Saturday, June 27, 2009

Organics in a Downturn Economy


We all know that a lot of households in the world are struggling to make ends meet. This should come as no surprise to learn that many of us are cutting costs in the grocer's aisle. What you may find surprising is how quickly the odds are stacking up against many organic farmers. The past two decades have seen enormous growth in the switch from conventional farming to organic farming. Partly brought on by farmers who were disturbed by the vast amount of chemicals their crops and animals were requiring to compete in the conventional farming market, and also encouraged by the higher prices organics were bringing on the market, many farms began the process of attaining organic certification. It's a slow and difficult change for many farms, complicated for large farms to implement, and costly for small farms that may not have the capital to make the change swiftly. Just as a lot of the organic farms were beginning to turn good profits the bottom is falling out in the economy. Organics still bring a premium price in some products, but a quick glance at your local grocery tells the story of how conventional products are not necessarily cheaper than the organic version. This is especially true in canned goods and fresh fruits and vegetables. The fact that these prices are falling is excellent for the consumer but it is having an impact on the growers bottom line. Organic certification costs the grower quite a bit of cold hard cash to become certified- and this certification must be maintained each and every year to receive the distinction. Many growers simply cannot pay for their certification this year. This is in part due to lower prices being paid for their goods, but it is also a factor of the consumer not being able to afford the organic products they once bought with regularity. Organic milk producers are falling out of production like flies, either reverting back to conventional milking practices or closing up shop all together. Prices for organic meats are still holding strong as are grains used in baking, but demand in these sectors is falling due to the cash crunch we are experiencing in our households. This may be the first year we see an overall decline in the sales of organic products, and this is troubling in an industry that has had such healthy growth the past two decades. All is not doom and gloom for organic growers, however. Small farms are seeing some surprising trends. Even though purse strings are tight, there are still vast numbers of people just finding out the benefits of eating organic vegetables, fruits, and meats. This growth is taking up some of the other economic slack, and for small ventures with less overhead this is making a huge difference to their bottom line. The question on every one's lips, however, is how long can this growth continue as the economic stress seems to be bearing down indefinitely on the average household. Die hard organic consumers will continue to buy and make cuts everywhere else they can manage, but the periphery organic consumer may be the one holding the future of organic growing in the palm of their hand. They are the real wild card in this issue. So what can the average person do? Now more than ever, the way we spend our money is one of the ways we vote. If your local grocer sells more conventional apples than organic, you may find your organic apples gone entirely or greatly reduced in quantity. The same is true for brands of organics. Stores have such specialized retail systems that track sales of brand skus that it is much easier to discern slow sellers and cut them from inventory lines. The bottom line is that each and every one of us has a food budget of sorts. How we shop in the coming months is going to greatly affect what the stores have to offer this time next year. While we may not be able to add thirty percent to our food budget to buy organics, we can look at some ways to make our money go further. Growing organic vegetables at home may mean you all of a sudden have the extra money to buy organic flour. Brewing a large pot of organic coffee and putting a pitcher of it in the fridge may mean you have ice coffee for two or three days during the dog days of summer and you are using a third of the coffee you once did. All of a sudden the organic brew doesn't seem so expensive when it is lasting three times as long. Really monitor what you throw away. If you find fresh vegetables and fruits in the compost heap you may be better off buying organic frozen varieties and using them as needed. Nothing beats fresh, but if it's ending up in the garbage we're not doing ourselves any favors. There was a time that we may have spent $5 on a cup of coffee once or twice a day. Imagine taking just twenty dollars and breezing through your local farmers market once a week. A twenty at the farmers stand can go a long way, both for you and the farmer. If your family eats meat every day, think about cutting this to three times a week and opting for free range chicken and grass fed beef. You may be surprised how different the taste and texture of organic meats really are making those meals very special. We'll be revisiting this topic again over the next months as there is so much ground to cover regarding food and organic farming. Please be sure and give us your questions and thoughts on this topic and we'll incorporate them into our essays. Times are tough but together we can ensure that our farmers weather this economic storm and continue to provide us with good choices at the grocery.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here...You Look Hungry

