Terra Madre Day, December 10th, is Slow Food’s international day to celebrate local eating, agricultural biodiversity and sustainable food production.
“They may be giants, but we are multitudes,” said Carlo Petrini to the Slow Food USA Delegation on the opening day of this year’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto. Petrini, founder and figurehead of Slow Food, was alluding to the recent Monsanto-Bayer merger in comparison to the good food movement.
More than a million people came to engage in this international gathering of people working to build local economies, preserve land and biodiversity, maintain regional and cultural food traditions, and stop climate change.
This past September I was among those multitudes – honored to be a Slow Food USA delegate representing Wisconsin foodways and pleased as punch to be spending my vacation away from Fondy Food Center to continue thinking about and talking about our local work, and how it fits into the international food movement. I’ve often said that Fondy is a great example of slow food in action; making good, clean and fair food more accessible to more people in our community while celebrating diverse foods and cultural food traditions.
Terra Madre Salone del Gusto is simply unique. It is the largest food gathering in the world. Part conference, part food expo (picture the biggest producer only farmers market you’ve ever been to, then multiply it 100 fold and make it international) it happens every two years in northern Italy and gathers together farmers and producers, educators and students, wild-crafters and fishers, authors and journalists, organizers and activists….and lots and lots of eaters who care about the impact of their food choices.
In the past, local friends and luminaries such as Larry and Sharon Adams of Walnut Way, Will Allen of Growing Power , chef Dave Swanson of Braise , Martha Davis Kipcak of Martha’s Pimento Cheese, Lianna Bishop of the Urban Ecology Center, and more, have represented SE WI food communities as SFU delegates to Terra Madre. This year, I was joined by Jennifer Jordan, UWM professor and author of Edible Memory , Joe Sabol of Sabol Farms, and was incredibly excited that the new Slow Food Turtle Island delegation included Wisconsin based Dan Cornelius of the Native Mobile Farmers Market.
Even as a third time delegate to Terra Madre, the experience is so breathtaking in scope that it is nearly impossible to boil down to a few paragraphs or pages. Some lasting impressions include: listening to Winona LaDuke calling on the Slow Food US delegation to remember that it’s a choice between water and oil, that it’s all related to food, and that we must use our privilege to fight for the common good; sharing Wisconsin Hickory Nuts (both a Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market product and on the Ark Of Taste, not to mention easy to get through customs) at the USA booth with visitors from around the world; the Slow Food NOLA & Slow Food Vietnam pop-up event which highlighted two of the world’s incredible food communities fighting against climate change; sharing my grandmother’s Sicilian origin story (in my broken Italian) with people from Sicily and being gifted with food and books and many smiles and hugs; a meeting with fellow Slow Food USA folks where we made good headway in plotting and planning for a “mini-Terra Madre” on US soil next July – Slow Food Nations. (Check it out – you’ll want to join us.)
More than anything, I came away from the gathering inspired, as well as incredibly proud of the work we are all doing here together with Fondy, and in Milwaukee in general.
This Saturday, you can start your Terra Madre Day with a stop at the Milwaukee Winter Farmers Market – finding local, diverse, and sustainable foods to celebrate with friends and family.
Happy Terra Madre Day! Wishing you bountiful times ahead with good folks and food.
– by Jennifer Casey, Fondy Food Center
Sharing a few images from my slow food vacation:
The Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market is a special space that allows you to eat local longer and connect directly with the farmers and producers whose great products you can purchase each Saturday morning until April 9th at the Domes’ Annex.
Many customers have farm fresh eggs on their shopping list, and if you’re an early market-goer, you can usually get your dozen or two. It’s been a frustrating discovery to many customers that all eggs have been sold out by the time that they get to the market. We asked some of our farmers to weigh in on that issue so everyone can better understand egg production in winter.
