Monday, June 7, 2010

Churn Babies Churn!

The kids and I just returned from a weekend at the beautiful Sequatchie Valley Institute where I taught several workshops for kids at their 12th annual Food for Life gathering. Anyone who reads my blog musings knows my stance on the sacredness of good, SLOW food. And esssentially that is what the Food for Life gathering is all about.

My first workshop was about making bread and BUTTER! Glorious homemade creamy, to die for butter. So I enlisted the help of my students ranging in age from around 3 to 11 or so to churn the cream into yellowy deliciousness. Half of the butter I left sweet and creamy and the other half we salted. Six pints of cream made 2 pounds of butter and of course some dreamy buttermilk left over. I didn't clabber the cream so the buttermilk was not tart or sour just sort of buttery.

I wish everyone could experience the level of community and sharing and food that we were a part of this past weekend. Perhaps someday we all will.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Farm Markets Open Now!!

No pictures today but I will paint you a visual. All around the country in towns, cities and even suburbs Farmer's Markets are popping up. Ten by ten pop up tents with tables laden with fresh greens, onions, colorful swiss chard, herbs, pasture raised and FINISHED beef in coolers. Real farmers who love what they do are doing this for YOU! Skip the produce section of the not so super supermarket and find out which day your local farmer's market takes place. Meet the people. Sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Learn how to cook things you never tried before.
Savor the locally made jams, and bread. Talk to the artists who make clothing and jewelry. Pick up a tomato plant start or some hot peppers. is a great site for finding farms and farmers and markets. Also, is a great site for finding pasture raised chicken, cow, pig, sheep and goat. Take a day to visit a farm within 50 miles of where you live... I will be at the 12th annual Food for Life gathering in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee June 3-6th teaching workshops to mostly kids but adults to about many different aspects of our food experience. Composting, garden critters, making bread and BUTTER plus some other great stuff that I will be sharing. Try something new...taste something you never tasted before. What if you couldn't get all of the processed food we have available to us today? What would you eat? It's definitely a question we should all be considering. Would you eat dandelion greens from your lawn for salad? Would you try zuccinni? What about kale, radishes or rutabaga? How would that taste? Would you know how to prepare it?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Booya Birthday!

Chocolate glorious chocolate! The aztecs used it for money! I have found a beautiful source of pure dark delicious chocolate from Nicaragua called Booya Cacao fair trade and organic, with all the ingredients grown under a sustainable canopy.

So, I cooked up a fabulous birthday picnic that we had a Sequatchie Cove Farm for my friend using this wonderful chocolate! First, my daughter and I dipped local organic strawberries that we bought at the Chattanooga Main Street Market on Wednesday into the melted Booya Cacao some we dipped into organic chopped hazelnuts too!

Then I made her an amazing birthday cake...yes, all in my tiny RV convection/microwave oven! Using an Arrowhead Mills organic chocolate cake mix, to which I added, organic chocolate chips, raspberries and  melted Booya Cacao. After baking and cooling I spread more melted Booya in between the layers.

I made this icing with:

1 Stick (8 T.) softened organic butter
6 T. organic all vegetable 0 trans fat shortening (I use Spectrum)
2 3/4 C. organic powdered sugar
1/2 C. Melted Booya Cacao
1 T. Cold Brewed  Coffee
2 T. organic cocoa powder

Then I decorated the cake with chopped organic hazelnuts, bits of Booya Cacao and topped it with fresh raspberries right before we presented it to the birthday girl!!

Check out the Booya Cacoa website and feel good about your love of chocolate! You can also 'like' them on facebook.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Making YUM with leftovers...

Wild Salmon, shrimp and scallops...on the grill last night, topped onto organic greens, some chopped tomato and the food of the gods -  
A V A C A D O!
It is definitely not just for guacamole.

Lunch today with leftovers from that plethora of grilled seafood last night became quesadillas. Also had a few black beans to put on them as well.

Brush a little olive oil on a whole wheat organic tortilla.
Spread some cream cheese, farmer's cheese, goat cheese on the other side.
Throw it on the griddle!

Add your leftover seafood, some black beans and a little salsa.
Fold over your tortilla, make sure everything is heated through.
Cut in half and devour!

Seriously some good stuff...

Gypsy Mama is hitting the road again starting tomorrow. Look for some new blog posts on Farmer's Markets, organic farms, local food, traveling and more!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Open Copyright...

