Spring Farm to Fork + New Website!

We’ve solidified all our Farm to Fork events for spring quarter and finally have a poster!  Start RSVPing and writing these awesome opportunities into your calendar!  (Our first one is already upon us: Stanford Dining’s new sustainability manager Dara Olmsted will be in the Arrillaga Dining Study Room to introduce herself and talk about what she has planned for the future of Dining: Tuedsay, April 9, noon-1:30F2F Spring 13You might have noticed that the RSVPing method is different than it has been in previous quarters.  To go with our new name and new structure, we are also transitioning to a new website: stanfordfoodproject.weebly.com.  You can find the RSVP form on the Farm to Fork page, which also has a list of this quarter’s events and all of our previous ones.  The WordPress site will stay up until we transfer all our old posts to the Farm Project archive, but change your bookmarks and get used to typing in the new URL :)

Macrobiotic Cooking Workshop- the Recipe Edition!

If reading about SFP’s awesome macrobiotic cooking workshop piqued your interest or made your  mouth water, check out the awesome recipes below for all the dishes we enjoyed!  Thank you Fumi for putting on the workshop and thanks to SFPer Cecily!

Azuki Kabocha Soup

1~1½  cup dried aduki, soaked overnight (3 cups cooked azuki)
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3~5 whole cloves
3 slices ginger
Kabocha or butternut squash or sweet potato, diced
50 cc (~3 Tbsp) Mirin
½ cup apple juice or more to taste
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Sea salt
Chopped scallions, garnish

1.  Cook aduki with kombu.  (It will take about one hour.) OR you could use canned Aduki.  (Eden brand is the best.)
2.  Add spices, mirin, apple juice and Kabocha to cooked azuki and simmer until squash is tender.  (You may need to add a little bit of water to cover the squash.)
4.  Add apple cider vinegar and season to taste with salt.
5.  Return to low heat and simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.
6.  Garnish and serve.

Soft Cooked Millet with Sweet Vegetables 

1 cup millet, washed and soaked
½-1 cup organic squash, washed and cut into small cubes, carrots, cauliflower, onions, etc
3 to 3½ cups water
Sea salt or kombu

1.  Place millet, squash and other vegetables in a heavy pot.  Add the water and the salt.
2.  Cover and bring to a boil.
3.  Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.
4.  Garnish with parsley, scallions, roasted seeds, toasted nori strips or another garnish.

Kale and Radicchio Salad with Hijiki

For the Dressing:
Juice of 1 orange (5-6 Tbsp) OR Juice of Sweet lime if they are in season
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp brown rice syrup or maple syrup
1 Tbsp brown rice vinegar or vinegar of choice
1 small shallot, minced OR 1/4 red/yellow onion, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

For the Salad:
1 bunch kale, washed and dried, OR washed and quickly blanched and drained well
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 generous handful Radicchio, washed and dried

For the Hijiki:
1 handful dried hijiki, washed
About ½ cup of water and ½ cup of apple juice
1 tsp or less of soy/tamari sauce or to taste

Mix everything and cook on low heat until hijiki is cooked and the liquid has evaporated.

1.  Put the dressing ingredients into a good sized salad bowl.  Whisk together well. taste and adjust seasoning.
2.  Wash the kale and cut into thin strips.  Blanch and drain if you like.
3.  Mix the kale and radicchio into the dressing.  Allow to marinate for an hour or more.
4.  When the kale and radicchio have marinated at least an hour, add in the cooked hijiki and almonds.  Toss gently.  Serve immediately.

Root Vegetables in Sesame Sauce

Root vegetables (burdocks, lotus roots, carrots, turnips etc)
Red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
Olive oil

2 Tbsp black or tan sesame paste
2 tsp or less maple syrup
1 Tbsp red wine (optional)
200 cc (~3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp) water

2 tsp shoyu/tamari
½ tsp salt
Sesame seeds (optional)

1.  Sauté garlic in olive oil (low heat).  Add root vegetables and red pepper and sauté for a few more minutes.  Add A and cook down.
2.  Add B and cook some more until all the vegetables are tender.
3.  Plate and sprinkle parsley.

Valentine’s Day Special Dessert ~Truffles~

½ cup brown rice, soak over night, drain and let it sit in a dark place over night.
½ cup cashew nuts, soak over night and drain.
1 cup dates, pitted
½ cup raw cacao powder
1 tsp or less coconut oil
A pinch of salt

1.  Make brown rice powder, using a blender or a food processor.
2.  Add cashew nuts and continue blending.
3.  Add dates and continue blending.
4.  Add raw cacao powder and a bit of coconut oil and a pinch of salt and continue blending.
5.  Put a bit of coconut oil onto your hand and form into 1-inch balls.
6.  Roll the balls in coating, such as coconut flakes, raw cacao powder, sesame, orange zest etc.
7.  Store balls/truffles in refrigerator.

