Episode 22: Victual Reality – Richard Charter

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Victual Reality, the podcast about food politics, is hosted by Tom Philpott. Tom’s guest today is Richard Charter.

Richard Charter is one of our most eminent authorities on how offshore drilling affects coastal ecosystems. When the Deepwater Horizons oil rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana last month, Charter’s expertise became invaluable to anyone trying to understand what the ongoing spill meant for the Gulf of Mexico, one of the globe’s most productive fisheries and vibrant ecosystems. Charter was one of the first commentators to raise questions about the heavy use of chemical dispersants to mitigate the effects of the spill. “There is a chemical toxicity to the dispersant compound that in many ways is worse than oil,” he told ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten, for a groundbreaking article (Chemicals Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Present New Environmental Concerns) that spurred my own investigations (What are we dumping into the Gulf to ‘fix’ the oil spill? and Chemical dispersants being used in Gulf clean-up are potentially toxic) into the dispersant topic.

Charter is Senior Policy advisor for Marine Programs for Defenders of Wildlife, and has thirty years experience working on offshore drilling issues with local and state elected officials and the conservation community. In addition, Richard presently serves as the Chair of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

In this edition of Victual Reality, I talk to Richard about what past oil disasters have meant for ecosystems, just what the hell is in those dispersants, and how the spill might affect the Gulf fishery.

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Edible Radio Podcast Hosts

Chef Kurt Michael Friese is the founding leader of Slow Food Iowa, serves on the Slow Food USA National Board of Directors, and is editor and publisher of Edible Iowa River Valley. A graduate and former Chef-Instructor at the New England Culinary Institute, he has been Chef and owner, with his wife Kim McWane Friese, of the Iowa City restaurant Devotay for 18 years. Friese is a freelance food writer and photographer as well, with regular columns in 6 local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, His first book, A Cook’s Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland was published in 2008 by Ice Cube Press, and Chasing Chiles was released by Chelsea Green in 2011.



MaryReilly_Headshot larger (1)

Mary Reilly is currently the publisher and editor-in-chief of the quarterly Edible Pioneer Valley. She is wholly responsible for setting the editorial and creative direction for this publication focused on local food and those who produce it.

Before launching the magazine in 2014, she was the chef/owner of Enzo Restaurant & Bar. Mary, a self-taught chef, managed all aspects of the kitchen including all recipe development, hands-on cooking (including meat and fish butchery, and charcuterie, pastry, and pasta making programs) and training.

Gibson Thomas, host of The Drink Tank, is a reformed attorney and publisher and editor of Edible Marin & Wine Country.









She’s a passionate “do-it-yourselfer” and loves culinary projects of all stripes, particularly cheese-making, butchery and baking.… Read the rest

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Episode 21: Growing Connections – Alexandra Zissu

Growing Connections with Deborah Madison. Deborah’s guest today is Alexandra Zissu.

Two small but very important books have come out within the past year and both contain ideas that can easily be put into motion, thereby bettering our lives.

The first book, Michael Pollan’s Food Rules is “written with the clarity, concision and wit that has become bestselling author Michael Pollan’s trademark, and lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely, one per page accompanied by a concise explanation.”

Alexandra Zissu’s The Conscious Kitchen, isn’t about how to eat, but rather understanding the foods, materials and fuels that we use in our kitchens on a daily basis. Think of The Conscious Kitchen as as a nuts and bolts guide that helps make sense of the many things we consume without questioning, but probably know we should.

Alexandra Zissu has a penchant for using her own life to unravel problems, find, and share solutions, which was coincidentally the focus of her first book: The Complete Organic Pregnancy. She is known as an “eco-lifestyle consultant” and her work has appeared in Health, Plenty, and The New York Times. www.alexandrazissu.com.

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Episode 20: Shannon Hayes

Edible Radio host and publisher of Edible Santa Fe, Kate Manchester, talks to Shannon Hayes.

Shannon Hayes latest book is Radical Homemakers. Armed with a keen palate, a farm background, an eye for the absurd and a hearty appetite, Shannon is on a mission to convince the world that we can save the planet, one bite at a time. She holds a BA in creative writing from Binghamton University, and a masters and Ph.D. in sustainable agriculture and community development from Cornell University. Shannon lives with her husband Bob Hooper and their daughters Saoirse and Ula in Schoharie County, New York where they work with her parents, Jim and Adele Hayes, on Sap Bush Hollow Farm . The family raises all-natural grassfed lamb, beef, pork, and poultry. Shannon is the author of The Farmer and the Grill and The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook. Visit Shannon at www.shannonhayes.info and www.grassfedcooking.com.

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Episode 19: Michael Shuman

Edible Radio host and publisher of Edible Santa Fe, Kate Manchester, talks to Michael Shuman.

Michael Schuman is the author of The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006) and is the BALLE (Business Alliance for Local, Living Economies) research and public policy director. He holds an A.B. with distinction in economics and international relations from Stanford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. An economist, attorney, author, and entrepreneur, Michael has authored, coauthored, or edited seven books, including Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age (Free Press, 1998). The Small-Mart Revolution was awarded a bronze medal for best business book by the Independent Publishers’ Association. In recent years, Michael has led community-based economic-development efforts in St. Lawrence County (NY), Hudson Valley (NY), Katahdin Region (ME), Martha’s Vineyard (MA), and Carbondale (CO), and served as a senior editor for the recently published Encyclopedia of Community. You can read more from Michael at http://small-mart.org/.

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Episode 18: Victual Reality – Patty Lovera

Victual Reality, the podcast about food politics, is hosted by Tom Philpott. Tom’s guest today is Patty Lovera.

