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The drama! The intrigue! In a battle of the taste buds who will survive?! *cue dramatic Iron Chef-type music*
Huh? Are we watching reality television? Is this thing on?
Fortunately (or unfortunately) there will be no Kiva reality series. (Although, I tend to think it would make for some very entertaining material!)
There will, however, be another monthly wine and cheese pairing featuring notes from Ziggy and Josh, our wine and cheese buyers. This one is particularly interesting because of their difference of opinion. There is only one way to settle this dispute and that is to taste for yourself!
Ziggy: Since it’s beginning to look like spring is here, everything is coming up rosés.
If you think sweet and sickly when you see pink, you might want to rethink your drink. Rosés are often misunderstood and their versatility can be under-appreciated.
A rosé wine can vary in color from palest pink through peach and orange hues to varied shades of clear, vivid red; and can vary in palate from delicate to bold. Some, yes, are sweet, and some are dry with varying degrees of tannin. The right rosé can complement a mild fish dish or take on a grilled steak, and the color alone won’t tell you a great deal about the character of the wine.
There are several ways rosés arrive at their rosy hue. Most are made from grapes used to make red wine, either as a single varietal or a blend, and colored by being allowed to remain in contact with the skins, where the pigment resides. Others may be produced by blending white and red wines. While this is not a popular method in many regions, there are some very tasty wines that result from it.
Most rosés will be crisp and have vivid fresh fruit notes like strawberry, cherry, apricot or melon, and, served chilled, will complement and enhance a summer afternoon or evening.
We chose Territorial’s Pinot Noir Rosé for our pairing this month. The Kiva has carried Territorial wines for many years, and their Rosé has shown consistent quality and been a steady seller.
We are currently stocking the 2010 Rosé; and the 2011 is expected in soon. I and my tasting partner found it to be drinking extremely well. While the usual advice about drinking rosé fresh is good, many will continue to show well for at least one or two years after bottling. Don’t throw ‘em away without uncorking a taste.
We found the 2010 to have a bright, deep rose color. On the nose, I found notes of violet and strawberry lollipop. The palate was light, bright, and crisp with lots of soft, icy fruit including cherry and stone fruits. We drank it chilled but not iced.
My tasting partner and I particularly liked the rosé with the Fern’s Edge Pleasant Hill cheese, which has a young, sharpish cheddar-like flavor, a crumbly texture, and a bite on the finish. This cheese brought out fresh fruity notes in the wine. Of the Fern’s Edge cheese we tried, this pairing was by far our favorite.
While Josh and Emma especially enjoyed the Mt. Zion with the rosé, I have to disagree. The cheese is excellent–earthy, meaty, and scrumptious–but I wanted to pair it with a big, rich, full-bodied wine (like a Washington Cabernet). I found that it made the rosé taste alkaline and overpowered its bright and fruit notes.
The feta was fresh, rich, mild, and, while salty, it was not overpoweringly so. We thought it went well with the Territorial Rosé and brought out some tannin on the palate.
The Five Corners was soft, initially mild, but with a complex buttery musk on the finish. The Territorial Rosé was a pleasing accompaniment, but the butteriness of the cheese seemed to blunt the wine’s acidic crispness a little.
Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc 2011: Less than 1000 cases produced. I found this to be crisp and lucid, with clean, clear berry fruits. Quite dry but not acerbic. Made from a blend of Grenache and Cinsault grapes from the Roussillon region. Many pairings are possible, but grilled chicken and vegetables is a top choice. $15.50
Calcu Rosé 2010: A perennial favorite of mine from the Valle de Colchagua, Chile. Made from 50% Malbec, 40% Syrah, and 10% Petit Verdot, there is some complexity to this round, slightly magical blend. It deserves its name, which means “magician” in a local language. $11.75
Druid’s Fluid Pink 2009: Lightly sweet, fruity, and easy to drink, Druid’s Fluid wines hail from Oregon’s Troon Vineyards in the Applegate Valley. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser, it’s “the wine for everyone”–in their own words. $12.00
Hey Mambo Kinky Pink 2010: A California Pinot Noir Rosé. A tasty, dry rosé that will cool off a hot afternoon, accompany salmon on the barbeque, or otherwise serve any function you desire of a dry rosé. Good value–and a fun name. $10.50
Melrose Two Dog Red 2009: Sweet but not too sweet, with a residual sugar of 1.7%, this rosé contains a fair amount of Pinot Gris. Another easy quaffer for a warm summer night, it would also make a good aperitif with many hors d’oeuvres. $12.00
Cardwell Hill Rosé of Pinot Noir 2011: From a small producer of excellent Pinot Noir, Cardwell Hill’s Rosé is dry and bright with a cherry/berry nose and a fresh finish. A fine value and versatile dinner guest from the Willamette Valley. $10.50
Charles & Charles Rosé 2011: Yes, you can drink rosé and still be bad… Edgy packaging and copy, and a solid mouthful of dry, bright syrah rosé. A bucket of ice is all it lacks. $10.50
Del Rio Rosé Jolee: A rosé that tastes sweeter than its official figure of .5% residual sugar because of the predominance of the heavenly fragrant Early Muscat that makes up 63% of the blend. 17% Riesling and 20% blend of red grapes makes up the rest of this salmon-colored wine that would be equally at home with spicy Asian food or a cheesecake dessert. $11.75
This list is not exhaustive, and it doesn’t even touch sparkling rosés, which also come in a spectrum ranging from the fascinating, complicated, and elegant to fizzy pink grown-up soda-pop. As the season warms up (yes, it will–I think it will…) we’ll be seeing more rosés from France, Spain, and Italy. Ask Ziggy to tell you exactly what’s in stock!
Josh: “I don’t have to go away for the weekend, I’m already here, ” says Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy owner, Shari, as she casts a proud glance across her farm indicating her view of Dexter Lake through the trees. She has been raising award-winning dairy goats at her beautiful farm in Lowell since the early 1970’s.
Happy goats produce good-quality milk, and her goats have every reason to be happy. Each goat is named and cared for as a member of the family, grows up on organic feed, dutifully produces milk, and then retires with her fellow “beloved old ladies” to live out her days in the bucolic pastures of the farm. She pays to have each goat’s milk tested every three weeks to ensure the health of the animals and the quality of the milk. Her impeccably-clean dairy results in fresh, clean-tasting cheeses that would never be described as “goaty”.
I chose to celebrate this devotion to sustainable farming, happy, healthy goats, and high-quality local cheese, by selecting Fern’s Edge Goat Dairy’s pride and joy, their Mt. Zion aged goat cheese, for this month’s wine and cheese pairing:
The Wine: Territorial Vineyard’s Rosé is fruity, bright and clean, portending of lazy summer evenings to come.
The Cheese: Mt. Zion is a raw, toothsome aged artisan farmstead goat cheese in the style of a Spanish Manchego. This cheese serves as a showpiece for a great collaboration between the goat herd owner and cheese-maker that brings together decades of of dairy goat experience with generations of cheese-making experience.
The Pairing: A good, straight-ahead, innocently refreshing rosé meets an older, more seasoned cheese and suddenly becomes more interesting.
It’s a tale as old as time. An unlikely duo teaming up to save the day and teach us all a valuable lesson. Our hero’s: Tom Hunton and Charlie Tilt, owners of Hunton’s Farm and Hummingbird Wholesale respectively. One a grower of grain, one a distributor. Both located here in the scenic Willamette Valley. So what is it that brings these two businessmen together?
It’s the beginning of a new month, and that means it’s time for another Book of the Month blog post! As I look forward to the coming spring and summer, in spite of the snow this morning, I am excited to bring your attention to this new publication. Natural Notes are quick reference guides on a range of subjects relating to alternative health and wellness.
As the days grow longer and the promise of good weather becomes more real, I find myself re-inspired to make good on those New Year’s resolutions. This last bout with winter can be discouraging, but these colorful and easy-to-use guides are exactly what is needed to remind me that my goals are achievable and worthwhile!
With information at a glance and durable construction, Natural Notes are perfect to carry along with you throughout the day, or keep by your kitchen sink.