Someone told me the other day that there is a certain company that is too big for us 'little' people to do anything about stopping them and their tyranny on food and agriculture. That statement didn't sit well with me because this world is made up of us 'little' people. Folks like me and you who go about our lives living joyfully and sharing information that may have the ability to detract from our joy.

Genetically modified organisms and genetically engineered seeds, plants and foods have been making their way into the very fabric of our lives since the early 1990's and continue to do so. Mainly because we just didn't know about them. This biotechnology was slipped under our radar of general awareness because a small group of people deemed that we didn't 'need' to know. That as consumers we weren't interested in knowing these things. So a few people get to decide what information is needed and what is not?

The audacity of these people to determine our level of intelligence and desire of the very sustenance of has propelled me into becoming a activist. I may only be one person yet I can do some thing...some thing small or something large. I require no compensation for my work. I give it freely to be distributed to anyone and everyone who is willing to consider it's value. A short one act play written for a small or large cast of players. Easy to read and understand this play could be performed at your church or the local farmer's market. Your homeschool or traditional school group could read it out loud. College students could perform it on campuses. It has a message. It is meant to open eyes to what is happening right now to our food source. How can we change it? Do we care? Can one person make a difference?

All interesting and valid questions. Do we choose to work together for the most basic building block of life? If we use vehicles like this one act play to encourage others to work together for change. My hope is to encourage people to research and learn about these things.

So here it first play:  free to copy, distribute and perform

What’s Happening to Food

A Short Play in One Act

By Tricia Baehr

Playwright’s Note:

Here is a play I wrote...anybody is free to produce this:::pass it on! This play’s cast can be adjusted to be larger or smaller depending on how many people are performing.


Takes place in a barn in the 21st century

Cast - 12 parts-Can be adjusted to the number of players available.

■Farmer #1

■Farmer #2

■Farm Kid #1

■Farm Kid #2

■Farmer’s Neighbor #1

■Farmer’s Neighbor #2

■Farmer’s Neighbor #3

■Farmer’s Neighbor #4

■Neighbor Kid #1

■Neighbor Kid #2

■Mr. Monty Santo (Corporate Bad Guy)

■Senator Rand Upton Rheady (Government Bad Guy)

(The scene opens with Farmers and the Farm Kids talking about the growing season coming up. They are looking at a piece of paper with their plots drawn up and their plans.)

Farmer #1: (wiping his brow with a bandanna) Whew! Well I guess that’s it then, here’s our plan for this year's crops.

Farmer #2: We’ve done a great job planning and tomorrow it’s time to start working the earth.

Farm Kid #1: I’m excited about using all that rich compost we’ve been working on over the winter, our plants are going to grow great!

Farm Kid #2: I can’t wait for all the fresh organic fruits and vegetables this summer.

Farm Kid #1: My salad greens that I started from seed will be ready to set out soon now that were almost past frost season.

(In walks the 4 neighbors and the 2 neighbor kids ~ talking excitedly amongst themselves, rubbing their tummies, smiling, etc.)

Farmer’s Neighbor #1: We just wanted to come by and thank you for all the hard work you’ve been doing to get ready for this year's growing season.

Farmer’s Neighbor #2: If there’s anything you need, we’d be happy to help!

Farmer’s Neighbor #3: I love buying your fresh organic produce at the farm stand, it tastes so much better than what’s for sale at the super market.

Farmer’s Neighbor #4: You bet! And I feel good knowing my money is staying right here in our neighborhood.

Farmer #1: We are really grateful to have such good neighbors and it’s a joy growing food for such great people.

Farmer #2: (laughing) It sure does make all this farm work easier seeing all these healthy kids running around!

(The 2 Neighbor kids are running around and playing tag with the 2 Farm Kids.)

Farm Kid #1: I’m growing watermelons for this summer!

Neighbor Kid #2: (laughing) And I’m eatin’ em!

Neighbor Kid #1: I sure do love those cucumbers you all grow!

Farm Kid #2: I help with those in the garden, they make great pickles too!

(Farmers and Neighbors are all talking, shaking hands, patting each other on the back hugging etc.)

Farmer #1: Well, I’m sure glad to share our crop plans with you all. Looking forward to trying out some of those new varieties of heirloom vegetables you all suggested and my friend here (indicating Farmer #2) for sharing seeds with me.

