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Episode 15: Gary Nabhan

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Gary Paul Nabhan, PhD, is an ecologist, ethnobotanist, writer, food and farming advocate, rural lifeways folklorist, and conservationist whose work has long been rooted in the U.S./Mexico borderlands region. A first generation Lebanese-American, Nabhan was raised in Gary, Indiana. He served as Director of Science at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and co-founded Native Seeds/SEARCH, a nonprofit conservation organization that works to preserve indigenous southwestern agricultural plants as well as knowledge of their uses. Nabhan was the founding director of the Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University. In 2008 he joined the University of Arizona faculty as a Research Social Scientist with the Southwest Center.


His work with RAFT (Renenwing America’s Food Traditions) and Slow Food is bringing local farmers, chefs, fishers, agricultural historians, ranchers, nurserymen and conservation activists together to exchange information, tell the stories of regional foods and producers. Through RAFT, these communities publish lists of traditional regional foods, telling readers where seeds, nursery stock, or seafood and livestock hatchlings can be purchased to aid in their recovery. The result is the growth of food-concerned communities that are reestablishing healthy local economies.

In this conversation with Gary, he tells us about the decline of apple varieties here in America.  RAFT has christened 2010 as the "Year of the Heirloom Apple" to engage food communities in the restoration of apple varieties and culinary traditions specific to their regions. A key component of RAFT’s apple initiative is release of "The Forgotten Fruits Manual & Manifesto – APPLES," (download pdf) a brochure that builds upon the collective knowledge of more than a dozen of America’s most experienced heirloom apple experts.

More on the here > Year of the Heirloom Apple and here > The Heirloom Apple of Your Eye, Your Taste Palette and Your Place.


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Last Updated ( Monday, 26 April 2010 19:44 )
 

Episode 11: Joel Salatin

Photo: Participant Media/Food, Inc.

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Joel Salatin, 53, is a fulltime third generation alternative farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. His farm services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing.  

In addition to open pasture, Polyface has 450 woodland acres, that Salatin refers to as a “forest farm.” Besides selling firewood and lumber, the farm’s pigs are finished on acorns for a month before slaughter, which saves money on grains and feed. Salatin claims that running pigs in the woods (George Washington did so with his own swine herds), and being able to manage and control this technique, will eventually make confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) obsolete.

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Episode 2: Dan Barber

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Program Notes:

Dan Barber Talks Turkey with Kate Manchester

Dan Barber is chef and co-owner of NYC’s Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY, and was nominated for the 2001 James Beard award for best new restaurant. He also serves on the board of directors for Stone Barns, an education center for sustainable food and farm in upstate New York. Sourcing from the surrounding fields and pasture, as well as other local farms within a 250 mile radious, Blue Hill at Stone Barns highlights the abundant resources of the Hudson Valley. There are no menus at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Instead, guests are presented with a list of over a hundred ingredients, updated daily, which contains the best offerings from the field and market.


Food & Wine Magazine featured Dan as one of the country’s “Best New Chefs,” and he has been featured in The New Yorker, Gourmet Magazine, and was included in “The Next Generation” of great chefs in Bon Appétit’s 10th annual restaurant issue.


Today we are talking to Dan about turkey, Heritage breeds, the American Broadbreasted White, and his thoughts on the breeds and how to prepare them.


Kate's Notes:
Dan recommends cooking a Heritage breed turkey on a low heat, somewhere around 280 degrees. He does not brine, I always have. He had a great point about the subtleties of flavor in the turkey, and that brining may mask those flavors. I will be roasting a Heritage breed turkey next week – Dan’s way – and I will report back to you with a recipe. I couldn’t find one anywhere, and Dan cooks his the way many chefs do – by intuition and feel – no recipe or set time.

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Episode 1: Margerie Bender

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Program Notes:

What are Heritage turkeys? According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, turkeys must meet all of the following criteria to qualify as a Heritage turkey:

• Naturally mating: the Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating, with expected fertility rates of 70-80%.
• Long productive lifespan: the Heritage Turkey must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years.
• Slow growth rate: the Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth.

Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in 26 – 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to that of the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.


Founded in 1977, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is the pioneer organization in the U.S. working to conserve historic breeds and genetic diversity in livestock. The ALBC is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect over 150 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction. Included are asses, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.

Bio: Marjorie Bender joined the staff in January 1999 and serves as Research and Technical Program Director. She has a M.Ed. in Agricultural Science from the University of California-Davis, has been involved in sustainable agriculture since 1991, and has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Marjorie’s responsibilities include coordinating the poultry census, promoting rare breeds into appropriate habitats, and working closely with other staff on timely conservation activities. She has led ALBC’s heritage turkey conservation effort. For more information about the work that ALBC does, visit www.albc-usa.org.


Resources for Heritage Breed Turkeys:
Local Harvest
Heritage Foods USA
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