Whether you are wanting to learn more about pH Balancing, Sprouting Seeds, Genetically Modified Food, Aromatherapy, or more, Natural Notes are a great way to start your inquiry and support your healthy lifestyle decisions along the way!
What comes to mind when you think of fermented foods? Perhaps it is that dusty old jar of sauerkraut you keep pushing around the pantry shelf. After attending the Fun with Fermentation Festival last Saturday, I can tell you that the fermented foods of today are fresh, abundant and exciting. With over a dozen local food and beverage producers in attendance, there was certainly some sauerkraut to be seen, (and tasted), and a whole lot more.
Held at the historic WOW Hall, the festival is hosted by Willamette Valley Sustainable Foods Alliance (WVSFA) and is a benefit for Food for Lane Countyand WVSFA. What a great way to have fun and do good!
After donating our cans of food and getting our hands stamped for admission, our first tasty tidbit was some of Cousin Jacks Steak and Ale Pasty.
We got to chat with owner, Kim, who reminded us that the ale in their delicious pasty, courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing, is one of the oldest known fermented beverages!
Our next stop was at the Pickled Planet table where we tried one of their seasonal specialty blends, Blueberry Love Bomb.
Fermented blueberries? Yes. This will take your next salad to new heights.
Moving on, we sipped some Love Potion #9 from Herbal Junction Elixirs, an intoxicating fermented herbal beverage with saw palmetto.
Love bombs, love potions, love is in the air… ah yes, Valentines Day is not far off!
One of the best things about events like this one, is discovering new things. This happened when we came across the 8…9…Tempeh booth, formerly Magi Fungi. This gluten free and soy free tempeh was amazing! With garbanzo, black bean and quinoa varieties, it was versatile and delicious. Unfortunately they don’t have retail packaging yet, but they do take direct orders.
There were so many more good things, including Holy Cow tempeh sandwiches, Cafe Mam coffee, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Premrose Edibles Chocolates – (one of our favorites here at the Kiva), and Grateful Harvest Farms who make my personal favorite, Garlic Kraut. The cabbage is crunchy, not soggy, and the garlic flavor is robust! We also spent some time with the ladies of Mountain Rose Herbs and their loose tea leaves.
Ever wondered what the difference between black tea, green tea, oolong tea, or any of the other varieties is? It’s about the fermentation!
On our way out to pick up some Take Root Magazines, (winter issue now available at the Kiva), we ran into Molly of Mckenzie Mist Water. While the water isn’t fermented, it is a necessity, and it’s also the best stuff out there.
She was excited to tell us about her artesian well that provides so many of us with pure, unadulterated drinking water.
We made our way downstairs to find fermented beverages of the adult variety in abundance. Ninkasi had brought their record player for the enjoyment of all. Oakshire was there with four beers on tap and also Hop Valley. We got a sneak peek at Falling Sky Brewery, opening soon! We didn’t partake, except with our eyes, since we were working of course. It was great to see all the craft brewers of our fine city together in one place!
We came to the end of our fermented field trip, happy to have seen friendly faces and tasted so many vibrant flavors that come from so near us!
|Roger and Emma, excited to be touring the Alpenrose facilities!|
The daily routine is the same at all three farms, so allow us to share with you the life of a Yeager dairy cow. The cows are milked first thing in the morning, then fed, bred (if it is the right time of the cycle for the individual cow) or pastured for at least eight hours to graze, then fed again before a final milking and bedtime.
All the cows receive at least eight hours of pasture time each day. They are bred when they are from 15-22 months, if they meet the weight requirement. Each cow is milked for 300 days a year and given 60 days off from milking. All three farms hold the title of “Animal Welfare Approved” which means that they are inspected and certified by the Animal Welfare Society. These are not factory farms.
The cows’ supplemental feed consists of alfalfa, corn, barley meal, mineral supplements and protein meal (the protein meal is sourced from flax, canola or sunflower when available; soy is only used when the other three are not available, and even then the soy is non-GMO and grown in the U.S.). The corn is grown on the farm, and overall, 75% of the feed is grown in Oregon!
