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Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Edible Buffalo Launches Its Fall Film Series With a Screening of the Food Documentary FRESH at the Burchfield Penney Art Center

In Edible Events on July 27, 2009 at 2:45 pm


Edible Buffalo, Western New York’s premier regional food publication, launches its fall film series on September 10, 2009 with a screening of the food documentary FRESH.  Sponsored by Buffalo Spree magazine and American Farmland Trust and in cooperation with the Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College, New York State’s first LEED certified “green” art museum.

As films like Food Inc. and Super Size Me expose the pitfalls and wrong doings of our industrial food system, FRESH goes in the direction of looking at solutions to our ailing food supply by celebrating the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, a 2008 MacArthur’s “Genius Award” fellow; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, the Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, who is creating a new market model for our family farmers. FRESH’s focus on these inspiring individuals and their initiatives around the US provides the audience with actionable solutions. FRESH is a call to action.

There will be a panel discussion following the film.  Panel participants include Diane Held, Western New York Representative for American Farmland Trust, Kate Mendenhall, Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Tom Tower, small scale fruit and vegetable farmer in Youngstown, NY and Karen Agle from Eden Valley Growers in Eden, NY.

The film will be screened in the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium at the Burchfield Penney and is 72 minutes in length.  The film will begin at 7pm with seating available starting at 6:30pm.  Tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for Edible Buffalo and Buffalo Spree magazine subscribers, members of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, students and seniors.  Tickets for the film can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets at http://www.ediblebuffalo.comand at  For more information about the film and to view trailers visit

Field Trip – Mrowka’s Farm in Lockport, NY

In Field Trip, From the Land on July 26, 2009 at 7:34 pm


The farm tractor in the distance was rumbling slowly towards us as we stood overlooking the 114 acres known as Mrowka Farm on a crisp, sunny April day on Lower Mountain Road in Lockport.  Getting off his tractor, third generation farmer Frank Mrowka greeted my husband Phil and I with a hearty handshake before leading us on a walking tour through deep tractor ruts woven over time throughout his farmland.  Dressed in heavy clothing, Frank’s wife Linda was working in the vineyard.  She described the chilly spring morning ritual of vine tying but noted that by afternoon there’d be a trail of hats and coats hanging in the rows as the temperature rises.  Unlike this brisk spring day, Linda and Frank spend the harshest days of winter outside with their backs to the wind, pruning countless rows of dormant grape vines while studying new growth to determine which vine “arms” are the strongest, for they’re the survivors, or “chosen ones”, that will be the foundation of the upcoming growing season.  Linda said, “Sometimes the wind will catch the vine just right and slap you in the face, and when your face is frozen from the cold it really stings!”  But when the sting subsides they’re left with the serenity of a winter’s day in the stillness of their vineyard.   

With their yellow farm house and red barn standing sentinel behind us, Frank led us through the seemingly endless rows of grape vines tied to poles in perfect symmetry.  We continued on through their cherry, apple, pear and plumb orchards, while Frank told the story of how their fruit trees were grouped together over the course of three generations of family farming; and how for one weekend every July Mrowka Farm is open to visitors for “U-Pick” cherries sold by the pound.  

We were then delighted when we came upon the “heart” of their honey-making process- the beehives tucked into their own special nook of the farm.  It was captivating to hear Frank describe how the bees bunch together by the thousands in their hives over the winter, constantly in motion, like a rotating ball to stay warm and survive; and how new “queens” are brought in each spring to start the cycle over again.  Linda said during fall grape harvesting, bees will sometimes hide in bunches of grapes overnight.  A surprise sting can wake you up quickly as you’re reaching in to cut a vine! 

Linda and Frank- husband and wife team, take great pride in growing the food they sell at various farmers markets across WNY.  With weather a factor in the success of their family farm business, their income can be affected by a two minute hail storm damaging a season’s worth of growth; or a lack of rain altogether that can yield an unfruitful crop.  They’re also aware that farmers markets are educating our communities about the connection between local farms and the food that graces our tables.  Linda expressed her fondness for the human interactions between farmer and customer when she said, “It’s enjoyable to know that our farm has a role in feeding people and many customers that I have come to know greet me with a hug!”  Our Farmers Market at the Williamsville Mill’s success is a testament to their commitment in helping to create locally grown sustainable food choices.          