SPOON Breakfast

On Monday the Stanford Food Project prepared a breakfast to serve at the Palo Alto Opportunity Center, facilitated by the Stanford Project on Hunger (SPOON). Plates were piled high with breakfast burritos and fruit – as a breakfast meant for eighty people was distributed to a line of just forty – and the mouths that received them were smiling as well. The sun was out, the day was young, and the air was alive with friendly chatter. Not a bad way to wake up.

This event served as a food justice-themed service project for SFP, and an extension of what SPOON already does – that is, organizing breakfast cooks within student residences and other clubs. But being the Stanford Food Project after all, we decided to revamp the menu to include healthy and organic options. We hauled a van of potatoes, green peppers, onions, eggs, beans, corn, fruit, and not-bacon* to Synergy, spent that night preparing most of the food, and spent the following morning finalizing the dishes, before finally serving it all at the Opportunity Center.

While I’m no master chef (like one of our volunteers), I jumped at the opportunity to pretend I was. This was my second SPOON breakfast cook, but after Monday morning, I wasn’t the only one who wanted to do it again. And so, SFP will be doing another breakfast cook on Monday, April 8th. Prepare your palate, Palo Alto.

* Synergy is an all-vegetarian co-op. On that note, anyone interested in supporting SFP by buying a mistakenly-purchased 3-lb. pack of bacon off of us?

In addition to organizing breakfast cooks, SPOON also recovers unused food from dining halls to deliver to the Opportunity Center. Learn more about the SPOON here:http://hunger.stanford.edu/

Learn more about the Opportunity Center and its parent organization, the Community Working Group, here: http://www.communityworkinggroup.org/opportunitycenter.html

Thanks to Ken for the write up!!

SFP Retreat!

On February 16th, a group of 9 excited SFP members loaded into cars and caravaned to the nearby Hidden Villa Farm.   The day was sunny and warm and the location was breathtakingly gorgeous.  After a lengthy lunch of hummus, veggies, clementines, and other yummy foods, the group wandered through the farm, observing farm animals, farm houses, and farm plants in all their natural glory.  It was a great extended study break at an awesome venue!

Macrobiotic Cooking Workshop

On February 14th (Valentines Day!), a group of about 15 people gathered to watch, listen, and learn about macrobiotic foods and a macrobiotic lifestyle from Fumi Arao. Macrobiotics is a way of living that emphasizes eating seasonally, setting whole foods, avoiding toxins and excesses, and striving for balance.  A Fumi gave us an account of her transition to the macrobiotic lifestyle, millet and soup simmered nearby and vegetables were sliced into generous portions and placed in a sizzling pan.  The workshop culminated with all the participant sitting together to share a long meal (as we strived to chew every bit 25 times!) consisting of a delicious bean soup, vegetables in a black sesame sauce, a fresh greens salad, and decadent date-based cocoa truffles.

It was a great way to spend a Valentines Day evening- thank you Fumi!

SFP Eat In

This weekend, the Stanford Food Project soaked up the warm spring sun and enjoyed great food at our first Eat-In of the year.  Check out SFP member Jaclyn’s firsthand account of this awesome event!


What got me first excited was the food. Not only was there delicious fruit salad with blood oranges, but also fresh Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce, turkey hot dogs, Greek salad, and more! The best part is, all of these dishes were prepared entirely by students, with most ingredients originating from local farmers markets. This was my first ever Eat-in potluck brunch, annually held by the Stanford Food Project, on Columbae’s lawn last Sunday. The beautiful weather that morning set the tone for brunch with around 50 students from row houses and freshman dorms alike.

This year’s potluck theme was centered around the Farm Bill—a hot piece of legislation in charge of agricultural and food programs across the country that is renewed every five years. Due to the recent economic crisis, President Obama decided to extend the 2008 Farm Bill for nine more months, in hopes of renewing the Farm Bill when the economy takes a turn for the better. Ava, a lovely member of SFP and organizer of the event, briefly spoke to everyone about the issues with this Farm Bill and how we could all contribute to fixing them. One of the larger issues is the proposed budget cuts in SNAP (The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). With a potential cut of $16 billion to this program, the 1 in 7 Americans currently rely on SNAP i.e. for food stamps will be especially harmful towards children, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Ava, thus encouraged all attendees to call their local state governors in order to protest this harmful budget cut. I’m extremely glad so many people showed up to this event as it was a huge success to every food justice activist and epicure out there!


