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The Hay Say has MOVED!

6 Oct

Thanks for coming, but THE HAY SAY has now MOVED!

You can now find us at:

www.thehaysay.com

I hope you visit!

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Admin Note: New Features!

15 Sep

I’d like to take a minute and first thank everyone for reading The Hay Say!  I hope that you enjoy what you see.  The Hay Say has recently added a couple of new features that you might enjoy.

First off, for all you Facebookers out there, you can now ‘Fan’ The Hay Say and get updates, links to fun articles, and share anything you wish!  You can do that by following this Facebook Link or by clicking the Facebook icon in the top right.

Another new feature is the Subscribe button to the top right.  You can now subscribe to the blog and have everything delivered directly to an RSS reader or straight into your e-mail inbox!  You’ll never miss a post if you subscribe.

One of the things I’m really excited about developing is a collection of all my running routes around DC.  I’ll be mapping them from generic locations in Columbia Heights and the U St. area, so that other people can use them or modify them if they are looking for a new route.  The collection will be compiled on Map My Run, and you can link to any route or share some of yours with me if you like.

And last but not least, a little plug for my twitter account.  Don’t forget to follow!

Thanks!

Keep running, keep drinking, keep eating, and keep living local.

In The News: Food

3 Aug

NPR covered two stories today about the local food movement.  The first was about the author of “Ripe: The Search for The Perfect Tomato” who discusses the value of local tomatoes ripened right on the vine!  The second discusses the problems that have the local meat industry is now facing.  With higher demand for local, ethically raised meat, it is hard to find a place to butcher!

“Once upon a time, tomatoes were considered poisonous, even dangerous. But gradually, the plump produce made its way into our homes and onto our plates. Arthur Allen tells the story of the tomato’s redemption, popularization and eventual modification in his book, Ripe: The Search For The Perfect Tomato.

“At the State University of New York’s meat lab, students learn how to kill, cut and grind up beef, pork and lamb. After a month, they get a meat-processing and food-safety certificate and the basic know-how to work in the industry. The program aims to help fill the shortage of butchers and small slaughterhouses — and keep meat local.

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Off To the Markets: Columbia Heights Community Market

22 Jul

CH Farmers Market (sorry for the poor quality phone pic)

This summer brought many new things to Columbia Heights: Fro-Yo, an almost done 14th Street, and the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace. Now, I’m a fan of just about any farmers market, but after a few Saturday mornings waking up at this market, I can’t stop raving on what they have to offer. It isn’t the biggest FM of the bunch, but what it lacks in vendors it certainly makes up for in variety.

The market is open from 9-2 every Saturday, and houses multiple vegetable growers (Chesley Farms, Dragonfly Farms and Licking Creek Bend Farm), a variety of meat vendors, cheese makers, bread bakers, and even a gelato guy.  Pretty much anything you might need.  The marketplace even accepts WIC and Stamps.

With no recent Arganica order, last Saturday KFB and I hit up the CH Community Marketplace with a few bucks in hand. We bought a loaf of whole wheat bread, 6 peaches, 3 nectarines, 3 tomatoes, a bundle of onions, red potatoes, green beans, a cucumber and 4 ears of corn all for just $20. A price that can’t be beat for such high quality, local produce.

Everyday several people read my review of Arganica Farm Club. I don’t want to put down the local delivery group which fed me through the winter, but recently I feel like it just can’t compare. DC’s Farmers Markets have so much to offer at such a great price.  You have the big markets like Dupont, but embracing the smaller markets like Columbia Heights Market will give you everything you need, the warmth of your neighbors, and the satisfaction you get from are purchasing real food.

The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace offers good eats, good people, and a good reason to wake up.  Don’t be a slacker and get your hungover butt out the bed for some food.

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Chinese Food Makes Me Sick…

8 Jun

“I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch, Chinese food makes me sick…”

Well, I haven’t really liked girls in Abercrombie since 7th grade, and Chinese food only makes me sick about half the time, but when I started thinking about this post, that song wouldn’t leave my head!

Last week while I was camping with a group of friends, we passed through several small towns on the way to Big Meadows.  Looking for a place to eat, we noticed that we were pretty much limited to one of three options:  1) Small town diner, 2) Fast Food, or 3) Chinese Food.  Of course we opted for the small town diner, but it struck up a conversation on Chinese Food.

The conversation started when someone asked if Chinese Food was on the way out.  The once staple to everyone’s take-out rotation, is now little more than a small town strip mall option, food court staple, or (in DC) one of those crazy Chinese/Subs/Seafood combo dumps.  In our great city full of food options from nearly any country in the world, I can only think of one, maybe two, places that I would actually get Chinese Food.

So if Chinese is on the way out, what is feeding our hunger for Asian food goodness?  After a little consideration, we decided that Thai was the new Chinese.  As others have noticed recently as well, Thai joints seem to be popping up all over the place!  They’re hip, they’re trendy, and yes, they are freak’n delicious.