There are plants that seem to be freaks of know the ones, they produce more vegetables than any one household could ever hope to eat. If you have run into me on the street the last few weeks, you are just as likely to be given about a dozen beautiful radishes as you are likely to get a "Hello". Take your pick, traditional round red or white blushing into pink French radishes as long as your fingers. Most years, however, it is the yellow Summer squash that I am up to my eyebrows in abundance. While last year's crop was wiped out due to squash borer, and no organic solution in sight, this years crop is coming along beautifully. Summer squash looks so festive all stacked up in its basket on the counter. I deliver the other filled baskets to whomever will take them, because, I confess, there is only so much to be done with yellow squash. This year, all those pollinated flowers were making me ancy and I was on the hunt for the perfect squash dish. I found an inspiring, if not complete, recipe- but the basic idea was sound and thus I ran with it. So if you have Summer squash abundance in your house, or a neighboring friend presenting you with a basket, have no fear. You are going to love this recipe. And if you do not even like squash, this dish may cause you to rethink your Tastebuds.

Here's what you will need:
3 Cups grated yellow Summer squash
(work around the larger seeds and discard- use skins as they add color)
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh Parsley or 1 Teaspoon dried
1/2 Teaspoon salt
Dash of fresh ground pepper
3/4 Cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 Cup biscuit mix (even Bisquick works)
1/4 Cup milk, approximately
Combine all these ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir by hand until the batter is the consistency of cake batter. Heat up a griddle or skillet with a shallow layer of vegetable oil in the bottom, about 1/8 inch deep. No olive oil here folks, only high temperature oils will do. Drop a tiny amount of batter into the oil and see if it is sizzling hot. If it is, drop about a 1/2 cup of batter at a time into the hot pan and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Using a spatula to round the sides while the batter is initially cooking is helpful and it takes a few minutes cooking on each side to achieve the golden hue. Start with one to get the hang of the cooking, and about half way through the batch you should be able to do two or more at a time depending on the size of your pan. Cool the cakes on a plate lined with paper toweling to absorb most of the oil. Lightly salt and eat these Summer squash pancakes warm. They are unvelievably tasty and make a great dish at all three meals of the day. These pancakes would be even more colorful with a splash of small diced tomatoes added to the batter, and as soon as they are ready for harvest, they'll be making an appearance in this recipe too. If you are a really nice produce sharing friend, when you pass along your squash baskets, you'll share this recipe too. Summer squash is one of those tricky vegetables to figure out, but armed with this recipe, it will be greatly enjoyed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Spices of Life...Curry

Red Pepper
White Pepper
and Nutmeg...
It is no wonder that Curry is so difficult to contain within the senses. It is mysterious, hypnotic, and has so many secrets to its formula that it has always held a nearly spiritual place in the kitchen. Curry is actually a generic word. The English word "Kari" which is Tamil in origin means "gravy" or "sauce"- not "spice" as we all seem to think of it. In Southern India Curry is referred to as a side dish, and Curry made with buttermilk and chickpea flour is found in Northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The lure of Curry is subtle in many ways, difficult to ascertain whether it is more the scent or the flavor which entwines its enjoyer. Curry releases endorphins which cause your taste palate to actually crave more, sometimes even in higher intensity. To the seasoned Curry consumer, walking anywhere near a traditional Indian restaurant with its heavenly scent wafting about will cause the person to make a detour inside for a meal no matter the previous plans. Once bitten, it is just not to be helped.
Curries can contain up to twenty
different spices and range in shades from yellows, to reds, to browns. Turmeric, however, is the ingredient which gives Curry its base flavor. Equally at home cooked with meats such as chicken, beef, and fish, it is also wonderful on any number of vegetables. A little Curry added to rice gives the grain incredible depth of flavor, especially when added to a scented rice such as Himalayan Basmati. In countries where Curry is part of the local heritage, recipes are passed down from family member to family member throughout the generations. Each is unique, almost like a family fingerprint. The English took Curry into their own kitchens after the general public became aware of the "Coronation Chicken", a dish made to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Luckily for us, we do not have to come up with our own recipe for Curry, although it might be a fun thing to try. Widely available as a powdered spice in most grocers, all it takes is a little experimentation in our own kitchens. Morton and Basset makes an organic Curry powder, a classic blend containing turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, mustard flour, cumin, ginger root, black pepper, allspice, cayenne and fennel. Just a teaspoon added to your next Indian inspired dish will transport you to Curry magic.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Baby Showers

Tastebuds recently catered a very special Baby Shower for the birth of a second child. The location for the shower on a balmy Naples afternoon was the incredibly beautiful Chardonnay Restaurant. The restaurant provided a very intimate setting for a small group of women to come together and celebrate the upcoming birth of a beautiful baby boy.

