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News stories tagged with "local-flavor"

Organic Valley CEO George Siemon
Organic Valley CEO George Siemon

Organic milk coop bans raw milk

Yesterday, David Sommerstein reported on the raw milk wars. Advocates of unpasteurized milk say it tastes better, is better for you, and helps small family farms. Food safety and public health officials say raw milk can harbor dangerous bacteria like E Coli, and isn't worth the risk. Recently, an unlikely actor stepped into the middle of the debate. In a split 4 to 3 vote, Organic Valley dairy cooperative decided to prohibit its farmer members from selling raw milk. The vote followed nearly a year of emotional debate. Organic Valley is one of the leading brands of pasteurized organic milk. Based in Wisconsin, it has more than 1600 farmer-members. 20 of them are in the North Country. Some of those members had sold raw milk or cheese on the side to supplement their business. George Siemon is Organic Valley's CEO and one of its founders. He told David Sommerstein the decision to prohibit raw milk sales had as much to do with liability and safety concerns as business.  Go to full article
Ray Hill says the safety of raw milk depends on a farmer's integrity
Ray Hill says the safety of raw milk depends on a farmer's integrity

Raw milk debate, alive in the North Country

New restrictions on raw milk sales in Wisconsin and Massachusetts are returning one of America's fiercest food debates to the headlines. More people are seeking out unpasteurized milk. They cite a broad range of health benefits and support for local dairies. But health officials and many scientists insist drinking raw milk is too risky. Even Locavore-in-Chief Michael Pollan cautions raw milk drinkers "not to turn a blind eye to the food safety concerns." In New York, about 30 dairies are licensed to sell direct from the farm, including five in the North Country. The law requires consumers to bring their own containers and actually watch as the milk is poured from the bulk tank. David Sommerstein got an up-close look at the raw milk debate at a farm in St. Lawrence County and has our story.  Go to full article

Getting more consumers to eat local

Over the next few days, farm leaders are taking a sort of local food road show across the North Country. Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering an "Eating Local Yet?" conference tomorrow in Plattsburgh, Friday in Canton, and Saturday in Watertown.

The goal is to persuade more consumers to buy local fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. The keynote speaker is one of the pioneer's of the local food movement.

Jennifer Wilkins is nutritional science expert at Cornell University. She wrote the nation's first food guide tailored to regional eating in the 1990s. She told David Sommerstein processed foods that rely on commodity subsidies and a heavy carbon footprint dominate the supermarket and fuel America's obesity epidemic. Local produce, on the other hand, is fresh and better for you and the land.

"Eating Local Yet?" conference, which will be held tomorrow night in Plattsburgh, Friday night in Canton, and Saturday afternoon in Watertown. The event will provide contacts for local farmers, recipes to cook local produce and meat, and lessons on how to make your own sauerkraut, lard, and other foodstuffs. Pre-registration is required. Contact your local extension office to register. The fee is $10.  Go to full article

Challenging organic and "buying local"

Across the North Country and nationwide, small and organic farms are proliferating. And more people are buying local produce and meat to sustain their farmers and their communities. An article in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine argues "buying local" is a good thing, but it's not the answer for a worldwide sustainable agriculture system. Paul Roberts wrote "Spoiled: Organic and Local is so 2008." Roberts is a journalist and the author of two books, The End of Oil and The End of Food. In Roberts' article, he argues to make food environmentally sustainable, climate neutral, and cheap enough for everyone to afford, organic and local won't be sufficient. We'll need to use some pesticides. He envisions skyscraper greenhouses in the world's cities. And lots and lots more people will have to labor in the fields. David Sommerstein spoke with Paul Roberts last week.  Go to full article

Pea soup and johnnycake cancellation draws attention to homecooking in public

The cancellation of a popular event in Canton earlier this month is raising questions about serving food at community gatherings. Not-for-profits across the North Country rely on volunteers to cook food, often at home, for their small events. People may not know it, but they're often in violation of public health codes. David Sommerstein reports on the balance between food safety and the social value of breaking bread.  Go to full article
Chef Ben Bebenroth and his crew plate mushroom dishes for their dinner guests.  (Photo by Julie Grant)
Chef Ben Bebenroth and his crew plate mushroom dishes for their dinner guests. (Photo by Julie Grant)

Chef takes diners into the woods

More and more people are thinking about where their food was grown. Local growers and farmer's markets are seeing the benefit of increased interest in buying locally. More chefs and restaurants are interested in local sources as well. One caterer from northeast Ohio is upping the ante. "Plated Landscapes" takes the restaurant to the woods...or the fields, creating gourmet events "in situ." Julie Grant reports the chef wants people to connect the dots between the environment and their food.  Go to full article

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