your family and business to raise certified-humane, heritage pigs in a natural, free-range environment? Generally, what do these practices entail?

CBR: Since the animals are free-ranged on pasture land, they do what hogs do best—root and graze for the majority of their food. The hogs have freedom to graze on the lush pastures and roam the woods, foraging for nuts and acorns. Naturally-raised pork is rich in Omega 3 fat, Vitamin D, and free from any additional hormones and antibiotics. Circle B Ranch adds natural corn & soybean-based food with mineral and vitamin supplements to the animal’s diet. Since we manage the process from pasture to plate, the customer will immediately taste the difference.

Circle B Ranch provides a clean and 100% natural environment to breed, farrow, and raise heritage Berkshire/Kurabota and Red Wattle hogs for both restaurant use and consumer consumption. We accomplish our mission by raising the hogs using sustainable and humane production methods that adhere to the Certified Humane Raised and Handled standards of operation.

LH: Describe your farm’s unique aspects. How does the landscape aid your mission?

CBR: The landscape of SW Missouri is very hilly and heavily wooded. The Berkshire hogs are given free access to the pasture, wooded areas, and the natural streams that run through the property. The hogs have a basic diet of pasture grass and legumes, roots, nuts (such as acorns, black walnuts, hickory), and even occasional wild persimmon. This is how hogs were raised long ago. There are only a handful of farmers nationwide who truly pasture-raise hogs. Their diet is also supplemented with discarded market fruits and vegetables collected from local food banks and markets. We feel this broad spectrum diet produces the quality product our customers enjoy.

Not only does the varied terrain provide quality forage, the deep wooded hollows provide cool and shade and shelter from wind and cold, which prevents stress to the animals and thereby enhances consistent growth.

LH: You raise a few different breeds of heritage hogs. What are the differences between the breeds? Do they lend themselves to different types of pork product?

CBR: We raise two type of heritage hogs. Berkshire and Red Wattle. We also produce a crossbreed. The Berkshire has a very buttery nut like flavor and light “marbling’ in the loins. The Red Wattle has a longer muscle structure, very dark meat, and a “nearer to steak” taste. They have heavier marbling in the loins. The Red Wattle is also a longer and taller hog so the sides of the cross for bacon use are a little larger. The cross of Berkshire/Red Wattle produces a Berkshire taste and marbling but with a rich dark Red Wattle meat.

one week oldLH: Describe a day in the life of your farm. What’s it like being an independent hog farmer in Missouri?

CBR: John handles the everyday nuts and bolts of the farm, with help from our farm foreman Darrell. He also controls the animal husbandry, feeding of the hogs, rotation of the different age groups of hogs to different pastures and fields. He handles the health and welfare of the entire herd while maintaining our pasture (over seeding) and infrastructure (such as waterlines and fencing).

Marina is in charge of bookkeeping, marketing, and sale of the hogs and sauces. John, Marina, and Erin work the Greater Springfield Farmers Market and the Clayton Farmers Market in St. Louis. Delivery responsibilities are shared by all. Erin and Marina handle social media such as blogging and Facebook.

It is very challenging to be an independent hog farmer in Missouri. As product demand increases, we need to maintain our high standards and not jeopardize the end product. Our mission is to bring to market the best product we can, humanely and sustainably.

LH: You have a beautiful, accessible website and online store. As a local farm business, how do you manage the site and what benefits does it lend you?

CBR: It took a very long time and many revisions to come up with a beautiful website. Our online store remains a work in progress. We manage our site, but a website developer does the actual design of the website. The website is a great place for people to go for information on our farm and raising practices. We use Facebook and blogs to keep our customer up-to-date on weekly happenings on the farm. We are transparent with everything we do.

LH: You also have a line of gourmet sauces. What’s available? Do they complement your pork products?

CBR: While we were waiting for our hogs to grow, we decided to develop a line of gourmet sauces. We have Marina’s Italian Tomato Sauce, Marina’s Cranberry Chutney, and Big John’s Barbecue. They were all made to complement our pork products. The cranberry chutney is fantastic on pork chops, or you can use it on baked brie, goat cheese, or with yogurt and granola. Marina’s Italian Tomato Sauce goes hand-and-hand with Marina’s Italian meatballs.
In the meatballs, the pork is from our hogs and the beef is from Missouri Beef Growers—a coop in SW Missouri.

LH: What is your favorite local product?