Handmade flower bouquets graced each table and set off the bright array of colors of the meal.

Fresh fruit Kabobs set amongst wheat grass were almost too pretty to eat, but the women managed the task well!

We served beef tenderloin sliders on yeast rolls with Boursin Cheese. These are so dainty and yet they pack an incredible taste into a small package. The tropical salad featured a homemade dressing and was a virtual summer color palette.

Deep orange afternoon Mimosas went with the fruit beautifully. Always such a wonderful occasion, a new baby is the best reason to gather friends and family and celebrate the sweetness of life. Congratulations to all the family of this new little one!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's For Dinner?

to want
to save
this one.
It's the old time worn question...
What's for dinner? We have an answer...
Chicken Parm Greg's Way.

Here's what you'll need:

Free range/air chilled boneless chicken breasts x 2
1 small bunch of organic Broccoli Rabe
small container of fresh mozzarella
1 35oz can of the best plum tomatoes you can buy (important in sauce quality)
Fresh hydro/organic Basil 4 leaves
1 cup bread crumbs seasoned
1 cup all purpose organic flour seasoned with salt & pepper
2 organic eggs whisked
1 organic carrot diced small
1 stalk organic celery diced small
1/2 white onion diced small
2 cloves garlic minced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 lb organic pasta

To make sauce:

Heat a small sauce pot with 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil over medium heat. Add Carrot, Onion and Celery and saute until soft. Add Plum Tomatoes and Garlic. Heat through. With an immersion stick blender blend sauce to a desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook on low while preparing other items.

Fill a large pot to the half way point with water and place over HIGH heat. Salt water with Kosher salt. Cover with lid. This will be used to blanch the Broccoli Rabe.

To make chicken:
Fillet or pound out chicken breasts so they will cook evenly. Set up three dishes that will accommodate the size of your chicken breasts. Add the flour to the first dish, eggs to the next and bread crumbs to the third. You can make your own bread crumbs by first toasting slices of quality bread and running them through a food processor on HIGH until you have a fine consistency. Place the dishes in order of dredging (flour,eggs,bread crumbs). Place large cast iron skillet, or other large fry pan that is oven proof, over medium heat and add three Tbsp of Olive Oil to pan. Heat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center position. Dredge chicken in flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs and fry in hot oil. After about 3-4 minutes flip to other side. While second side is browning blanch Broccoli Rabe in salted water for 1 minute. Remove Broccoli Rabe from water and drain off excess water. Turn off heat to chicken and place Broccoli Rabe on top of each piece of chicken. Cover with tomato sauce reserving some sauce for pasta. Sprinkle Romano cheese over chicken. Slice Mozzarella and cover both chicken breasts. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Place in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

While chicken is in oven drop pasta into water and cook al dente. Drain thoroughly but do not rinse!

Toss the cooked pasta with the remaining tomato sauce and arrange on either side of the cooked chicken. Presenting this meal in the iron skillet works well as the black sets off the colors of this dish beautifully. Be sure to place the hot dish on a thick cutting board wherever you choose to serve it from. Serve Chicken Parma Greg's Way with a crusty bread and glass of Tuscan Chianti and you have a dinner you'll be sure to repeat frequently. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Under Our Hat...Errr..Toque

Some things
are just too
good to keep
under our hat!
We were sent some samples last week from Eco Products, a company
specializing in Green disposable products. We have all felt the guilt of dropping a once used paper cup from our morning coffee into the trash, and we know first hand the amount of garbage generated from a food festival. This is the stuff nightmares are made of and the trash issue has been weighing heavily on our minds. One of the problems we wanted to solve was how to participate in a large event like the Country Living Fair while at the same time reducing our footprint on the planet. These little gems that arrived in the mail are just the ticket.

