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Mile High Locavorist

An interview-driven podcast connecting you with the people and energy of Denver's local food movement. Hear from pioneering chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, gardeners as well as non-profit, government and business leaders, all working to build the Mile High City’s local food ecosystem. Mile High Locavorist champions everything produced and processed in the Denver region from fruits and vegetables to meat and dairy, as well beer, wine and spirits, baked goods and other products with an emphasis on organic and sustainable.
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Now displaying: 2016
Aug 25, 2016

It’s August in the Mile-High City which means we’re in the middle of the harvest season in the Denver region. I’m pleased to welcome back Chef Elizabeth Buckingham of Moveable Feast Colorado to the second in a series of three episodes designed to help us get the most of the locally-grown fruit and vegetables we’ll see in the early, mid and late-harvest seasons in the Denver region.

Check out the first episode in the series on early-season produce, some of which we are still seeing (leafy greens, herbs): Episode 22: Make the Most of Early Season Produce.

In the mid-season, we’re seeing:

  • The Holy Trinity: Tomatoes, peppers and summer squash
  • Colorado’s best fruit: Melons from the Arkansas River Valley and peaches from the Palisade region
  • Sweetcorn from the Olathe region

Chef Elizabeth is going to talk us through:

  • What we’re going to see in the mid-season
  • What to look for when we buy
  • How to best store it before we’re ready to use it
  • How to prepare it

Chef Elizabeth Buckingham is a Colorado native; she earned a Grande Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. A spontaneous scuba diving trip to the Bahamas following her culinary school graduation led to a passion for the ocean and the next eight years of her career, first cooking aboard dive boats and later progressing to head chef aboard private yachts worldwide. In 2009, Elizabeth returned to Colorado and started her own private chef venture, Moveable Feast Colorado, through which she offers all kinds of fun and useful services from in-home classes to edible garden setups. Elizabeth is also a certified Master Gardener and runs a tiny urban homestead complete with chickens and a large vegetable garden. She is an avid home canner and preserver, a passionate advocate of local food and thinks everyone should know how to cook at least a little bit.

– IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN –
  • Why you need to give ugly tomatoes a chance, and quickly, but skip the cooking
  • Why you should consider eating zucchini raw, too
  • How the size of a pepper tells you how spicy it is (generally, at least)
  • Why plastic and the fridge don’t always extend the life of your produce
  • How summer squash plants can make even a novice gardner feel like a pro
  • Why with almost any veggie, a break in the skin signals a quick trip to the kitchen
  • Why, surprisingly, September is our peak harvest month
 – LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE –
 – THANKS FOR LISTENING –
Aug 12, 2016

“We’re a health equity organization before we’re a food security organization so we’re not going to deliver someone a totally unhealthy meal just for the sake of filling their stomach.” – Turner Wyatt

Increasing healthful food access is an effort that has grown in prominence over the last few years. It’s a complicated issue. So many factors influence healthful food access – the built environment, food costs, shelf-life, government regulation, nutrition, even social norms and stigmas.

Denver Food Rescue is a young organization meeting the challenge of expanding healthful food access with a unique operating model featuring bicycles, fresh local produce and a “no-cost grocery” concept. In 2015, they delivered enough food for 175,000 healthy meals with a focus on health, not just calories. “Denver Food Rescue is a health equity nonprofit that uses an innovative bicycle-based delivery system to increase the nutritional value in the emergency food assistance system.” And while reducing food waste is not their primary goal, Denver Food Rescue makes a big difference on that front, as well, rescuing 210,000 pounds of food last year. Plus they’re making big strides by employing technology to expand their reach and getting the attention of some big-time donors.
 
*Correction: In my introduction, I incorrectly stated that Denver Food Rescue rescued 175 meals last year, not 175,000. Apologies!
 
– IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN –
  • Why their original operating model from Boulder had to adjust to Denver
  • How low-middle income people fall into a healthful food access gap
  • Why being resident-led in their neighborhoods sets them apart
  • Why linking food waste reduction with hunger relief can be problematic for low-income communities
  • How this model, by its very nature (i.e. bicycles), encourages food localization
  • Why they see themselves as a “health equity” organization over a “food security” organization
  • How you can “Plant An Extra Row” to help those in need to access fresh, local food
– LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE –
 – THANKS FOR LISTENING –

This episode (#24) comes from Mile High Locavorist.

Jul 13, 2016

“Permaculture is the best toolkit we have to craft a truly sustainable future.” – Creighton Hofeditz

Permaculture – just what is it, exactly?

Here to tell us is Creighton Hofeditz, a CO native, permaculturalist, food educator and Board Member of the Denver Permaculture Guild. The Denver Permaculture Guild is a vibrant, sizeable and still growing group of folks focused on growing the practice and growing practitioners of permaculture in Denver. They also bring in some internationally recognized speakers from time to time and have a very active online community.

This episode is broken in to two parts. Part 1 – What is permaculture? and Part 2 – What is the Denver Permaculture Guild?

– IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN –

  • The origins of permaculture
  • The major elements and principles of permaculture design
  • Why permaculture is necessarily customized to each place it’s applied
  • How permaculture works with food production and with animals
  • How you can get involved, in a big or small way, with permaculture and the Denver Permaculture Guild

 – LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE –

– THANKS FOR LISTENING –

 This episode (#23) comes from Mile High Locavorist.

Jun 16, 2016

“I want people to know that fresh is a flavor and should be considered as such.” – Chef Elizabeth Buckingham

We’re entering mid-June, the early harvest season in the Denver region. I’m pleased to welcome back Chef Elizabeth Buckingham of Moveable Feast Colorado to the first in a series of episodes to help us get the most of the produce we’ll see in the early, mid and late harvest seasons.

In the early season, we’re expecting:

  • Salad greens: lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens
  • Herbs: mint, arugula, flat-leaf parsley
  • Radishes
  • Early onions: chives, scallions, walking onions
  • Green garlic and garlic scapes
  • Really limited time veggies like fava beans and early-season peas

Chef Elizabeth is going to talk us through:

  • What we’re going to see in early season
  • What to look for when buying it
  • How to best store it before we’re ready to use it
  • How to prepare it

Chef Elizabeth Buckingham is a Colorado native; she earned a Grande Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. A spontaneous scuba diving trip to the Bahamas following her culinary school graduation led to a passion for the ocean and the next eight years of her career, first cooking aboard dive boats and later progressing to head chef aboard private yachts worldwide. In 2009, Elizabeth returned to Colorado and started her own private chef venture,Moveable Feast Colorado, through which she offers all kinds of fun and useful services from in-home classes to edible garden setups. Elizabeth is also a certified Master Gardener and runs a tiny urban homestead complete with chickens and a large vegetable garden. She is an avid home canner and preserver, a passionate advocate of local food and thinks everyone should know how to cook at least a little bit.

– IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN –

  • Why early season produce seen in the culinary magazines isn’t what we see in Colorado
  • Why keeping your greens airtight and washing them in advance isn’t the best move
  • How making shakes (and juicing, to a lesser extent) is a great way to absorb a lot of greens
  • Why you might want to make the farmers market the last stop on your list (and you should bring a cooler!)
  • Why shopping at the farmers market takes a lot of the guesswork out of buying the best produce
  • The power of an ice water bath to revive wilted greens
  • Why asparagus, while an early-season veggie, isn’t generally a great bet in Colorado
  • Why joining a CSA, and getting the most out of it, requires some adjustments to our cooking habits and our perception of value

 – LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE –

 – THANKS FOR LISTENING –

 This episode (#22) comes from Mile High Locavorist.

May 29, 2016

“…What the markets offer in this growers-only context is an opportunity to reconnect to the food in a very meaningful way and it happens really simply by actually having that authentic connection to the source.” – Brian Coppom

The heart of Denver finally has its own farmers market! Union Station Farmers Market will launch on Saturday, June 6 and run weekly until October 22nd.

Union Station Farmers Market is operated by Boulder County Farmers Markets (BCFM), the non-profit that already runs the very well-respected and established farmers markets in Boulder and Longmont. According to their website, “We are a nonprofit organization operating producer-only farmers markets in Colorado since 1987. Our mission is to support, promote and expand local agriculture, making fresh products accessible to our community and strengthening relationships between local food producers and food consumers.”

Brian Coppom is Executive Director of Boulder County Farmers Markets. Brian, his team at BCFM and all his vendors have a lofty goal – to make Union Station Farmers Market “Colorado’s Flagship Farmers Market.”

Brian Coppom worked in the corporate world in product development, industrial design and telecom before joining Boulder County Farmers Markets in late 2013. Just two years later, in late 2015, he was surprised and pleased to win CEO of the Year from ColoradoBiz Magazine, despite carrying the title of Executive Director. He was also the first non-profit leader to win the award.

– IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN –

  • What making Union Station Farmers Market “Colorado’s Flagship Farmer’s Market” means
  • The challenges Brian and his team have faced in setting up the market and how they overcame those
  • The enduring value and challenge of being a growers-only market
  • How the market will fit in among the already strong and growing food options in Lower Downtown Denver
  • How this market could impact healthful food access in Denver
  • How we might think about the economics of food for not only consumers but farmers, too
  • How we, as a society, treat food versus how we treat other critical public needs

– LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE –

 – THANKS FOR LISTENING –

 This episode (#21) comes from Mile High Locavorist.

Apr 30, 2016

“There is literally no one thing that you can do that’s more beneficial to your health, both physically as well as financially, than cooking at home.” – Chef Elizabeth Buckingham

Engaging with local, whole foods requires a skill and that skill is cooking. For many of us, it’s a skill we haven’t mastered but for all of us, it’s a skill we can master. It takes practice, confidence and a few tips from an expert chef and teacher.

Chef Elizabeth Buckingham is a Colorado native; she earned a Grande Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. A spontaneous scuba diving trip to the Bahamas following her culinary school graduation led to a passion for the ocean and the next eight years of her career, first cooking aboard dive boats and later progressing to head chef aboard private yachts worldwide. In 2009, Elizabeth returned to Colorado and started her own private chef venture, Moveable Feast Colorado through which she offers all kinds of fun and useful services from in-home classes to edible garden setups. Elizabeth is also a certified Master Gardener and runs a tiny urban homestead complete with chickens and a large vegetable garden. She is an avid home canner and preserver, a passionate advocate of local food and thinks everyone should know how to cook at least a little bit.

