Who is Affected by the Proposed FSMA Rules?

Everyone who eats ‘locally’.

Food safety matters because everybody eats – and everybody has a role in keeping food safe from farm to the table. Done right, these new rules can help make our food safer; done wrong, they run the risk of putting farmers out of business, limit consumer choice, and increase the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers, among other problems.

But before the rules are finalized, the FDA NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU!  The second comment period closes December 15, 2014. In large part due to National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) comments last year, the FDA announced that it would reexamine several critical areas of the Food Safety Moderization Act (FSMA) proposed rules that have major potential impacts for sustainable farming, as covered in the Produce Safety Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule.

We are now in a second public comment period, focused on the ‘re-proposal’ – like a second draft – of key sections of the rules this year for further public comment. The areas they are re-proposing will still require significant public input to shape an outcome that is supportive of sustainable agriculture.

The first comment period closed November 15, 2013. Now it’s time for you to speak up.  How?  Just follow this easy step-by-step process (and short video) How to Submit Comments to send your heartfelt message to the FDA.  The second comment period closes December 15, 2014.

The Nebraska Food Cooperative needs EVERYONE…every local food consumer and every producer of local food…to speak up and submit a comment within the next THREE WEEKS.

So when your family, friends, and you are enjoying your Thanksgiving feast, spread the word about the urgency to comment on these new food safety regulations.

With the right approach, we will be able to help ensure good food safety practices without placing an unfair burden on family farmers. For a safe and sustainable future, FSMA must allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices, allow local food and farms to grow and thrive, and treat family farms fairly.

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Are You Affected?:

If you operate a business that grows and sells fresh produce – and/or processes, packs, manufactures, or holds food –  your business may be affected by the proposed FSMA rules. Some businesses may not be affected at all, some may be affected by one rule, and some may be affected by both rules.

IMPORTANT: These proposed rules are not yet final, which means they are not yet law. To learn about the FSMA timeline, read NSAC’s FSMA Overview and Background.

The information included below is intended to help individuals gain a better understanding of whether or not their business operation may be impacted by the proposed rules. Farmers and business owners nationwide are reporting confusion in determining if they might be impacted by these rules. If you are uncertain, you are not alone! One major concern about these draft rules is that they are complex and confusing.

Producers:

  • Do you grow, harvest, pack, or hold (store) fruits or vegetables?
    If yes, you may be affected by the Produce Rule.
  • Do you process, manufacture, pack, or hold (store) human food?
    If yes, you may be affected by the Preventive Controls Rule.
  • Do you BOTH grow, harvest, pack, or hold (store) fruits or vegetables AND process, manufacture, pack, or hold (store) human food?
    If yes, you may be affected by BOTH the Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls Rule.

Download the “Am I Affected?” flowchart to help determine if your farm or business may be subject to the proposed Produce or Preventive Controls Rules!

Consumers:

If you’re a consumer, these rules could, over the long term, impact the kind of food you are able to find and purchase in your community.  The proposed rules may also increase the costs of purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, we want to ensure a safe and affordable food supply, strong on-farm conservation of natural resources, and thriving family farms and small value-added farm and food businesses. That translates into fresh, healthy food for communities across the country, from the farmers’ market to the grocery store to the school cafeteria! As a concerned consumer, you absolutely have a say in these proposed rules and should speak out!  The second comment period closes December 15, 2014.

Please note: These rules DO NOT affect home gardeners who grow food for personal consumption – but as a concerned eater, you can still comment!

Additional Resources:

  • Webinar about the impact of FSMA regulations on food hubs, CSAs, and aggregation
  • Webinar on FSMA: Impacts on Farmers, Producers, and States

 

Source: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

How to Roast a Heritage Turkey

WilliamRubelWilliam Rubel (williamrubel.com) gives us the low-down on cooking a heritage turkey to perfection. Living in California, Rubel’s  two  books are ‘The Magic of Fire’, the book on hearth cooking, and most recently, ‘Bread’, a global history.

Whether you roast your heritage turkey in the oven, or spit- or string-roast it in front of a fire, there are some basic facts you ought to know about how to best handle heritage turkeys.

Heritage turkeys are different from the most common turkey of American commerce. It is helpful to know a little about them before cooking them for the first time.