Not only do the paper cups look nice, they are made from recycled paper using soy based inks.
They are fully compostable which is important in the end result of how a product reenters the landfill. Recycled is only half the picture because if the product cannot break down properly then we start all over again with the waste issue. Eco Products tells us that these cups are "Lined with Ingeo™ plant-based plastic, these cups look and feel like conventional hot cups, but their lining is made from domestic plants, not oil." This makes my morning cup of To Go coffee look a whole lot more welcoming. And what about the lid?
"Crystallized PLA" says Eco Products. Crystallized PLA has a heat tolerance of over 200 degrees, making it ideal to handle your cup of steaming java. With this lid made from plants, Eco-Products now has the first complete compostable hot cup system in the market - Cup, Lid, and Sleeve. We say that is pretty impressive.
There is a whole range of containers that we just cannot wait to get our food into at this year's events. It is important to us that we feel good about our impact on the planet. Long gone are the days when a person could show up at their favorite watering and chow line with their own plate and cup- today's world of liabilities just will not allow that kind of good sense. But being able to serve a meal in responsibly created products is a great alternative.

Did you know that less than two percent of trash bags ever get recycled? We all know that it takes forever for one to degrade- just look at how many have been used to underline flower beds and that gives a god hint at their longevity. Eco Products has a solution for this too in the form of trash bags that can be used at home or in event bins. All in all, we think the use of these products in our future is good for your future too!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here Comes the Weekend!

If we had
a nickel for
every time
we heard the
words "TGIF"
the past few
well, we
would be
filthy rich!
There is no denying times are tough out there. Listening to media news offers little consolation. There is an enormous increase in the number of people who are using Facebook and Blogs as a form of keeping connected with events in the lives of people we care about. A common theme we are seeing is a return to the ways our grandparents and great grandparents lived. Now if you ask me, this isn't all bad. Actually, it's pretty all good. Families are returning to the home garden, the home table gathered up with friends and family, and rediscovering the things that used to make life in the mid 20Th century quite heartwarming. Board games, classic books, picnics, and nature are having strong pulls on the American heart. With this in mind, there is no time like the present to bring back a family tradition of Sunday brunch. We recently made a mouth watering quiche that would be a perfect main course. Now don't panic- you're going to make the crust from scratch- and you won't believe how it will open up worlds of possibilities in your baking.
Start with a glass or metal bowl. You can use an old fashioned pastry mixer or your standard blender if you have a pastry attachment. If all else fails, you can do this even with a long tined fork! Take 1 1/4 cups flour and blend it with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add to this 1/3 cup of shortening. Blend these together with your mixer or fork until the shortening resembles little peas in the flour. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water and lightly blend with a fork until the area is moist, doing this with 5 tablespoons total and moistening the entire mixture. Roll lightly into a ball and pat it somewhat flat onto a lightly floured board or counter top. Roll until the dough is about 12 inches in diameter. Don't worry if it is flaky and somewhat difficult to roll out. If possible roll the dough onto your roller and place it into a 9 inch round pie pan. Work the dough up the sides and use any overlap to fix bare areas at the rim. Line your dough with foil and bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 to 6 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. While the crust is baking you can prepare the filling. On a paper towel lined plate, place 6 slices uncooked bacon and about a half cup of diced onion. Lay another paper towel over the bacon and onion and place in a microwave for about 2 minutes. Check for tenderness in the onion and browning of the bacon. You can cook this for 1 more minute if the bacon appears not quite cooked. What you want is brown but not crisp- and most of the oils should catch in the toweling. Tear the bacon into small bits and set the mixture aside. In a glass bowl, lightly beat 8 eggs. Add to the eggs 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/2 cup of milk. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Lightly mix in about 2 to 3 cups cooked spinach. The organic frozen spinach packages work perfectly for this as long as it is thawed. At this point, if you have a mixer out, lightly froth this mixture because it helps to incorporate the eggs thoroughly into everything else. Finally, add 2/3 cup of cheese of your choice like a mozzarella or light cheddar and 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese. Blend carefully and pour this filling into your cooling crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes until a knife inserted at center comes out clean. The quiche has the best texture if it can stand for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Use this time to dole out bowls of fresh fruit and cups of steaming hot coffee to accompany your quiche. Mouths will be watering from the aromas wafting from the oven and seconds are a sure thing. Count your blessings and know that you have served a breakfast that would make your grand parents proud!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Tastebud Reader

