Oustanding in the Field

 

Hola! mucho tiempo sin verti!

Something exciting is happening I want to share with you.

Felipe and I are still in Nicaragua(yep, still married) at Rancho Santana. In the time we have been here Felipe and his team have grown our organic gardens, orchards and animal husbandry program into such a dynamic part of the food and beverage department that Oustanding in the Field is coming!

Image result for images outstanding in the field"

The international  pop-up will set up camp at Rancho on January 18th 2020.

I am so proud of Felipe and his accomplishments, as I have always been. If you have spent much time reading this blog you are aware of what an amazingly diligent and creative person he is. I’m elated to see him recogonized in this way.

I have, for the past two years, had the honor of running Rancho’s butchery and milk program We make all kinds of yummy meats and cheeses from Felipe’s animals and  his Reyna Criollo cattle’s milk, a breed unique to Nicaragua. You can have a look at what we do on my instagram page sharpbladesharpmind.

If you would like to join us for the Outstanding in the Field event, tickets are available here.

This post is dedicated to my friend Larry Prater who died near this time last year. We met here on vsvevg. He loved Felipe and would be very proud of him. He was the best of men and friends. I miss him alot. 

 

 

 

Waste Not

“Machigua” Nica for pig slop.

I’ve worked in restaurants for over 20 years. It’s fast paced challenging work; I’ve always enjoyed it. Though, as with all jobs, there are aspects that have frustrated me. The most upsetting thing about working restaurants is witnessing the mountains of food thrown away every day —breakfast, lunch and dinner… breakfast, lunch and dinner, 365 days a year.  Reputable research informs us that forty percent of the consumable food in the U.S. is thrown away; a statistic that has consumed me in the way thoughts of the ocean’s garbage gyres can drag me below the surface of despair.

When I lived in Chicago, I would leave the restaurant and sometimes see people sifting through the still nourishing food we threw into a vile trash bin; salvaging bits, tainted only because we’d put them in an unsanitary place. We also sent weekly meals to a homeless shelter, but it didn’t assuage the guilt I felt for serving piles of food that few could possibly finish, but to many who would complain if the portions were reduced. Some want their money’s worth, even if it is only to throw it away.

probecho! probecho!

Finally, I have a restaurant job that has solved this dilemma. At La Finca y El Mar all of our waste is sorted: citrus rinds for compost, plate waste for pigs, plastics, glass and cardboard recycled, which creates a significantly decreased trash output .

Lucas. He was so emaciated and infested when Felipe took him in we doubted he'd live. But, He's gaining weight...yes, he was thinner. Lucas. He was so emaciated and infested when Felipe took him in we doubted he’d live. But, He’s gaining weight…yes, he was thinner.

Felipe comes to the restaurant each morning and collects the food waste bins. The pigs get a diverse and tasty supplement to their feed, his adopted farm dog Lucas, enjoys the pork scraps and bones he and his coworkers pull out of the pig’s portion, the compost benefits from a boost of acidity for our alkaline soil, and I am freed from agonizing over my contribution to waste and indifference.

Probecho piggies!

The Road from Farm to Table

Self Sustainable. Organic. Farm to Table. Appealing words— admirable concepts. But  we seldom consider what it entails to bring such belief systems to fruition; how we navigate the road from farm…to table.

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

This week at Rancho Santana’s chicken facility our farm and kitchen staff walked that path.

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Melky and Justin Butchering

Melky and Justin Butchering

Hen to plate.

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

The next generation.

The next geration

Walk this Way

Daily walks are essential to me, so today I set out to chart and time my route to work and find a good daily stroll.

What my  walk to work looks like.

What my walk to work looks like.

About twenty minutes later…

I arrive at the club house.

I arrive at the club house.

Twenty minutes is perfect to clear my head before work, but for health and sanity at least an hour is required.

After an hour on the trails...

After an hour on the trails…

Playa Escondido

Playa Escondido

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

Kind of like home, but with a beach!

The end of the trail.

The end of the trail.

After a couple of hours on Rancho Santana’s clean but thankfully not overly groomed hiking trails, I will rest well and be ready for my first day at El Finca y El Mar.

What do you do the day before you start a new job?