Monthly Archives: June 2009

Earth Dance Farms (Mueller Farms) and Meet the Farmer dinner

June 09 and farm pics 004Time for another farm tour. This time the farm is in Missouri very near downtown Ferguson.  First of all if you haven’t been to Ferguson in a while, it’s definitely worth a trip to see what Ferguson has done to revitalize and highlight the area–new shops, a Saturday Farmer’s Market, and beautiful neighborhoods.

Mueller Organic Farm sits at the back of a residential neighborhood.  It is serene, picturesque and I loved the scent  released as you brush past the large patches of mint lining the road.   I enjoyed the chance too to pick a few black raspberries although my son ate them before I could even get a taste. He said they made his tummy happy, so I’ll believe mine would have been happy too.  I was so taken by the scenery and atmosphere of the farm that it was a jolt to hear the very load sound of a plane landing at Lambert  Airport a short time after we arrived.  You feel very far away from civilization when you can block out the airport.

I would never have imagined all that lay behind the thin metal cord barrier–14 acres of “some of the best soil in Missouri” according to Dave one of the men who farms on the land.  The sign that greets you out front says the Mueller Farm has been around since 1893.  And it has been organic the whole time.  The farm used to be 200 acres.  As the Mueller Family got older a lot of the acreage was sold to development.  Now, Mrs. Mueller rents out acreage to a variety of farms.  The one we originally went to visit was Earth Dance Farms.  Molly Rockamann has been our main contact and the visionary for the farm.  Earth Dance Farms is working to bring young people into farming and has apprentice farmers, work parties, music concerts, pesto dinners and tons of energy. It was wonderful to see  the vision becoming a reality.

While at the farm we met some other folks farming the land. Karrie from Red Earth Farms (we’ve sold some of her produce in the store), John  Wilkerson (farming on the property for 10 years) and Rufus Cole who says “I’ve been farming out here since the beginning” and promises this is his last year.  Molly told me he’s 80, but it’s hard to believe when looking at him.  I guess it’s all the good eating and honest work!

It is so exciting to see all the interest in farming, preserving the land and of course, sustainable farming as is practiced on the Mueller Farm.

Learn more at our “Meet the Farmer” dinner on Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 7:00p.m.  We’ll feature all the delicious produce, plus you’ll get to view a short documentary about the farm.  Call 314-772-8815 to make reservations.  Cost is $35 vegetarian/vegan, $45 omnivore and $15 for optional wine pairing.

Yours in farming and living my dream of actually visiting the farms,


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Biver Farms

 Brett and Maddie's son Beck. Brett was helping me decrease the mud intake. IMG_1449

About a month ago I had the chance to visit Biver Farms in Edwardsville, IL.  I must admit I’m not one who readily crosses the river, but it was definitely worth it. Brett Palmer gave us a tour of the crops and that meant also a walk through some heavy mud. Biver Farms is an organic farm and they make good use of hoops to insulate early crops and row covers to decrease pests. 
I was reminded very quickly of what friggin’ hard work farming is.  Brett will be our featured Farmer at the “Meet the Farmer” dinner on June 29th. The dinner is by reservation only. But if you are lucky enough to be able to attend, be prepared to hear some great stories and learn some ins and outs of organic farming from someone who does it all year.
Beautiful heads of cabbage waiting for harvest. We'll have them in the store the week of 6/22.

Beautiful heads of cabbage waiting for harvest. We'll have them in the store the week of 6/22.

Enjoy these few photos from the adventure.


P.S. Many thanks to Brett for carrying my son for part of the tour. He worked hard to minimize the mud intake. It was partially successful!


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What is BeerBucha?

This is the true story of a happy accident, the result of which is now available EXCLUSIVELY at Local Harvest Cafe and Catering.

At 12:30am on 1/1/9 I watched my boyfriend’s brother-in-law pour our leftover contribution of Poema Cava (we use this at the Cafe in our mimosas) down the sink. RATS! But, as it was a family affair I thought it would be inappropriate to shout across the room for him to stop wasting our brut that we were planning to have with our black eyed peas and brunch. I spent the rest of the party trying to figure out just what we had in the fridge with which to celebrate in the privacy of our home in the morning. Luckily, family New Year’s Eve parties end early

The next day while the peas were cooking I took a grim inventory of the fridge. We had exactly two Miller High Lifes and one mango GT’s Kombucha, many flavors of which are available at both the Cafe and Grocery.

I recalled attending a brunch with friends several weeks prior during which we tried and enjoyed “beermosas”–the poor man’s mimosa, a combination of orange juice and lager. Those were surprisingly tasty.

As I peered in the fridge the mango kombucha orangely provided an instant color association with the beermosas, so i thought, “why not give it a try? Here we have the ‘champagne of beers’ and the naturally effervescent fermented goodness of kombucha…” “HEY, Honey,” I said. “How ’bout a miller-mango-mosa to ring in the New Year?” Needless to say, he was game.