First thing to consider is daylight hours in the winter. Hens rely on about 15 hours of daylight to be the most productive. As one knows, we don’t see as much daylight in Wisconsin’s winter. Most of the winter it’s just above 9 hours of daylight, and in early March it’s risen to just above 11 hours. Many farmers supplement with artificial light in their coops so their hens will keep producing.
Chickens also lose their feathers annually and grow news ones, which is called molting. Molting occurs in response to decreased light as summer ends and winter approaches. According to Dave and Leslie of Meuer Farm, the molting on average takes 7-8 weeks, but can range as much as 4-12 weeks. During this time the new production of feathers takes precedent over egg production, and has a great demand on energy and nutrient stores.
Another thing to consider is temperature. Hens are trying to stay warm just like us in the winter. Their energy is more likely spent on staying warm than producing eggs, and they eat more to get that energy. Hens are also laying eggs for reproductive value, and they innately know that hatching a chick in the winter means that they’ll have a harder beginning at life, so aren’t prone to lay in the winter as much. Farmers will put heaters in to keep their coop above freezing so the eggs don’t freeze or crack and also so the hens’ water doesn’t freeze, but the coop isn’t designed for them to feel like they’re lounging around on a warm summer day.
Many farmers have pastured hens in the summer, and while often going outdoors is still an option for hens in the winter, they’re not getting the nutrients and protein from the grass and the insects they’d otherwise be eating in the warmer months. Since pasture isn’t an option in most Wisconsin winters, farmers pay for more feed in the winter. And our farmers care about the type of feed they use so they still have quality, nutrient-rich, healthy eggs; feeding hens is not low-cost nor low-input in the winter.
There’s obviously an additional cost in having eggs in the winter. As stated above, there’s additional energy and feed costs. Farmers also have to make their purchases of their hens many months in advance. One vendor, Jeff from Jeff-Leen Farm, places his order for new pullets (5-6 month old hens) in March, and picks them up in August or September to add to his brood. In October and November he takes out of production any hens he has that aren’t laying, hence the addition of more “soup hens” he offers at market around that time.
In relation to placing orders, Al Weyker of Lakeview Buffalo Farm noted that it takes laying hens 7 to 9 months to raise their first egg. The investment and planning of having younger, higher-producing hens for the winter production is one that happens the winter before.
Farmers are always dealing with unpredictability and change from season to season, and nothing can truly be planned or projected perfectly. Unpredictably in egg production comes in the form of weather, disease, predators, and a lot of unknowns. Jeff from Jeff-Leen is having his toughest winter ever with egg production, and can’t figure it out despite his many years of farming experience. Last winter market season, he was bringing 80 to 130 dozen eggs per week. One market day in January this year, he had 18 dozen. “His girls” started producing more, and a few weeks later he had 61 dozen. Al from Lakeview Buffalo Farm had 40% loss of his laying chicks this year, mostly due to the cold weather. And the hens that survived just aren’t laying as much either. He said they should have up to 12 dozen being laid each day, but only have about 3 dozen per day. Both noted, that even though the hens are producing less, they still have to feed them, so often are costing much more than they’re making.
There are of course regulations on small farmers from the state about egg production and sales. Egg producers that are covered by the law (all of our vendors) must adhere to the following conditions:
- Eggs must be sold directly to the consumer, not to a wholesaler or distributor.
- The number of egg-laying birds in the egg producer’s flock must not exceed 150.
- Eggs can be sold from the farm where the eggs were laid, at a Wisconsin farmers’ market, or on an egg sales route.
- Eggs must be packaged in a carton that is labeled with the producer’s name and address, the date the eggs were packed into the carton, a sell-by date within 30 days, and a statement indicating that the eggs in the package are ungraded and uninspected.
- Packaged eggs must be kept at an ambient temperature no higher than 41°F at all times.