Farmer #2: (smiling and looking kindly at Farmer #1) Isn’t that what being a community is all about? When our bean crop failed last year and you shared part of your harvest with us, it made that little problem okay.

Farm Kid #1: …And we have blackberries and you have blueberries! We love to trade AND share!

(All of the sudden a loud, ominous knock is heard on the barn door. Everyone looks around and surprised since no one around those parts knocks.)

Farmer #1: (stuttering, confused) C..C..Come…In?

Mr. Monty Santo: (authoritatively) Are you the farmer for this land?

Farmer #1: Yes, Who’s asking?

Mr. Monty Santo: I am.

Farmer #1: (nervous) And you are?

Mr. Monty Santo: I’m Mr. Monty Santo with The World Conglomerate Seed & Science Company and we took samples of your crop last year and found our patented seeds growing on your farm. We also have evidence that your neighbor (pointing at Farmer #2) saved their seed and shared it with you!

Farmer #1 (looking shocked)

Farmer #2: (indignantly) Now you wait just a pickle flippin’ second! Those seeds were handed down generation after generation from my ancestors! You have no claim to them!

Mr. Monty Santo: (laughing sinisterly) HA! Before long The World Conglomerate Seed & Science Company will own every seed on the planet. (mockingly) Ancestor’s seeds, don’t be ridiculous you foolish people. You have no idea who you are dealing with.

(All of the neighbors and kids begin whispering and look shocked at what is going on, they can’t believe their eyes or ears. About that time another official looking person walks into the barn.)

Senator Rand Upton Rheady: (putting a hand on the Corporate Bad Guy's back) Hello folks! What Mr. Santo is trying to say is we’re just here to help ya’ll. I’m Senator Rand Upton Rheady and with the help of all my colleagues in government and the help of big companies like The World Conglomerate Seed & Science Company we’re making laws and legislation so it won’t be long before we’re helping to make sure you little farmers don’t have to work so hard trying to supply your neighbors with fresh, healthy organic produce. We’re going to pave the way for new science so you can kill all those pesky bugs and weeds on that stuff your growing and the good crop plants will never die.

Farm Kid #1: But wouldn’t all those chemicals be bad for you?

Senator Rand Upton Rheady: (visibly startled that a kid is that smart ) Now, now you little children shouldn’t be worrying about things like that. We’re here to help you people! That’s what us government folks are doing up in Washington.

Farmer’s Neighbor #1: (yelling) NEVER! I’ll never buy genetically mutated produce!

Farmer’s Neighbor #2: (very upset) Me neither…we will start a consumer revolution!

Mr. Monty Santo: (smirking) Are you kidding me? People are too lazy to even prepare fresh food these days. We can mess with it, put chemicals in it, genetically alter it and no one even notices. We even put the information right on the labels and the people still buy it! Look how many kids won’t eat anything but junk food…they think a french fry is a vegetable, bwhaha ha ha ha (sinister laughing)

Senator Rand Upton Rheady: What Mr. Santo is trying to say is…we’re working on pushing laws into place that will make it where small farmers won’t need to work so hard. All the food will be grown on big corporate farms and processed in big factories to make everything easier on all the people. (nodding & thumbs up to the Corporate Bad Guy)

(The Farm Kids and Neighbor Kids are in the corner making faces at the Bad Guys.)

Farmer’s Neighbor #3: Not if we have anything to do with it! There are more people than there are governments and corporate giants!

Farmer’s Neighbor #4: We’ll start fresh food farmer’s markets and have food festivals that teach people about sustainable food sources. We’ll rally behind our local farmers.

Farmer’s Neighbor #1: We’ll teach our little children to eat organic, local, good food!

Farmer’s Neighbor #2: It may take a while but we’ll never let you win this battle!

(The Corporate Bad Guy & The Government Bad Guy walk out shaking their fingers at the farmers and laughing at the neighbors acting all pompous and like big jerks talking amongst themselves, making fun of organic and farmers)

Farmer #1: Whoa! That’s some pretty scary stuff about owning all the seeds.

Farmer #2: I know, I had heard some rumors about some shady stuff like that going on but I didn’t really believe it. I guess we have some research to do, huh?

Farmer’s Neighbor #3: I don’t suppose we’ve seen the last of them. Let’s help other communities start CSA’s Community Supported Agriculture like we have here!

Farmer’s Neighbor #4: We have to do our part by buying local and buying organic non genetically modified ingredients. If the people speak by not buying that’s the only way to get the message across.