The mango variety of GT’s Kombucha is particularly active. I believe this is because it is quite full of tropical fruit enzymes which mingle with the kombucha enzymes in an excitable way. All that enzyme goodness is just itching to get out of the bottle and into your digestive tract. It explodes. We’ve all seen it happen. And cleaned it off ourselves. And it can put a first-timer off, so Local Harvest only stocks it sporadically. It is a good idea to open it over a glass.

So I exploded some into a couple of glasses, added as much beer to each glass, and voila! beerbucha was invented. It was very fizzy and foamy. And it was quite tasty, too.

Since that first beerbucha it has become my drink of choice, and has endlessly piqued my friends’ curiosity. I have been experimenting with flavors and types of beers and ratios. I could go into great detail about all this, but it would be more fun for you to experiment on your own. If you have an adventurous spirit, if your friends only drink Stag beer and you just don’t like it, if you are a light-weight, if you crave some refreshment with your beer, if you’re a Belgian beer fan (which I’m not); whatever the reason, I encourage you to give it a try.

It did take a couple of months for folks to catch on, but the staff tried them at their last meeting and they are now being served at our Cafe, so you can try it in a safe environment…

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Filed under Beer and Wine, Delicious Tidbits, Fun Stuff That Can't Be Easily Catigorized, New at the Cafe, Recipes, Uncategorized

tongue pot roast?

a few people have asked me exactly how i made the tongue pot roast, so i thought it would be nice to share with everyone.

first i put the raw tongue into a pot of cold water, brought it to a boil. simmered it for about 20 minutes.

pulled out the tongue and ran it under cold water until it was cool enough to touch.

used a small knife and trimmed the outer layer (i.e. taste buds, etc) and removed the vein from the bottom.

sauteed onions and carrots until they were a bit soft, added to tongue to the pan. browned the tongue a bit.

added enough water and stock to cover the tongue and brought it to a boil.

once boiling i removed everything from the heat and transferred it into a covered oven safe dish.

cooked it at 350 for about two hours, turning it every 30 minutes.

sliced the tongue and served it with the broth, carrots, and onions.


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Filed under Ask a Chef, Delicious Tidbits

beef. 4 ways.

last night was another farmer dinner – this time with Jeremy Parker and his Missouri Grass Fed Beef.

a number of avid beef eaters, armed with their sense of adventure, joined us at the cafe with Jeremy to partake in an interesting meal. i am not quite sure if these folks knew what they were getting into, but as far as i can tell they all loved it.

Local Harvest Dinner 005

Jeremy spoke lovingly about his cows, his pasture, his techniques – i interrupted him a few times to explain the dishes set in front of everyone. it was something like this:

first course
kabobs with onions and pineapple, served with sauteed garlic scapes

Local Harvest Dinner 004

second course
tongue pot roast with roasted garlic smashed potatoes

Local Harvest Dinner 010

third course
grilled hearts with green chili bread pudding and jicama salad

Local Harvest Dinner 013

forth course
mini burger served on a companion roll with mustard, horseradish sauce, and garlic scape pesto

final course
cranberry walnut Baetje Farms goat cheese with pear slices

i was thrilled to be able to use these strange cuts of meat, especially from such wonderfully delicious cows. and i was thrilled that everyone enjoyed the meal.

jeremy offered everyone a tour of his farm, i think i might just take him up on that offer.

hope to see you soon,


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USDA NAIS Listening Session on June 9

Following up on a previous post on the National Animal Identification System, I thought I’d pass along the following email from the Missouri Farmers Union:

USDA Listening Session National Animal Identification System Scheduled for June 9 in Jefferson City

Truman Hotel & Conference Center
1510 Jefferson Street
Jefferson City, MO
Tuesday, June 9th: 9AM-4PM

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is gaining traction in Washington D.C., and we have the opportunity to let USDA know that the program will adversely affect thousands of Missouri farmers, while doing nothing for food safety concerns. Please plan to attend the listening session on June 9th. If you need assistance with transportation, directions or talking points, please contact Missouri Farmers Union.

Pro-NAIS forces have used myths to try to get farmers and consumers to buy into the NAIS program.  Now it is the time to convey the message that NAIS will severely and negatively impact independent family farmers, consumers who care about local and sustainable foods, taxpayers who object to wasteful government programs and advocates for a safer food system.

What You Can Do:

1.    Attend the listening session on June 9. Please have prepared comments ready, if possible, and remember there might be opportunities to visit with media.

2.   Submit written comments online or mail to:

ATTN NAIS, Surveillance and Identification Programs
National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS
4700 River Road Unit 200
Riverdale, MD 20737

– Brian DeSmet

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Filed under Politics of Food

Farming Was My Life

Don’t miss the free documentary screening and discussion of  “Farming Was My Life: The Hidden Costs of CAFO’s,”  Sunday, June 7, 4-6 p.m. at Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Blvd.,  St. Louis, MO.

The documentary will last about 40 minutes with discussion and community dialogue to follow.  Family farmers featured in the film will be present to answer questions and participate in the conversation.  The movie was produced by the Missouri Rural Crisis Center and Violet Producations. 

Local Harvest Grocery will be there!!

You can RSVP to amys@stl-jwj.or or 314-608-3917

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