Posted by Lynn Schwab, co-founder and manager of the Farmers Market at the Williamsville Mill, is delighted to bring local farmers and food producers to her Village of Williamsville community. Nothing makes Lynn happier than gathering with family and friends over a home cooked meal with food provided by the market of course!

Wine & Culinary Fest at Artpark July 25-26!

In Edible Events on July 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm

 red wine image

The Niagara Wine Trail is having their first event that combines all things local: local wine and cuisine served in a location that promotes local artists, followed by music from a local orchestra. The Wine and Culinary Festival will take place on Saturday July 25 and Sunday July 26 at Artpark. During the day wine and food tasting will be accompanied by jazz music, and at night the Buffalo Philharmonic will perform. This event has been something its coordinators have wanted to hold for a while, but only came into fruition by a simple chance meeting and spurred conversation between a winery owner and a member of the BPO. 

 Sponsored by Yancey’s Fancy, the BPO, Artpark, I Love NY and Uncork NY, this event will include ten wineries from the Niagara Wine Trail and a myriad of local restaurants. Some restaurants include corn roasters from local farmer’s markets, the NCCC culinary program, the Tea Room, Wilson House, and more. All vendors will be from Niagara County, emphasizing the great things that can be found locally.

Wine tasting will run from 12-8 pm on Saturday and 12-6 pm on Sunday. On Saturday, the Buffalo native and soprano Laura Aikin will perform Opera’s Greatest Hits with the BPO at 8 pm. On Sunday the concert program begins at 3 and features the 2008 winner of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition Marco Sartor.

As the first annual event, coordinator Liz Seivert only hopes that the event will continue to grow over the next few years, and that more restaurants and wineries will get involved. Tickets are available in a few forms: festival only, concert only, or a combination which offers a reduced rate. Visit the Artpark, Niagara Wine Trail or the BPO websites for more information on tickets.

posted by A. Zengerski

Field & Fork Network Goes To the Williamsville Farmers Market!

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2009 at 7:29 am
Farmers Market at the Williamsville Mill

Farmers Market at the Williamsville Mill


Field & Fork Network is proud to announce that we’ll be providing some fun activities and educational programming on a monthly basis through the summer at the Farmers Market at the Williamsville Mill through the generous sponsorship of Lexington Co-operative Market.

Field & Fork Network is a non-profit organization located in the Western New York area. Together with our partners we are working to stimulate a local food network.

The mission of the Field & Fork Network is to provide the building blocks to create a local food network in the eight counties of Western New York. By bringing food producers (farmers & artisans) and food buyers together through outreach and education, we hope to create a practical economic engine for local, sustainable agriculture and to provide our region with access to fresh, healthy food.

Many of you know us from our very successful Farmer-Chef Conference, which was sold out last February with over 130 attendees.  We’re working on the 2010 conference, but today we’d like to invite you to come visit us over the summer at the Williamsville Market.  The schedule is noted below.  For more information on what Field & Fork Network is up to, stay tuned to our website where you’ll find announcements, links and Buy Local Resources.

Saturday, July 25th: Ask the Chef

Curious about Kohlrabi?  Suspicious of Celeriac?  Baffled by Beets?  Executive Chef Bruce Wieszala will be on-hand to share his passion, skills and knowledge of all things vegetable.  We’ll offer recipes, samples and the opportunity to ask the chef any questions you may have about any of the market’s offerings.  Chef Wieszala has recently returned to Buffalo after working in many of Atlanta’s finest restaurants, including: Emeril’s, The James Beard award-winning JOËL, Woodfire Grill, The 5-star Mobile-rated Seeger’s, and James Beard-nominated Restaurant Eugene.  He has even appeared on a The Food Network on a few occasions, and is now at Williamsville’s own Verbena Grille, Western New York’s newest dining destination.  There guests are offered a warm and welcoming fine dining experience with a seasonally inspired menu featuring fresh, locally produced ingredients when available.


