Sunday, February 27, 2011

Recipe: Academy Award-winning Hummus

Om nom nom.
A few days ago, I was flipping through one of those nice glossy magazines my mom buys with giant pictures of food that always look superb and far more presentable than anything I ever make. I came across a recipe that said, simply, "Hummus". And it looked delicious. And not too hard, either. So I decided to make some for tonight, when I join my friends to watch the Oscars.

Well, actually what happened is that when I ransacked Trader Joe's yesterday in search of ingredients for white chili, I managed in a fit of incredible ineptitude to grab Garbanzo beans instead of Great Northern. It even says GARBANZO! in really big letters on the can. So I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.... or, in this case, hummus out of garbanzo beans.*

It wasn't hard. It took me longer than it probably should have, since I had trouble with the blender and I insisted on squeezing actual lemons instead of just using lemon juice, because I have issues like that. But it tastes good. Too bad mine doesn't really look anything like the picture... isn't there somewhere I could take a class on making my food look like it does in the glossy magazine pictures?**

I bet my hummus will look exactly like this.
So here's the recipe. I made a couple changes, mostly due to my lack of sambal oelek, a bright red chili sauce that the magazine rather unappetizingly descripes as a "chunky condement". Maybe I don't want it in my hummus after all.

The original recipe can be found in Mother's Best Comfort Food: Wholesome dishes that take you back home. (And don't tell my mom, but I spilled tea all over its glossy innards while writing this. Whoops.)


2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold water
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2/3 cup lemon juice (about 3-4 medium lemons)
2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/3 cups tahini (sesame paste - check the international aisle of your store)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

Half an hour before making the hummus, set the sundried tomatoes to soak in the cold water for at least 30 minutes. 
Note: I added some extra water that I froze for later- soaking the tomatoes makes the water all nice and flavorful, which is good for making soups down the road.

Drain sundried tomatoes and set aside, reserving water. Place the garbanzo beans, water, garlic, lemon juice, salt, tahini and cumin in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, at least 3 minutes. (Or, if you're me..... maybe 20 minutes, because you fail at using blenders.) You may have to stop to scrape down the sides and stir the mixture. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if desired.

To serve, spoon hummus into bowl or platter. Sprinkle the sundried tomatoes in the middle of the hummus. Let it come to room temperature, and eat with warm pita bread or raw vegetables.

What do you mean, it doesn't look like the magazine picture?
As I mentioned, the original recipe calls for sambal oelek and chopped olives for garnish, but hummus is one of those recipes that is perfect for creating endless variations. Hence, the sundried tomatoes, which I love to snack on and therefore have hanging around in droves. For future recipes, I'm going to look up some versions that don't require as much tahini, since that stuff is pricey.

I think it turned out well, but I will have to see what the judges think.

*I sent my brother to the store to get the appropriate white beans, and the day (and my chili) was saved. I know how worried you were about that.
**It's called culinary school.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flexitarianism - just a red herring?


 When I first heard the term "flexitarian", I laughed. Another word to describe another way not to eat meat? How unnecessary. Silly, even. Little did I know that, one day, I would become one.

There doesn't seem to be an exact definition for flexitarianism out there, but the ones that exist are variations on the same theme. Flexitarian was voted by the American Dialect Society in 2003 as the year's most useful word, and defined as "a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat." A 2008 Newsweek article called it "being a vegetarian of convenience...cutting back on meat, rather than abstaining completely". As TIME magazine described last year in the article Weekday Vegetarians, "Part-time-vegetarians, a.k.a. flexitarians, choose what to eat and when." Okay, I get it now. I think.

Flexitarian is joining an already disginguished list of words that are slightly different versions of the same thing. Vegetarian. Vegan. Pescetarian.  Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian. Part-time vegetarian. All of them describe various levels of eliminating flesh from your diet. Just want to eliminate red meat? Be a pollotarian, and you can still enjoy your Chicken Divan. Do you not want to eat anything that has been exposed to tempuratures above 115 F? Go raw. Don't want to eat any animal products at all, even ones that don't require said animal to be killed, like honey or dairy? Vegan, baby. But be careful... those naughty animal products can hide in the unlikeliest of places, just like the Commies.* 

AND she eats meat! The horror!
Maybe that's part of why being a flexitarian is so attractive. They're not asking you to make a full time commitment. You can start off small, just one night a week, as advocated by the Meatless Monday movement. Even by doing this small amount, the non-profit says, "we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change." And if you like your Meatless Monday, maybe you'll consider a Meatless Wednesday. Or Meatless Weekends. Or Daily Meatless Snack Time. Think of it as the gateway drug for vegetarianism.