The modern turkey was developed for a large breast — hence its name Broad Breasted White or Broad Breasted Bronze — and it was also selected fast growth on a high protein diet. Broad breasted turkeys reach marketable size after a few months, while heritage turkeys take much longer to reach marketable weight. Broad Breasted birds are often so heavy their own legs can’t property support them, so Broad Breasted birds tend to be sedentary. Variety, age, physical activity, and feed, are all factors that affect the taste and texture of the heritage turkey you buy.

While variety is a factor in the taste and texture of heritage turkeys, as a rule the turkey variety is not on the label. In any case, heritage turkeys are similar enough to make generalizations possible.

Basic qualities of heritage turkeys:

1. Smaller breast. The breast of heritage birds is smaller in proportion to the rest of the bird than is the breast of the Broad Breasted varieties. This means the balance between white and dark meat is more even that it is with commercial turkeys.

Implications for the cook: White meat is “done” before the dark meat is “done,” and so the closer the balance between white and dark meat, the easier it is to roast the entire bird to perfection.

Historically, cookbook authors suggested covering the breast of roasting turkeys with oiled paper until the bird was almost done, at which point the paper was removed. The instruction to put something over the turkey breast is found in Enlish cookbooks dating from the 17th century all the way up through English and American cookbooks to the early 1960’s, at which point the instruction seems to drop out of cookbooks.

If you cover the breast, I recommend sticking with the traditonal oiled paper rather than substituing alluminum foil. Foil doesn’t let any moisture out, and thus steams the breast in a way that paper does not. When you let water molecules escape through a covering of paper, or cloth, the flesh of the bird is chemically changed in a way that is different from what happens through steaming — which is the effect of sealing the breast with alluminium foil. If you want to cover the breast, then cut out a piece of brown paper from a shopping bag, rub it with cooking oil, and tie it in place with cotton string. Remove it about 30 minutes before the turkey is done.

In my own cooking style I do not cover the breast. Instead, I add additional fat to the breast meat by slipping fat, like butter or olive oil, under the skin over the breast. I will discuss a little, below, turkey should not be over-cooked. Cooking to a temperature that is lower than the current custom. If you cook your bird to 140F you will help insure that the meat is not dry. Always start roasting with a bird that is at room temperature.

2. Leaner birds: The fattest part of a mature heritage turkey is the skin that circled the neck.

Implications for the cook: Hot, quick cooking is a better approach to cooking lean birds than is slow cooking unless you add fat to the flesh which can be done by putting butter or olive oil under the skin, or even by larding with salted pork fat.

My advice, however, is to treat the bird more the way you would game birds — pheasant and ducks are both traditionally cooked hot. I roasted my first heritage turkeys — they were small turkeys (6 pounds each) in a bread oven at 630F for 35 minutes. They were perfect. I cooked them to 140F. I suggest roasting in a hot oven — 425F to 450F.

A second suggestion is to put fat under the skin of the turkey. Those of you familiar with my book, The Magic of Fire, know that I often favor slipping a paste of olive oil and pounded garlic and herbs under the skin of poultry. It is easy to slip oil and/or butter under the breast, and a little more difficult to get it over the leg and thigh. Slip your hand under the breast work it around as best you can. Putting fat under the skin makes the turkey self-basting. Because heritage turkeys have a mild flavor, slipping flavor under the skin with oil and butter as a carrier lets you easily produce a bird of memorable flavor.

2. Size: Heritage turkeys are generally smaller than commercial turkey varieties. Expect turkeys in the range of 9 to 15 pounds, although birds that are both smaller than 9 pounds, and larger than 15 pounds are available.

Implications for the cook: Roast the smaller birds hotter than the bigger birds. I would cook a 6-pound bird even as hot as 630F. A 9-pound bird you might cook at 475F — but no less than 450F. I would roast a 15-pound bird at 425F. I have not tested these other sizes in an oven — at home roast birds hanging from a string in front of my fire — so these temperatures are my best guess.

