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Moviegoers learn first hand that locally grown is best

July 21, 2009 - Andy Gray
As the documentary “Polycultures: Food Where You Live” explained the benefits of eating locally grown foods, Mother Nature decided to bring to the outdoor screening one the integral ingredients for that growing process – rain.

Starting as a sprinkle and increasing enough that it became uncomfortable to sit there without rain gear, the weather put a bit of damper on the film directed by Tom Kondilas, son of Warren natives John and Valorie Kondilas.

But those who came out for the screening certainly learned some new facts about problems with the industrial food chain. And those who got there before the movie got a first hand taste of the glories of locally grown food.

Blue Iris Café owners Melissa Yohman-Murphy and Stephen Murphy prepared a sampling menu with locally grown produce and locally raised beef. There were “sliders” (mini burgers with grass-fed beef from Miller Livestock in Kinsman, cheese from Middlefield and onions from KJ Greens in Parkman) and a savory bread pudding with roasted local tomatoes and free range eggs from Broad View Acres. Best of all was a blueberry crisp made with berries picked by Bobbie Brown of the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County about 30 hours before they were served to appreciative moviegoers.

Before we went to the movie, I’d caramelized one of those big candy onions from KJ Greens that I bought at Howland’s Farmer’s Market and topped veggie burgers with it. We also had roasted green beans that I picked up at KJ’s table (Despite eating dinner before we went, I still had seconds of the blueberry crisp).

You can taste the difference, something I was reminded of as I ate a flavorless apple for lunch that I bought at a local supermarket that probably was shipped from who know where. A flavorless product that’s cheap is no bargain. Seek out the best ingredients when cooking at home and support businesses that do the same. Blue Iris relies on several local vendors, and Miller Livestock sells grass-fed meat to Vernon’s Café in Niles and Leo’s Ristorante in Howland.


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