CBR: Terrill Creek Goat Cheese, Springfield Dairy Yogurt, Baetje Goat Cheese, Billy Goat Potato Chips

LH: Why should people buy local?

CBR: As we all know, our food–both quality and supply—is in crisis. Patronizing an authentic local farmer will ensure a steady supply and growth of a healthy food source.

Commercial providers have begun to employ clever wording and packaging to confuse consumers into a sense of trust in their claims when their growing practices have not changed. The words “Natural Raised” and “Organic practices” are being misused. We all know how pleased we are to read or hear the word “organic” when in actuality it means very little regarding an animal’s raising and treatment. Patronizing your local farmer is push back against false marketing schemes of substandard food and will serve to raise the quality standard.

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Featured Vendor: Live Springs Farm

Local Harvest’s Featured Vendor
23 August 2013
Bobbi Sandwisch and Alex Weber of LIVE SPRINGS FARM
Carrollton, IL

BobbiLH: What is biodynamic farming? How is it different than organic farming?

LSF: First let me point out that we are not Certified Biodynamic. We use biodynamic farming practices on our farm, which means we are knowledgeable of biodynamic practices and use those in collaboration with good farming practices that benefit the farm ecosystem at Live Springs Farm. The concept of “biodynamic farming” was first introduced in Europe by Rudolf Steiner during the early 20th century. The biodynamic method is a holistic approach to farming that encompasses not only the biology of the soil but also the energy of the universe. That is where it largely differs from organic farming. There are some more practical applications of biodynamic farming that we utilize on the farm which include things like making and spraying “horn manure.” This is a fertilizer-type spray that we use on our fields and pastures. We prepare it here on the farm using the manure from our cows. We collect enough manure to fill 300 cow horns each fall. Then we pick a designated spot on the farm, based on different criteria like soil type and propensity to moisture holding, etc., and bury those 300 horns for the duration of winter, digging them up in May. Over the winter, the manure in those horns turns from soupy cow manure to a crumbly, rich, dark, very earthy-smelling, compost-like material. We then also have a special storage method for this preparation, a specific way to prepare it for application to fields and pastures, and a specific way and time of day to spray. There are several other “biodynamic preparations” prepared in similar ways that I don’t have space to detail here. All of these details reflect the intricacies of nature, because the biodynamic preparations are meant to work in collaboration with those very intricacies and help re-enliven natural patterns that are occurring in nature largely unseen to the human eye; yet, they are present and working in some way to help or harm our farming practices.

LH: Do you consider biodynamic farming a return to a more ancient way of farming, or is it a new method altogether?

LSF: It is absolutely not a return to a more ancient way for farming. That is a widespread misconception that organic farming and the like are “how great grandpa did it.” Farming must be progressive to keep up with the ever-changing environment and human population. Does that mean we need genetically modified crops and proteins or other lab-produced concoctions to feed humanity? . . . absolutely not. We need to continue to learn and be observant of our natural world and figure out how to imitate, replicate, and work with those perfect interactions to produce food efficiently. The biodynamic preparations and model are one tool in the tool box for today’s modern American farmer. The most important aspect of biodynamic farming is the concept of “holism.” Every aspect of the farm—from livestock and wildlife, to crops, water, forest and wetlands—has a relationship with everything else. We view it as one of our most important tasks to nurture these relationships, that they may become stronger and have more synergy.

Live Springs FarmLH: Did Live Springs start out as a biodynamic farm? Why did you chose this method of farming and the place you chose to practice it?

LSF: The land that now supports Live Springs Farm was initially purchased and is still owned by a woman named Dorothy, who bought it with the intentions of it being a biodynamic farm. That initial purchase happened in 2007. For a short period, the farm was operating under a different name as a not-for-profit organization. Even at that time, it was operating with biodynamic principles. We started growing and producing as Live Springs Farm in 2009 when we started selling our premium products locally, direct to consumers.
We chose to use Biodynamic farming practices in collaboration with our other practices like Holistic Planned Grazing because we felt it was one of the most comprehensive approaches to modern farming and would directly benefit the end consumer with the most nutritious food they could feel good about consuming.

groupLH: You have a financial partner who you describe as a “slow money investor” who seeks a “triple bottom line.” What’s your relationship with her, and what does that mean?