I know that if you ask around enough you are bound to run across people who will tell you the opposite — they will say to roast the birds slowly. What should you do in the face of conflicting advice? Do what you are most comfortable doing. If what you do doesn’t work out well — then do it differntly next time. As long as you keep an eye on what you are cooking you cannot really fail. If you are spit- or string-roasting in front of the fireplace then the timing depends on the heat of your fire. I tend to roast hot. My most recent times are a 10-pound stuffed turkey in about 1 1 /2 hours and a 15-pound unstuffed turkey in roughly 2 hours.

3. Flavor: As a rule, heritage turkeys have a more subtle, cleaner flavor than commercial turkeys. There is often less of what I have come to think of as a “turkey flavor.” Depending on the variety, and the way it was raised, the flavor may offer a hint of the wild side — or offer an almost blank palate for you to work with.

Implications for the cook: Historically, turkeys were served with a sauce, and it was the sauce, plus the meat, that constituted a serving of turkey. A light sauce made from the pan drippings is alway a good idea. Slipping flavors, herbs, garlic, and salt pounded up with olive oil or butter and slipped under the tukey’s skin is also often a good idea.

4. Aging the turkey: Wild turkeys — turkeys that are hunted — are always hung for a few days before being eaten. You can deepen the flavor of your heritage turkey, and make it more tender, by letting it age in your refrigerator. I have done this with small birds to excellent effect. The idea is to take the turkey out of whatever it might have been packaged in, remove any organs packed in the neck or stomach area, rinse it, and then hang the turkey in your refrigerator, uncovered. If you can’t hang it then let it rest on a platter, but turn it once a day so that no part of the turkey is always resting on the platter. Keep the platter dry — so wash off any fluids that might settle in the platter and then dry it before setting the turkey on it. I aged one of my turkeys this year for a week. My own refrigerator is an old one that frosts up. I have not tested aging a turkey in a frost-free refrigerator. Frost-free refrigerators tend to dry out whatever is stored in them, so this is something you would need to experiment with.

Implications for the cook: Smaller turkeys — under ten pounds — can sometimes be purchased for less than larger turkeys because there is less demand for them. In any case, if you are familiar with aging wild birds, like ducks, then age your heritage turkey in the same way because aging definitely adds a dimension to the roast turkey that cannot be added any other way.

5. Brining the turkey: I do not advise brining heritage turkeys. My own brining theory is to apply brine to secondary poultry — birds that have no flavor. Brine introduces water and salt into the flesh of the bird. This dilutes the natures flavors. While it is true that salt is a flavor enhancer, I think brining is a crude way to develop the flavor of a heritage turkey. I will also mention that the standard method by which birds are cooled after having been slaughtered in American slaughterhouses is to dip them in a bath of cold water. The birds may take up as much as 5% water by weight from this soaking. Letting the bird sit, unwrapped in a frost-free refrigerator of a day or two, see “Aging the turkey,” above, might actually improve flavor by removing some of this excess water.

Basic heritage turkey cooking principles

Starting Temperature
Until the last couple decades, it was assumed that meat was always brought to room temperature before roasting. The 1965 edition of the “Joy of Cooking” advises the turkey be room temperature — 70F — before being cooked. I think this is essential advice for all turkeys. If your turkey was frozen, defrost it in the refrigerator. A few hours before you plan to roast the bird, remove it from the refrigerator and let the bird come to room temperature. The deep flesh, not just the outer half-inch (1 cm), needs to be at or near room temperature before you roast it in order to achieve the best results. If the bird is at 34F (1C) in its interior parts when you start roasting it the breast will be dry long before the deep tissues are cooked.

Cooking temperature
Because heritage turkeys tend to have has little fat, I advise cooking them the way one cooks game birds — quickly. Roast in an oven at 425F to 450F. I have actually roasted small turkeys (6 pounds) in a bread oven at 630 degrees for 35 minutes. My most recent times string-roasting turkeys in front of the fireplace are a 10-pound stuffed turkey in about 1 1 /2 hours and a 15-pound unstuffed turkey in roughly 2 hours.

Finish temperature
Stuffing, if any, is cooked before it is put inside the bird. The stuffing, therefore, is only heated inside the bird, not cooked. If you do stuff a bird, for food safety reasons, stuff it just before roasting. While the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls for cooking turkeys until the stuffing is 160F and the bird is 180F in the thigh, these  recommended temperatures are so high that you will dry out the turkey. I would roast a heritage turkey to 140F, and no more. As always, let the bird rest for at least ten minutes before carving.