There are
days in the
which are
so hot and
humid that
there is
nothing to
be done
except lay prostrate in a hammock with a good read.
Always a sucker for a beautiful cover photo and catchy title, Gary Paul Nabhan's Songbirds, Truffles, and Wolves: An American Naturalist in Italy practically leaps off of the shelf into one's hands. From the title alone a promise of Italian countryside, rare foods, and nature lures the reader into its pages. Gary Nabhan is an ethnobotanist who embarks on a journey from Florence to Assisi covering the footsteps of Saint Francis along a two hundred mile route. The story that emerges from Nabhan's thoughts and walk gives the reader much to ponder. One theme in the book is that of a food's Mother Country. Nabhan, because of his vocation, knows much more than the average person about the origins of foods and the food lines into other countries as the result of migration from place to place in human history. He is struck by the Old World and its assumption that certain foods have been there always. The world, for example, readily links tomatoes with Italians but it is a native of Peru. The fruit spent a few hundred years being cultivated and cooked to perfection in Europe, and even though it is a New World contribution, this fact has been largely forgotten. Nabhan takes us on a walk of change, change in the environment, change in food thought, and change within himself. His "stories within a story" stay with the reader for quite some time as he relates how United States immigrants take big risks to smuggle in seeds from their homeland, sometimes sewn within their hemlines. Nabhan tells of the dangers of eating unknown foods with trials of growing fava beans and the perils preparing corn maize when it first landed in Europe. As with many things that transfer from culture to culture, the Indian method of preparing maize did not accompany the seeds. The book allows a very personal entry into Nabhan's emotional and social make-up during his stay in Italy and it allows the reader to slip easily into his thoughts and movements along the trail. Don't be surprised if you find yourself having cravings for pasta and truffle oil or gazing at the Italian wine section a little longer than what was once your norm. This book teaches the reader to think about food in a whole new light.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Slow Food...Time to Hit the Brakes

We all know
what Fast Food
but do you
know, or have
you forgotten,
about Slow Food?
Slow Food International is an organization
that wants us all to remember our heritage, at least where our food is concerned. Slow Food International came into being decades ago and their reason describes its very necessity best:

"to counteract fast food and fast life and the disappearance of local food traditions and people's dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes, and how our food choices affect the rest of the world".

The organization strives to drive home three main points. The first is a given- your food should taste good. Food should be clean, meaning it should be produced in a manner that does not harm the environment, the welfare of the animal, nor our own health and health of others. Slow Food also believes in Fair. In most circles this is a tough word to find agreement on, but it is a basic belief that at all levels fair compensation should be paid for the work of producing the food. In a lot of countries, indigenous food producers are being forced out by the ability of trade to import less costly, and sometimes, less tasteful and/ or healthful food. Based on these principles, organic is good, but sustainable is even better.

Biodiversity in our food supply is just as important as biodiversity in other areas of science. Every day it is more and more imperative that we save traditional grains, vegetables, fruits, animal breeds, and food products. These traditional varieties are quickly disappearing because of the consumer's choice for convenience which translates into large scale agribusiness. We are saving more than variety- we are literally saving our heritage.

A case in point is the endangered American Paw paw pictured above in its fruit form and in flower. Does its taste come to mind when you see the written word? Probably not, because most Americans have never held one in their hands. Paw paws are our largest edible fruit and have a very tropical flavor tasting like a combination of banana, mango, and pineapple. There are hundreds of foods listed on the United States Ark List and any number of them will cure a case of food boredom. Slow Food means a reawakening and training of our senses. The common phrase "tastes like chicken" is a misnomer. Old rare breeds of chicken have a very distinct and wonderful taste like no other meat source.