Neighbor Kid #1: I’m going to tell all my friends at school, on my soccer team and my grandparents about all of this!

Neighbor Kid #2: Me too! It’s up to us kids to spread the word about what’s happening to food!

Neighbor Kid #1: (together) We can make the difference!

Neighbor Kid #2: (together) We can make the difference!

(The Entire Cast makes a big circle and holds hands.)

Everyone Together: (shouting joyfully) We can ALL make a DIFFERENCE!


(c) Copyright 2009 Tricia Baehr All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 9, 2010

Co-Creating Can Be Work

I was inspired by my son's quote..."Anything can happen,but first, you must take the steps to achieve the goal.Without doing anything, A dream cannot become reality." He's eleven this son of mine. Perhaps you have wondered why the Gypsy Mama has not been blogging lately? Probably not, but just in case you have I will fill  you in on my activities.

Several months ago a dear friend of mine mentioned a place. A lovely place, with rolling hills and meadows and 100 year old buildings. A place that is empty and lonely and even a bit sad. So we began to envision this place full of love and light. Full of peaceful people working and living together co-creating for the highest good. Living sustainably, growing food, living spiritually and helping others to learn to live this way too.

Then we began to share our vision. And it began to expand beyond our talking and dreaming. It is becoming concrete and real. Full of things to do, plans to write, things to research, meetings to have, powerpoints to develop. Whoa! this co-creating stuff can be work. I am really good at the dreaming part but when it comes to the doing....well, I can be good at that part too. Mainly, the doing part has to do with being inspired, being authentic and feeling on purpose.

So lately, I have been doing. Although I often tell myself that I am a be is important. Be with the moment, be with the seasons, be with my husband and children (that's why I love gypsying so much!)
And in this very moment, I am procrastinating on the doing. Even though the illusion of time is ticking away towards this time and place where all of this doing will need to be done. I suppose it doesn't hurt to allow myself a bit of indulgence of just being here now with my blog and you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Food is Love

Unexpectedly my usually very vibrant and active mother in her mid seventies complained of feeling fatigued. After doctor visits and trips to the emergency room she was diagnosed with a rare type of lung cancer and within a matter of less than a month she left our presence for another world.

That's where the food part comes in. When someone dies people bring food. Lots of food. Homemade food and store bought food. It becomes a way of showing love...something people can do to help when they know nothing else to do. After all, even when your grieving you gotta eat.

My mother loved food. My whole family loves food. My niece mentioned that she thought we were one of the only families she knows that the first question we all want to know is, "What'dya eat?"

So what did we eat...
Ham we have eaten lots of ham... I think we've had four hams.
Macaroni and Cheese, lots of pasta...lasagna,spaghetti, pasta salad
Casseroles...chicken casseroles, corn casserole, green bean casserole, potato casserole
Deli meats, chips, sodas, gallons of tea and lemonade
Bread, rolls, cornbread
Pound cake, apple cake, cookies, jello salads

Now, for those that read this blog I'd like to add a disclaimer that when food is made out of love, bought out of love, brought out of takes on a special healing quality. It changes. All of the qualities that I normally would have disdain for...factory farmed meat, genetically modified ingredients, high fructose corn syrup...disappear out of gratitude for the love in the food.

Love that has replaced those negative qualities with a healing energy because the intent behind the food is love, pure and simple. Losing a parent is practically a Universal experience. If you haven't gone through it yet, most likely you will. So for those who have lost someone close whether it be a child, a parent, a spouse or other loved one we understand the paradigm of food is love.

After all it is life sustaining, food. It provides us with our most basic need and I am so grateful to all of the beautiful people who showed us this kind of love. You fed not only our bodies but our souls as well.
And your presence as you filled our home with smells, tastes and textures of your expession of that love. With hugs, smiles and tears and prayers that kept us going through this time in our lives that came all too soon and unexpectedly.

My Mama loved food. Her deep south upbringing required it. Her Mama loved her and all of us with food too. With heaping tables of fried chicken, butter beans, buttermilk cornbread, slaw, collard greens, apple salad, broccoli casserole, crowder peas, jello salad and sugary sweet iced tea.

Food is love...thank you Laura, Jamie, Jackie, Donna, Tracy, Ric, Melba, Mark, Warren, Belinda, Gail, Jessica, Barbara & Mary. Thank you for taking the time to make, bake, buy, bring and love our family through this loss with food.