Archive for the 'Organic Farming' Category

Bossy Boots Urban Farm

July 23rd, 2011

bossy boots
Last weekend, I attended an open house at BOSSY BOOTS URBAN FARM. Bossy Boots is one of the local food businesses which also sells products on KRISTEN’S PORCH (a revolutionary concept in local food – or maybe a welcome return to the old fashioned ways).

I was so amazed at how much food they were able to grow in a small space. It wasn’t too small. A backyard. But it just goes to show how much unrealized opportunity there is out there.

vertical squash
Look at their amazing vertical squash. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

Here is Peter (a fellow PORCH LOUNGER) checking out the farm.

sarah and megan
These lovely ladies are the proprietors of this amazing farm, Sarah and Megan. Kudos to them for being part of the new local food system. Way to go, ladies.

nullThis is Abby. She did her first ‘Cooking with Abby’ demo. She made a lovely quinoa, kale, cucumber salad featuring fresh farm vegetables. She whipped that up right on the farm. What a pleasant afternoon! You would have never know that we were having a heat wave. You would also never have known that this was her first cooking demo. She was a pro. Great job, Abby!

quinoa salad


Troubled Waters

November 10th, 2010

troubled waters
Well, the good news is that ever since I posted the announcement about my KALE CHIPS, I’ve been a busy bee. I did however find time to attend a special screening of this movie, Troubled Waters. This movie sparked quite the CONTROVERSY locally when it was censored by the UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA. Apparently, there were some concerns that many of the questions raised in the film would RUFFLE SOME FEATHERS with some big time funders.

Of course, being the progressive state that Minnesota is (with a huge network of grass roots activists), this only served to draw more attention to the movie.

Who knew that my NEIGHBORHOOD watering hole was in the midst of such a crisis. I was wholly unaware of the extent of it. The movie details many of the water issues that have arisen after years of industrialized agriculture in this region. The runoff from overuse of anhydrous ammonia and other chemicals has had a huge impact on the Mississippi creating dead zones in the gulf and contaminating water sources all along the way. This is a HUGE problem that is not being addressed. What’s interesting to me personally is that ammonia was one of the toxic chemicals I was exposed to in excess (causing my myriad of health issues). They talked about animals in the movie that were exposed and had similar health problems. People don’t know it yet, but this is going to be a HUGE health issue for my generation and generations to follow. Take note, my friends!


Crop Mobs

July 1st, 2010

impalingOn Saturday, I went out to RIVERBEND FARM again as part of a ‘crop mob’. This is my third visit to the farm with Tracy Singleton, owner of the BIRCHWOOD CAFE (my FAVORITE restaurant). Tracy is an enthusiastic leader in the local foods movement here, and she organizes groups of people to visit the farm once a month. Here’s an action shot she took of me staking tomatoes (this was actually taken the day before my CAR WRECK). What a difference a day makes!

gregThis is Greg Reynolds, farmer extraordinaire. He is the owner of RIVERBEND FARM. Greg has been practicing organic farming on a thirty acre farm just outside Minneapolis. He produces food for the natural food coops in our area, restaurants, Farm to School programs, and CSA subsribers. Greg is very zen. Once thing that strikes me about him is his aura. Everyone in life has a river that runs through them of energy. City people (even the mellow ones) have a frenetic energy about them. Not Greg. He is amazingly placid. As if there is nothing that he does that doesn’t serve some purpose. It’s hard to fathom or describe. But it’s something I’ve noticed.

luciaThis is Lucia. She is also a leader in the local foods movement and the owner of LUCIA’S. Lucia has received the James Beard Nomination for Best Chef in the Midwest THREE times! She also brought our amazing lunch that day (after getting down and dirty in the fields). Our mission was to fix up the tomato fields. Here you can see her with our mulching agent, straw. I learned the difference between hay and straw on Saturday. Hay is for eating. Straw is for mulching.

We got a lot done! We layed down drip tape to water the tomatoes and then staked and mulched them. We fixed up over 2000 tomato plants! I’m so happy I made it out to the farm before I broke my hip!!


Bed of Kale

June 2nd, 2010

bed of kale
Just how much damage can one little Asian girl do with a bed of kale? We’re about to find out! Introducing my SUMMER OF KALE program! More good news coming soon!!