LSF: Our “slow money investor” is the aforementioned landowner Dorothy. We met Dorothy in 2007 as part of that original not-for-profit organization. As that organization changed their mission and goals and decided to downsize and leave the Midwest region, Dorothy was left with a large piece of land far from her home in Alabama, and Alex and I (Bobbi) were left as farmers needing a place to farm. It kind of seemed like the obvious answer! The devil is in the details, right? Dorothy is a very forward-thinking individual when it comes to ideas about the true place of land and money in our society, and Alex and I are very passionate about farming, animals, food, and nutrition. The marriage of all those things has led to the very unique situation we have here at Live Springs Farm.
We have a very close relationship with Dorothy. We talk to her regularly about the progress on the farm, challenges we’re facing, and big picture ideas about where to go in the future, including ideas about land ownership, business models, etc. Her commitment at this moment in time is in retaining full ownership of the land and business while investing monetarily in infrastructure and other farm needs that will help the farm business succeed and become financially sustainable. The idea of “slow money” investing is particularly important to farming and, in particular, farming that tries to work holistically, in collaboration with natural processes. Things in nature happen in patterns and often take years . . . . A cow is pregnant for nine months, a calf is born, nurses from that cow for 9 months (here at Live Springs anyway!), continues to grow for another 15 months until it is truly “finished” and ready for slaughter, or ready for starting the process as a mother cow. That is a good deal of time to wait for some return on your initial investment of that original mother cow—and many things in farming take even longer. Actually, that mother cow needs to have 3 healthy calves on the ground before she begins to become profitable for the owner, which is a pretty slow investment return.
The “triple bottom line” aspect of that investment is a multi-faceted look at what the return on investment is. It isn’t about just the monetary return. . . . It is a small financial return (money), a return for the community (i.e. nutritious food available, a clean watershed, lack of exposure to harmful chemicals), and a return for mother nature (i.e. healthy, vibrant, carbon-rich soil that can help natural processes flourish).

pastured chickensLH: Describe an average day in the life of your farm.

LSF: We start early in the morning, around 5:30 A.M., doing chores which include: milking the goat (for our personal consumption on the farm!); rolling up the temporary fencing for the cows, moving them into a new portion of pasture, and setting up temporary fencing for their afternoon move to fresh pasture; opening the doors to the eggmobile for the laying hens to come out for the daylight (every other day that also means moving the eggmobile to a new pasture portion), opening the doors on the shelters for the broiler/fryer chickens to come out and moving their shelters forward to fresh ground for that day, and every fifth day that means moving their whole set-up to a fresh acre of pasture; also feeding and watering those chickens; and checking on and watering the feeder pigs in the woods. Then certain weeks there are also chicks in our brooders that are under two weeks old that haven’t gone out to pasture yet, and need fed and watered in the brooders. Also, it may be the week when the feeder pigs need access to a new portion of woodlot or pasture so temporary fencing has to be taken down and re-setup, and feeders and drinkers need to be moved.
That all happens before 8 A.M. when we break for breakfast. Then after breakfast there are any number of things to do. . . . Bobbi has to keep up with emails to individual customers asking questions and placing orders, be in conversation with restaurants and grocery stores about ordering, schedule with the butcher facilities and do cutting instructions for those places on how to process the meat, keep up the website and other social media outlets including email newsletters and updates for buying clubs, go to farmers’ markets, make deliveries to grocery stores and buying club members, take animals to the butcher (that happens well before breakfast on designated days), do the farm bookkeeping and accounting, keep up meat inventory and packing orders for distribution, attend speaking engagements, perform any veterinary treatments to any animals, order supplies, clean and pack eggs—the list goes on.
Alex fills the rest of his day making feed rations for the farm’s pigs and chickens, doing repairs and maintenance on any of the farm equipment and machinery, doing field work which varies throughout the year (from tillage and planting in the fall, to harvesting in the summer, planting cover crops in the summer, making hay in the summer, and spraying biodynamic preparations), managing the two full-time employees on the farm, continuing to work on building new high tensile electric fence and maintain existing fence, overseeing or doing other infrastructure improvements on the farm like building eggmobiles and chicken shelters.
Then there are the afternoon chores like collecting eggs, freshening up feed and water for the broiler/fryer chickens, moving the cows again to a new pasture portion, feeding, watering, and checking on the sows and boars and possibly giving them a new pasture/woodlot portion.
After dark the chickens get locked up, safe from nighttime predators.

Alex and Rowan with a Grassfed cowLH: Most farms that raise grass-fed, antibiotic-free animals seem to have one particular animal that they focus on—largely selling one type of cattle only, for example—while you raise cows, pigs, and chickens. Is this diversity due to your biodynamic practices, and does it make your daily work harder?

