Making ConnectionsWritten by admin on July 26th, 2009
It all came together pretty easily. Maybe because it was all so local. Maybe because a group of interested people were committed to making it work. Maybe this will be the beginning of a larger local food movement for our own area.
We recently participated in hosting a screening of the documentary, “Polycultures: Food Where We Live” on a Monday evening in a nearby community. It was slated to be shown at an outdoor location, the Warren Community Amphitheatre, a beautiful venue built into the hillside rising up from the Mahoning River in the historic section of downtown Warren.
Bobbie Brown, Director of the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County (FACT) coordinated the event. She’s a dedicated supporter of local food, really anything local, as she is a Trumbull County native and relies on her strong connections to the community to do her job. She is also a subscriber to the CSA we coordinate for a group of local farmers in our area.
The director of Polycultures, Tom Kondilas has a connection to the Warren area. His parents are both from Warren. He graduated from school here, and had many relatives present at the screening to offer him support.
Interviewed in the film in his role as Ohio Farmers Union president, is Joe Logan, a life-long resident of Gustavus, in northern Trumbull County. His family has farmed there for five generations. Joe currently serves as Director of Governmental Affairs for OFU; years ago we custom-raised dairy heifers for him.
On this evening our goal was to showcase farmers who are working hard to produce food that is raised locally and naturally and bring their products to the attention of a wider audience.
Here’s what we served, free of charge before the film screening:
Grass-fed Beef Sliders with caramelized onions and cheese– grass-fed beef produced by us at Miller Livestock, Kinsman, Ohio topped with grassfed cheddar cheese. The cheese is made from milk produced by a group of dairy graziers in New Wilmington PA who Aaron has had a longstanding relationship with; this is the same group who grows vegetables for the CSA we subscribe to. The onions were from KJ Greens in Bristolville, OH.
Savory Bread Pudding with Tomatoes - tomatoes grown at Red Basket Farms, Kinsman, Ohio, milk from Hartzler Dairy, which is featured in the film, and eggs from Broadview Farms.
And a Blueberry Crisp made with blueberries picked locally. We also made a light, refreshing summer drink by putting cucumbers, which Bobbie is growing in her plot at a community garden in Warren, and mint from another CSA subscriber, Kim Mascarella, who coordinates a farmer’s market in Howland Ohio as a part of her job as Assistant Planning and Zoning Director for that community, into icy cold water and served milk from Hartzler’s.
All of the food was prepared and served by Melissa and Steve Murphy who own the Blue Iris in downtown Warren; Melissa estimates they source about 80% of their food locally in season.
The food was sourced from within a 50-mile radius. It was delicious, fresh, and full of flavor. People were blown away!
We passed out information about the sources for the food, the farmers’ market, and the restaurant before the screening. Kondilas spoke briefly to the assembled crowd and afterwards was available to talk with people and answer some questions.
So we made some connections. With other farmers, with chefs, between people we know as our customers and some we hope will become our customers in the future. Connections between people we’ve known for years or those we have recently met who were a part of the Polycultures documentary. Between the people who were present at the Amphitheatre, who are completely new to the local food movement and those who’ve been working in it as their vocation, passion, or profession.
Strengthening connections. Building community. A satisfying, successful evening.
Melissa Miller, Miller Livestock