Grass Roots Movement

April 20th, 2010

Big news!! We finally finished editing the WHEATGRASS EPISODE for PRL TV! It was a lot of work putting it together. But I’m really happy with how it turned out. I can’t say enough nice things about wheatgrass. It’s magical.

freshSpeaking of grass, I’m going to see the movie ‘FRESH‘ tonight. I’ve already seen it, but I love it. Apparently, they’ve managed to get theatrical distribution now via a grass roots effort. I’m so happy for them. There are a lot of movies out there now which are detailing the demise of our food system, but this one is the most positive. It offers solutions for people who want to get involved and is more focused on what we can do as individuals to affect change. Very inspiring.

ana sofia joanes
Here is the director, Ana Sofia Joanes. She was in town the other day promoting the film with farmer/renegade, JOEL SALATIN.

joelJoel Salatin is my hero! He’s featured in the movie. He’s hilarious, down to earth, and really articulate. He runs an organic farm called POLYFACE FARMS. When his family purchased the farm, it was a junk farm. The soil was eroded, and it was not very productive. Now it is a model of viability and polycultural farming.





omnivore's dilmeJoel was also featured prominently in Michael Pollan’s book, THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA. This book was amazing. It really changed the way I thought about food. It’s a wonderful overview of our food system and how it evolved to it’s present state. Very informative, entertaining, and easy to understand.

In other news, I’ve started testing recipes for the tasting party I’m having next week to drum up catering business. This is the first cheesecake I’ve made with fermented cashew cheese. Came out pretty good…


Onion Weeding

August 20th, 2009

onion weeding
A few months ago, I wrote about PLANTING ONIONS on a local organic farm, RIVERBEND FARM.

Well, a few weeks ago, we returned to the farm. This time our mission was weeding.

onion rowsThe rows looked pretty pristine after we were done. It took a little elbow grease to get there.  When we got there, you couldn’t really see where the rows were. The weeds were bigger than the onions.







action shots
It looked a little more like this.

A few onions got accidentally picked.  OK.  Maybe more than a few.

For some reason, my boyfriend felt compelled to take a picture of me coming out of the outhouse.

There were some cool folks hanging out on the farm. People who are passionate about food quality. It’s nice to see that these issues are gaining traction and that everyday folks want to get involved. We’ll return to the farm in a few more months to harvest the onions. I’ll keep you posted…


Onion Planting at Riverbend Farm

May 26th, 2009

For Memorial Day this year, we went on an interesting adventure. We went to see where some of our food is made. Tracy Singleton (owner of our favorite restaurant, the BIRCHWOOD CAFE) invited us to an onion planting on an organic farm.

me on farm
I’m actually not sure if I’ve ever even been on a farm. It was a fantastic experience.

I saw some things I’ve never seen before.

This is the inside of one of the greenhouses.

lettuce seedlings
They had every variety of lettuce you could think of.

onion face
But we were just focused on onions this day.

We loaded up all the seedlings on a flatbed (or actually three flatbeds daisy-chained to the back of a truck) and moved them out to the field.

planning stage
Then, we started getting organized – matching varieties to the row they were to be planted in.

Did you know that there is actually a variety of onion named after me? It’s a pretty well kept secret.

alisacraigOne of the other people there (I think it was Adam from COMMON ROOTS) kept calling them the Jenny Craig strain because he couldn’t remember my name. And somebody else commented that if they were Jenny Craig onions, they would have pesticides and MSG.  (A little farm humor to brighten your day).  Yep.  Jenny Craig has Valerie Bertinelli.  But Alisa Craig has yours truly. 
Anyway, back to the onion planting.  Once we got everything organized came the hard part…

…the part where we actually started planting things.

I came prepared with my gardening gloves. They actually came in quite handy.

The rows were already marked for us. We just needed to stay in the lines (tire treads).

farm yoga
I invented a new yoga pose in the process. It’s called the farmer. This was actually doing some amazing things for my chronically tense upper back.

These girls were hard at work.

I didn’t catch her name, but this little girl was the hardest worker there. She lasted longer than I did.

flourescent bug
They have strange fluorescent bugs on the farm. This one kinda reminds me of the Willem Dafoe character from the Spider Man movie.

obama hat
What a wonderful day! We planted somewhere between 35-50,000 onion seedlings. We got some inside tips about growing arugula. We had a fantastic lunch. Best of all, we got to connect with lots of other people who really care about food. I met another foodie blogger, Lee. You should check out his blog, SIMPLE GOOD AND TASTY.