40% of America’s Food is Thrown Away

ImageLast Thursday, we were lucky enough to have Dana Gunders, a Stanford alum and Project Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, to speak about her work on food waste. This event was part of the Stanford Food Project’s Farm to Fork series. Dana opened her talk with the astounding statistic that 40% of food in America never gets eaten. Most of this food is wasted at the consumption level, which includes both households and restaurants. A large portion is also wasted at the farm/producer level (the NRDC just commissioned a report about food waste at the farm level, which you can read here: http://www.nrdc.org/food/crop-shrink.asp)

Dana identified several drivers of food waste, including stringent cosmetic standards for fruits and vegetables that leads food to be thrown away before it can even get to market, high labor costs and low food prices that make it cost ineffective for farmers to harvest their entire crop, and consumer confusion around “best by” and “sell by” dates that leads to a large amount of food being thrown away prematurely. She also described some of the efforts underway to reduce food waste. The UK, for example, has recently committed to meeting 50% of future food demand by cutting food waste. Sadly, the U.S. has not yet implemented any kind of comprehensive food waste policies.

What stuck me the most about Dana’s talk was the fact that there is so little data about food waste. Dana repeatedly emphasized that the statistics she was providing were estimates at best: there simply aren’t mechanisms in place to properly account for and measure the food that is wasted at all of the stages of food production and consumption. The first step, it seems, is to encourage or even require better measurement and tracking of food waste. After all, as the adage goes, what you don’t measure you don’t value. Hopefully this talk, however, got people thinking about the huge inefficiencies present in our food system, which might lead to more interest in trying to measure and eventually reduce them.

To learn more about Dana’s work on food waste, visit her blog at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dgunders/.

Beekeeping Workshop

The *newly named* Stanford Food Project kicked off it’s winter quarter Farm to Fork series with a beekeeping workshop!  Thanks to Carolina Downie for the write-up!

Stanford students may think that they are busy and productive creatures, but as some of us learned on Wednesday night, we pale in comparison to the honeybee.  For the Stanford Food Project’s first Farm to Fork event of the Winter Quarter, Allen Larson, a beekeeper from Redding, CA, joined us to discuss bees, beekeeping, and honey.  Larson explained how hives operate, what commercial beekeepers do, and emphasized how important bees are for crop production.  Some fun facts about honeybees:

-It is believed they have a sense of smell as good as a hound dog. 

-Honeybees maintain a constant hive temperature of 93 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter what the outside temperature is. 

-Honeybees can fly up to 15-20 miles/hour when they leave the hive to search for flowers. 

We were grateful to Allen Larson for coming to share his knowledge about bees and beekeeping!

Pie Ranch Dinner

PieRanchDinner_11.29.12On Thursday, the Farm to Fork series was happy to host Jered Lawson (pictured left in the light colored shirt) and Nancy Vail from Pie Ranch (pictured left in the light colored shirt at the end of the table) and with their two great children Rosa and Lucas to eat dinner with Stanford students and discuss organic agriculture and the paths they took that led them to their positions today as the Executive Director and Farm Programs Director at Pie Ranch.  After presenting a short video that summarized Pie Ranch and its goals and aspirations as an educational farm on the San Mateo coast (which you can watch herehttp://vimeo.com/31170981), Nancy and Jered reflected on their college experiences and how they were able to turn their passions for food and organic agriculture into careers in which they are able to share these passions with students throughout California.  The strong presence that Pie Ranch has established in this area with students was clear; one student at the dinner had participated in Pie Ranch’s program with local high schools, another had worked at Pie Ranch as an apprentice, and more still had visited Pie Ranch on their freshman SPOT trips prior to orientation.  The night concluded with a question and answer session between the students and Jered and Nancy (and ice cream from the dining hall for their children).  It was a nice night of great conversation, and we are so grateful to Jered and Nancy for spending their evening with us!

Thanks to Carolina for this post!

Farm Project Celebration

The Farm Project had lots of action last Thursday evening!  Following the Thanksgiving 101 workshop, SFP hosted a gathering in the Columbae lounge for all members, new and old!  Warm apple cider, vegan cookie dough bites, and chocolate mousse(with secret ingredient silken tofu!) were eagerly consumed against a backdrop of good music and great conversation.  The event was a fun way to transition into Thanksgiving break and provided the chance for members to get to know each other better while enjoying some delicious goodies.  Thank you to everyone who brought food and thank you to all who came and celebrated- we had a great time and look forward to doing it again in the future!Image