A less hurried and less chaotic life begins at the table. Traveling to Italy a few years back really brought this idea home for us. Slow Food was apparent everywhere, from the open markets to the small bistros to the home table in a private setting. Tastebuds encourages everyone to learn more about Slow Food, and we think you will be surprised to find out who is taking on the challenge of bringing the concept into everyday reality. Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg and its Rare Breeds Program is just one place you'll see this in action. They have painstakingly gathered old rare breeds of cattle, pigs, sheep, and chickens and they are working to multiply these heritage animals by enticing other farms to include them in their flock. So next time the words "Tastes like chicken!" leave your lips, make sure you mean it tastes delicious!

Photograph of Paw paw fruit courtesy of USDA and flower courtesy of Jaime Robeck who is lucky enough to have one growing in the creek bed near her home.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An American Tradition

Like most American traditions,the one of Barbecue may have
originated somewhere else!
Barbecue has its earliest roots in "barbacoa", a Caribbean Taino word meaning sacred fire pit. Anyone who has had good barbecue would agree with this sentiment exactly. As with most great ideas, probably more than one clever human with a slab of tasty meat and a fire figured out the gist of BBQ. Australia and New Zealand have their "Barbie", South Africans their "Braai", Brazilians their "Churrasco", and Argentinians their "Asado". Most true connoisseurs of Barbecue will agree that the best tasting meat comes when cooking is accomplished indirectly over a sweet smelling hardwood at temperatures between 250 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Raising the topic of the correct method of Barbecue in the Southern United States may just get you a more heated conversation than one of both politics and religion put together. Things may go swimmingly in the conversation until the subject of sauce rises to the lips. Even the state of North Carolina cannot agree within its boundaries. The eastern portion of North Carolina prefers a vinegar based sauce, the center a mix of ketchup and vinegar, and the western portion a heavier ketchup base. South Carolina loves its barbecue any way they can get it, and they'll accept a mustard base sauce as well! Tennesseans agree with central North Carolinians in that they like a vinegar and ketchup base. Tennessee and Kentucky Barbecue may have a lot in common with those who ask for their sauce on the side, preferring to serve a dry rubbed and smoked meat separate from the sauce. The lucky person with that plate can dip their morsels daintily or throw their meat a life jacket! Alabama serves up a white sauce made from mayonnaise and vinegar that had its origins in the northern part of the state. We have that wondrous pulled pork sandwich because of Tennessee and North Carolina. We would be remiss if we didn't mention Maryland, who hot grills their meat and serves it rare with horseradish sauce, and Texas, who has four styles of their own Barbecue. Missouri gets in on American Barbecue in a big way with the hosting of "The World Series of Barbecue" each October. Interestingly enough, Florida is not one of the States often brought up in conversation when talking about Barbecue. We are, however, the closest state to the true origins of the custom in the Caribbean, which may explain why Florida is one of Barbecue's best kept secrets. Any Florida traveler worth their salt will tell you of secret Barbecue pits in every small town- only secret because most people do not know about them. One pretty popular place with the locals we know of serves their delicacy straight from a fire pit in the floor into a brown bag and straight out the door! Barbecue is something Tastebuds just loves doing. Never mind the heat of the smoker and the long watch that must be kept to be sure everything is progressing toward perfection- the smell of hickory and the promise of a perfect meal awaits us all.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We're Headed to the Fair!

we'll be
our BBQ
truck North
and headed
for the

Country Living Magazine is once again hosting its annual Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio from September 18 through 20, 2009. We wouldn't miss it for the world. This will be Tastebuds third consecutive year with the Fair, and though it promises to be a weekend of hard work for us, it delivers an authentic Midwest flavor full of charm for all who attend. The Fair is held at the historic Ohio Village which recreates an authentic 19Th century setting complete with wood boardwalks and an heirloom vegetable garden. The Fair takes over a rather large land parcel spreading unique artisans and their wares under tented booths. The first time Tastebuds rolled into town for the Fair, we certainly turned some heads with our banner proudly displaying our hometown of Naples. With over twenty thousand attendees that year, we sold out of food at the end of each day. We think they liked us. One thing is for certain, Midwesterners sure do smile a lot. Or maybe it was the freshly smoked pulled pork sandwiches, hot corn on the cob, and sweet tea we were serving up! So if you are making summer plans, why not come along with us this year? Just be sure to leave some room in your suitcase for all the fantastic finds you'll be bringing home!