So why is it that Thai is taking over Chinese?  It could be that we were just simply tired of General Tso, but I think it is a much bigger phenomena.  Even though the majority of Americans haven’t yet jumped on the organic or local food wagon, we are all certainly more conscious about what we eat.  When I think about Chinese take-out, three foods comes to mind: Fried egg-rolls, flavors of fried chicken (read Sesame, General Tso, etc.) and egg foo yung, all with a side of two pieces of broccoli.    When I think of Thai food, I think veggies and rice noodles, spring-rolls, and tofu substitutions.

I think we are growing up!  Not only do we no longer associate Asian food with just Chinese anymore, but we are learning to eat our veggies.  And with our grown-up taste buds, we are moving on to bigger and tastier things.  So what do you think?  Is Chinese on the way out and Thai taking its place?  Or are we just diversifying a bit?

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Off to the Markets: Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market

2 Jun

Greens from Quaker Valley Orchards

Over Memorial Day Weekend I joined KFB and a few other friends for a camping trip out in Shenandoah National Park.  We planned the hikes, organized the equipment, and divided up the meals before hitting the mountains.  KFB and I picked dinner, and started planning.  After a few disappointing weeks with Arganica, we decided to just hit up the farmers market instead.  This was actually my first DC market of the year, so I was pretty excited to see what all they had.

The Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market is a charming little market located right in the small plaza on Mt. Pleasant Street and Lamont Street, NW.  It has several different vendors, each offering a few different items, a bike repair station, and some live joyful bluegrass to get you in the mood.

We had a grilled veggie melody dinner in mind, and knew that most of what we might be cooking over the camp fire isn’t really in season, but we were able to find some delicious items for the trip.

Asparagus from Truck Patch Farms

Asparagus - Truck Patch Farms

To start, we found a great loaf of rosemary bread  baked fresh from Atwater’s Bakery.  We ended up coating it in garlic and butter, wrapping it in foil and throwing it on the coals.  After a short toasting, it was the perfect addition to the meal.  We also found some asparagus and strawberries from Truck Patch Farms in New Windsor, MD.   Good for us, but unfortunate for our camping friends, neither of these made it to the mountains.  The asparagus was so flavorful we just had to have it for dinner that night, and the strawberries so sweet they didn’t make it past dessert.  These fresh strawberries and a little vanilla ice cream went together like coffee and morning, or BP and shame.  I heard this was the last week for local asparagus, so I’m glad we took this opportunity to have one last indulgence while we could.

What did make it on our trip were some tasty Fuji apples from Quaker Valley Orchards.  Nothing beats a juicy apple on a humid hike.

Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market is a great place to get your seasonal produce and local meat right near Columbia Heights.  While I can’t wait for Columbia Heights’ new farmers market to open up next Saturday, I really hope that it doesn’t take away from Mt. P neighborhood market and its charming character.  I know I’ll certainly be frequenting both this summer.

Strawberries from Truck Patch Farms

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Brewing TV’s First Episode

11 May

Northern Brewer, one of my favorite homebrew supplies stores, has started a new online show airing once a week.  They are calling it Brewing TV.  Here is what they have to say on their website:

“Brewing TV’s mission is to cover the world of homebrewing through the magic of video.  There are so many stories to be told, brews to be brewed, and people to profile … in other words, no shortage of segments and content to be shot.  The homebrewing community has always been a strong one, whether it’s your LHBS, a club in your city, you and some friends brewing in your kitchen on a weekend afternoon, or an online forum with rabid regulars. Brewing TV is a place where those different communities can connect and hear about what homebrewing has been, what it is, and where it is going.  Brewing TV is a voice for homebrewing culture … the “why,” not the “how.” If you want technical, you can always read a book!  Seriously, read more books.

I highly recommend you check out episode 1, as they meet the guys behind Fulton Brewing Company, brew and American Wheat, and explore the Upper Mississippi Mas Out.  Enjoy!

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Drink Soda, It Has Water

5 May

More options for soda than options for fruit?

I was listening to NPR’s All Thing’s Considered last night, when they started a report on ‘Soda in America’.

The conversation began by addressing the proposed taxes by many states (and districts) on soda.  Being the good Democrat I am, I feel pretty strongly that soda (an unnecessary, unhealthy, pleasure item) is the perfect item to tax, when you are funding health education in schools.  Through a little more education, to both children and parents, maybe our fellow citizens around these great States will wake up and realize what they are feeding their kids.  (side note, unrelated to soda, the person next to me on the bus the other day was talking about how he caught his baby mama filling up her baby’s bottles with free creamers from 7-11!)

But the tax isn’t what I want to bring up today.  I was blown away by a section of the interview regarding the issue of how healthy/unhealthy soda is for children.  After hearing about why soda is bad for you,  Michele Norris brings on Maureen Storey, senior vice-president for science policy of the American Beverage Association.  Check out the following exchange:

Dr. MAUREEN STOREY (Senior Vice President, Science Policy, American Beverage Association): Soda is comprised mostly of water. A full-calorie soft drink has 90 percent water and a diet soft drink is 99 percent water. Water is the most important nutrient that we have…

NORRIS: Let’s move down, though, if you’re looking at that label on the back of a soda, what else is in there that is of nutritional value?

