June 21, 2012

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

I participated in the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” bike ride on May 19, 2012.  The event was a collaboration between Renaissance Covington and Queen City Bike in honor of bike month and in support of local farmers.
The day started at an urban garden near Findlay Market where we had breakfast provided by Savor Catering and Events.  Breakfast included egg, cheese and sausage breakfast burritos on whole wheat tortillas along with plain yogurt parfaits topped with homemade fruit-and-nut granola.  The yogurt parfaits were so completely delicious.
We biked to Park + Vine to stop for water and learn a bit about their store. If you're not familiar, Park + Vine is reminiscent of an old "general store" and focuses on selling eco-friendly home-goods and other various products.   

We headed north up Vine to Relish Restaurant Group's OTR garden.  Justin Dean spoke with us about the group's part in revitalizing that particular block of Vine Street as well as their efforts to locally source the food on their menus.  Relish collaborates with Berea College for some of their sourcing and also for their seed-saving program which yields unique and heirloom varieties of produce.  Both Lavomatic and Local 127 are part of the restaurant group.

Our next trek took us to the west side (all the way up Warsaw!) to 8th and Enright to visit the Imago Earth Center. This was, by far, the most surprising part of the day for me.
Imago's grass-roots movement started about 35 years ago when the founders set out to create an eco-conscious center of focus for their neighborhood.  The Earth Center includes a nature preserve, a green house, and also many sections of land on their acreage along with garden beds planted in the yards of the residents in the surrounding Price Hill neighborhood.  Among their crops were many fresh herbs including lavender and sage.  Imago is supported by a host of volunteers from local schools and organizations in Cincinnati.

Next, we biked to the Anderson Ferry which took us across the Ohio River to Route 8 in Northern Kentucky; the last (and only) time I was on the ferry was at least 20 years ago!
We rode 3 miles west to McGlasson's farm and Jack McGlasson spoke with us about their variety of crops and the family's long history of selling at local farmer's markets and their own road-side produce stand on Route 8.  The stand opened for business earlier this week and McGlasson's facebook page offers some great information; including this year's exciting addition of maple syrup.  
Our final destination was the Covington farmer’s market, at Roebling Point.  I was worn out by the time I got there but I did buy a dog biscuit from Savor's booth.  Georgia was a good sport and stayed couped up in the house all day, she loved her treat.
We enjoyed lunch provided, once again, by Savor catering.  The sandwich and salad combo was satisfying and the sandwiches were served on a soft, rosemary bread.  The flavorful greens in our salad were from the OTR urban garden we visited earlier that day, radishes from Carriage House Farm and tomato and cucumber from Neltner's farm.  I love a good ranch dressing, it really compliments a simple salad like this one.

Across the Roebling bridge and back to Findlay Market...
Many of us, having lived in Cincinnati most our lives, were unaware of the gardens in urban settings, suburban neighborhoods and large farms just miles from Covington and downtown Cincinnati.  It was very inspiring to see all the efforts in our area and it fosters a sense of community and ownership in eating local.  I will probably never grow my own garden but it is reassuring to know that I can choose to buy from local farmers or eat at local restaurants who source their ingredients directly from our region.  

A video was produced of our adventure. It does a great job of capturing all the ground we covered and all the details I missed:)  Hope to see more events like this in the coming months and years!  Here's a link to the You Tube video.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Sfz8FZWpc


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Katie. I hope to visit McGlasson's on the Boone County Farm Tour next weekend.

  2. I'm soi impressed by this event. What a cool idea! The food sounds so great too, especially that breakfast!

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