Tag Archives: Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Ladies of the Land

Back in July, I took my family on the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Western Region Farm Tour, a “behind-the-barn” look at local food production.  We got to see loads of produce, take a hayride to see pasture-based cattle, taste delicious local cheeses, and even feed alpacas.  And those were only four of 20 participating farms.

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The tour was a great introduction to the work of PASA, our partner in this Saturday’s Sustainable September program.  We’ll be screening Ladies of the Land (watch the trailer), followed by a panel discussion featuring several local lady farmers, including Jen Montgomery from Blackberry Meadows Farm, Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez from Paradise Gardens and Farm, and Leah Smith, Member Services Coordinator of PASA.  The program starts at 3:00 pm and will be held in Classroom A at the Main Library.

The library has plenty of other resources to investigate and learn about food production. To start, check out Our Daily Bread (watch the trailer), a visual essay on industrial agriculture, or The World According to Monsanto.  For something a little more upbeat and closer to home, try The Grange Fair: An American Tradition (watch the trailer).  On Thursday, September 17, we’re partnering with Slow Food Pittsburgh to screen Slow Food Revolution and discuss the growing slow food movement.  Another good one might be Milk in the Land, also screened earlier this year as part of our Real to Reel Documentary Film Series.

And those are just some of the documentary DVDs.  We have lots of other media on sustainability and related issues, and, of course, plenty of books too.  If you’d like to find more, or if you’ve been inspired to start producing your own food, check out our Take It Slow lists, especially the film list, or check with a librarian.


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Cooking by Hand

During these last days of summer, take it slow and local. Wander through a farmer’s market. Bring the harvest home. Mince fresh garlic. Brine pickles. Pot up outdoor herbs and place on a sunny indoor window ledge. Explore cooking from scratch and its satisfying rewards. Knead some dough, and let the smell of baking bread lead you by the hand into autumn.

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is commemorating autumn’s bounty by celebrating its first Local Food Month. Three of PASA’s collaborative community programs will be held at CLP Main. PASA and CLP’s First Floor and Film/Audio departments have organized a program series called  Sustainable September, documentary films followed by discussions led by local leaders in sustainable farming, food, and landscaping.

Bertolli, Paul
Cooking by Hand
Former Chez Panisse chef, Mr. Everything at his own restaurant in Oakland, California, Bertolli offers thoughful essays accompanied by recipes, often written as detailed narratives. From the introduction, “Good Cooking is Trouble,” to a twenty-five page chapter, “Twelve Ways of Looking at Tomatoes,” Bertolli champions learning and discovery, because ” . . . cooking is most satisfying when you are creatively involved.”

Bittman, Mark
Food Matters
Bittman’s practical approach to eating focuses on cooking at home using familiar ingredients. Beginning with a concise history of the influence of government, big business, and science on current food issues, Food Matters arrives at a simple message: “Eat more plants, fewer animals, and as little processed food as possible.”

Leader, Daniel
Bread Alone: Bold Fresh Loaves From Your Own Hands
An essential bread book for readers who want to learn traditional bread making: slow-leavened, hand-shaped, centuries-old styles including sourdough ryes, pumpernickel loaves, French pain au levain.

Madison, Deborah
Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets
localflavorsWith Deborah Madison as guide, travel across the country from market to market, then head to the kitchen to prepare savory, seasonal meals. Arranged by fruit and vegetable families as they appear in markets.

Madison, Deborah
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
vegetariancookingThe bible of vegetable cookbooks, and a desert island choice for omnivores, vegetarians, or vegans. 1400 recipes move from simple preparations of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes to delicious combinations. Covers all categories of food, including bread and dessert. (How about the yogurt tart?!)

Parsons, Russ
How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table
Author of the lauded How to Read a French Fry, How to Pick a Peach features Parsons’ friendly, smart voice as he narrates a seasonal produce tour. Each chapter focuses on one vegetable or fruit, including agricultural history, where they’re grown, how to choose, how to store, how to prepare, and one simple recipe.

Pellegrini, Angelo
The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life
unprejudicedpalateFirst published in 1948, reissued by Modern Library’s classic food writing series, this book helped to inspire a culinary shift in the United States. A Tuscan immigrant, Pellegrini shunned processed foods, and cheered for the good life: a garden of fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits; a home cooked meal; homemade wine to share. Guidelines, rather than recipes, will motivate. A Pellegrini quip or two might just land on your fridge: “Nothing is so effective in keeping one young and full of lust as a discriminating palate thoroughly satisfied at least once a day.”

Wolfert, Paula
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook
Slow food doesn’t always mean slow cooking, but in this highly recommended book it does. These recipes require planning, but not necessarily hours at the stove. Simmer, slow roast, braise, poach, or marinate, and reward yourself with flavorful dishes from the cuisines of Italy, Spain, Southern France, and North Africa. (I’m dreaming of slow-cooked duck with olives.)

Ziedrich, Linda
The Joy of Pickling: 200 Flavor-Packed Recipes for All Kinds of Produce from Garden or Market
joypicklingZeidrich removes the mystery from canning in this comprehensive reference, featuring dozens of original recipes for a variety of pickles. Novice and veteran will be tempted by recipes for traditional cucumber pickles, as well as kimchi, chutney, salsa, sauerkraut, and pickled grapes.


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