The amount of work that goes into getting eggs ready for market is great. From caring for the brood; collecting and cleaning eggs; determining the size by candling the eggs to grade them (the process looks at each individual egg with light to see how big the air cell is; a much harder process with brown eggs) or weighing the eggs to put them in medium, large or extra-large categories; and safely getting to market (there’s bound to be a dozen casualty here and there). It’s a lot of work. Kathy of Morning Star Family Farm estimates that each egg gets one minute of dedicated labor to it. She says “all processes are done by hand, egg-by-egg. Including all of the steps from grinding the feed, feeding the girls, and collecting the eggs, to washing and packing the eggs for sale, there is a minute of labor in every egg we sell, or 12 minutes per dozen.”
Eggs bought directly from farmers cost more than you’ll see in the grocery store. But when you consider the above information about providing quality feed, good conditions for the girls, and labor, you can guess why seeing an average of $5/dozen is a norm. According to Lori of Soap of the Earth, “The high-value nutrition contained in a dozen of honorably-produced eggs, $5/dozen is a considerable bargain”. We couldn’t agree more.
We do hope that everyone could get their eggs at the Milwaukee County Winter Market, but hope you understand why it’s not always possible to meet the supply with the demand. We encourage you to come early and also to build a relationship with your farmers so they can do their best to plan for future markets.
Who brings eggs? And about how many (we didn’t ask all of them):
Morning Star Family Farm (about 12 dozen chicken eggs/week, and a few dozen duck eggs)
Soap of the Earth (about 10-12 dozen/week)
Jeff-Leen Farm (anywhere from 18-61 dozen/week)
Lakeview Buffalo Farm
Dominion Valley Farm
Meuer Farm (part-time vendors)
Article written by Katie Hassemer, Fondy Food Center’s Director of Farmers Markets. Any further questions about eggs at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market, or other market inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEADERSHIP CHANGE AT FONDY FOOD CENTER
MILWAUKEE, WI – After a year of unprecedented accomplishments, Fondy Food Center’s Executive Director, Young Kim, announced his resignation.
According to Laura Maker, President of the Fondy board, “We have been aware for some time that Young was considering making a career change. He has been the executive director at Fondy for the past 13 years and he has led the organization with creative vision as Milwaukee’s ambassador to make reasonably priced, healthy food options available in communities that are historically underserved.”
Moving forward, Jennifer Casey, who has a background in community health and nutrition, will assume the role of Executive Director. Stephen Petro, a longtime advocate for sustainable agriculture with a gift for details, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Working closely with the board, the new leadership team will continue to grow Fondy’s projects to work together to improve fresh, local food for all Milwaukeeans while supporting small farmers. Maker said, “While Young is a close friend and we will miss him, he has built a great team that will drive the organization forward. Jen Casey has helped to grow the organization programmatically since she came on in 2014, and in his five years as Fondy’s Farm Director, Stephen Petro has been a steadfast asset to the organization.”
Young Kim has been the Executive Director of the Fondy Food Center since 2003. Under Kim’s leadership, Fondy opened a farm in Port Washington in 2011 to support Fondy Farmers Market farmers, became known as a national pioneer in matching Women, Infants and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers at the Fondy Farmers Market, and opened a “pop-up” famers market at Schiltz Park. Over the past few months, Fondy successfully assumed the operation Milwaukee County Winter Farmer’s Market at the Mitchell Park Domes.
Prior to coming to Milwaukee Kim spent eight years in Seattle working with the city’s homeless population. He is the recipient of the Doug Jansson Emerging Leadership Award (2012), and the Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative Owner of the Year (2013). According to Young, “I obviously have mixed emotions about my decision to leave Fondy, but I’m excited about exploring my next chapter in trying to make Milwaukee a more just and fair city. Fondy has been such a big part of my life for the past thirteen years, but the timing just feels right to make a change. The Winter Market is humming along, we just received good news from the city regarding their intention to renew the lease and make improvements at the Fondy Farmers Market, and lots of new ways of encouraging people to eat local are in the pipeline. I’d like to thank everyone that had a hand in Fondy’s success, especially the residents of Northside Milwaukee, who welcomed me with open arms in 2003.”
Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market & Fondy Food Center Team Up
Milwaukee, WI (October 14, 2015) The Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market (MCWFM) & Fondy Food Center (Fondy) are joining forces to grow their impact! Starting this season, the MCWFM and Fondy will begin working together to maximize the efforts of both, mission aligned, organizations.
“This merger allows two great organizations with distinct and very different strengths to leverage what they do best into something so much more for the region,” says Young Kim, Executive Director of Fondy. Of having entered into a working relationship with Fondy, Ritch Durheim, President of the MCWFM board, said, “In our six seasons we’ve continued to grow as a winter market and we’ve experienced significant success at the Mitchell Park Domes. We are excited about our partnership with Fondy, which will allow us to realize our mission to “provide equitable access to wholesome food.”
MCWFM is Southeast Wisconsin’s most popular and distinctive winter farmers market, and located at a classic Milwaukee location, the Mitchell Park “Domes”. Fondy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to healthy food access for all – from farm to market to table –runs the Fondy Farmers Market on Milwaukee’s Northside, the Fondy Farm in Port Washington, a pop-up market at Schlitz Park, as well as a city wide farmers market access project. This collaboration will allow for long term sustainability and broader mission impact for both organizations into the future.
The MCWFM will remain the same great place to find produce, bakery, meat, poultry, eggs, fish, dairy & cheeses, grains, and specialty products and preserves as always, but will work towards expanding its customer base. Young Kim, “While the changes at the Milwaukee County Winter Farmers Market won’t really be evident to customers and farmers, I’m eager to see how to apply lessons learned from our regular summer market to this winter market so that everyone, regardless of income, has a shot at getting the fresh, locally produced foods that are the building blocks for a healthy and productive life.”
Fondy will now have a market in operation almost every week of the year– providing year round healthy food access & economic opportunities for small producers and diverse consumers across the region.
This Saturday, along with the abundant harvest, Fondy Farmers Market will come alive with bluegrass music, two cooking demos, face-painting, clowns, community partners and our NEW Power of Produce Youth Booth – complete with free veggie vouchers! (Read on for Youth Booth details) Let us & your friends know you’ll be joining the fun on our Facebook Page, And the celebration continues all afternoon at Walnut Way’s Harvest Fest & annual block party.
The Power of Produce (POP) Club provides a fun opportunity for children to engage in the local food system. You can find the POP Youth Booth in the Community Commons @ Fondy Farmers Market on Saturdays, all month long. At the booth, kids will receive free fruit & veggie farmers market vouchers for participating in POP activities.
Seasonal Soul Cooking Demos
with Saehee Chang & Anthem Bluecross Blueshield
by Thistledown Thunder
9 am – 1pm
Green & Yellow Beans
Patty Pan Squash
Fresh Pinto Beans
Spinach & Lettuce
Collards, Mustard, & Turnip Greens
Onions & Garlic
Farm Fresh Eggs
Pickles & Preserves
A selection of Hot Foods
Enjoy this special health post from our Wellness Partners at Columbia St Mary’s. And remember – the antioxidants found in fruits & vegetables, that can be found at your local farmers market, are powerful allies in the fight against cancer!
Fall is here and the month of September is jammed pack with Health Awareness!
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Women should pay attention to their bodies, and know what is normal for them. There is no simple and reliable way to test for ovarian cancer in women who do not have any signs or symptoms. The Pap test does not screen for ovarian cancer. The only cancer the Pap test screens for is cervical cancer. All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women. Get the facts and be aware of the symptoms.
Symptoms may include:
*Bloating (when the area below your stomach swells or feels full)
*Pelvic or abdominal pain
*Feeling full quickly while eating
* Urinary urgency (having to pass urine very often)
*Vaginal bleeding (if you are past menopause)
For more information contact the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance; www.wisconsinovariancancer.org .