Saturday, August 29th : All About Heirlooms

Ever wonder why the ugliest tomatoes taste the best?  Do you really understand what the term ‘heirloom tomato’ means?  Richard Price (aka The Tomato Man) is WNY’s only registered Seed Saver with the renowned Seed Savers Exchange. In addition to his integral role as a staffer at Urban Roots, he owns Faerie Garden Seeds, providing fantastic strains of tomatoes and other heirloom varieties of produce to avid gardeners all over WNY.  The Tomato Man’s passion and understanding of the movement towards preserving varieties is inspiring.  Come join us as we learn about a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes and how to properly save their seeds.


Saturday, September 26th: Fun & Farms

Join us for our first Farmer Tan conference and other fun.  We’ll also have a variety of information available on subjects like: the local food movement, sustainable farming, CSAs, heirloom varieties and heritage breeds. 


Saturday, October 24th: Apples, Apples, Apples

Fortune or Idared?  Macoun or Jonamac?  With New York State being the second largest producer of apples in the country, we should be enjoying the unique aspects of each of our homegrown varieties.  Discover the difference the taste, texture and uses of our many NY State apples.


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Field & Fork Network is also pleased to be sponsoring this fall’s Chef-to-Farm tour.  Last year’s tour was a major success, bringing 27 local chefs to four area farms.  The majority of the chefs on that trip have since built close relationships with at least one area farmer, bettering their business and the product that they work with and serve to their customers.  If you are a chef, please consider joining us.  If you are not a chef, not to worry, Edible Buffalo is sponsoring a Foodie-to-Farm tour available for everyday folks curious about local agriculture and where their food comes from.  Visit for tickets and details.

Massachusetts Avenue Project’s Mobile Market is Officially Launched!

In Feeding the Community on July 21, 2009 at 6:42 pm


Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to go down to see the launch of Massachusett’s Avenue Project’s Mobile Market – a fresh food mobile that will tour the city’s neighborhoods throughout the growing season.   The launch happened at Jericho Ministries on Barton St. on the city’s west side. 

The goal of this ‘farmers market on wheels’ is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to residents in area’s of the city where access to such foods is limited or non-existent.   A lot of the food being sold is grown right at MAP’s Growing Green Garden on Massachusetts Avenue.  In addition, they have relationships with some area farmers who also provide produce for the market, so there is always a good supply and plenty of variety to choose from.

Check out this great video the Buffalo News produced that provides interviews with Diane Picard, MAP’s Executive Director along with other staff and kids who participate in MAP’s summer program.

Wegmans’ Top Chefs Compete!

In Cooking Fresh on July 12, 2009 at 9:44 am
Executive Chef Don Woods

Wegmans' Buffalo Division Executive Chef Don Woods

Wegmans had the finale to their first annual Wegmans Chef ‘Throwdown’ on Saturday with the final chef competition happening at their Sheridan Drive store.  The first round of competition was on June 27 and featured chefs from their top 4 area stores; Alberta Drive, Amherst Street, McKinley and Sheridan Drive, competing against one another with in-store competitions which challenged them to incorporate as much local food as possible into the dishes they composed along with featuring a secret ingredient, also produced locally. 

The 4 winners met this past Saturday for the final cook-off to see who was top chef.   With a large audience on hand, Sheridan Drive store’s produce department was transformed into a professional cooking arena equipped with four state-of-the-art cooking stations all flanked by overflowing bins of fresh, locally grown produce.  There was also a large flat-screen which provided the audience with close-up views of the chefs in action. DSC_0357

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Another Buffalo Urban Farm Opens Its Doors!

In Urban Ag on July 3, 2009 at 8:37 am


Buffalo continues its growth in urban agriculture with another farm on the West Side opening its doors tomorrow, July 4th.  CurbSide Croft, located on the corner of West Street and Vermont Street, begins its inaugural season this weekend with a variety of fresh naturally grown produce for sale.  Beginning at 10am, customers can expect an array of products available including; kale, nasturtium (the lovely edible flower that looks great in fresh salads), collard greens, various lettuce blends and red komatsuna (a green you can add to a salad or lightly saute).

By supporting CurbSide Croft, you support local food production, sustainable growing and the neighborhood!   Please remember to bring your own bag.   Currently, the farm is accepting cash only but will be accepting EBT in the near future.

Selling hours vary, but are usually Tuesdays and Thursdays 4 – 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.  For more information, check out CurbSide Croft.

posted by LT