Dr. STOREY: Of nutritional value, there is either high fructose corn syrup or sucrose and that does provide energy or carbohydrates. And if we are active and need a refreshing beverage after a nice long walk or a run, you can have a beverage and quench your thirst and stay hydrated.

NORRIS: Is it advisable after a nice long run or after going out and exercising – which youve been advocating – to reach for a beverage that has 22 grams of sugar or 34 grams of sugar? Is that nutritionally sound?

Ms. STOREY: Well, I don’t think it’s nutritionally unsound.

I see so many fundamental problems with Storey’s statements.  First of all, nearly EVERYTHING we drink or eat is comprised of mostly water.  Does that mean it is OK for me to start substituting a glass of water with a glass of beer, coffee, or liquid soap?  Of course not!  Then Norris asks, “What else is there of nutritional value?” and Storey has the nerve reply with high fructose corn syrup, because it gives you carbs?  The day that high fructose corn syrup is nutritional, is the day that Americans are healthy.  Unfortunately for Storey, right now 67% of Americans over the age of twenty are overweight or obese (CDC Statistic).

The other eye-rolling statement in this nonsensical interview is this, “And if we are active and need a refreshing beverage after a nice long walk or a run, you can have a beverage and quench your thirst and stay hydrated.”  I’d love to see her go for a nice 10 mile jog and try to rehydrate with a soda.  I can tell you now, it wont work.

I’m glad that NPR is asking these questions, and I admire that strive to tell a balanced story.  I guess this just goes to show you that there IS NO credible argument in favor of consuming sodas, especially as a healthy option.

I’m not trying to hide the fact that I do love a good Coke from time to time, but my parents taught me at a young age that soda is fine in moderation.  That’s what I plan to pass on to my future offspring as well.

You can find the entire NRP story here.  I encourage everyone to check it out, along with this evenings second segment on soda.

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Arganica Farm Club

29 Jan

Example of Arganica 'Weekly Pick'

Fresh and local veggies, meat, bread, cheese, eggs, tofu, and more, all delivered to your doorstep? May just sound like an enviro’s or foodie’s wet dream, but for me it has become a reality.

About 2 months ago KFB and I decided we wanted to join some sort of a farm share. Unfortunately for us, it was beginning to look a lot like winter and winter months don’t usually mean good things for local farm shares. That is until a friend of KFB’s recommended us to Arganica Farm Club. Upon checking them out, we were blown away at what they had to offer. Instead of just paying your fee and picking up whatever they have to offer, like most farm shares, Arganica lets you order whatever whatever you want from their weekly menu, and delivers it directly to your house. They have a range of seasonal and greenhouse veggies from several different local farms that you can order by the pound, or you can or the “weekly choice” box of their picks for that week. So far we have stuck to the weekly choice, as it is a great way to discover new vegetables you’ve never cooked with (or maybe even hear of) before. Plus it is hands down the best deal. On top of that we have ordered a few types of cheeses, breads, and homemade vegetarian sausages. Each week our order has increased, as we have been pleased with nearly every choice.

The process is not just fun, but rewarding. Our googling skills have improved (‘small green tomato like fruit with paper like husk’), and it is a unique feeling to know that the entire meal you just ate came from less than 100 miles away. I have suddenly found myself a stranger where I was once a regular, the Columbia Heights Giant. When I do make my way in the food superstore, I usually leave having purchased little more than pasta, rice, beans, and a few other basic essentials (TP, Cereal, Coffee and Beer).

In a time when the average plate of food has traveled thousands of miles just to feed you, it is important to think about what that food is doing to the environment, global trade, and your health.  Buying local and organic, whether at the farmers market, a farm club, or a grocery store, gives the consumer the oppertunity to get behind what you are eating.  To know what is in your food is to know what is in your body, and there are a lot of things in the food I have eaten throughout my life (and still sometimes today) I wouldn’t even want near my house, let alone my body.

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Return of the Markets

6 Apr
Eastern Market Produce

Eastern Market Produce

Good news for those who like a little fresh produce.  Farmers markets are returning for the season all of the city.  The Hay Sayers happened upon two this weekend, Dupont Circle Farmers Market, and the produce section at Eastern Market.

Here is some information on a few of my favorite.

Adams Morgan Farmers Market:

Located at 18th and Columbia Rd.  Opens May, 1

Dupont Circle Farmers Market

Dupont Circle Farmers Market

Columbia Heights Community Marketplace:

Located at 14th and Irving.  Opens May, 15

Eastern Market Outdoors Farmers Market:

7th Street around C.  Open year-round.

Fourteenth and U Streets Farmers Market:

Located at 14th and U.  Opening in May.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market:

Located in Lamont Park, at Lamont and 17th.  Opening May, 15.

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