Tag Archives: organic food

CSU Fun November Events!

A great South Los Angeles group CSU (Community Services Unlimited) is having two really cool earth friendly events in November. One’s a gourmet food party featuring Caribbean Cuisine and the other is the start of their monthly gardening workshop.

P.S. If you’re looking for locally grown organic produce you can sign up with CSU and for an incredibly reasonable fee, pick up a bag weekly. It’s the best. Read more about it at : csuinc.org And now the events!

Friday, November 12th : 6pm to 8pm.
Caribbean Cuisine Food Party!
featuring Kamilche Sea Farms Mussels
Hosted by Shema Muhuga, a friend of CSU at his Playa Del Rey residence, this food party will feature the mouthwatering flavors of the Caribbean. Soca and Calypso will be the music playing for the evening along with video footage from the October 2010 Los Angeles Carnival and the February 2010 Trinidad and Tobago carnival. As always local seasonal produce will be highlighted, but a special item for this evening will be a treat for sea food lovers. Kamilche Sea Farms has been farming mussels in the Puget Sound since 1981 and since 1986 has specialized in the culture of the premium Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis).  These mussels, common to Spain, are believed to have been brought over to the Pacific centuries ago on the bottoms of Spanish Galleons.  Today Kamilche Sea Farms grows these mussels starting with premium hatchery seed.  Suspended from long lines in the rich deep waters of the Puget Sound, a premium mussel is ready for harvest in less than a year. Kamilche Sea Farms’ growing waters, in Totten Inlet, have been state certified since 1926. This bay is designated by the Washington Department of Ecology as a “Unique Growing Area” due to its pristine waters and high shellfish productivity. Strict watershed protection measures ensure that it will remain pure for generations to come. A huge thank you to Kamilche Sea Farms for the donation of the mussels for this Food Party, we encourage you to check out http://www.kamilcheseafarms.com and support those businesses that support sustainable communities. A detailed menu and address for the event will be sent to those that RSVP, but you can be sure to get home cooked gourmet food, featuring locally grown and beyond organic produce, at an incredible price of $20.00, along with great company and the knowledge that your dollars are supporting a great cause.
Spaces are limited, so RSVP soon to Dyanep1@csuinc.org or call 323 299 7075.

Saturday, November 13th : 9am to 1pm.
Garden Gateway Workshop Series
Planting to Amend Soil + Healthy Greens
EXPO Center/CSU Urban Farm, corner of King and Bill Robertson Lane (formerly Menlo Ave), 3980 S. Bill Robertson Lane., LA, CA 90037, next door to the senior center, enter from Bill Robertson Lane. Garden Gateway Project Workshop Series takes place on the 2nd Saturday of every month. The Community Gateway to Building Food Self-Reliance –  Free Gardening, Nutrition and Cooking Workshop! In partnership with: The EXPO Center, UNO and USC Keck School of Medicine Childhood Obesity Research Center.
To RSVP call 323 299 7075
and please be prepared to attend the entire workshop.  Download flier at http://www.csuinc.org

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Jam1

I made jam last night. I even picked the nectarines from my backyard. Yay for me!

Sooooo, in the city of Los Angeles it is very very tough to find canning jars. Most of the places I called (Osh, Home Depot, Smart&Final) no longer carried them. I ended up getting mine at Target. Next time I’ll plan ahead and order them online. For some reason pretty much every time I try and get something in an actual store it ends up being a huge headache.

If you’ve never made jam before it’s one of those funny things that’s really easy but hard at the same time. This was my first time making jam as an adult. I did it a few times as a kid with my great-grandmother. But I remember very little about the process.

I followed these instructions for nectarine jam that I found online:

So the basics. You need to sterilize your jars. You can do that by putting them in boiling water, or the dishwasher. You want the jars to be hot when you put the jam in so you don’t break the jars.

I highly suggest having the right tools. I am going to buy some jar tongs before I try canning anything again. I tried to use the regular tongs I had and it was a horrible idea. Even though I tested them out beforehand to make sure they’d pick up the jars, when the tongs got hot they didn’t work. I am going to buy some specific jar tongs.