A note on the cooking termperature: The USDA recommendation of 180F in the deepest part of the thigh and 160F in the stuffing is based on the government’s need to provide a general rule that will cover all health and safety eventualities, including the handling of the bird by people who have not observed basic hygenic princples, like washing their hands before handling the food.

As soon as you get your heritage bird home, take it out of its wrapping. If it arrived in the mail, unpack it and immediatly rinse it. Of course, wash your hands before handling the turkey. It is my understanding that the part of the bird that has the most pathogens is the skin. Even with an internal temperature of 140F the skin of the turkey will be above 220F, way over the temperature needed to sterlize the skin. One needs to balance USDA recommendations against what you know about the source of your meat and the way it was handled.

Eating is not risk-free — and I cannot assure you that my recipe is risk free. I can assure you, however, that a heritage turkey cooked to 140F in a fast oven will remain moist and delicious, while cooking the turkey to 180F is problematic in terms of the final culinary results.

Rediscovering Heritage Chicken

Gina Bisco takes us through a primer on the differences of heritage chicken versus commercial meat production. She delves into the differences the age of the bird makes and how to specifically cook heritage fowl for moist and tender meat.

Take a walk with Gina through the intricacies of production to the table in   “Rediscovering Traditional Meats from Historic Chicken Breeds”.

Excerpt:
The chicken meat most of us take for granted today is quite different from what our grandparents experienced. Today commercial chicken meat production is very different from methods and ideas common before the mid-20th century. Those of us who want to conserve old chicken breeds need to understand the traditional chicken meat classes and their excellent cooking qualities.

 

NFC 2014 Volunteer of the Year

NFC implemented a new “The Golden Plate” award for an outstanding volunteer who has contributed to the success of NFC.  This award will be bestowed upon a volunteer every year at the annual banquet.

The first recipient of “The Golden Plate” award is Aimee Owen. You probably know her name from the faithful emails that she has sent you year after year opening the order cycle, reminding you that the order cycle was nearing close, and then sending you the order pick-up details. Aimee also posted information to the NFC Facebook page and just generally, supported NFC and its members however she could.

BanquetVoYAwardCroppedSo THANK YOU, Aimee! You have been a bright star for NFC.

 

 

 

Pick-Up Site Updates – IMPORTANT!

  • NEW Omaha Dundee/Jocelyn Castle site! NOW Open!!
  • NEW Ogallala site!
    • Now Open monthly!
      Order Cycles Open: Sept. 21-29; Oct. 12-19; Nov. 9-16; Dec. 7-14
  • Lincoln: Indigo Bridge
    • Looking for NEW location due to heavy Haymarket traffic
  • Seward
    • Looking for NEW site coordinator in Seward
  • Aurora, Papillion, Kearney, Hastings, Crete, Fremont

    • We want to open NEW Pick-Up Sites in these towns! If you are interested in hosting a site, email the NFC General Manager
  • Omaha Downtown & Omaha Westside Open again!

IMPORTANT Calendar Changes!

In order to accommodate deliveries for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have skipped an order week in October.

Current Order Cycle:  September 21-28
Delivery Days: October 2-3

Week Skipped Here

Order Cycle: October 12-19
Delivery Days: October 23-24

IMPORTANT: We are giving our volunteers and staff a Christmas and New Year’s break. So there will be ONLY ONE order cycle in December.   So, PLAN AHEAD for the holidays!

See the new Autumn Calendar or the Home page for upcoming dates.  Print the Autumn Calendar for easy reference!

Banquet and Annual Membership Meeting

Banquet2014TablesCroppedFifty-eight members and guests enjoyed a first-class evening celebrating NFC at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center Sunday, September 14. (See Banquet Picture Gallery.)

Tim Rinne, one of the founders of Lincoln’s Hawleys Hamlet, spoke eloquently about the connection between climate change and the food on our plates. Fabulous cuisine served by The Normandy was definitely  bon appetit!

Volunteers, site coordinators, and board members were recognized for their eight years of dedication in bringing local food to the eastern third of the state.

