Posts Tagged ‘farmer’s markets’

I’ve been a bit busy.

Lots of work from the day job & lots of work from the kitchen.  I’ve been playing with recipes for vegan cheeses & have started working more and more toward a new project called Counter Culture Foods.  The way that I see it, I’m pretty good at this whole slow-foods, fermentation & culturing of foods thing, so why not?  There’s going to be cheeses, pickled veggies & I’m playing with….shhh…. bread.  Take a look at the link which will take you to the Facebook page & give it a like to follow along in the adventures.  I’m currently working on numbers for it right now & giving out samples to friends to try(sorry, no shipping…..yet.).  I’ve got a decent plan in place & that should be up pretty quick.

Peppered gruyere.  That stuff is nuts.  he he.

Peppered gruyere. That stuff is nuts. he he.

On the cookbook status, I’ve started working on the format & I think the best thing is to do a pay-what-you-want e-book or find a good recycled paper publisher.  It seems that there are so many books out there and I’d like to stay a bit different while remaining true to the environmental animal I am.  It is well underway though.

I got a little tired of those banana cookies that I had posted about a few months back & had a couple of bananas that were getting to that super-nutritious browning stage.

This presents a conundrum, primarily because I have several small tubs of frozen bananas in the freezer, either in chocolate iced cream form or in whole banana form for treats.  So freezing more bananas was out.

Cookies are good, but those easy cookies just didn’t get the craving from me.

Muffins ended up being the way to go.  I whipped these guys up in about ten minutes.  Then I ate most of them in half of that time.

You say half empty, I say I'm half full.

You say half empty, I say I’m half full.

I mashed two bananas in a bowl, added a flax egg(3T warm water & 1T ground flax, let sit for a few minutes), & then mixed in two tablespoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of sea salt, two tablespoons of agave, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon & allspice, half a teaspoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of baking soda, & 3/4C of whole wheat flour & 1/4C of rolled oats.

I scooped the mix into a greased muffin pan & then tossed it in the 350F oven for twenty minutes.  A toothpick came out of one of the muffins clean, so that was my indication that they were done.

And so was I after I ate four of the eight muffins it makes immediately after they came out of the oven.

Well, not immediately.  That would be the actions of an insane person hellbent on burning the top of his mouth.

Which I have learned from.

Easy though, right?  I suggest making a glaze with a tablespoon of almond milk & 1/4C powdered sugar for the top, but that’s not necessary if you want to skip the sugar, which I’ve been working on as well.

I guess that’s about it for the time being, lots of work behind me & lots ahead.  It’s like I’ve got a non-stop chemistry set and it just gets more & more interesting.

"Jesse, we've got to, I mean ferment.  Culture.  Just make me some cheese."

“Jesse, we’ve got to cook….er, I mean ferment. Culture. Just make me some of that damned delicious cheese.”

So, I’ll leave you with some pup pictures, but have a great week & I’ll keep you updated!

When you're mowing the front yard for fifteen minutes & the pups are like, "Can we help???!!!"

When you’re mowing the front yard for fifteen minutes & the pups are like, “Can we help???!!!”

Making dog food & turning around to this is always entertaining.

Making dog food & turning around to this is always entertaining.

Life is so tough.  So, so tough.

Life is so tough. So, so tough.

Bye all!!


Actually, I’ve been running like crazy for the past couple of weeks.

Not physically running, though that would be nice if I had comfortable running shoes or had time to hit the beach every morning.  I did manage to spend about four hours riding my bike for an event called Save the Ferry here in Jacksonville.  It was put on by the St. John’s Riverkeeper in order to raise funds to keep the ferry operating.  This was the third year for it, and we had seventy-eight people involved in it.  Great turnout & fantastic time!  I highly encourage people to ride bikes around, and when it’s for charity, that’s even better.

Remember that podcast I mentioned a few weeks ago?  We have a website now at  Check it out, let us know how we’re doing & enjoy!

Do you like nachos?  Specifically vegan nachos?  We started up a nacho bar called #nachobar at the Neptune Beach Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago & it has been doing great!  If you’re in the area, you should check it out.  If you’re not in the area, you should come visit Jacksonville for a vacation & check it out.

This is what art looks like.  In food form.

This is what art looks like. In food form.

On to pizza.

I made a pizza a couple of weeks ago & had a lot of people asking for recipes on it.  I made everything from scratch, so there are about four basic recipes that make it(dough, sauce, eggplant pepperoni, & white bean vegan cheese).  There’s a lot of chopped veggies on it too, but it’s up to you to figure out how to cut things that aren’t your fingers.

I started with the dough, because that takes some time.