There are all kinds of reasons that people choose to embrace vegetarianism in one of its many forms. Health, weight loss, a tight budget, they saw it on Oprah,  "I can't eat anything with a face", and so on. I didn't start down the flexitarian path until a little over a year ago, but I didn't do it to lose weight or because some dude from Glee said it was cool. I did it because I felt like being socially responsible.

Let me backtrack. When I was a kid, my cousin became vegetarian (although he was later caught sneaking leftover turkey from the fridge after Thanksgiving), and I was treated to a series of lectures/rants on how the animal industry exploits and mistreats our gentle bovine and porcine friends. My twelve-year-old self questioned this. Why, I wondered, would you boycott all meat and eggs in order to take a stand against the industry, when you could (and should, I figured indignantly) instead buy free-range, farm-raised, organic versions that promote the values you claim to uphold? You vote with your dollar, after all. Then I got distracted by something that twelve-year-old's get distracted by (probably Jonathan Taylor Thomas or something), and I forgot about it for the next decade.

For most of my life I was vehemently against even the idea of becoming a vegetarian, being a self-proclaimed "meatetarian". It wasn't until I came to AmeriCorps NCCC and found myself more or less in charge of my entire team's $4.50 per person, per day food budget that I felt responsible for spending our money wisely, and began questioning my food choices. But  I didn't really start thinking about cutting meat from my diet intentionally until reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

The book chronicles Kingsolver's year-long attempt to become a full-blown locovore with her family. (Locovore... another crazy word, this time meaning people who only eat locally produced food.) At one point in the book, Kingsolver discusses her family's decision, made years earlier, to only eat meat that is ethically, organically, and sustainably raised. This really struck me. As early as twelve, I had thought of this, if not in those exact terms. After some deliberation, I decided to try it out, starting January of last year. The way I defined my own personal version of flexitarianism is as follows:
I solemnly swear to only eat meat that has been ethically, organically and sustainably produced. I will only eat meat products that have been fed on their natural diets, that are not treated inhumanely, and that are given space to roam and graze to their little heart's content.
There are, of course, a couple exceptions. If someone fixes me a meal with meat in it, of course I will eat it. They took the time and the effort, it's my own fault if I didn't tell them about my diet, and I'm not about to be wasteful. Alternatively, if I'm at my parents' or grandparents' house, I'm not going to demand that everyone else change their eating style to accomodate me. I could - and sometimes I do - fix something seperately for myself, but that's unusual. My family always dines together. It's an important part of our dynamic, and when I'm home, I don't mind cooking and eating something I wouldn't normally eat, in the interest of being a family and all that warm fuzzy stuff. Plus.... well.... it's tasty.

One way in which I absolutely do not waver, however, is eating out. I will not buy a meat dish if it is not explicitly stated that the meat came from a local organic farm that treats its livestock ethically. And although I'm less strident about it, I try only to eat fish and seafood that is sustainably farmed and/or harvested, although I'm not as good with that.

That being said,  it's going to be interesting to see how my semi-vegitarian leanings will pan out this year, when I'll be fixing and eating food alongside the other workers at the farm. Susan and Dean, who run the farm, are definitely not vegetarians.

Last comment: if you're one of those militant and unbending people who is thinking right now, "You can't be a little bit vegetarian. That's like being a little bit pregnant! Who on earth do you think you are?" all I can say is go bite yourself. Except I guess you can't, since you're probably a vegetarian. Too bad. You're probably delicious.

*Speaking of communism...the dye Natural Red 40 is made from cochineal insects, making it a big no-no for vegans. When crushed, the cochineal makes a beautiful red dye known as carmine, which has been used as a clothing dye since the 1400's and became an important export to Europe in the 16th century. I wrote a paper on it in college. Well, I thought it was interesting.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The one where I get hired

Blog, meet Brightwood Vineyard and Farm. Brightwood Vineyard and Farm, meet blog. You two are going to be spending a lot of time together.