Moving into the required annual membership meeting, the requisite quorum was easily met with plenty of voting members present and interested in sharing their ideas.

Exciting opportunities are on the horizon with NFC’s expansion west along the I-80 corridor with the opening of the new Ogallala site late September. As interest continues to build for local food (which supports the Nebraska economy), NFC will not only expand into new retail areas, but is starting to sell wholesale to institutions (schools, restaruants, stores, hospitals, among other businesses).

Many fortuitous connections await. If you have a connection that you’d like us to act upon, whether it be a new producer, new instituition, or new drop site,  just send Caryl, our General Manager, an email with the particulars. Caryl may be reached at: (gm@nebraskafood.org)

New Slate of Board Officers

The count is in for this year’s new board officers.

Incumbents Libby Broekemeier and Roy Guisinger were elected once again, along with back-to-the-board member Gary Fehr.

As one NFC member wrote on their ballot, “All are WONDERFUL and we are lucky to have them!”

Thank you, voting members, for casting your support for these tireless advocates.

 

 

New Skins!

TruckSignageCropped2

You might have noticed the new ‘skins’ that the NFC delivery truck has been wearing as of late.

Courtesy of long-time member and new board member Gary Fehr, the truck’s refrigeration box now touts a fresh white skin. Thank you,  Gary, for volunteering once again!!

In addition to the new paint, the NFC truck no longer travels the roads incognito. New Nebraska Food Cooperative signage was just added by Greger Graphics and boy, does it look fantastic!

So now, not only our members are spreading the ‘local’ word. NFC’s truck is doing so as well!

Life, Brightness, and Cheer

sunflowerSunflower Acres. Acres upon acres of sunflowers are what greeted NFC producer Dianne Thompson when she purchased her land all those years ago. Representing life, brightness, and cheer, sunflowers enticed Thompson to develop a natural skin care line that uses only natural ingredients.

 

DCFC2971.JPGStarting with natural, handcrafted soaps and shampoos made with pure rain water, Thompson insisted on using only non-toxic ingredients based on recipes made ‘the old way’.

 

DCFC2936.JPGInitially expanding her skin care line to include natural deodorants, moisturizers, body butters, cleaners, and detergents, Thompson is always on the look out for products that serve multiple purposes. For example, her insect repellant can be used to not only repel insects but to clean vinyl floors, countertops, as an air freshener, or even as a spicy body spray!

 

Exploring new ways to innovate natural products is a passion that Thompson lives and breathes. Thanks to her, NFC members have all sorts of products that bring life, brightness, and cheer into their homes.

New Pick-Up Sites!

NFC is pleased to share that two new sites will be opening soon. Watch for an announcement with their effective date.

  • Omaha Dundee area (Site Coordinator: Deirdre Routt)
  • York (Site Coordinator: Melinda Marquart)


Omaha Downtown
(Site Coordinator: Paul Vonderfecht) has new hours effective immediately:
Thursday:   4:00-5:30 PM
Friday:          7:30-9:00 AM or by arrangement

VolunteerThankYou

 

Many, many thanks Deirdre, Melinda, and Paul!

NFC’s Annual Banquet/Membership Meeting

FFfacility
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center

 

The interdependence of man with nature is what allows NFC to bring bountiful harvests to its membership. So this year, NFC is bringing to its members ‘connections’: between local foodies, between local ingredients and our plate, between nature and producers, between Nebraska and the wider world, and between NFC successes and its volunteers.

Banquet Registration Form (Registration Deadline: August 31)

What better way to share stories and connect with fellow members than over a fine, locally sourced meal? And beforehand, if you take in an exploratory walk on the Fontenelle Forest trails (hiking fee waived), you’ll be sharing even more ‘finds’!

Local food, you say? Absolutely!  Opening its doors on Valentine’s Day 2014, Lawrence (a French chef) and Renee (a Nebraska native) brought casual French cuisine to Lincoln.  The Normandy uses only the freshest, local ingredients in their superb dishes – fresh from the farmers’ market and Nebraska producers. You are definitely in for a treat with this master chef’s creations!

Tim Rinne, our keynote speaker, will connect the dots between how our steadily warming climate, with its extreme weather and a higher incidence of disease and pests, is making it increasingly difficult for growers to bring in a harvest.

