Sunday, June 30, 2013

Keeping Cool with Summer Foods

It is hot as "h" "e" double toothpicks and apparently we are going to have to take it for a long time. With the shrinking polar ice caps, the jet stream is behaving "erratically" as the meteorologists like to say. This means extreme weather patterns, torrential rain and flooding in some parts of the USA while searing heat, drought and fire in others. Here in the west coast, we are SCORCHING hot, with some places getting up to 120 degrees plus. As we environmentalists like to say, WE TOLD YOU SO, but as a food talk show host, I like to encourage my listeners and readers to have heart, some relief is in store with naturally cooling foods.

Summer melons are starting to pop up in Farmers Markets and offer several ways to cool down. Just eating the melons can cool you down, but you can put them into Agua Fresca, cut into cubes or rectangular slices, put a tooth pick or Popsicle stick in and freeze for an instant low cal high fiber ice pop. You can also take over ripe melons, peel, seed and cube, place 4 - 8 cups of melon in a blender or food processor and slightly process until chunky smooth. Place this puree into a loaf pan, and put into the freezer, stir about every two hours for a day (fun to get that blast of cool air when you open the freezer to stir mixture) and you have a fruit ice. You can also put this puree into an electric ice cream maker and freeze according to directions. Feel free to mix and match fruits in this idea, and add some herbs if you like.

Suggested Combos for  Fruit Ice 

Strawberry and Mint
Mango and Pineapple
Bananas and Blue Berries

Agua Fresca is a lovely invention from South of the Border and Spain. Basically a fruit and water mixture, Agua Fresca  is a great way to use melons, berries and even cactus pears in a simple, low calorie cooling blend.

Basic Agua Fresca Recipe

8 cups of fruit, peeled, sliced and seeded as necessary
1 cup water
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp Honey or Agave syrup

If you want herbs or an herb flavor, you can add 1/2 cup of herbal infused syrup to this mixture or add 14/ cup chopped fresh herbs such as basil, mint or tarragon.

Mix with a hand blender in a large bowl, or mix in batches in a blender or food processor until all is blended. Add crushed ice and enjoy throughout the day.

Spa Water

Spa Water is also a great way to cool down. Using sprigs of fresh herbs, slices of citrus, berries and cucumbers, and add them to a big picture of water or a water dispenser this is a refreshing way to create tasty sugar free low calorie refreshment without creating bottle or can waste. It is also a lot cheaper. Have this on hand to drink all day long.

Some of my favorite combos:

Cucumber and Lime
Orange and Mint
Strawberries and Basil

Cooling Summer Salads

And of course salads. I like to go to the Farmers Market, see what is there and then make up salads from the selection for the week. Vegetables are very cooling as well. To cut down on the calories, make non-fat yogurt dressings. Instead of using mayonnaise and buttermilk for your dressing base, yogurt has all the flavor and few fat calories. If you are like me, you LOVE dressing and this simple trick is a way to load up on dressing without all the fat. When you make your own, you don't have all the salt and chemicals in bottled dressings, and is it so much less expensive.

Basic Yogurt Dressing

1 cup low or non fat yogurt, 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice, 1 tsp Dijon Mustard, 1 tsp chopped parsley, 1 tsp minced shallots, a dash of garlic powder, add Tabasco sauce, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let the flavors meld for several hours for best results. You can play with different herbs and spices if you like, say use cilantro and cumin, or basic and garlic chives, dill and lemon zest .........

And Ah Yes, FINALLY Tomatoes are starting to come into season! In Chinese Food Energetics, Tomatoes are very yin, for us westerners, this means cooling. What better way to cool down than with sliced tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella? No cooking required, and just think, you will be doing your body a favor!

So, you have my deepest compassion and empathy, I hate being hot, but I love the cooling foods of summer, and these ideas will really hit the spot on the long hot days of July.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

SCOTUS and your Supper

The last weeks of June 2013 provided much fodder for those who are watching the government. A failure of the Farm Bill, and a possible new punting of Immigration reform by the GOP led house, were just a few events causing the pundits to froth at the mouth, and prompting citizens to take to the streets with various signs. The "decisions" coming out of the Supreme Court, text friendly known as SCOTUS, provided a basic upsetness on all levels of the American public. The only ones celebrating the court this week were  same sex couples in California who do not want to go to Massachusetts to marry and extend their federal work benefits to their spouses. As states gear up for nasty expensive ballot initiatives on both sides of the debate due to SCOTUS batting the marriage issue back to them,  (apparently the rights of homosexuals do not deserve federal protection,) there is actually a more sinister issue afoot. 