That is because I've been hired at Brightwood Farm as an intern for the 2011 growing season! *does a dance* I'll be starting in mid-March.

As you may recall, I've been fairly busy for the last week, with the road trip and everything. And not only did I visit Brightwood Vineyard and Farm in Virginia last Friday, but I've had phone interviews with four further farms: Kettle Run Farm in Berkley, Massachusetts; Pacific Crest Farm on Vashon Island, Washington; Well School Farm near Peterborough, New Hampshire; and Rocklands Farm in Poolesville, Maryland.

These five interviews were the distillation of the dozen-plus applications I sent out, in addition to probably another dozen emails expressing my interest in various farms and internships and asking for more information. Just like any job search, securing a farming internship took hours of legwork, from researching farms to emailing questions to updating my resume. But worth it!

When I first arrived at Brightwood Farm, I was given a brief tour and introduced to all the animals by Keriann, a neighbor who works on the farm a few days a week. And there are certainly animals - chickens, both for laying eggs and eating, ducks, sheep, goats (who like to slip through the fence and scare the bejeezus out of people driving by, as I can attest), three donkeys, and several dogs.

I then met Susan, the woman who runs the farm, and she took me on a more far-ranging tour to see the cabin that they rent out in a bed-and-breakfast sort of deal, the yurt and platform tent where interns sleep (I get to sleep in a yurt!), and the greenhouses. We also went for a small hike - the farm has 100 acres of land, full of rolling hills and woods and streams, not to mention a big river - it is absolutely beautiful, being in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Later in the afternoon, we went to the farm where Keriann and her husband live - Susan has another greenhouse there, and it's where she grows the vegetables.

Other than the greens, which are being grown in the greenhouses, Brightwood Farm grows a wide variety of vegetables that they sell at a farmer's market and sell to local restaurants. Susan mentioned that last year, the farm grew a lot of heirloom okra, which I thought was pretty cool, since I like okra and I don't think there's enough of it in the world. They also grow American grapes for local wineries, and berries. Additionally, they produce their own compost on site.

Susan invited me to stay for lunch with her and Carrie-Anne, which ended up being a very tasty vegetable soup and a mixed greens salad. All in all, I think the visit was really useful for allowing us to feel each other out and see if the farm and I are a good match - which I think we are. Having done four phone interviews since, I feel confident saying visits are far preferable - rather than just shooting questions at me, Susan and I learned a lot about one another through simple conversation.

Tricky, tricky goats.

Since I've already written a bit about what I want in a farm, I'll just go through them one by one and talk about how Brightwood Farm measures up.

"Learning Experience" - Internships as Education. One reason I was drawn to internships instead of WWOOF-ing this year was that education is built into farming internships, and Brightwood Farm certainly takes this seriously. The farm is a member of the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training, or C.R.A.F.T. - a coalition where farmers work together to educate future farmers. I'm not exactly sure what this will mean, but at this point I believe it will involve visiting other organic farms in the region to see how they work and to learn about different aspects of farm life.

In addition, Susan takes her interns on monthly field trips - to other farms, as mentioned above, but also other areas. She mentioned going to Monticello last year to see the formal garden. After she said that, I was ready to sign up on the spot.

And of course, let's not forget the practical aspect of the internship. There will be no shortage of hands-on work for me to do, between the organic produce production and animal husbandry. In general, I think Brightwood Farm has a nice balance of organized, planned educational activities, and "learning by doing". (See "Learning new skills and trying new things" below for more details.)

Money and stuff. Brightwood Farm provides room and board for the interns (did I mention the yurt?), and everyone eats meals together, which is made with produce and eggs from the farm. Although the yurt doesn't have indoor plumbing, we can use a bathroom in the house, and have internet access there as well. And yes, there is a stipend - less than I made as a Team Leader, but I'm used to living on very little. There will be an ample amount for me to cover my student loan payments, and since I doubt I'll be out carousing every weekend, there will be enough for me to set some aside after getting shampoo and toothpaste and whatnot.