Since NFC opened its doors in 2006, volunteers have continued to serve as the backbone to the success of Nebraska’s year-round, on-line farmers’ market.  One special volunteer will receive ‘The Golden Plate’ award.  Granted, a very hard decision to choose just one recipient for NFC’s top award, all volunteers will be recognized for their valued (and tireless) contributions.

To wrap up the evening, NFC will hold its annual membership meeting.  Any NFC member may attend the meeting, but only voting members may vote on resolutions. (Voting members may elect to only attend the meeting….see the Banquet Registration Form, please.)

Sunday, September 14
Fontenelle Forest Nature Center, Bellevue

Banquet Schedule
4:30      Cash Bar (serving wine and local beer)
5:00      Dinner (catered by The Normandy)
6:00      Keynote Speech (featuring Tim Rinne)
6:45      ‘The Golden Plate Award’  &  Appreciation for NFC Volunteers
7:00      Membership Meeting

Questions?  Contact Caryl for assistance.

Fontenelle Forest? You’re in for a Treat!

FFTrails3 FFTrails2

 

 

 

Fontenelle Forest Trail Map

Walking the Fontenelle Forest (FF) trails is an experience unlike any other in the Omaha metro area. Fontenelle Forest owns and manages 2,000 acres of conservation land and 26 miles of marked trails within Fontenelle Forest Nature Center in Bellevue and Neale Woods in Omaha. These unique areas have been protected since 1913 and are home to many species of plants and animals. Trails of varying lengths and grades allow people of all ages and experience levels to enjoy the beauty of nature. Our one-mile Riverview Boardwalk and Gifford Memorial Boardwalk offer even paths for stroller and wheelchair access.

As you hike FF trails, you will encounter ecosystems such as deciduous forest, oak savanna, prairie, and wetlands. Although it is common to hike during the warmer months, the trails offer unique sightings during every season.

  • Wear shoes with good support
  • Dress in layers appropriate for the weather
  • Bring binoculars and a camera
  • Mark your turns on your free trail map if you are unfamiliar with the trails

Excerpt from www.fontenelleforest.org

 

Keynote Synopsis: “Turning Food Insecurity into Food Security”

NFC Annual Banquet Keynote Speaker: Tim Rinne

Michael Paulsen Lincoln Journal Star
Photo by Michael Paulsen, Lincoln Journal Star

The average bite of food on our plates travels 1500 miles to get there.  Your typical grocery store stocks just three days worth of inventory.  Our steadily warming climate, with its extreme weather and a higher incidence of disease and pests, is making it increasingly difficult for growers to bring in a harvest.  Food shortages — even here in America — are projected to be commonplace by mid-century.  And with a shortage of supply, food costs will soar.  Not since the Depression and Dust Bowl of the ’30s will Americans have faced such a challenge to feed themselves.

The need to create a resilient, locally based food system has never been greater.  Supporting our local farmers and market gardeners is paramount.  But food security doesn’t just mean joining a CSA or giving the Nebraska Food Co-op our business.  To develop a secure (and sufficient) food supply, city dwellers are going to need to start bringing more than just their appetites to the table.  The urban environment (where most of the demand is) is going to need to start pulling its weight in our food production system.

And the sooner we, as a community, dig in to meet this challenge, the easier it’s going to be on everybody.

To hear Tim delve into this topic and connect the dots, see him at NFC’s Annual Banquet on September 14 at Fontenelle Forest.

Election of NFC Board of Directors

Since 2006, the Nebraska Food Cooperative has been run mostly by a very active and dedicated board of directors. Some of them are still the original incorporators of our organization. Recent changes have now enabled NFC to actually pay our general manager (formerly a volunteer position) to handle many of the business activities that were previously performed by board members. This bodes very well for the future of NFC.

Meanwhile, it is time to schedule elections. This year, terms for three board members are expiring and need to be filled.  Board directors serve three-year terms that start in September, are expected to attend monthly board meetings (in-person and conference call meetings), and participate in email board discussions.

If you are interested in running for a director position, please send your intention statement/biography  (100-200 words) and  picture (jpg) to our general manager (gm@nebraskafood.org) no later than July 31.

