We are incredibly thankful for this article in today’s Globe and even more excited about the weekend to come. We do hope you’ll join us at the Boston Public Market for the Readable Feast. June 17-18. All details can be found at www.thereadablefeast.com
Ben Barkan started his home gardening business at the age of 18 with two shovels and a bicycle. Inspired by his experiences traveling around the world and working on over 30 organic farms, Ben took his knowledge back home to build organic vegetable gardens for anyone who was interested. Today Home Harvest is a growing business with 9 full time employees and two trucks. Ben will turn 26 next month and is the youngest person on his team.
What sets Home Harvest apart is their attention to asthetics. Ben puts a lot of effort into design, allowing each custom installation to harmonize with the existing landscape. He chooses food producing plants that are also beautiful. Many of his gardens look more like flower beds but when you get up close, you realize that they are full of edibles plants. And that’s the point.
Home Harvest designs work towards an integration between garden and home, blurring the transition between indoor and outdoor, and connecting people directly with nature in way they haven’t before in their home environment. This means working with not just gardeners but carpenters, stone masons, welders, artists and host of others with a creative vision. “I hire people that know more than I do,” says Ben. Today Home Harvest is delving deep into construction creating structures, greenhouses, patios, garden art, chicken coops, you name it. Take a look the stunning Home Harvest portfolio.
Ben’s passion for this work oozes from him and he thinks big about every design. Join Ben on October 1st at the Let’s Talk About Food Festival to learn more about home garden design. Stay tuned for details.
Get your TICKETS to Friday’s Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Party
Join Let’s Talk About Food and Harvard University Dining Service for the second annual conference about school food. Together as parents, providers, policy makers and advocates we can work together to understand the current climate of school food and develop collaborative ways to to champion and support change. Food is at the heart of closing the achievement gap in our education system.
Wednesday June 1 at Harvard University
For a full program schedule, tickets and details visit our Eventbrite Page
Jody Adams, Chef/Owner, Rialto, Trade & Saloniki
Chef Daniel Giusti, Founder, Brigaid
Emily Broad Leib, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Food Law Policy Clinic
Juliana Cohen, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Jo-Anne Lennon, Food Service Director, Chicopee Public Schools
Jeanne Goldberg, Professor of Nutrition, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Linda Novick O’Keefe, CEO, Common Threads
Dayle Hayes, Advocate, School Meals That Rock
Melissa Honeywood, Food Service Director, Cambridge Public Schools
Scott Richardson, Co-founder & Partner, Northbound Ventures
Catharine H. Powers, Consultant, Culinary Nutrition Associates
Ellen Parker, Director, Project Bread
Brendan Ryan, Food Service Director, Framingham Public Schools
Mark R. Jeffrey, District Manager, Sodexo
Tim Gray, Food Service Administrator, Sodexo
Andrea Silbert, President, Eos Foundation
Dr. Tommy Chang, Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Christy Mach Dubé, Director, Eos Foundation
Alanna Mallon, Program Director, Food for Free
Dr. Anne Fishel, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Linda Novick O’Keefe, CEO, Common Threads
Aleshia Hall-Campbell, PhD, MPH, Acting Executive Director, Institute of Child Nutrition
Pat Donovan, Vice President of Business Development, Revolution Foods
Alexander Agee II, Vice President of Business Development, Preferred Meals
Donna Lombardi, Food Service Director, Worcester Public Schools
Tony Geraci, Consultant, Genuine Foods
Martin Breslin, Director of Culinary Operations, Harvard University Dining Services
Mara Fleishmann, CEO, Chef Ann Foundation
- Ashley Shaffer, Senior Design Researcher, IDEO
Mark your calendars for the The Readable Feast at the Boston Public Market!
The First Annual New England Cookbook Festival and Awards
Friday June 17th 6-9 pm: Cookbook Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Party
A committee of established cookbook experts will give awards in six categories. See the full list of entered cookbooks. Submissions are still being accepted.
People Choice Cookbook of the Year Award will be given based on online voting by the public. Voting begins soon!
Food to be prepared by acclaimed Boston chefs, Barbara Lynch, Andy Husbands, Daniel Bruce and Jasper White. Beverages from local distillers, craft brewers and winemakers. Tickets are $50 and will be available to the public.
Great line up of cooking demonstrations and seminars that pair cookbook authors with industry experts throughout the day.