Travel and Adventure. Virginia sounds pretty adventurous to me.

Learning different skills and trying new things. According to the internship description, I'll get to do the following:
On farm training in planning, planting, care, harvest, market prep. Farmers market. Post-season clean up, and preparation for winter greens growing. Animal Husbandry: Routine care and feeding of meat goats, laying hens, ducks and donkeys. Working with livestock guardian dogs and a herding dog. As much as possible, we tailor the experience to the interests of our interns.
I'm pretty satisfied with how diversified the farm is - I'll have the chance to learn about the business of running a farm through farmers markets and the farm-to-table connection with local restaurants, in addition to working with animals and produce production.

And although I didn't talk about this before, I like that there will be one or two other interns to work with. Brightwood Farm also takes WWOOF-ers during their busy seasons. I always like meeting and working with new people, so the more, the merrier!

That's that - I'm really looking forward to starting at Brightwood Farm, but there is plenty to do at home in the meantime. I'm going to visit my grandparents this week, and I'll probably be driving to visit my brother in Minnesota (and perhaps another grad school) at the end of the month. Another road trip - huzzah!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Girls just wanna have fun... at Chatham University?

I had the pleasure of wrapping up my week long Road Trip O' Fun on Tuesday with a visit to Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who happen to be the proud parents of an bouncing baby Master of Arts in Food Studies program.

I wasn't really sure what to expect. For one, this is their first year doing the program, and I was a little wary of a brand new enterprise. Second, I had never heard of Chatham University before, and it was only by the grace of Google that I knew about them at all... and don't they (meaning just about everyone who has given me advice about grad school) say that going to a well-recognized school opens doors? Third, Chatham college (the undergraduate portion) is a girls-only school, which - let's be honest - weirds me out a tad. So, when I arrived at Chatham, I was pretty sure it was not what I wanted.

I was first disarmed by the beauty of the campus. I mean, it's really beautiful. Really. I say this having attended Indiana University, which regularly wins accolades for its limestone-encrusted charm. Chatham's Shadyside Campus is small, but chock full of historic buildings and grand old houses. Also, it had been snowing all night, turning all the hills and architecture into some kind of postcard-perfect wintry learning paradise.

Then I started my full slate of morning meetings with Michael May, the Director of Graduate Studies; Alice Julier, the Food Studies Program Director; and several of the students. These chats had the effect of quickly stripping me of any remaining uncertainty. For example, as Alice explained, this program was created with food systems and social justice in mind. It's almost as if they have people interested in advocacy (*ahem*) in mind. Oh, wait..... they do.

Just because I had never heard of Chatham doesn't mean they aren't unknown, especially in the sustainability world. Their innovative approach to education and their ideas for the future (more on that below) are gathering a lot of attention and momentum in the very areas I hope to penetrate one day.

And even if they are a new program, most of the students there view that as a plus. They have the opportunity to help shape the program, and the flexibility to do almost anything they want, said such helpful folks as Amanda, Teresa, Jerallyn and Arielle. Plus, as they jovially pointed out, they are the guinea pigs in this situation. By the time I would get there, a lot of the kinks would already be worked out.

As a brand new program, Chatham is building the MA from the ground up - literally, as it turns out. I speak of the Eden Hall Farm Campus, which is about 45 minutes from the main campus. It is to be the site of their pioneering sustainable campus, and the home base for the new School of Sustainability and the Environment. They will be breaking ground this spring and should finish construction by Fall 2012 - which happens to be when I would start. Oh, serendipity!

The Eden Hall Campus Master Plan has a lot of great information about the future of Chatham's sustainability initiative, including the MA in Food Studies - it gives details about what the campus will look like, the phases of construction and development, and their goals for academic excellence, community building, and proper stewardship of the environment. Their vision summarizes it up pretty well:
As a living and learning community, Eden Hall Campus will encourage students and faculty to immerse themselves in a setting that promotes the study and advancement of sustainable development based on restorative principles. This is a dynamic, exciting place—a living laboratory in which to explore fundamentally different approaches to how we manage resources, both physical and intellectual. It will inspire us to model development and behavior, changing the way we occupy the land, design buildings, interact with our communities, fuel our economies, and design systems for energy, waste, water, transportation, and food.
Chatham claims to be the first academic institution to design and build a campus that integrates sustainable design, academics, and community in this way - and as far as I can tell, they are. I haven't found a single other program with this kind of approach. As Alice explained to me, most other schools that offer some version of a Food Studies program, like Boston University (who I visited in October) or NYU, have just stuck it into their existing coursework, rather than build their coursework around the concept.