The Roberts led court has been a boon to the corporate world. Everyone was up in arms thinking he would overturn Roe v Wade. He is actually doing things much worse. At least preventing abortion could be seen as having a reverence for life, what he and his court  are doing is anything but life affirming. In a word, he and the other conservative judges are telling businesses how to rephrase their arguments so they can win. By giving explicit direction, the court is helping big business present issues to the court,  so SCOtUS can give big business the friendly outcome they desire. This behavior is done at great expense to our democracy and our citizens rights. Sounds like  argel bargel activist judges to me. 

Roberts is rather nice looking though, but you think as a Catholic he would not do what he is doing to the living Americans. Catholics are supposed to have a consistent life ethic, from conception to grave, I have yet to find an Papal Encyclical granting charity to businesses over humans. As I have said before, the law is not necessarily moral, and any good lawyer can twist things around to prove their point in the name of preserving the constitution, all while still being able to sleep at night. 

Seems as though all the "pro life" judges on the court, are "pro" giving life, liberty and rights to corporations, and gutting all legislation to protect actual humans citizens within our borders. In just the last few years, the Court has radically rewritten laws in order to shield big business from liability, insulate corporate interests from environmental and antitrust regulation, make it easier for companies to discriminate against women and the elderly, and enable powerful interests to flood our election process with special interest dollars. Fairness has been thrown out the window. I really doubt if our founding fathers had this in mind.

I was driving through the Canadian Rockies way back in the mid 80's during the height of the Regan years. Remember those good old innocent care free days, when all we had to worry about was nuclear annihilation, which gender would open the door for whom,  and mandatory school prayer? I was listening to a broadcast on the CBC which was airing a speech by Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Women Against Nuclear Disaster. She was reading a summary of an Australian Industrial Psychologists Thesis on how America as a nation got from FDR to Regan in 50 short years. The Thesis by Alex Carey examined the three main developments in the world during the 20th Century.

                        A) The Development of Democracy 

B) The Development of Capitalism

C) The Development of Propaganda to protect Capitalism from Democracy.

I had been looking for this thesis for years, and was told in 2003 by U Texas Austin Journalism professor Robert Jensen of its recent publication. is a series of video readings of Carey's thesis that was published in 2002. I suggest reading it as well, and supporting the U of Illinois press at the same time for making sure this important study is available to the world.

I was spellbound listening to Caldicott while creeping through the pine tree lined back roads of Eastern British Columbia. She quoted Carey in her talk about all the multinational corporations and how they affected education and public opinion. She drew conclusions to how the public was being spared the realities of nuclearism and trained to hate the "commies" as a purposeful distraction. I see the current hysteria over the private lives of homosexuals and the endless jabbering over vaginal probes and guns as even more distracting while very profound changes are happening to our rights as Americans. Carey in the 1980's was quite prophetic, and not in a good way.

The corporatists have been busy for the last 25 plus years. Those of us who are truly pro life, and see such a view point extending from the fetus to all of the planet, are labeled as insane. Now we are terrorists, anti American and naive because we think having clean water, fertile soil and food that does not have pesticides added to it's DNA are good ideas. While Americans fight amongst one another about abortion and gay marriage, draining the energy, attention and pocket books of the "little people," corporations have been quietly and successfully whittling away at our very personhood as Americans. They are doing things "legally," with explicit direction from SCOTUS.

The absence of morality in the law is very apparent when you look at Citizens United Decision and the current Roberts Court.  The Alliance for Justice has an excellent overview of the the rulings of this court

The main reason I get so exasperated over "constitutional rights" people and their tunnel vision over their so called right to own rocket launchers, is there are several other amendments that are being gutted by this "pro life" court. You can not eat your gun, nor will it assure your freedom when you have no rights compared to a non human corporation. Who are you going to shoot when going up against Monsanto invading your farm with GMO wheat you did not plant? The second amendment is useless when all the other ones are gutted. 

The Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court was brought by the group, I am not kidding nor did I make this up, I will let them speak for themselves in terms of their name

These so called people from, (look above for the name, I do not want to say the word, look at poor Paula Dean when she said an equally offensive word) tried to discredit Hillary Clinton during her failed presidential run with the release of an attack movie before a primary. Under the then financial reform by McCain Feingold legislation there were certain rules that the Clinton campaign felt were being violated by the release of this film. At issue was campaign rules, "free speech" and who could have it. Basically, the court told (look to the graphic above) how to frame the argument in order that (the group) could win. SCOTUS then released their decision that corporations are people, and money is speech, and to curtail either was against "the constitutional right to free speech." SCOTUS proclaimed that (the group) had not violated any campaign laws, because corporations are people with rights to expression. So, corporations have free speech, but we as Americans can't sue them, because they have had SCOTUS limit our ability to do so, we can't take pictures of abused animals on farms, and on and on and on. I would like to add this "group" is the same one that released the swift boat ads against Kerry, lying about his war record, and is a GOP/Koch brothers group, so PLEASE spare me the both political parties are guilty stuff. The Dems could not get it together to be this sinister, and I am a Green party member.

What does all this have to do with food? Privacy rights are being given to GMO companies so they don't have to label their products.  OSHA can't have an inspection of a pig farm polluting your water, because that would invade the privacy of the corporation er excuse me,  person. We can't resist fracking and all sorts of really interesting things when it comes to our food because to do so would violate the "person" (hint Corporation) putting methane in our drinking water. This SCOTUS pronouncement for the above group determines who owns food and who can grow it or eat it, because the corporations doing these things have "rights." The final caveat is that the corporations get the courts to legislate away their responsibilities, and remove our ability for redress or even complaining . 

The interview on June 29th's show was a great overview of what SCOTUS and the above group (again, I just can't say it or write it) is doing to our democracy and our food sources, and please log onto for the attempts to change the constitution to make, humans human, and speech into, well speech.

So, I am very happy that gay and lesbian couples feel vindicated, believe me I know what it is to feel alienated from the mainstream culture, and have your lifestyle be negated. Try being a chubby older straight woman in San Francisco, there is no use for you at all, no hope of a social life or community on any level.

While rights of homosexuals and access to abortion and birth control are important issues, I am more interested in the access to clean water, land and food. I actually think that having laws and rights to maintain life like air, housing and food are more important, but that is just me. This current court is taking the access to food, air, water and personhood away from the American people of all ages, genders, orientations, ethnic backgrounds and religions. The SCOTUS is taking away the American people's basic rights under the constitution, and giving them to corporations. The only way to circumvent this travesty of our democracy, is to bring back the human to personhood under the law.

When that happens, I will be celebrating.

Good Food Jobs

Apparently the economy is getting better. Most progressive economists call this a "jobless" recovery, and I am not sure I understand that term, because if the economy is dependent on consumer spending, doesn't it make sense if consumers have money to spend, they will spend it? I guess if you are a big bank who does not have to cover your losses, and now you are making money again because you still are allowed to do the things you did to crash the economy the last time, that would be called a "jobless recovery."

What has been the trend is there are many jobs available, but are low wage, low security no benefit jobs, which often pollute the environment or are very difficult on the workers. Worldwide, the largest employer of humans is in the "food industry." This term encompasses everything from farming to marketing and production as well as the food service industry. If you listen to my program you know I love the statistics end of food production, because it truly boggles the imagination. In the states, most recent data available show that over 20 million people are employed in the food industry, and Americans spend 1 trillion dollars annually on food. This large amount is 10% of the gross domestic product.

I don't know about you, but comparing these two charts, and considering the tax bracket these guys are in, there is something wrong.

The American Food System has a great definition produced by the Economic Research Service or the USDA

"The U.S. food system is a complex network of farmers and the industries that link to them. Those links include makers of farm equipment and chemicals as well as firms that provide services to agribusinesses, such as providers of transportation and financial services. The system also includes the food marketing industries that link farms to consumers, and which include food and fiber processors, wholesalers, retailers, and food service establishments."