Patty is a policy wonk who works as assistant director D.C.-based Food and Water Watch. FWW is one of our most rigorous watchdog/advocacy/think-tank groups on food policy. They have been closely following the hot-button issue of food safety legislation–and Patty is the point person. Among the many worthwhile reports from Food and Water Watch is this 2009 blockbuster on the scarcity of meat-processing infrastructure for small farmers.

Today, I’ll be talking with Patty about current food-safety legislation bouncing around Congress and what’s at stake in the food safety debate.


Tom Philpott is the food editor at Grist.org

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Episode 17: Joan Gussow

Joan Gussow is undoubtedly one of the matriarchs of the organic and sustainable food movement. She is a nutrition and education professor at Columbia University, a member of the National Organic Standards Board, and a board member at the Jessie Noyes Smith Foundation. Gussow is also on the Center for Food Safety’s Advisory Board and the Board of Overseers of the Chefs Collaborative. A zealous defender of all things unprocessed, she argues passionately for organic foods but says that we’ve gained nothing if we have organic popcorn in a microwaveable aluminum container. Gussow makes no attempt to hide her disdain for the extravagant abundance of food choices that modern technology has brought, both in and out of season. In her book This Organic Life, she pines openly for an America where she could mass-produce signs reading “this is a winter-tomato-free community.”

Related: Edible Manhattan’s Brian Halweil visits Joan Gussow:
“Her approach helped found a new worldview that has bolstered organic farmers, eco-conscious chefs, radical city planners and today’s most prominent food fighters. The placemats at the pioneering Farmers Diner in Quechee, Vermont, bear one of her many resonant quotes: “I prefer butter to margarine because I trust cows more than chemists.” In fact, because she published her food manifesto, The Feeding Web: Issues in Nutritional Ecology, way back in 1978, she is arguably the most influential food thinker many modern food enthusiasts haven’t read-at least directly.“

Edible Manhattan Joan Gussow: A woman who wouldn’t stop asking questions and her seminal role in today’s food fight.

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Episode 16: Blue Plate Special with Paul Willis of Niman Ranch

(photo Niman Ranch)

Blue Plate Special hosts Kurt and Christine Friese chat about the latest food news:
A menu of wheat & corn. That’s what we’ll get w/ honey bee collapse. An Indiana dairy farmer and his “balloon” problem.

Paul and Phyliss Willis talk to Kurt and Christine about pastured pork in Iowa and how they started the Niman Ranch animal welfare pork protocols.

Memorable quotes:
“Farming is the only business in the world where you buy at retail, sell at wholesale, and pay freight both ways.”

“People want to call us growers, but we’re farmers. We own the pigs and take care of them…they call it the chickenization of the pig business.”

Osso Buco Recipe:
4 pork shanks 1 1/2″ thick
2 tablespoons flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter (or olive oil)
1 yellow onion diced
1 carrot diced
1 stalk celery diced
1 cup dry white wine
1 quart chicken or veal stock

Gremolata (optional):
2 sprigs parsley
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cloves garlic
2 anchovies

Gremolata: chop all the ingredients together until fine.

Dredge the pork in seasoned flour. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and brown the pork well on both sides. Remove the pork and add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cook until soft and lightly browned. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and reduce until “au sec” (nearly dry). Add the stock and return the pork to the pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 2 hours, stirring frequently, until the meat begins to come away from the bone. (Add a little water as needed, but remember that the liquid should be fairly thick.)
Remove the pork from the pan, strain the braising liquid and set aside.
Serve the pork over risotto Milanese moistened with a little of the strained braising liquid and garnished with the gremolata.

Risotto Milanese recipe:
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
½ t. saffron
3 T. Olive oil
2 T. unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 ½ cups Arborio rice (or other short-grain Italian rice)
¾ cup dry white wine
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

In a medium sauce pan, bring 8 cups of vegetable or chicken broth – your own or a low-salt canned version to a simmer. In a small cup, use a few tablespoons of the broth to dissolve 1/2 t. of saffron. In a medium to large saucepan, melt 3 T. of olive oil and 2 T of unsalted butter (or all olive oil). Add the small, finely chopped onion and cook until golden. Add the arborio rice and stir to coat it with the onion mixture. Add a cup of the broth and stir constantly as the broth is absorbed. Continue to add the broth a cup at a time. It should bubble slightly but not so fast it evaporates before the rice can cook in the liquid. After about 10 minutes, add 3/4 c. dry white wine in place of the broth. Continue to stir and add broth a cup at a time until the rice is still a bit firm at the center. Stir in the dissolved saffron and 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese and serve at once.

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Episode 15: Gary Nabhan

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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Episode 14: Fred Kirschenmann

Fred Kirschenmann at the Edible Institute, Santa Fe, NM 2010
(photo David Vogel)

Fred Kirschenmann is a outspoken advocate for the sustainable agriculture movement. He is a distinguished fellow of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, is currently President of the Board of Directors for the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and the president of Kirschenmann Family Farms, a 3,500-acre certified organic farm in Windsor, North Dakota.

Fred’s resume doesn’t read like your average farmer: he served a five-year term on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards Board, and has chaired the administrative council for the USDA’s North Central Region’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. He recently completed work for the North Dakota Commission on the Future of Agriculture, and was a charter member of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society in 1979. He has been a member of the board of directors for the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture since 1994, and was president in 1997.

Edible Radio’s Kate Manchester talks with Fred about his role at the Leopold Center, and how farms are no longer defined by size, either by acres or gross sales, these are the new “sustainable farms in the middle.”


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