As a result, this makes Chatham look very attractive to someone like me, who is less interested in the cultural/historical context of food - done very well by BU and NYU - and more into the nitty-gritty, hands-on, experiential methods that Chatham is piloting. (Not that you can't study such things at those schools, but it's much harder.) When I asked Alice what they have that the above-mentioned, more established programs don't, she immediately responded, "A farm!" with a laugh. Meaning an actual physical place where students can put into practice what they learn in a classroom? But of course.

The farm isn't the only place where Chatham students are getting practical experience. There are also experiential classes in Culinary Arts - although that's hardly unheard of, and is even a requirement at NYU. But beyond even that, the Food Studies program here has already established relationships with restaurants, farmers markets, urban gardens, and non-profits in the Pittsburgh area - and students are required to do three credit hours of internships with them.

I could probably write for another hour about everything that excited me about Chatham, but instead I'm going to sign off here. This entry is already slightly (and by that I mean ridiculously) long.

Next time... breaking news on internships for the 2011 growing season!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Like a Rolling Stone...

Not even snowstorms in Ohio can dampen my delight in road trips.

I love road trips.* I love them for a lot of reasons. The sense of independence I have, for example, as I barrel down the the open road. The thrill of travel and new experiences. The hours of reflection. The ability to catch up on my poor neglected, backlogged podcasts. And let's not forget the food.

Something I've recognized recently is that I have long associated road trips with food. Specifically, Cracker Barrel (still a guilty pleasure, I'll admit) and gas station pickings. This is largely due to the road trips of my childhood, during which I would purchase Mountain Dews and Snickers Bars by the fistful during daylight hours and gorge myself on the Country Ham Dinner Plate with Fried Okra and Country Corn every evening.

Now in my mid-20's and in charge of my own culinary destiny, I still recognize in myself a desire that manages to surface, no matter how deeply buried, to feast on the gleanings of truck stop and rest area fare.

One way I am extracting myself from this pastime is to fully stock my car with an assortment of goodies. Apples, pears, tangerines, cheese, crackers, smoked oysters... my parents' pantry was ransacked and pillaged, and I have been enjoying the spoils for the past six days.

But the crown jewel in my collection of healthy road trip snacks is my homemade granola. Crunchy, studded with juicy raisins, salty and sweet in equal measures, bursting with spices and flavor, this is easily the best granola recipe I have ever tried.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, due to the bareness of my pantry in a few key areas - *cough* coriander. Regardless, I was very pleased with how it turned out. The original recipe (scroll down to "Indulgent Granola") also makes about 10 cups, so I halved it.

Indulgent Granola, Road Trip Style

4 cups oats, rolled (not quick or instant)
1 cup raw nuts, coarsely chopped (I used almonds)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup butter
Dried Fruit (I used raisins, but feel free to be creative) 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and move the oven rack to the middle. Prepare a large baking sheet by lightly spraying with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper. 

Mix the first seven ingredients in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, honey and butter and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the liquid over the oats mixture and toss until thoroughly coated.

Spread the granola evenly on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and fragrant, about 30 minutes. Rotate halfway through.

Remove from the oven and cool completely. Add dried fruit after it has cooled and store in an airtight container.

Note: I like to use the cardboad container that the oats came in to keep my granola. It's handy, and you get points for recycling.

Road trip update: I am currently in Pittsburgh, enjoying tea at a very cute cafe and preparing questions for my visit to Chatham University tomorrow. So far, I would label this road trip quite a success! I'll update more fully later.

Lastly - in the spirit of road trippin', check out one of my favorite road trip songs of all time... albeit one of the stranger music videos.

*Interestingly enough, while flipping through a copy of Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast at a bookstore the other day, the first thing I opened it to was "Road Trips". It's like they know me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowpocolypse 2011

Thanks to the "storm of the century" that has been ravaging the Midwest for the last couple of days, my carefully planned itinerary, originally chock full of grad schools and farm visits and friends, has been shot to hell.