– BONUS AUDIO –

– IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN –

  • Chef Elizabeth’s top tips to increase your confidence and success in the kitchen TODAY!
  1. Check out cook books from the library instead of buying them. Trust Julia Child. Don’t trust Internet recipes unless they’re reputable sources like Food & Wine, Bon Appétit and America’s Test Kitchen.
  2. Have a small dish of kosher salt wherever you’re cooking. Season as you go, in layers. Taste as you go. Salt is tops but fresh ground black pepper is another key ingredient. You can always underspice or undercook because you can fix that. You can’t fix overspiced or overcooked.
  3. Read the recipe BEFORE you start. Does it need to braise for 4-6 hours? Do you understand all the ingredients and techniques it calls for? Is this recipe appropriate for your ingredients and skill level?
  4. Know your oven. Ovens vary so learn to test doneness beyond simply cooking it as long as the recipe specifies.  (Also, everything takes longer to cook at elevation, if you didn’t know.)
  5. Cook everything to the doneness you like, not that the recipe writer likes.
  6. Let meat rest. Generally, leave it covered for at least 5 minutes for something small but as long as 30 minutes for something big like a big roast or turkey. Don’t cut in to meat to test doneness. Use the “touch test” using the skin between the thumb and pointer finger or drop some coin on a serious meat thermometer. America’s Test Kitchen recommends Thermapen. Meat, as well as most things, keep cooking after being removed from heat. Don’t wait until it’s done but a bit before it’s done and pull it then. It’ll keep cooking a few more minutes.
  7. Cut your ingredients into similarly sized pieces. Vegetables should be sliced or cubed to similar sizes. Cuts of meat of varying thicknesses should be cut or pounded to a similar thickness. Think chicken breasts that are super thick at one end and half that at the other. Salmon steaks can taper from belly pieces to tail pieces. Uniform thickness means uniform cooking.
  8. Hone your knife skills. Cooking shows demo assembly but not the skills that enable that assembly. Pre-chopped ingredients abound but to really know and appreciate your food and reach true independence, you need knife skills. They’re also much more expensive by weight. Also, your CSA isn’t going to chop your veggies for you.
  9. Trust yourself and practice. It’s about what you like, not about what the chef or cookbook writer thinks you should like. And if you don’t like what you get, learn from it and try again. But keep practicing, be confident and be patient. Cooking takes practice.

– LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE –

– THANKS FOR LISTENING –

 

This episode (#20) comes from Mile High Locavorist.

Apr 18, 2016

“We’re starting to hear ideas that I’ve never envisioned or never imagined coming out of these plans and that’s really the exciting part of a community process like this. We hear what our businesses really need. We hear what our residents really need to have successful lives and we’re able to say, “How do we bake that in to a longer term vision and then how do we turn that in to immediate action…” – Blake Angelo

(Welcome to Season 2!!)

The City and County of Denver are in the process of creating a city-wide food plan called the Denver Food Plan. This subtly-titled document will help shape Denver’s food future through the year 2030. Community Listening Sessions are running from March through early June, 2016. These well-run meetings are YOUR CHANCE to offer your thoughts on what Denver’s food system should look like. What are your priorities? What’s your vision? Let your government know!

While the creation of the Denver Food Plan involves many people and organizations, in this episode, we speak to one leader closely linked to the creation of the plan. Blake Angelo is Manager of Food System Development for the Office of Economic Development at the City and County of Denver. Prior to this, Blake was Director for the Beanstalk Foundation and served as the first specialist in Urban Agriculture for Colorado State University Extension in Denver and Jefferson counties. He has a master’s degree in Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary and Ecological Biology.

– IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN –

  • How the Denver community, in many ways, has encouraged (even demanded) that the city create a food plan
  • How important the food system is to Denver’s economy (thousands of jobs, billions of dollars)
  • What role Denver’s community and citizens play in creating the city’s food priorities
  • What elements of the food system the Denver Food Plan will cover, including Community, Health and Economy
  • Which cities and regions around the country have already created food plans
  • How our Colorado self-image as “thin and healthy” isn’t so true and the parallel challenges of both obesity and hunger
  • How food has been and can be an engine for local business and job growth as well as greater health, sustainability, resiliency and culture
  • What tangible deliverables we can expect from these meetings and how those will be used both near-term (2020) and long-term (2030)

 – LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE –

– THANKS FOR LISTENING –

This episode (#19) comes from Mile High Locavorist.

Jan 25, 2016

In this episode, I’d like to check in with you about the show; what’s gone well, what hasn’t, what we’ve learned and what I’d like to talk about in the next season. I also address some of the good and bad I’ve observed in both the local organic and the larger food system in the last year.

This is a lightly produced, solo episode. Just you and me.

– THANKS FOR LISTENING –

This episode (#18) comes from Mile High Locavorist.

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