What this definition does not tell you is that the farmers, farm workers, factory workers and food services are poorly paid, usually non union or loosing their union bargaining capability, and are not receiving health benefits. With the impending implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act, many large food employers are threatening to cut employee hours and pay instead of trying to create a healthy caring work environment. A report that was released last year by the Food Chain Alliance, found that 86% of food service workers surveyed earned low or poverty wages, with many earning the bare federal minimum of about $15,080 a year. Only 17 percent of these workers receive health insurance through their employers, and 58 percent were without any health care coverage. Wages in this industry are so low that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the food service industry use food stamps at twice the rate of Americans employed elsewhere. And these are the people that Republicans in Congress want to cut food assistance to, or make them "prove" they are working. Guess who lobbies the Republicans in congress? Hint, it is not the tomato pickers or graveyard shift burger flippers. A disclaimer here, I am a proud founding member of the Green Party in California, so please do not consider me partisan in the usual way.

What is also stunning about these statistics is that within all of them, 4 million of the food industry workers are fast food employees. I could go on for pages and pages about the consequences of fast food in general, but these workers are the lowest paid of all food service workers, except maybe farm workers who work by the "unit" meaning they get paid per pound of produce picked.

Recent Strike in New York City by Fast Food Workers asking for a Living Wage

Florida Tomato Pickers receive 40 - 50 cents per bucket of tomatoes

The good news is there is a growing movement of food jobs with a purpose. The website shows there is another way when it comes to working in the food industry. 

If you listen to the podcast you can hear what inspired founders Taylor Cocalis and Dorothy Neagle to start the site. When I stumbled upon, I truly wanted to apply for every job. The criteria for posting a job is that it has to in a business that is sustainable, a good corporate community, or promoting sustainable food and agricultural education.

Where else could you find a posting for a ranch hand to help with biodynamically raised water buffalo, or an educational coordinator for a food skills kitchen in an economically under served area in Brooklyn? 

The future, I have often said, is going to be one where the best of sustainable and appropriate technology will be combined with food and agriculture. Good Food Jobs is a great place for emerging careers in the field of Gastronomy can be found.  The site calls a "good food job"  a job that is "a pursuit involving the efforts to nourish one's own life, and the lives of others." I have looked, you can't find a chain restaurant or fast food franchise job anywhere on the site. HMMMMMM. Check it out, the website is fun, user friendly, they have chats and a great newsletter!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Eggcelent Eggplants

Eggplant sounds so much more melodious in other languages: Melanzane, Augergine, Badimcan, when I took Bulgarian at UCLA this language was my favorite translation that apparently is out of favor, Cini Domata (sorry my blog does not do Cyrillic) which means "blue tomato" I think there is a cafe bistro name in there somewhere.

It is Summertime, and what I like to call Ratatouille Time, because all the ingredients are in season. This week I chose the lowly eggplant for several reasons. One, I truly love the versatility of this vegetable, and two it is just so yummy! What is also interesting is that here in the US, almost the entire crop is sent directly to market, so eggplants may be the last bastion of vegetables that are not mass marketed or processed. Apparently there was an attempt to create a GMO variety, but it was soundly rejected in India, to my knowledge (please let me know if I am wrong) there is currently no threat of a non-organic eggplant of being GMO, but the organic ones are just so much more interesting to look at, so many colors and shapes!

Eggplant Basics

The best way to choose eggplants is to look for smooth firm skin. Wrinkles are not pretty on eggplants! Broaden your horizons, try all different shapes and sizes. Cut the tops and bottoms off and rub the ends with the top piece, it draws the acidy taste out.

The best way to prepare eggplants for cooking is to slice them into thick cross or lengthwise slices 1/2 - 3/4 inches, rub a little sea or kosher salt on each side and place in a colander to let drain. This can take several hours, but it is worth it because the salt takes out a lot of the fluid and makes the eggplant less mushy.

Another way to cook eggplant is to wash the skin, leave the stem on, prick all over with a fork or knife and place it in a roasting pan,  bottom of the pan lined with foil if you like. I just love these pans, use them for all my veggie roasting needs.

Put the eggplant filled roasting pan into a 425 degree oven for about an hour or until the vegetable deflates. Take out of the oven, let cool, and scrape out the pulp from the  vegetable. This works great for dips and sauces. You can also do this on a cookie sheet, I suggest covering with foil.

The last way to cook eggplant is to grill slices. You can do this on a BBQ grill, just make sure the slices are thick, but my favorite way is on the counter top grill.

Slice off the stem of the eggplant, use your favorite bottled vinaigrette dressing (organic please remember Canola Oil is GMO unless organic) as a quick marinade, grill for about 5 - 7 minutes. Top with chopped herbs and green onion, a little crumbled feta and you have an excellent antipasto salad. These slices are also nice to have on hand for quick sandwiches, or you can spread some sun dried tomato pesto, add some grated cheese of your choice and chopped herbs, and you have an incredible roll up.