LSF: The diversity is in part due to biodynamic practices. Many farms you see using biodynamics are very diversified farms because of the holistic approach it encourages, but many are not. For example, many wineries have incorporated just the practical aspects of the biodynamic preparations, like the horn manure I mentioned, because they are seeing incredible beneficial results. Our approach to diversity is based in many thoughts . . .
1. Nature likes diversity. There are many important relationships that we interrupt by trying to be too specialized.
2. We can produce more food on the same acre of ground. If you put sheep, goats, chickens, cows, and pigs on an acre of ground where there is some grass, some weeds, some brushy areas, some mast producing trees, etc. and watch each of those animals, you’ll see they all have their specialties without one inflicting any negative stress on the other in terms of food supply. In fact, quite the opposite: they each seek out the food source most valuable to them, with some overlap. Then they deposit their unique manures, which are the most nutrient dense form of food for soil microorganisms which produce their own manure and have their unique characteristics to aerate soil and provide nutrition to all those growing plants, including other plants that can be used directly for human consumption without a single bag of fertilizer.
3. We like to do different things, it makes us happier.
4. It helps our customers. We know we’re asking a lot of our modern day families who have become very distanced from real food. Getting real food these days is by no means the norm, while 24-hour grocery stores stocked with the same product disguised as nutritious food 365 days out of the year are. We’re asking customers to give up this seemingly convenient experience to go one place to get their grassfed beef, another place for their organically-grown vegetables, another place for eggs, another place for pork, another place for milk, and on and on. Oh, and they can only get one thing once a month and another thing is once a week. We’re trying to do our little part to offer a little more convenience and we’re going to keep working on that as we grow.
5. It builds in resiliency to the business. We’re not putting all of our eggs in one basket.
All of this makes for year-round, long, hard days of work—but being too specialized definitely has its down sides as well, like not addressing any of the points I mentioned above. We feel it is 100% a possibility for human beings to feed themselves without the use of GMO crops (which don’t offer any yield increases) and nutrient-devoid, mass-produced, laboratory-grown foods—but it will take much more hard work on the part of farmers and consumer support for understanding the importance of diversity and flexibility on farms.

LH: What is your favorite local product (besides your own, of course)?

LSF: We love all of our fresh produce from Three Rivers Community Farm and Riverbend Roots Farm. We are also partial to the truly divine artistry of everything from Salume Beddu!

LH: What is your favorite thing about working with Local Harvest?

LSF: We are appreciative of Local Harvest’s continued promotion of local farmers and the various products they have to offer. We are also happy that Local Harvest is just what it is . . . a grocery store. This is a concept that Americans are used to now. As a grocery store, Local Harvest provides another setting (aside from less mainstream farm-to-consumer outlets like farmers’ markets or buying clubs) for people to find higher quality food and start to bridge that gap with food consumption and farming. Also, we just appreciate that they are willing to buy from farmers like ourselves. We farm full-time and then we work full-time to try to sell our products: it’s hard work and we’re so appreciative of places that help to make that a little easier.

LH: What is your favorite thing about living in this area?

LSF: (Bobbi) I grew up in western Ohio so the Midwest is home to me. I farmed in New York for a time and couldn’t get away fast enough. The pace of life here is fast but I couldn’t keep up there. This is also a great area for diverse food production.
(Alex) Great soil.

LH: Why should people buy local?

LSF: If we could get everyone to switch to buying local overnight, we would see an amazing transformation in the overall well-being of our country and citizens. When you have corn grown in Illinois, shipped to China to feed the hogs (the biggest hog producer in the U.S. is in the process of being bought by a Chinese company), the pork shipped back to California and trucked to Iowa for further processing into hotdogs and other porky products, and then those pork products trucked back to feed the communities where the initial corn was grown, there are a lot of corporate interests making money along the way. Meanwhile, the original farmer got paid less than the cost of producing that corn and in turn got a nutrient-deficient end product for what appears to be relatively “cheap”.
Buying local encourages farmers to do better because they’re feeding their neighbors and usually it means getting paid a fair price. Consumers are getting more nutrient-dense food that hasn’t been harvested too early and traveled too far or sat in a warehouse for years. The money stays closer to home thus building the quality of life for our own communities. Consumers can also generally have more of a say in what they want by communicating with the producer, which also goes to further encourage farmers to do better.