Well, mostly. I was originally planning to drive to Pittsburgh on Monday, where I would visit Chatham University and check out their brand new Food Studies program on Tuesday, but the ice storm had other plans. The storm continued unabated, forcing me to also cancel my visit to White Rose Farm, a biodynamic farm in Maryland I'm looking into.

However, I spent a good hour this morning pouring bucket after bucket of hot water onto Sylvester, my trusty Toyota Echo, and eventually managed to clean off three inches of accumulated ice.

According to Itinerary 2.0, I leave this afternoon and arrive in Perry Point, Maryland tomorrow, where I will visit with several AmeriCorps friends (which one can portmanteau to Ameri-friends, incidentally), then continue onward to Brightwood Vineyard and Farm in Virginia on Friday, visit a friend in Virginia, then catch Chatham University on the drive back that following Tuesday.

Additionally, as of ten minutes ago I have a phone interview scheduled Monday morning with Kettle Pond Farm, located in Berkley, Massachusetts.

Time to pack up and ship out - let the good times roll!

Sylvester, post-ice storm

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Farming Internship, Part Two

Now that I've changed directions (again), I find myself back to square one. And as I mentioned in my last update, a lot of my considerations for WWOOF-ing transfer quite well into the realm of farming internships - the desire to travel, task variety, learning about organic agriculture and sustainability, and so on.
I've come up with a handy little To Do list that's helped me stay organized as I wade through the scores of farming internships that are out there. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.

Research. Using sites like ATTRA, Tilth Producers of Washington, Back Door Jobs, the Sustainable Food Jobs blog, Google, and personal recommendations from friends and acquaintances, I've managed to acquire a tidy little list of farming internships that seems to fit the bill. These are farms that match my list of requirements - a blend of learning opportunities, including work with livestock and produce; room and board included; at least a small stipend to cover my student loan payments and stuff like toothpaste (I take oral hygiene very seriously); some company in the form of a couple other interns; and not in my usual stomping grounds, a.k.a. the Midwest. Setting these parameters helps to narrow the field considerably.

Despite their similarities, the farms have a lot of differences. Their locations, housing (Camping? Cabins? Yurts?), benefits, and to a certain extent,  how their internships operate are all wildly different. Some farms have very detailed, organized internships, with the growing season broken down week by week according to what they'll be doing. Others describe themselves as "learn by doing", which I interpret as a more "by the seat of your pants" approach. Some farms have years of experience with interns and apprentices... others, not so much. Some work with other organizations and farms to give their interns a broader education.

Bring on the email. After I'd filled out my WWOOF Farm Internship spreadsheet, I started contacting each and every farm on there. For the most part, this involved something to the effect of, "Hi, I've never farmed before but I'd really like to learn. How do I apply to your lovely farm?" I started this part over a month ago, and I'm still getting responses from farmers who were on vacation, or perhaps just don't check their email that often.

For the most part, it involves sending them my resume and three references, so once I had those updated, it's a pretty simple process. In some cases, their websites had instructions for the application process, in which case I went ahead and sent them in without peppering their email with questions.

To date, I've sent in applications to (I think) one farm in California, three in Washington, three in Maryland, one in Massachusetts, and one in Virginia, with more to come.

Visits and Interviews. This is the step that I'm just beginning. Thanks to the weather (we're smack dab in the middle of an ice storm), I had to cancel a visit to White Rose Farm in Taneytown, Maryland that was supposed to take place tomorrow. I should be able to make it to the Brightwood Vineyard and Farm in Brightwood, Virginia on Friday, however. For interested farms that I can't visit, hopefully we should soon be setting up phone interviews. Naturally I will post the results of my visits on here.

Start the internship. The sooner, the better!

And that's that. I'm continuing to research and apply to farms I find interesting, and following up with those who haven't gotten back to me yet.

Look for an update next week, detailing my road trip out east, with pit stops in Perry Point, Maryland to visit some AmeriCorps friends; Brightwood Vineyard and Farm; and Chatham University in Pittsburgh, where I'm checking out their new Masters program in Food Studies.