Jun 26, 2009

Upcoming workshops!

Upcoming workshops!

Food Preservation (Canning)
Sunday, July 12th 5 p.m. hosted at the Red Herring in Urbana, workshop will be lead by Anna Barnes, local food enthusiast and home-preserver . The class will cover the basics of water bath canning which is suitable for jams, salsas, tomato sauce, pickles, and other acidic foods. Anyone can do this type of canning with equipment they probably already have in their kitchen. Handouts will be provided, but bring a pencil to take any additional notes. Wear older clothes or bring an apron.

Organic Gardening Techniques and Foraging for Wild Edibles
July 22nd, 6:30 p.m.
Meadowbrook Park Gardens. Workshop will be lead by Susan and Tom (sus.tom.ability)
The first portion of the workshop will include a tour of Meadowbrook'c community gardens and a how-to relating to organic gardening techniques lead by Susan. The other portion of the workshop will be a walk through the park with Tom to learn and identify wild edibles native to this area (if you think Lambs quarter is it you're wrong!). Please wear comfortable walking shoes. This workshop is outdoors.

Fall Planting, Bed Preparation and Hot Composting
August 5th, 7 p.m.
Corner of cottage grove and Washington st. in Urbana
Zack Grant, University of Illinois Student Farm Coordinator, will be hosting a hands on workshop just in time for fall plantings. The workshop will cover sexy topics such as suggested fall crops, bed preparation techniques (broad-forking, etc.) and hot composting methods among other tangent topics. This workshop promises to be extremely informative. Plan to get into the dirty stuff!

Date for The Big Neighborhood Supper celebration set!:
August 15th: 4-5 p.m. begin harvest and food prep. 7 p.m. Let's EAT! (and DRINK and be merry!) Yes, we will be cracking open that beer and wine from the June brewing workshop.
This is the time to celebrate the bounty of our community of local food and arts resources!
We may have a little harvest gathering and how to for food prep on the evening of the 14th. Everyone participating in this project is welcome!

Jun 24, 2009

There's some talk stirring about us!

Check out this article about the Big Neighborhood Supper project!

posted on the Community Informatics Initiative Website.

Photos from brew workshop...

Through a huge hail storm and a tornado alarm...
the brewing must go on!

At the workshop we bottled an American Cream Ale, started a batch of Amber Ale, racked some strawberry wine, sampled plenty of beer/local dandelion wine and started a new batch of peach wine from last year's frozen peaches!

Also see these brew terms used at the workshop:
Adjunct- unmalted grain or fermentable ingredients added to the malted barley during mashing to produce more and usually cheaper, sugars (rice, corn, wheat, etc.)
Air Lock- devise that lets air out during fermentation without allowing air into the container (avoid possible contamination)
Carboy- large narrow-necked glass vessel, used as both primary and secondary fermenters
Fermentation- a process in which yeast obtains energy in the absence of oxygen, by breaking sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol
Gravity- relates to the density of the liquid, measures sugars (original and finishing) Used to estimate percent alcohol
Grist- the crushed malts and adjuncts that are mixed with hot water to form the mash
Hops- the flowers of the hops plant, which provide both bitterness and aroma to the beer (“aromatic” hops are added at the end of the boil to insure the oils flavor the beer)
I.B.U. International Bitter Units
Mashing- the controlled steeping or soaking of malted barley to release enzymes that convert malt starches to fermentable and non- fermentable sugars (mash in and mash out)
Primary- the first container in which fermentation takes place (5 gallon bucket or carboy)
Rack- to transfer wort or beer from one container to another in order to separate it from the sediment on the bottom of the first container
Secondary- the second container in which fermentation takes place (five gallon bucket or carboy)
Siphon- a tube or conduit bent into legs of unequal length, for use in drawing a liquid from one container into another on a lower level by placing the shorter leg into the container above and the longer leg into the one below, the liquid being forced up the shorter leg and into the longer one by the pressure of the atmosphere
Sulfites- used to cease the fermentation, kills bacteria in order to bottle wine without potential explosion (not required)
Wort- The liquid solution of malt sugars which forms the basis of beer. (Sweet work precedes the boil and lacks the hops; bitter wort includes the hops)

Jun 7, 2009

30 sec. Project Trailer

Brewing/Fermentation Workshop announced!

On June 19th we will have our second Big Neighborhood Supper workshop:

Home beer brewing/wine fermentation!

Featuring instruction from Casey Coughlen and Aaron Bradley. The workshop will take place at 113 south Poplar st. The brewing process can take a long time...so we'll get started around 4 p.m. and continue into the evening, as long as it takes... Aaron and Casey both have beer and wine batches in process already. We will be racking/processing those started batches into their next stage and beginning new batches. It's a great opportunity to see the entire process in one evening! Bring goodies to throw on the grill if you plan on staying through dinner time or just stop by to get a feel for the process and learn about tools, ingredients, process and timing! Remember these workshops are free and open to the public, so bring interested friends!

Families are always welcome at these events: plan on supervising your younger guests.

Jun 1, 2009

First meeting/workshop a success!

We had our first participant meeting yesterday at my house. Participants met my hens: Georgia (the Barred Rock), Lucile (a Rhode Island Red), and Stegosaurus (a lovely Araucana). We talked about chickens: care, feeding, housing, egg production, etc. After the meeting I realized that everyone left without even holding a chicken! Sharon said she was "chicken" to hold the chickens! Ha. They really are friendly, I promise.

There was yummy mini quiches made with fresh eggs from the "ladies in back." and farmer's market asparagus and kale. We went around the picnic table and shared ideas about what contributions/ideas each of us have for the project. Thank you to all that attended! I have a much greater sense of how folks envision the supper.

A tentative date for the event was set: Saturday, August 15th. Kitchen labor and cooking to begin in the late afternoon and the meal gathering will begin sometime between 7-8. It is set to take place at the residence of Zack Grant (he's in the Urbana city limits and really does have a small scale farm at his house!)

Also Sharon Irish offered to contribute to the project with photo/written documentation. She has already posted some lovely photos on flickr. The photos in this blog entry are courtesy of Sharon. Susan offered to host the July workshop in Meadowbrook park at her community garden plot. The workshop will be a two part informative event: first gardening methods/tips/techniques and second (hosted by her partner Tom) a foraging workshop in which we learn about wild edibles as we tour the park! Their awesome blog is linked on the right side of this blog. One of the June workshops will be "home brewing and wine fermentation." Hosted by Casey and Aaron. More details on dates and locations will be forthcoming. Others in attendance, had suggestions for publicity, experimental music/sound, table design/set-up/floral arrangements, seasonal veggies available in August, kids activities, artists, and much more.

Although the actual "Big Neighborhood Supper" will be capped at around 40 participants, the workshops will be free and open to the public! A.K.A. the more the merrier! Interested in making/distributing flyers for these workshops? Please let me know by posting a comment here. (Also if you want to keep a-breast (who wouldn't?) of this project's developments I would suggest that you click on the "Follow Blog" link at the top so you can keep track of what's going on via the Internet.) Thanks for all your enthusiasm! -Maggie
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