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The Local Harvest Community Seed Library

Part of Local Harvest’s mission is to build a local food community. All of the food we eat- from fresh produce, to grains, meat, and even dairy- can eventually be traced back to seeds.  So what better way to promote our St. Louis food community than to save and share seeds? We are excited to announce the opening of the Local Harvest Community Seed Library.

Seed libraries are popping up all over the country. They act as local seed banks, saving seeds from plants that thrive in their own communities and promoting biodiversity. You may have heard of seed banks like the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which preserve vast amounts of seeds in case of future calamities. A noble cause! But instead of locking our seeds away, the Local Harvest Community Seed Library will allow us to continue to cultivate and develop strong plants that produce well in the St. Louis area and pass them along to future gardeners.  Saving our seeds as a community frees us from the grips of powerful commercial interests, allows us to truly personalize our crops to our climate, and promotes biodiversity on a large scale.

So how does it work? The seed library is a completely free community resource. Anyone can “borrow” seeds from the library, with the promise that they will return as many seeds (or more) for the next season. The library is broadly organized in three sections: edibles, herbs, and ornamental plants. The edibles section is the largest and is categorized by plant family. Don’t worry, we have a guide to some common plant families posted, as well as a comprehensive index of all seeds available in the library.  Complete directions for checking out seeds will be posted for your use.

Through generous donations from Gateway Greening and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, the Local Harvest Community Seed Library is chock full of seeds that will thrive in our area. Of course we welcome any seeds you may wish to donate, too! Seed donation directions will also be posted.

The Local Harvest Community Seed Library will debut at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market this Saturday, June 8. Stop by the Local Harvest booth to learn more about it and check out some seeds! After the market, the Library will be based at Local Harvest Grocery on Morganford, with plans to expand to our Kirkwood store as well.

Feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have here on the blog, at the market this Saturday, or in person at our Tower Grove store. Thanks, and happy seed saving!

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In dutiful service of the carrot

I’m just now getting around to writing the home office, mostly out of vacation laziness. It’s the fifth day in Germany, and boy am I worn out.  I’m worn out because in lieu of a bike or a gym I had to resort to jogging with Hannah and Becky.  I’m not made for jogging. At least the weather is so far removed from the St. Louis July that working up a sweat jogging is a nice way to stay warm.  Anyway, as you would expect, I’ve had my fair share of beer and pork products.  I don’t know which is more exciting for me, the variety of good cheap beer or the various wursts, cold cuts, and miscellaneous meat products avaliable.  I would love for Todd Geisert to try the mett, ground salted raw pork and see about getting that in the store.  No really, I’ve had it twice already and I’m fine.  Getting back to the beer, what a revelation.  The variety and price is what impresses me.  Half litres of good beer for the same price of Stag, and you can drink on the street. The concept of limited release, 20$ single beers people buy to hoard and resell on ebay is a foreign concept, however the local grocery store just introduced and imported beer section featuring among others, The Brooklyn Brewery and Firestone Walker.
I guess I didn’t mention it earlier, but we’re here in Dortmund, in the northwest part of Germany, in the state of Nordrhine-Westfalia the most populated state in the nation.  We’re very close to Cologne, Dusseldorf, Essen, Munster, and you can travel easily between the cities by train. Yesterday we were able to travel for free to Dusseldorf to drink some altbeer at the Uerige brewery. Anyway, Dortmund is supposedly the beer capital of Germany according to our native host Andy and there is certainly no shortage of beers and places to drink them.  The most familiar to Americans would be DAB which is sold at Local Harvest.  Others include Kronen, Brinkhoffs, Hovels, Stifts, Ritter, Dortmunder Union, Bergman, Hansa, and some more I haven’t tried.  They all fall within the “Dortmunder” style, a variation of pilsener.  But, if you go up the road to Cologne or Dusseldorf, you will get a city specific different style that I will go into later.  Today we leave for Brussels where we’re going to get a completely different perspective on beer.
Depending on the communication technology situation, I will update from Belgium.
In dutiful service to the carrot;

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George Travels to Germany

Well I’ve been lazy again, or rather my time has been linked to the whims of others, so I haven’t written for a while.  So I will review the last week.  We spent three nights in Brussels, staying at a lovely bed and breakfast, or rather a couple of spare rooms in a lovely house, in a lovely part of town.  So many beautiful buildings in Brussels: see what happens when you don’t start a world war and people don’t have to bomb all your lovely old buildings.  But let’s get to the important part, the beer.