On the other hand, if you aren’t quite ready to participate as a director of NFC, we also have an advisory board where you can get your feet wet and participate in co-op decisions without any of the responsibilities. The advisory board makes an excellent starting position for members wanting to be more involved and/or exploring the possibility of a term as a director.  Although it is encouraged, there is no requirement to be a member of the advisory board prior to being elected as a director.

Early next month, voting members will receive a biography of each candidate, voting instructions, and a ballot.

Please note that director positions are only available to voting members and only voting members are entitled to vote for board directors.

 

Climate Marchers Find Nebraska’s Friendliness Attractive

During the typically hottest month of the year in Nebraska, a community of concerned citizens are marching, through Nebraska, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

The Great March for Climate Action comes at a critical moment in the climate crisis, contends the march’s founder. Beginning their march on March 1st and completing their journey on November 1st, the marcher’s route will cross the path of the proposed Keystone Pipeline on Saturday, July 19. Teaming up with BOLD Nebraska, the Climate Marchers will visit the renewable energy-powered barn that was built on farm land directly in the path of Keystone XL pipeline.

ClimateMarchersEnterNebraska
Two climate marchers expect great things from Nebraska’s welcoming sign.

The marchers have met folks all across Nebraska, engaging in conversations along the way. They stopped for a bite at the Haigler Country Cafe; marched in the Culbertson 4th of July parade;  hosted a potluck dinner and community  conversation in Holdrege; demonstrated their solar cooking ovens to a TV news crew in Axtell; and collected petition signatures in Kearney.

Knowing that healthy eating is critical to the health of the walkers, the Nebraska Food Cooperative was twice the source of the walkers’ local purchases. Buying greens, grains, dairy, and meat, the marchers raved about the quality and variety of NFC’s offerings. Marie, the marcher’s food coordinator, shared that once they entered Nebraska, everyone they met were friendly and respectful, regardless of their position on climate change. And the local food has been outstanding!

NebraskaPiesClimateMarch
Anna Wishart delivering donated pies to the marchers at the Colorado/Nebraska border.

Hearty ‘pies’ (quiche, meat, vegetable, fruit) were introduced to the marchers at the Colorado/Nebraska border by Anna Wishart, the Nebraska coordinator for the Climate Marchers. So popular were the pies, that additional donations may be made on July 19th or at a later date in Lincoln or Omaha (Nebraska route by date).

Follow their journey on FaceBook or to see how you can personally support the marchers on July 19, check out the BOLD Nebraska link that outlines the day’s march and activities, and how to offer donations.

September 14: Annual Members’ Banquet & Meeting

The Nebraska Food Cooperative is holding their annual members’ meeting this year at the beautiful Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue.

banquetWith cooler temps gracing a late Sunday afternoon in mid September, it will be the perfect time to hike Fontenelle Forest trails before sitting down for a  Nebraska-local banquet.  Keynote speaker Tim Rinne will speak about local food security that has implications nationally and internationally.

Voting members will hold a short business meeting, but you don’t have to be a voting member to enjoy the evening.  Whether you are a visiting member, non-voting member, or a friend of a member, you are welcome to attend and enjoy the comaraderie of fellow local ‘foodies’.

A registration form will be available in the August newsletter.

OMA1 (Dundee) Site Closing

July 24th will be the LAST delivery cycle for the OMA1 (Dundee) site at its current site, as Yvonne and her family are moving out of state.

If you would like to volunteer, our general manager will be happy to get you started as a site coordinator. Just notify Caryl by email.

The Bold Flavors of Dried Mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are my kind of luxury, convenient and affordable. While caviar or foie gras rarely fit my mood or budget, I can always have dried shiitakes, porcini, morels, and chanterelles on hand. And I reach for them often—both on harried weeknights when the clock is ticking and also when I’m looking for an extra boost of flavor to elevate a special dish. The flavor of dried mushrooms is concentrated and intense, and the texture is good and meaty. Like fresh mushrooms, they’re terrific in everything from soups to sauces to sautés.