Take 1 1/4C of warm water & add 2t of yeast & 1t of sugar to that.  Let that sit for about ten minutes & when it’s all murky & a little foamy on top, add 2T of olive oil, 4C of flour, 2t of salt, and knead that for some time until everything is incorporated & relatively consistent.  Cover tightly & set aside for an hour to rise.

While that’s happening, puree some tomatoes to make about three cups of tomato puree.  Put that in a sauce pan & simmer that with a tablespoon of white vinegar, three minced cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of oregano & a tablespoon of thyme.  I’ve added blueberries in a variation too, which works out wonderfully.  Let that all simmer until it becomes closer to a sauce than a liquid.

Mmmmm.  Saucy.

Mmmmm. Saucy.

In the meantime, cut a Japanese eggplant into round slices and toss them in a bowl with some salt.  This should get some moisture out of the eggplant, in which you will then add a tablespoon of paprika, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, a pinch of cayenne and salt & pepper to taste.  Easy, right?

By now, the dough should have risen to about twice its size.  Grease a pizza pan, dust it with either more flour or corn meal & lay the dough out, pushing toward the perimeter of the pan until you have an even thickness going on.  It’s going to look a bit like this:

Dough in it's raw beauty.

Dough in its raw beauty.

Kind of knuckle down on a lot of the dough to prevent bubbling, then let that sit for another fifteen minutes before putting it into the oven at 350 for another ten minutes.  This will keep the pizza from getting soggy from the sauce.

Spoon some of the sauce onto the dough when you pull it out of the oven initially.  Then add your eggplant pepperoni & whatever other veggies you like.  Here’s another picture.

Another picture.

Another picture.

Put that yumminess into the oven while you work on the white bean cheese.

I just kind of flew with this one….I grabbed a blender & threw in two cups of cooked white beans, three tablespoons of nutritional yeast, half a teaspoon of salt, a clove of garlic, water to the consistency wanted & just a pinch of cumin & paprika. I added a chili to it for some heat.

Pull the pizza out of the oven & put some of that cheese on it.  Now, it’ll look like this:

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

Put that into the oven for just about ten more minutes & you are ready to eat an entire vegan pizza.  I think the process took me about two & a half hours for the first time, but I’ll be able to cut down on it with practice I’m sure.

So that’s it, easy, right??!!

Now for more pictures of pups…..

Cinder was happy to see me.  She's almost always happy to see me.  I love that.

Cinder was happy to see me. She’s almost always happy to see me. I love that.

Alec has a habit of laying in the grass, so I'll just sit next to him & soak up some sun.  Good father/son bonding time.

Alec has a habit of laying in the grass, so I’ll just sit next to him & soak up some sun. Good father/son bonding time.

I also sleep like this.

I also sleep like this.

In this household, photobombing is something we do a lot of.

In this household, photobombing is something we do a lot of.

That’s about it for this post, hope everything is going well for you & enjoy the pizza!


I think I’m a week off of schedule with this.

That’s okay, I’m doing it now & there is a TON of stuff going on right now in my life, so to the eight people who are regular readers to this, I apologize & will explain more in the near future.

In the meantime, I made pancakes.

Specifically apple cinnamon oatmeal flax seed pancakes.

Monday is no match for this plate of noms.

Monday is no match for this plate of noms.

I love pancakes, & putting everything but the kitchen sink in them is something fun to do with these guys.  I LOVE THEM.

I started with dry ingredients:  1 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar(or some maple syrup if you’d like to get really nommy), a quarter of a cup of ground flax seed, a quarter of a cup of oatmeal, a teaspoon of cinnamon, an eighth of a teaspoon of nutmeg, half of a tablespoon of baking powder, and just a few shakes of salt.  Mix that until it is thoroughly blended.

Wet ingredients are easy:  water.  Like around 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups of it.  Really easy.  Mix that into the dry mixture really well.  There should still be some lumps from the oatmeal.  Feel free to use a little oil, but I’m trying to get away from a lot of that in this recipe, so minimal use on the skillet is all I use.

Then there’s the in-between wet & dry ingredient:  two apples, diced to about 1/4″ or so.  Mix that into the now wet dry mixture.

Ladle some of that onto an oiled skillet heated to 350.  Flip the cakes when the edges are bubbling.

You should get about eight good-sized cakes out of this, which are usually a serving for me or at least a few servings for someone else.

So good.

And now for these local canine messages:

We were apart for five long days while visiting Ohio for my sister's wedding.  I never want to leave them for that long again.

We were apart for five long days while visiting Ohio for my sister’s wedding. I never want to leave them for that long again.

It's awesome in the kitchen when I'm making the vegan dog food.

It’s awesome in the kitchen when I’m making the vegan dog food.

