Mark your calendars – it’s that time of year again, when the best chefs and food producers in our local communities come together to put on the delectable Feast of Fields event.
Held at various locales in British Columbia, this year is FarmFolk CityFolk’s 15th annual food celebration and fundraiser, with the Feast of Fields Vancouver Island event to be hosted at Alderlea Farm in Duncan on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. This is the seventh Feast of Fields to be held in the Cowichan Valley, and will showcase another delicious gourmet harvest. The culinary extravaganza has been hosted at numerous stunning Vancouver Island farms since 1998.
The Transform Bar, by Hong Kong-based artist Kacey Wong, is a recycled wood hawker booth where you can grow wheat grass and Wong will make you healthy juices from fresh produce.
The Transform Bar footprint is only 3ft by 4ft (0.9m x1.2m), with wheat grass planters mounted on the exterior walls. The planters can be moved outside to provide more space inside the booth, display the wheat grass or to take advantage of sunlight to grow faster.
Canada has been suffering unusually high losses of bees each winter since 2006. That’s the year when a new and unexplained set of symptoms called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) began to be recognized. The impact to the hive colony was the large-scale disappearance of the worker bees.
Very high commercial honeybee losses have continued since then, with 30.9% of hives lost in Canada in 2010/11. This doesn’t include the serious decline of wild bees or other pollinators. Various infectious organisms, including two species of fungus from the genus Nosema, have received most of the blame; but taken alone they do not account for the symptoms of CCD.
Is there anything worse than a stale baguette? Only when it ends up in the garbage! Polish designers Gosia and Tomek Rygalik (Studio Rygalik) upcycled old baguettes to create tables dubbed the Bread Experience. The unusual table were made for the Vienna Design Week Laboratory.
In a world where food wastage is so high in many countries, taking a little of that food garbage and upcycling it is a great idea for repurpousing uneaten food.
The Purple Wonder strawberry, from Cornell University horticulturists, recently impressed everyone at the Philadelphia International Flower Show with its color and taste.
“Purple Wonder is sweet and aromatic, with outstanding strawberry flavor,” according to Courtney Weber, a small fruits breeder and associate professor of horticulture at Cornell. “But the color is something you won’t be able to find in any grocery store.”
“The color develops all the way through the fruit, which might surprise consumers accustomed to supermarket fruit with color mostly on the surface,” Weber explained. “And letting the fruit ripen on the plant just makes the berries sweeter.”
The Purple Wonder has few runners and so is ideal for pot growing, suiting backyard and city strawberry growers alike. Apart from looking good and tasting good, they are also full of antioxidants, are insect and disease resistant, and can be grown in most temperature zones across the US. Cornell is going to file a plant patent for the Purple Wonder later this year.
The Philadelphia International Flower Show runs March 4th-11th, 2012, but Cornell has an exclusive licensing agreement with seed company W. Atlee Burpee Co. to sell their Purple Wonder seeds.
If you want to enjoy a meal cooked on an unusual stove, El Diablo Restaurant on Spain’s Island of Lanzarote is a perfect choice – the restaurant uses energy from a volcano that last erupted in 1824.
The high temperature gas that vents from the volcano were turned into the stove heating in 1970 by the late Cesar Manrique who built a magnificent restaurant in the Timanfaya National Park with architects Eduardo Caceres and Jesus Soto, complete with a giant grill to barbeque meat and fish dishes at around 400°C.
The Skyfarm by German designer Manuel Dreesmann allows people to grow food in their own home. The hanging spherical gardens offer city dwellers fresh greens without the carbon footprint and pollution of long distance transport.
Dreesmann’s spherical molded acrylic garden designs hang from the ceiling and from the balcony, making them ideal for the high rise buildings in city centres.
SABMiller, a large worldwide brewing company, makes Impala Beer from local African ingredients using a mobile Dutch processing unit (from the Dutch Agricultural and Trading Company, DADTCO).
The locally grown cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub that has a starchy root that is high in carbohydrates, it is also used to make tapioca. It is a major food source in the tropics and SABMiller buys and processes the cassava locally too.
“By creating market opportunities for subsistence farmers in our value chains, we are able to increase their productivity, allowing them to feed their families and generate an income for the first time,” explained Andy Wales for SABMiller. The company is currently buying cassava from more than 1,500 smallholders.
Andy Wales implements SABMiller’s Ten Sustainable Development Priorities; identifying social, economic and environmental issues within the group’s strategies and business plans. This covers areas of risk such as water scarcity as well as areas of opportunity such as promoting local economic growth through smallholder farming.
It seems the beer also tastes good according to Wales. “It’s excellent, not too dissimilar from a regular lager. It looks exactly like any other beer – golden and sparkling with a foam head.”
A locally sourced beer, that encourages smallholder farmers to grow a commercially useful crop sounds like a great idea! But, how’s the hangover?
Although I think the last thing our jacked-up, over-stimulated society needs is larger portions of java, the folks at McPhee’s Products seem to think bigger is better – particularly when it comes to caffeine.
The 6inch (15.3cm) tall, 10inch (25.4cm) diameter porcelain cup allows you to drink 20 cups in one sitting from what is probably the world’s largest coffee cup. The coffee cup sells for US$47.50 (€37.2).
To help promote healthier living, and encourage people to bring their own food to the office, the Sabine Staggl designed food kit includes a plate, cutting board and a bowl, which can also be used as food containers. The carrier bag also doubles as a tablecloth.
The flexible bowl can be inflated to protect the food contents, and later can be squished flat for easier storage.
âWith this kit I want to support the philosophy of bringing food from home, and providing a healthy alternative for all those who consume non-fresh and heavy food in fast-food restaurants,â explains the artist.
UK-based silversmith David Clarke is world-renowned for his innovative approach to creating highly unusual works of silver art. Using a process of combining old and new items of silver, the artist works to juxtapose the various pieces into surprisingly zany combinations.
His recent series Yeaha, which debuted at the Ornamentum Gallery during Miami Week 2011, is an exhibit of transformed teapots that have been reconstructed and re-welded into new representative shapes includingÂ a wood stove and even the female form.