It is also National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month! Men starting at the age of 40 are encouraged to talk to their personal doctors about their risk of prostate cancer and whether they should be getting screened. The screening consists of both a blood test called a prostate specific antigen ( PSA) and also a digital rectal exam. African American men have the highest occurrence and death rates of prostate cancer than any other ethnic or racial group of men. For more information contact the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/basic_info/screening.htm. Or the American Cancer Society www.cancer.org
And lastly, September is also National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month. Sickle cell anemia is a disorder of the blood caused by inherited abnormal hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein within the red blood cells). The abnormal hemoglobin causes distorted (sickled) red blood cells. The damaged sickled red blood cells clump together and stick to the walls of blood vessels, blocking blood flow. This can cause severe pain. This disease is one of the most common inherited blood anemia’s, and primarily affects Africans and African Americans. For more information and support contact the Sickle Cell Disease Association Of America, Inc. SCDAA@sicklecelldisease.org
Carla Harris RN, BSN Oncology Community Outreach Columbia St. Marys Hospital
Pho Cook-off this Saturday!
There’s been a lot of buzz around our first ever Pho cooking contest and we can’t wait to see what this Saturday brings! Pho Cook-off Contestants will be at the market early cooking up their version of the famous Southeast Asian noodle soup. Judging (by a pre-selected panel of judges) will begin at 11 am.
Pho will be on sale to shoppers by new vendor Mama’s Pho!
Join our event on Facebook.
There’s still time to enter the competition by calling 414-562-2282.
@ the Market 8/15
Judging Starts @ 11 am
9 am – 1pm
(see Community Commons @ the Market for details)
9 am – 1pm
Green & Yellow Beans
Patty Pan Squash
Spinach & Lettuce
Collards, Mustard, & Turnip Greens
Onions & Garlic
Farm Fresh Eggs
Pickles & Preserves
A selection of Hot Foods
Fondy Supports Healthy Babies
There are a number of ways that Fondy supports the health and well-being of babies, kids, and caretakers – from simply being a place to find fresh produce four days a week, offering the WIC Voucher Market Match program, having community wellness partners at the market, to hosting the annual Breastfeeding Walk this Saturday!
Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by joining the Milwaukee County Breastfeeding Coalition’s Community Breastfeeding Walk from Alice’s Garden to Fondy! Registration begins at 9am in Alice’s Garden, Walk begins at 10am, and the Big Latch On – a worldwide event- will happen in Milwaukee at Fondy at 10:30 am.
Breast milk…the original slow food.
Find out what else is going on at this week’s market, including availability, here.
A Special Wellness Post from our Partners:
Fruits and vegetables are abundant at the market and an important part of a healthy diet for everyone, but especially for those with diabetes. These foods can add vitamins, minerals and fiber to your meals, without adding salt, fat or sugar. Controlling carbohydrate portions – like potatoes, corn, rice, cereal and fruit – is the key to controlling blood sugar and your weight. By filling your plate with a rainbow of non-starchy vegetables – like tomatoes, greens and carrots – it’s easier to keep higher carbohydrate foods in smaller portions because there is no room for a mountain of potatoes, rice or noodles.
Here are some tips for shopping at the market:
-Plan meals before going. You will know how much to buy and what other ingredients are needed.
-Starchy vegetables – like white and sweet potatoes, corn and peas – have 15 grams of carbohydrate in
each ½ cup portion and need to be limited to 2-3 portions each meal.
-Non-starchy vegetables have only 5 grams of carbohydrate in a ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw portion. They cause little change in blood sugar and can help with weight loss. These foods are not limited in portions.
-Fresh fruit portions have 15 grams of carbohydrate. A single portion is the size of a tennis ball or 1 cup of melon or berries. Two or three portions per day are recommended.
-Vendors are happy to explain items you are not familiar with and have tips and recipes to share.
-Wash all fresh foods under running water before eating, cutting or cooking.
While at the market, enjoy the walk; it will lower your blood sugar. Enjoy the scents, like tomatoes, basil and apples. When you get home, enjoy the flavors of fresh picked produce and the satisfaction that you are working to control your blood sugar with healthy eating.