Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Seven Stars Farm

I haven't been able to make a batch of yogurt in awhile because my yogurt maker is buried somewhere in our storage space waiting to move into our house. I usually mix some yogurt in with the Bean's daily breakfast of oatmeal and pureed fruit. Because buying little containers seems wasteful for that purpose, I've been buying Stonyfield Farm's yogurt because it's the only one I could find that was made with organic whole milk (best for babies) and in a plain variety (I figure the Bean gets plenty of natural sugars from the mangoes, cherries, bananas, peaches, and other fruits that we serve her with the yogurt). I'm not sure what to think about Stonyfield. I'm skeptical about the sale of the company to Dannon. Anyway, when I ran into Whole Foods today in search of yogurt, I was pleased to see whole milk plain yogurt that's organic (biodynamic even) and local. I grabbed some Seven Stars Farm yogurt, and mixed some in with the Bean's dinner of lentils, avocado and green beans. It was a hit with her and tasted delicious to me too. Seven Stars Farm is located in nearby Chester County on 350 acres that are owned by the Kimberton Waldorf School and protected from development. The couple that farms the land produces the yogurt in small batches and, as far as I can tell from this story, exemplifies caretaking of the earth.

PS - We close on the house on Wednesday! We move on Saturday! Yes, that's worthy of many exclamation points! It may be a little while longer until we get the internet situation sorted out, but I promise that more frequent posts are coming along with some writing for a new venture.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Quick Round-up

Last week I finally found time to do a long post that was a round-up of what has been going on around here. Unfortunately, blogger had other plans for the post, and I lost it. Drat! Here's the abbreviated version of life in the Ardent Eden household:

  • We're still living like transients. We move into our new house in two weeks. Until then, we're in our temporary city apartment. I've been enjoying making a pit stop at the Reading Terminal Market after work for some fresh produce before coming home. Why doesn't every city have a permanent farmers market like this? There's one stand in particular that I enjoy: The Fair Food Farmstead. The farmstand is a project of the White Dog Cafe Foundation, which is the non-profit arm of the venerable local and organic restaurant here in Philly called White Dog Cafe. The farmstand brings together produce from local farms in one place. We've had juicy strawberries, crunchy snowpeas, shelling peas that make perfect puree for the Bean, and tender stalks of asparagus. On Thursday night, I stopped at the market and stumbled upon a local strawberry tasting complete with free samples of strawberry white sangria made with Blue Mountain local wine. While the white dessert wine was too sweet for my taste for plain sipping, it was just perfect for mixing up with fresh strawberries, lemonade and a little ginger ale for a summer punch. Yum!
  • We've been researching, sketching, and dreaming about our garden plans for the new house. Thankfully, the sellers are gardeners who have worked a little bit of the soil and have established compost bins. They also kindly allowed us to drop by last weekend to plant some tomatoes, zuchhini and collards. We just couldn't stand being in the house all summer without any garden fresh produce, and waiting until we moved in would have been pushing it for planting tomatoes. The sellers even offered to water for us until we move in. Aren't gardeners the kindest folks? ;) Now we're researching fruit trees to plant this fall. We want to have sour cherries, apples, pears, and peaches, if possible. The two acres are surprisingly spacious. We just need to figure out how best to use the space. Any suggestions on varieties that do well when grown without spraying are most welcome!
  • The Bean continues to be a peach. She's eating her homemade food like a pro. Right now, I'm simmering some lentils and zukes to puree for her.

I'll be able to post more regularly once we move and have our home computer set up. It's been a challenge!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

City Life

We finally have internet access again! I was starting to feel really out of touch. We made The Move to Pennsylvania last week, and are getting settled in our temporary apartment in the city. Of course, we're dying to get into our new house. But in the meantime we're exploring the city of Philadelphia, and I'm getting used to my new job. A quick run-down of random tidbits from the last couple of weeks:

  • There are some great energy efficient appliances out there. Sure, some of them are a little bit more expensive than the conventional alternatives. But we decided that purchasing an Energy Star front-load washer and refrigerator for our new home was a sound decision for the long-term health of our planet. (Consider this: Energy Star refrigerators use half as much energy as models manufactured before 1993.) We learned that Energy Star doesn't rate dryers because most use a similar amount of energy. So I'll have to finally buy a clothes line and drying rack.
  • There are more vegetarian restaurants in Philly than Boston. Within walking distance, we've noticed a veggie Chinese restaurant, and we've tried a vegetarian falafel place that may just become a staple for the next month.
  • It's easy to get produce from local farmers in the city at the Reading Terminal Market. This has been my favorite part of city life! This urban indoor farmers' market is a Philly institution for good reason. There are so many vendors with prepared foods and plenty of farms from the Pennsylvania Dutch country. I've grabbed lunch there a few times, and we bought some asparagus and peas from an Amish family. I saw a stand selling local, organic, free-range eggs too. That's our next stop.

EDITED to add: Looks like Philly is #4 on SustainLane's sustainability index for cities. I never would have guessed before moving here!

Well, off to try to tick off some of the to-do items on the long list This moving stuff is hard work!