On one episode of the hip and hit (yet obscure) television show Portlandia, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein visit a restaurant and want to get to know as much as they can about the organic, free-range chicken they are ordering (“His name was Colin. Here are his papers,” says the understanding waitress). After asking a series of questions (“How big was the area the chicken was able to roam free?” “Four acres”), they leave the restaurant to check out the farm for themselves, some 40 miles away, before coming back to order it.
It’s a hilarious bit, but here’s the thing: If you are interested in organic and sustainable farms, the hottest trends in agriculture today, you really can get a tour of them.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, as it has for more than 30 years, is offering another summer of tours of and workshops about organic and sustainable farms. Seventeen tours and workshops will be held at farms across Ohio from June through November.
And this year, one of the tours is in Lucas County, one is in Fulton County, and one is in Wood County. Most are free, with one exception.
On June 15 at 2 p.m., the organization will lead an exploration of Omega Meats, a pasture-raised livestock farm in Grand Rapids that raises grass-fed beef, pastured chickens and turkeys, and pastured heritage breed hogs.
Three small, sustainable farms in Wood County will be toured on June 21 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The tour will begin in Archbold at the Kinsman Farm, a family-run row-crop farm that has been changing some of its methods in recent years. The tour will then move on to Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery in Wauseon, a small farm that produces its own goat cheese. And it will finish at Knotty Vines Farm and Winery, also in Wauseon, a vineyard that produces wines on just three acres of grapes.
Because this June 21 tour comes with lunch and tastings of the products, it will cost $20. Reservations are required by June 19; call Eric Richer at 419-337-9210.
The tours return to Lucas County on Aug. 17, with a trip to Magyar Garden on the east side of Toledo. The urban garden has been farmed by 15-30 families for more than 60 years, and includes functioning beehives. The tours will be given from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
And on Sept. 5 at 5 p.m., the Agriculture Incubator Foundation, north of Bowling Green, will host an organic and sustainable agriculture field day. There, the Organic Food and Farming Education Research program will discuss organic grain crop and Zeolite soil amendment research and pest scouting, and will tour the Organic Valley corn variety plot.
For directions or information about these and the other statewide tours, call 614-421-2022 or visit www.oeffa.org.
The writer of this column happens to be male and therefore does not exactly know what a “trunk sale” is. As you can well imagine, he was hoping it had something to do with elephants.
Apparently it doesn’t. But on Friday, the Paula Brown Shop will have a cooking-related trunk show. Featured will be Revol porcelain cookware — that’s right, it’s porcelain you can cook with — and stain-resistant table linens from Garnier-Thiebaut.
The trunks will be shown from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The Paula Brown Shop is at 912 Monroe St.
The class of cooking
We sometimes make fun of Williams-Sonoma here in Morseland because, well, they’re such an easy target. But we have been known to buy more things there than, frankly, we can afford. And they certainly do offer a lot of cooking classes.
- Next Sunday, May 19. A techniques class on how to make your own condiments and toppings for grilling — mustard, sauerkraut, and more. 10 a.m. Free.
- May 22. A cooking class focusing on creating elegance out of the season’s fresh vegetables. Mary Blaisdell will demonstrate how to make chilled potato and leek soup, pork tenderloin with rhubarb chutney, lemon orzo with asparagus, and polenta tea cake with citrus-sugared strawberries. 6-8 p.m. $50.
- May 26. A techniques class on making festive summer drinks, such as lemonade and other fruit drinks. 10 a.m. Free.
For information or to reserve a spot at one of the classes, call 419-475-6368.
The restaurant business is ridiculously tough. One out of every four restaurants either closes or changes ownership in its first year. Three out of every five either close or change ownership within five years — that’s 60 percent.
So when a restaurant makes it to 10 years, you can forgive them for feeling like celebrating. Caper’s Restaurant & Bar is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday with what owner Emily Wagy is calling an all-day customer-appreciation party.
The from-scratch pizza, pasta, and sandwich shop will have a pizza-making contest for kids beginning at noon, and a pizza-eating contest beginning at 5 p.m. (the eating-contest winner will receive free pizza for a year). Music will be provided by the Bricks at 3 p.m. and East River Drive at 7 p.m.
At this happy juncture, we should mention that the pizza-making contest requires a $5 registration fee and the pizza-eating contest costs $10. Pizza ain’t free, you know, even when it is served at a customer-appreciation party.
Besides, there will be special prices on beer, cocktails, and food.
Caper’s is at 2038 S. Byrne Rd. For more information or to register for one of the contests, call 419-389-9900.
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