The Boston Cookbook Sale and Signing Lounge will feature many great cookbook titles for purchase as well as signings and Q&As with notable authors.
Admission is free on the day of the event with the proof of purchase from 3 market vendors (as space is available) or guests can register in advance to reserve a space for $5 per event or $30 for an all-day pass.
Visit our website for tickets, voting and programming information. More details are coming soon.
Boston Area Gleaners is a non profit organization that harvests surplus crops from local farms and distributes them to people in need. Working with a number of local farms and a roster of volunteer gleaners, BAG’s work gets fresh food directly to hunger relief organizations.
Surplus produce is reality of farming for a variety of reasons. A crop could be too productive to keep up with, damaged or imperfect, there could be no time or staff to do the work, or a fast approaching weather event could put a crop in danger.
In 2015 BAG suplied 364,282 pounds of produce from 54 area farms. As they gear up for this year’s gleaning season they expect even more growth and are busy putting the structures in place to make it all run smoothly. We asked a few questions of Executive Director, Laurie “Duck” Caldwell.
What are you up to now in this spring season?
The gleaning season mirrors the farming season so spring is a very busy time for us. We are doing a lot of planning and preparing to position ourselves well for the first crops. We’re still scratching the surface of what is available and what is needed, so outreach remains a large effort.
Once we get word from a farm that they have a crop to glean we send out an alert to our network of 1200 volunteers. Often this is on short notice, but that is the reality of the farm. The produce is taken directly to one of the hunger relief organizations we work with.
Where does most of your gleaned produce go?
Our largest recipient last year was the Greater Boston Food Bank. Once the produce is delivered to them it goes out to their very deep network of pantries and meal plan programs. You can check out all of our recipient organizations on the website.
How are you handling the your growth as an organization?
Right now we have a great staff that is helping tremendously. Working with farmers takes particular communication skills and I’m lucky that our staff is good at this. We are in need of more volunteers this year. Please get in touch if you’re interested.
What is your greater impact on food waste in America
We know that once unused food enters the this chain, it ends up in dumpsters, creating methane gas. This is negative for a number of reasons. Along the way to a dumpster, there are many ways to decrease food waste but our goal is keep food out of the supply chain all together–going straight from the farm to people who are hungry.
In hunger relief there is a lot of processed food and our feeling is that people who are trying to better themselves, need basic nourishment or it won’t be successful. Gleaning gives them a better chance.
All this sunshine got you thinking about tomato season? Me too. If you started plants indoors, get them out for a little sun while we have it.
And while we wait for the long hotter days of summer, here’s a simple, super flavorful cherry tomato pasta recipe from Chef Sara Jenkins.
Spaghetti with Sun-burst Tomatoes and Grated Bottarga
(from The Four Seasons of Pasta by Sara Jenkins and Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Avery Books)
Bottarga is the dried roe of either mullet or tuna, and an age-old Mediterranean tradition It is expensive, but a little goes a long way.
Bottarga adds complexity and depth to the basic dish, but if you don’t have it, the pasta is still good with its tomato sauce. Without bottarga, however, we’d substitute basil for the arugula and garnish with grated parmigiano or grana padano cheese.
If possible select from an array of little grape and cherry tomatoes, red and yellow, mixing them up for a colorful presentation.
Ingredients Serves 6
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 or 3 pints (about 2 pounds) mixed small tomatoes—cherry, grape, and currant
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
About 1 pound (500 grams) spaghetti
Handful of chopped fresh arugula, leaves only (discard tough stems)
2/3 cup grated or shaved bottarga
Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
While the water is heating, add the oil to a large heavy skillet and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot (but not smoking) add half the tomatoes, sprinkle them quickly with salt and cook, tossing the skillet, until the tomatoes start to wrinkle and collapse. Add the rest of the tomatoes and continue cooking and tossing for another 2 minutes. (Yes, some of the tomatoes will be more cooked than others—that’s the point.)
Push the tomatoes to one side and add the garlic to the pan. As the garlic starts to soften, mix it in with the tomatoes, gently pressing the tomatoes to release some of their juices. When the sauce is thick, remove from the heat and add a pinch of salt and a few turns of the peppermill. Keep the sauce warm until the pasta is done.
Add salt and pasta to the boiling water and cook according to directions below.
Drain the pasta when it’s al dente, transfer to a warmed bowl, and immediately toss with the warm tomato sauce, stirring in the parsley. Toss again, then sprinkle with the bottarga and serve immediately.