Of course, this feed is only supplemental. The 130 acres of the Mayfield farm are broken into 27 different grazing pastures. Each pasture is approximately five acres and the pastures are rotated when the cows have eaten the grass down to two inches. Because this area of the country is so rainy, the fields are equipped with drainage ditches to prevent the cows from standing around in muddy water which could lead to hoof rot or other problems. Look at these happy cows!
The calves are kept together in groups of 10-15 per paddock because they are social animals. There is always fresh hay for the calves to lay in and a milking station where they can get milk. The calves are fed pasteurized milk to prevent any possible bacterial contamination. They are fed nothing but milk for the first four months of their lives. Each calf is tagged with a microchip, which tracks (among other things) how much milk the calf is consuming. The milk station is also equipped with a micro-chip which will cut off a greedy cow, ensuring that all the calves have equal access to the milk. The calves are weaned at four months and begin eating the regular feed and grazing in the pastures with the rest of the herd.
Most male calves are sold to other farms, but some of the ones with impressive pedigrees are kept to act as stud bulls on the farm.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… Manure?
One sometimes unwanted side effect of having a herd of cows is all the manure that piles up. At the Yeager farms, the manure is collected and the solids are separated from the liquid slurry. The solids go into a heated rotating drum, which sterilizes the solid matter and turns it into a safe crumbly material used on the farm as bedding for the cows and fertilizer for the feed crops. The liquid slurry is used on the farm as a fertilizer and any excess is sold for the same purpose. The Yeagers’ were quite excited about reusing so much of the waste on site at the farm; in particular, not having to spend money to truck in straw bedding has been of great help.
|Chris Yeager with a handful of of the dry, sterile material separated from the manure.|
Two people oversee the milking operation. First, they check the cow’s teats to make sure the milk has been let down and that there are no problems with the teats. The teats and instruments are cleaned and sterilized. If any problems are detected with a cow, they are not milked until approved by a veterinarian.
The milking equipment is checked every month by a certified inspector to ensure the pressure is correct so that the milking process is not painful for the cows. Safety of the cows is paramount, and every possible measure is taken to ensure that the milking process is as clean and comfortable as it can be.
When the milk comes out of the cow it is typically 80 degrees F, and then is cooled to 37 degrees to prevent any bacteria growth. The two tanks that hold the milk get cleaned every single day. Each tank can hold up to 8,000 gallons.
Each cow’s milk production is tracked each day. Typically, a cow will produce between 30-60 pounds of milk per day, depending on age and stage in the breeding cycle. Cows usually produce slightly more milk in the morning milking than the evening, with approximately 55% coming from the morning milking and 45% from the evening. Tracking milk production is just one of many uses for microchip technology at the dairy.
Each cow wears a pedometer to monitor activity and other vital signs. The micro-chips in the pedometer and the ear tag allow for a surprising amount of information to be tracked for each individual cow. The herd managers keep really close tabs on the cows’ activity levels and breeding cycles, to avoid over-milking a cow and shortening its productive lifespan. This kind of digital herd management has raised the average productive milking life-span of a cow on the this farm to seven years, about three years more than the typical dairy cow’s productive life-span. Knowing when to avoid over-milking a cow, knowing exactly where in the breeding cycle a cow is, knowing exactly how much milk a cow has produced – these are the kinds of things that the micro-chip technology employed on the farm helps with.
A sick cow is immediately isolated from the herd and checked by a veterinarian. Natural remedies such as garlic, aloe vera and iodine are used whenever possible. If the cow’s health and life is in danger, antibiotics will be used to help the cow, which is then sold to another farm.
Cows that have received antibiotics are NEVER reintroduced into the milking herd.