Give ’em a soak. Before using dried mushrooms in a recipe, even if it’s a soup or a stew, it’s best to rehydrate them in hot water. This is necessary for two reasons: First, it plumps up the mushrooms, and, as a bonus, the soaking liquid creates a flavorful broth, which you can incorporate into a dish much as you would any other kind of broth. Second, soaking also helps remove grit from the mushrooms that would otherwise spoil your dish.

Once the mushrooms have steeped, it’s easy to add them to braises, stews, or sauces. What I do is brown the meat or fish (if there’s any in the dish) and then sauté the rehydrated mushrooms with the aromatics like shallots, garlic, or onion. Because they’re moist, the mushrooms don’t exactly brown, but this quick toss in hot oil really intensifies their flavor. Finally, I add the mushroom soaking liquid and finish cooking the dish.

The way I see it, there’s no set rule for which mushroom to pair with a specific dish. It makes sense to look to the mushroom’s native region, using Italian porcini in risotto, shiitakes in Asian dishes, and chanterelles in French sauces and bistro classics like omelettes. But I often mix shiitakes with other kinds of mushrooms, particularly when I’m using a pricey variety like morels. It’s a little trick of mine. Shiitakes’ flavor perfectly complements that of other mushrooms, and their affordability keeps the meal in the realm of simple, home cooking, just where it belongs.

Shiitakes

Versatile, affordable dried shiitakes are my go-to mushroom. Their meaty texture and smoky flavor is great on its own or paired with other varieties. Shiitakes are an obvious choice for Asian dishes, filling out soy-based braises or stews or perking up quick stir-fries.

Look for shiitakes with thick brown caps ridged with white. The stems can be woody, so trim them off and discard after soaking.

Porcini

Chewy, succulent, and intensely flavorful, dried porcini (or cèpes) have a deep, earthy essence that complements Italian seasonings and is delicious with pork and chicken.

Porcini (pronounced pour-CHEE-nee) have thick stems and broad caps and are generally sliced before they’re dried. After rehydrating them, you can use them just as you would fresh mushrooms.

Chanterelles

The golden, apricot hue of chanterelles befits their bright, fruity flavor. Their size can vary from tiny blossom-like specimens to impressive 5-inch trumpets, and in the dried form, they can be quite pricey. When rehydrated, their texture is pleasantly chewy; the stems, however, can be woody, so after soaking, trim off tough stems and discard them. Pair chanterelles with eggs and cream sauces.

Morels

Nutty, buttery, and somewhat smoky, dried morels go beautifully with spring ingredients like asparagus and spring onions (or ramps, if you can find them). The hollow, honeycombed caps of wild morels can harbor sandy grit. With cultivated varieties this isn’t as much of a problem, but to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to rinse morels with water before soaking them.

Simple ways to use dried mushrooms

When you have dried mushrooms in the pantry,  there are lots of quick and simple ways to use them in your everyday cooking. Once you rehydrate them, they can go just about anywhere fresh mushrooms can go.

• Stir them into pilafs and other rice dishes.
• Add them to tomato or cream-based pasta sauces.
• Spoon them onto polenta.
• Stir them into pan sauces for chops and cutlets.
• Add them to stir-fries.
• Sauté with green beans or snap peas.
• Add them to eggs: Sauté rehydrated dried mushrooms with shallots and butter and fold into omelets, frittatas, or scrambled eggs.
• Make flavored butter: Pulse rehydrated morels or chanterelles with softened butter and a fresh herb like thyme in a food processor. Use right away or shape into a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate. Pats of the butter are delicious on roasted or grilled meats and vegetables.

How to soak dried mushrooms

Put the mushrooms in a medium heatproof bowl. For Leek & Morel Strata, Wild Mushroom Ragoût, and Risotto with Peas & Porcini, pour in 2 cups boiling water and weight down the mushrooms with a small plate so the mushrooms are submerged. (If you’re using smaller or larger amounts of mushrooms, just use enough water to completely submerge them.)

Soak until they’re plumped and softened, about 20 minutes (some varieties might take longer). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board, squeezing any excess liquid from the mushrooms back into the soaking liquid. Let cool. Remove and discard any tough stems. Coarsely chop the mushrooms. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel set in a sieve. Set aside the mushroom “broth” for use in your dish or freeze for another time.

 

Excerpt from: Fine Cooking by Tony Rosenfeld; Photos by Scott Phillips