Baba Ganoush

Pulp from one large or two small roasted eggplants
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste available at health food and Arab markets)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves peeled and crushed garlic
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1/4 cup of the white part of the green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Sea Salt for Taste, Smoked Paprika for decoration

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor, blend until smooth, adding either oil or water in a thin stream to thin the consistency of the paste. place in a bowl or spread on a shallow dish and sprinkle with smoked paprika for garnish, you can also top with chopped cilantro if you like and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with bread, pita, or sliced vegetables, or as a spread in a sandwich.

This is an excellent recipe for Moussaka

And you won't want to miss the 26th Annual Eggplant Festival in Beautiful Loomis California, October 5th 2013. We will hopefully have a show for this event!

So HAVE FUN with your Blue Tomatoes!

Mae sure to listen to the Eggplant Podcast for interesting facts and ideas about the Melanzana as the Italians would call them.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Meat and the Healthy Heart

There have been a number of new studies come out showing that the consumption of meat may not be the greatest thing for the heart. While this is not really new, what I have wondered was: is it the meat or how the meat is grown and produced. 

Grass-fed beef is  richer in Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) which help reduce inflammation,  by percentage, owing to the increase in omega-3s. Grass-fed beef is high in B-vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin K, and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium than feed lot  corn feed beef. Studies show grass feeding results in higher levels of  “good” naturally occurring trans fat. Studies also typically show lower total levels of saturated, and polyunsaturated fats in grass-fed cows, but that’s just looking at the trimmed cuts. If you look at the whole carcass post-slaughter, you’ll find it’s encased in a thick shell of saturated animal fat that gets removed because consumers are scared of it and many grass-fed producers love to market their meat as low in “bad fat” and low in cholesterol. Long story short: grass-fed beef has plenty of fat, it’s just distributed differently. More subtle marbling and more subcutaneous deposition. And, the taste is really so much better. 

Also knowing that your purchases do not have acres of waste pools polluting local ground water is a plus.

Feed Lot Cows Eating Corn

Something I learned was that the preserving techniques, which in industrially produced things like salami and hot dogs is done with nitrates that cause cancer, are in organic varieties done with celery juice and sea salt. Hmmm, nitrates or celery juice which by itself is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. No wonder the "old ways" did not make people as sick as these nuclear holocaust proof varieties.

Where to get the good stuff? Consider a 4H animal, it is summer time and county fair time. A great place to get a well fed and cared for animal is from one of the 4H members projects. You can also find local meat CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area, you can try Local Harvest to see what is in your area I can suggest a couple:

I am familiar with Burgundy Beef in Texas, The Taggart Family on their ranch!

Sage Mountain Farms in Temecula, California 

And for preserved meats, the best options are organic products made by Applegate available at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and well stocked markets. I suggest liking them on Facebook, they have great recipe ideas and fun posts.

The other is available through Amazon and fine grocers which is fine artisan salamis.

Here in Napa, I plan to do a post and show on The Fatted Calf which makes their products on site, and also offers classes

So if you must eat meat, you can do so and not harm your heart. 

Now that is something to celebrate!

Make sure to listen to the show for other ideas..............


Friday, June 21, 2013

Lobster Rolls and Long Pie Pumpkins

Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

With the advent of the Food Network, Chefs have become celebrities. Influencing tastes and markets with a single "bam", American cuisine has become very different than just a few decades ago with chefs leading the way.

 Americans eat out 4 - 5 times per week, and the supposed preference is for "American Food." Other statistics place at least one of these meals at a fast food chain restaurant. I think it is more actually, but that is what CBS polls and the National Restaurant Association reports.

The world is currently going through it's sixth mass extinction, only this time we can't blame it on an asteroid hit. It is human behavior driven by the pollution and commodification of nature. In no where is this more apparent than in the realm of food. Just 50 years ago, there were hundreds of varieties of tomatoes and apples, corn and pumpkins. With the mass marketing of food, and the exponential rise of chain restaurants, serving the same menu items all over the nation, the demand for different varieties of foods has vanished. There are chefs that take their role in shaping food trends to mean more than a quick buck. 

Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro is one of them. He networks with several communities, Slow Food, The Chefs Collaborative and The Heirloom Harvest Project to educate his community on the benefits of eating soft shell lobster and long pie pumpkins. His menu items are all locally sourced and seasonally inspired, in what I would call locavore fusion ecstasy but that is just me. Check out his menu at

By making what he calls a Soft Shell Lobster roll and what I would call New England Atlantic bounty on a bun, he manages to combine a little known local seafood that will help preserve century old fishing families livelihoods, help reduce the strain on typical hard shell lobsters populations that are being fished to extinction, and well, it just tasted fantastic. The description on his menu I call food haiku.

In Chinese Medicine, the element descriptor for digestion and nourishment is the Earth element. It's taste association is sweet. The imbalance of the Earth Element in this paradigm shows up as diabetes and obesity. I have always been struck at how separated from the Earth we are, specifically in our modern foods. Maybe the reason we over eat is we hunger for the Earth. Mallet provides foods grown locally and from heirloom traditions to show how delicious they are, worthy of interest and preservation. He is branching out to a second restaurant, Hopestill Garage that will also feature local heirloom foods but in a more casual atmosphere.

Through all that he and wife Denise do through their business and civic activities, they are working to reconnect their community with the bounty of the land we all share. In this small but profound way, these Chefs are helping to stem the tide of a human made extinction. It is so delightful for me, that eating Lobster Rolls and Spiced Stuffed Long Pie Pumpkin's really can help change the world.

Long Pie Pumpkin

For more information check out the Chefs Collaborative

Interesting map and information on Americas Vanishing Food Traditions

And Finally, this is the book that really talks about this issue and what we as consumers can do about it.

Listen to the interview with Evan


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Time means Farm Camp for Kids!

This Chicken has no Nuggets!

Summer Time means Summer Camp, but these days, camp can mean so many different things. In our fast paced world, Children are often suffering from what is termed "Nature Deficit Disorder" In 2005 book, Last Child in the Wood: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, author Richard Louv argues that human beings, and children in particular are spending less time outdoors. With recent trends of only 2% of the American Public growing food for the other 95%, we know very few children in the United States are involved in farming. These statistics and theory, in my never to be humble opinion add up to a childhood obesity rate that has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Currently, more than one third of American children under the age of 18 are overweight and obese. There are of course, many compelling reasons for this terrible statistic, but I feel a major contributor to this epidemic is the fact that children are not outside running, working and playing, and they have no idea where their food comes from or what real food tastes like. 

Connolly Ranch in Napa California has a unique program which is a symptom but also a cure for all that is wrong with our modern food system. This beautiful seven acre Ranch is nestled in oak and redwood forest in western Napa. It is right next to beautiful Westwood Hills Park, and shows what Napa looked like before all the houses and vineyards arrived.

Owned by the Connolly family for years, the land was given to the Napa Land Trust literally weeks before the last owner died, bequesting it for public and educational use. The land is in the lush fertile Napa Valley, and was a multi use farm, with animals and crops. So much prime farmland in this area is being lost to development or the monoculture wine industry, Connolly was key to marinating Napa's true valuable landscape which provides food. The Napa Land Trust not only preserved productive farmland, but has also created a learning center so children can have opportunities to witness and participate in all aspects of farming. From seed to table, from mucking barns, to milking and collecting eggs, harvesting and cooking, children learn all aspects of where their food comes from. They even have mommy and me programs for preschoolers. I attended a family fun day where the public is invited to see the workings of the center, ask questions and basically have a great time in the delicious Summer air.

Now that is SOME PIG!

That such institutions exist shows how separated we are from our food sources, but thank Goodness Connolly provides such a valuable service. By connecting children with the land and animals that feed them, Connolly is part of shaping our next generation to be healthy and respectful towards the resources that nourish them. As their mission statement proclaims: This mission of Connolly Ranch is to connect kids with nature through farm based environmental education programs in Napa Valley, CA.

 Edible Gardens and Raised Garden Beds Grow Food for Farm Camp Cooking Classes

Compost Learning Center

City Kid meets Duck

Check it out if you are in the area, while you are out wine tasting, your children can learn all about how good, healthy and delicious food is raised.

Napa Land Trust Founding Member Harold Kelly, 
He Secured the Land for Connolly Ranch Learning Center

Education Director Michael Lauher

Norman, the official greeter at Connolly Ranch LOVES to strut his stuff