I learned this the hard way. When I went to pick up a jar from the boiling water it dropped back into the water splashing me in the face. I ran to the sink to splash cold water on my face repeatedly. I didn’t have a lot of time, because everything has to be done hot, and right then. (You can’t let your jam boil to long or it gets weird.) I didn’t have time to run out and cut some aloe, so my solution was to then run to the fridge and rub a stick of butter on my face. Yes, yes I did. And now I’m telling you all about it.

I proceeded to make jam with a buttery face and got everything done on schedule. It was weird smelling butter for most of the night.

Some things I learned in the jam making process:

  1. Have the right tools.
    You’re dealing with a lot of boiling/hot things. Boiling water, boiling jam. For safety it’s best to have the proper supplies. And if you plan on making more jam (which I TOTALLY DO!) it’s probably worth it just to buy the darn tongs, and a funnel.
  2. It’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be.
    I looked all over the internet, read different recipes and instructions and at the end of the day, it’s just a recipe. A recipe like any other. If you can make cookies, you can make jam. It did take me most of the night, cause I kept re-reading the instructions and didn’t have things timed right, but I feel really confident that next time I do it, it won’t be so confusing.
  3. The box of pectin comes with a bunch of recipes.
    Kind of like how the bag of chocolate chip cookies tells you how to make the cookies. The box of pectin tells you what you need to do and has recipes for different fruits. Pectin is what makes the jam “set”. (So it’s not runny.) Pectin comes in different varieties. Regular sugar, low sugar, and no sugar varieties. I suggest the low or no sugar. The low sugar still has a lot of sugar in my opinion, and the regular kind suggests twice as much. (3 cups of sugar for 6 cups of fruit, vs. 7 cups of sugar for 6 cups of fruit.) A little overkill in the sugar department.

Supplies you need to make jam:

  • Big pot with a lid, for boiling the jars (before you put jam in them and after)
  • Big pot for boiling the jam
  • Jar Tongs (Get the jar tongs)
  • Metal funnel (To put the jam in the jars. Unless your big jam pot has a spout for pouring.) Get the metal one, cause you can boil it to sterilize it. A plastic one you can’t sterilize cause it’ll melt.

This is what you need at the very very least. I think I’m going to go ahead and buy one of those $30 kits. Seems worth it to me.

And that my friends is how I make some jam.

Earthday Radness

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So, besides planting trees last Saturday, I also checked out that Earthday Fair/Event I told you guys about. It was AWESOME. I got to see the launch of the veggie bus, listen to some rad music, drink a smoothie that came from a blender powered by a bike, and check out the cool booths. I also got to see what Normandie Avenue Elementary School looks like. There are some sweet things going on at that school.

Community Services Unlimited Inc. is the group that organized the Earthday Fair. They also do a lot of work with Normandie Avenue Elementary School. One of the things they do is teach the kids how to grow fruits and veggies. You can check out the sweet photos of their raised bed gardening area. I don’t know if you can tell or not, but this area is huge. Puts my raised beds to shame.

I also saw some kids painting a mural which was neat-o.

I got some flyers with more info about Community Services Unlimited. I found out that they do CSA boxes for my area. In case you don’t know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You can sign up and each week receive a bag filled with organic seasonal fruits, vegetables and dried herbs.

Check out more about it here.

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Who Wants to Plant Some Trees? Say Yes. Yes. Yes.

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On Saturday April 18th, fresh&easy (an awesome grocery store, excuse me, neighborhood market,) will be having a tree planting event at the site of their future location in South LA. They’re partnering with Jan Perry (9th District Councilmember) and the LA Conservation Corps. Check out the invite for the event *click here.

Schedule:
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Registration & Snacks
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Commemorative Tree Planting with Councilmember Jan Perry
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Tree Planting
1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Snacks & Refreshments

I am super excited that fresh&easy is finally making it’s way into my neighborhood. They’ve got great quality food and organic options at really low prices. Organic food in South Los Angeles… I like it.

As it says on their flyer “get the word out and encourage your family friends, neighbors and co-workers to help us make South LA greener one tree at a time.”

Lets do this!