See??!!  They change from dogs to dinosaurs(that’s the terrible lizard thing in the title, get it??) when I’m making their food!  I love that they get along so well now, not that Cinder didn’t just tolerate Little Baby Alec Baldwin from the start.  Cinder is kind of Alec’s idol/lick friend, too.

Now back to the post.

Has anyone ever heard of a food desert?  There are a TON of them out there in urban concrete jungles where low-income meets low access for quality groceries.  Wondering where there’s one around you?  Check out the map that the USDA compiled here.

The obvious problem with food deserts is that people just can’t get good, nutritious food.  Everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy bananas or apples instead of being coerced to buy a shitty bag of chips or fast food value meal that will only lead to potential health problems & possibly even slight addiction(we’ll talk about the chemicals put into foods that cause mild, unconscious addiction on another post).

The reasoning behind this conundrum is potentially the fact that a lot of businesspeople that deal with grocery store locations see an area that is thriving with businesses & immediately want to put their store there(usually the potential sales is the driving force in area decision).  If enough stores are clustered together in a tight-bound knot of sales-addicted fervor, eventually these food deserts are then created by the migration of businesses to the knot or the businesses that stay in the soon-to-be desert are slowly starved(no pun intended) & sent out of business.

What is the solution?  What can people do to fix this & how can it help the people who can fix this?

What about creating a food oasis?  It might be as simple as this:

Go to a wholesaler(bonus points if it is a local farmer that will hook you up with a deal on a case) & pick up a case of apples, oranges, bananas, any kind of fruit.  It doesn’t have to be a specific fruit & dependent on local laws, sales might be permitted as long as you classify yourself as a roadside stand.  This is a big might, because in Florida, it looks as though what’s called Cottage Law here would permit it.  If you buy a case of fruit at wholesale & sell it individually, chances are, you’ll make a profit.

The other option is trying to put together a farmer’s market.  Start by looking for a location.  An old parking lot, a little park, just a clear area.  Talk with the owners, see if there is a permit process with the city to work on, & find some local farms to come in & sell their veggies.  I make it sound easy, which it isn’t, but the return is great.

With either solution, it’s a step in the right direction & like I mentioned before, everyone should have an opportunity for nutritious food.

In any case, that’s it for me.  Going to record a new episode for the Green Bean Podcast today & work on some pretty pressing issues, but that’s for another time.  Have a great couple of weeks & throw some comments down below on what you think about some of the info above!  I’m by no means a pro with laws, especially from wherever you are in most cases, but I’d love to learn more on this because I think it would help so many communities!




A few posts ago, I wrote about a Vegan meetup group event going on throughout Jacksonville.

I’m not going to be sad if you don’t remember that because you are going to hear all about it now.

It was a blast & we used the hashtag #VeganMob on our social media sites so people could follow along & enjoy pictures of the awesome food or other cool stuff everywhere the mob ran around to.

It wasn't too tough to find us, we were the ones with the good food.

It wasn’t too tough to find us, we were the ones with the good food.

The mob started at Sweet Theory, an awesome vegan bakery that does a lot of other allergy-conscious pastries & cakes nestled in the Riverside neighborhood.  They’re fast approaching their second year open & the business doesn’t seem to stop.  That’s probably because they make the best cinnamon rolls this side of California.



Yes, there’s that.  So good & if you want coffee, they’ve got that too.  Also, vegan ice cream–try the sundae, it’s huge & delicious no matter what pastry you top it with.

After that we ran a few blocks to Grassroots Natural Market, a cool grocery store/juice bar near the five points area of Riverside.  One of the workers took us around & showed a lot of the veg-friendly stuff that they had stocking the shelves(which was a lot).  We even saw Katie Perry around the store!

Well, it was more of a big name sighting than anything.

Well, it was more of a big name sighting than anything.

After Grassroots, we ran around the corner to Tapa That, a cool little restaurant that set up a ten dollar vegan buffet just for us!  They made up a mixed green salad, some “cheesy” potatoes and a faux eggs & sausage dish that I pretty much had to get seconds & thirds on.  At that point, the mob had grown in size to about twenty five people, give or take & I’m pretty sure we did some damage to the buffet.

Just a casual conversation...

Just a casual conversation…

...where some of us wear napkins.

…where some of us wear napkins.

I'm the guy that just takes pictures randomly & never tells anyone.

I’m the guy that just takes pictures randomly & never tells anyone.

I probably could have just grabbed a few plates at a time, but who needed to fill up so soon?

I probably could have just grabbed a few plates at a time, but who needed to fill up so soon?