The first bar we went to was the Moeder Lambic.  Despite the initial uncertainty about communication we managed to get right into Belgian beer, sampling draft lambics and paging through the giant bottle menu.  Next, walking and walking and walking; a lot of walking, a museum or two, and then the Cantillon brewery.  Cantillon, which also calls itself the geueze museum, is an unassuming place in the middle of a somewhat less than touristy part of town,is one of the few traditional producers of geueze and lambic.  Just walk inside and you’ll see that this is no modern brewery.  It smells like old wood and yeast and there are cobwebs everywhere, but they make some world famous beer.  Gueuze and lambic are spontaneously fermented beers that age for years in wooden barrels and are sour, deliciously sour.

The next stop of interest in Brussels was the Delirium Cafe.  They hold the Guiness record for most beers for sale at one time 2004, and the beer list is like a phone book.  I won’t go into detail, but I had some cellared beer you’ll never find in the U.S.: oh, and I got good and saucy. The next day we drove to the town of Beersel just outside of Brussels to go to the Drie Fontinen Brewery, another famous maker of geueze and lambic.  They were on vacation and the Oud Beersel Brewery had just closed an hour before we got there.  Oh well, we met some really nice locals at a bar and they directed us to a grocery store with a great selection.  We stocked up and drove to Aachen, Germany.

Aachen is nice border town which houses Charlemane’s cathedral and Germans.  Nice place.
We got back to Dortmund Saturday and now we are focusing on wedding plans.  Last night was the poulterabend, a prewedding party with both families.  We drank, we ate and we all took turns smashing plates and various ceramics at the Cafe Banana.  Good times.

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Week of March 19th – Dinner Specials at Local Harvest

Our weekly dinner specials:

GREEN PLATE: Carrundos – Vegan tamales wrapped in rainbow chard over pickled red cabbage & carrot salad. – topped with a pecan arugula salsa verde.

TROUT: Panseared Missouri trout over a bed of greens with toasted black walnuts & red onions – topped with a blueberry dressing.

BEEF: Missouri Kobe sirloin Kabobs served with a sweet potato German salad with a green tomato relish

SOUP: Beef & Vegetable

*Menu items subject to change throughout the week

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Rock The Vote: Local Harvest Cafe For Best Vegetarian!

Local Harvest Cafe has been nominated by St. Louis Magazine for their annual A-List Reader’s Choice Poll 2012.  LHC is in the category for Best Vegetarian!  Let’s get the vote out and show St. Louis what’s up!

STLMAG’s A-List Reader’s Choice Poll 2012

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Maddie Earnest Featured In This Month’s Issue of FEAST

Photography by Jonathan Gayman

Local Harvest Co-founder, Maddie Earnest, is featured in this month’s issue of FEAST Magazine as part of a discussion on the “current state of the culinary industry and its future.”  Go Local Harvest!

Tastemakers Interview: Maddie Earnest

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it’s for the kids.

twice a month I get the pleasure of working with Discovering Options and about ten grade school kids. it is loads of fun!

so when Charmaine (the lovely and inspiring director of this after-school program) asked me to participate in an event in September, I jumped at the chance.

Iron Kids is going to be a great party with appetizers, drinks, and a competition of dishes that the kids helped create. Come by and help these kids get the support they need!



(Discovering Options is always looking or Mentors or Volunteers, please call 314-721-8116 to get started)

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You say, “Tuh-may-toe.” I say, “Delicious!”

There in season, in our shop, and straight from the bi-state!

Besides being juicy, vibrant, and down-right scrumptious, tomatoes are bustin’ at the seams with nutritional goodies.

Vitamin C: 1/2 cup (about a handful) of diced ‘maders provide 20% of the recommended daily dose of this notable immune booster

Lycopene : This fabulous phytochemical shields cells from nasty free radicals, protects the skin from sun damage, and promotes prostate health

Zeaxanthin: Another wacky-sounding compound floating in tomatoes prevents macular deterioration by shielding eyes from UV rays…you see???

Did I mention this fruit is low in fat and high in fiber?

Try tomatoes:

  • On your breakfast sandwich (especially with greens and goat cheese spread!)
  • Sprinkled on your salad
  • Dipped in Ah!Zeefa or house-made hummus (great gluten-free substitute to chips)
  • Stacked with mozzarella, basil, and olive oil (or Balsamic vinegar)
  • Blended in a simple red sauce



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