As soon as the buffet was decimated, we ran over to Moon River Pizza in Murray Hill, some of the best pizza in Jacksonville & a cool joint to hang out at.  There have been some times that I just eat an entire pizza by myself & then feel bad about it for hours(well, not morally bad, just have a stomach ache & a need for a food coma nap).  Julie got a pizza & just had everyone pitch in instead of getting a pizza per person.  I had been instructed to bring some back home, so I got a large pizza as well.  The best part of it all?  It was free veggie toppings for our group!  Have to love that.  Or else.

Seriously, we aren't serious.

Seriously, we aren’t serious.

...and here we have a plate that needs to be occupied by a piece of pizza....

…and here we have a plate that needs to be occupied by a piece of pizza….

The stop after Moon River was Chamblin’s Uptown, a deli/coffee shop/book store that is in the center of downtown Jacksonville.  They made up a cool menu for us with some seitan or veggie wrap choices, a whole bunch of side dishes & then a sampler with the choice of three wraps at a special price.  As always, the staff was really accommodating as well & took great care of us.

It's just a day full of stars.

It’s just a day full of stars.

I really have to stop eating wrappers.

I really have to stop eating wrappers.

Well, Hail Seitan it is.

Well, Hail Seitan it is.

It had started raining back at Moon River, but what’s a little rain when there’s a farmer’s market at the beaches that is open rain or shine?  The Beaches Green Market has been operating for a while now at Jarboe park & has vendors that sell produce, hand-made pasta, pickles, trees & bushes, and Dig Foods.  Dig is a cool concept in the fact that they like to make food as close to living as possible, making it immensely more healthy & beautifully complex, even though the ingredients are so simple.  I’m in love with the fact that they work this market because it brings them out to the beach & that’s what we need here, is some awesomely delicious, righteous vegan chow right around the corner!  Murphy’s always up for a picture too!!


Got rain? Not a problem, veggies make you tough!

How can you not love this stuff??!!

How can you not love this stuff??!!

We had planned to show people around a community garden that was right behind the market, but with the rain keeping steady, we opted to head right on over to Lillie’s Coffee Bar in Neptune Beach.

Lillie’s is a local favorite when I’m on my bike & need to stop to relax & draw or read.  It’s just a comfy spot & the crew is really nice.  Plus, they have tempeh & avocados.  I could eat those every day!

The coffee is tasty too.  Well, you know, coffee bar & all.

The coffee is tasty too. Well, you know, coffee bar & all.

The last stop was the Green Room Brewing, but they were absolutely packed(because they are so great), so we went to another place & relaxed on a covered patio.  The rain was still spitting at us & the group had dwindled in numbers, but it was a fun food filled day & we should definitely do that again!

Plus, I had leftovers for almost a day!!

Chamblin's wrap + Dig Food's hummus = so much awesome you can't believe it.

Chamblin’s wrap + Dig Food’s hummus = so much awesome you can’t believe it.

On to the best album of the year!


Rise Against has been streaming their new album, The Black Market, on iTunes for a week now & I don’t think I’ve stopped playing it when I’m around my computer.  The whole album is just so awesome and the songs are so different & innovative from what Rise Against has done in the past.  Everything is still a fast-paced freight train starting with “The Great Die-Off,” going through the first couple of singles “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore” & “The Eco-Terrorist In Me,” rocking through several catchy songs to an acoustic ballad called “People Live Here,” & ending with “Bridges,” a song to end on that makes you want to hear what’s next already.  Overall, the album is very well balanced & I think it’s going to be on repeat in the car on the road trip to Ohio later this month.  Get online, check it out & it comes out July 15th.

Dogs will eat anything & EVERYTHING.  Even a whole loaf of garlic rosemary sourdough bread that is far back on the kitchen counter.  At least they know what’s tasty.  Unfortunately, there were several trips outside immediately after we came home & discovered the bread was eaten.  Little Baby Alec Baldwin looked like he swallowed a bowling ball & Cinder looked as though we were so disappointed in her we might have to let her go(that won’t happen, don’t worry).  Those trips outside were some of the smelliest trips I’ve ever had with the pups & they even eat beans on a daily basis.  Here are some pictures.

Me photobombing them was probably the catalyst.

Me photobombing them was probably the catalyst.

She's so sad that she's so full that she's so happy.

She’s so sad that she’s so full that she’s so happy.

This won't end well.

This won’t end well.

Weeble wobbles wobble but they won't fall down.  No, I'm not fat-shaming him, shut up.

Weeble wobbles wobble but they won’t fall down. No, I’m not fat-shaming him, shut the Hell up.

So leave bread on the top of the fridge if you’re smarter than me.  Which you are.  I can tell that because you are reading this.  Also, you’re very handsome/pretty.  Again, because you’re reading this.  Now go outside & have a fun day!