Processing the Milk
All the milk is taken to the Alpenrose processing plant which is only 20 miles down the road from the farm. This is truly remarkable in this day and age, and anyone concerned with the carbon footprint of shopping choices should take note that milk is typically trucked long distances from rural farms to processing plants. For instance, while family farmers in Oregon contribute milk to Organic Valley’s “Northwest Pastures” line, their milk is trucked hundreds of miles to a processing plant in Seattle before being trucked back down to appear in Oregon stores. When you buy organic Alpenrose milk, you can rest assured that every step of the way your money is staying in the local economy, from the dairy farmer to the processor to the distributor (our Alpenrose milk is actually delivered to us by Lochmead, another wonderful local dairy that provides us with non-organic milk and delicious ice cream).
|We were impressed with how spotlessly clean the processing plant was!|
Alpenrose Packing Plant was the first plant in Oregon to package and sell organic milk. The plant has been family owned since its beginning and many of the staff as well as the owner live at the Alpenrose site.
The plant receives tankers of milk every day, and the milk is immediately taken to an on-site pasteurization machine for the pasteurization process. They pasteurize the milk at 165 degrees F, just slightly above the lowest legal temperature allowed of 161 degrees F, to ensure that as little of the nutritional value of the milk as possible is destroyed in the pasteurization process. All of the waste water produced by the plant goes into a filtering pond that cleans the water, before channelling it into the sewer. This prevents any leakage into the groundwater supply.
Alpenrose Community Spirit:
Alpenrose is extremely active in their community. They own and maintain three little league baseball fields on their property. They also host the girls Little League Softball World Series as seen on ESPN each year. There is also an Olympic-Regulation speed-bike track. There is even a Quarter Midget race track on the property! Alpenrose Dairy also hosts their Annual Easter Egg Hunt in which up to 6,000 kids and parents turn out to hunt for prizes. This hunt has been going on for 48 years now. Alpenrose sales and PR rep Tom Baker gave us a great tour and even dished us out fresh-made Alpenrose ice cream in the Dairyville Ice Cream Parlour!
Community picnics and social events are hosted on the manicured lawns, and “Dairyville” is a popular destination for birthday and holiday parties. Dairyville is a mock western town, complete with general store, opera house and an old time ice cream parlour! It is not open to the general public, but please call to inquire about specific events. Visit http://www.alpenrose.com/ to learn more about the wonderful activities that are hosted on the Alpenrose property.
|Tom Baker scooping the ice cream in the Dairyville Ice Cream Parlour|
On Sunday the 29th of August, an unprecedented power outage blacked out downtown Eugene and caused the Kiva to lose electricity for 14 hours. According to EWEB, a single cable failed in an underground vault. The resulting spark caused an electrical fire, which subsequently caused protective equipment designed to prevent a cascading outage to fail. This became dramatically obvious when three manhole covers at 11th and Pearl blew off and large plumes of smoke and flame shot up into the air. Before the fire could be safely put out, EWEB had to turn off power to the downtown grid, leaving 28 blocks of downtown Eugene without power. EWEB crews worked around the clock to replace more than 3,000 feet of cable and restore power to the area.
For the Kiva, the timing of the power outage magnified its effects. When it became clear later Sunday afternoon that the power was going to be out for an extended period of time, we spent hours on the phone, calling everyone we could think of that might be able to help. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a way to preserve our refrigerated and frozen inventory. We tried other grocers, vendors with refrigerated trucks, electricians, generator rentals… to no avail. The combination of this happening on a Sunday afternoon with so many businesses already closed and so many generators already rented for the Eugene Celebration made for very unfortunate timing. Since then, we have been making contingency plans that will hopefully ensure that if a catastrophic power outage occurs again (very unlikely), we will be ready for it.
From 2:30 PM Sunday afternoon until early Monday morning, the Kiva was without power. The coolers and freezers on the sales floor warmed above the legal limits, and Monday morning we faced the task of tallying and getting rid of an entire store’s worth of refrigerated and frozen inventory while simultaneously arranging unscheduled deliveries from local vendors to restock the store as fast as possible. Our number one goal was to make sure that no salvageable food was wasted. We owe a great big thank you to the Eugene Mission, Food For Lane County, Shelter Care and the East Blair Housing Coop for their help on Monday. These charitable organizations lent their refrigerated trucks and manpower to haul away a mountain of food. The Eugene Mission in particular returned several times as we inventoried and emptied more coolers, and they even lent us the use of their own crates. Without their willingness to work with us in a very hectic environment, it would have been much harder to salvage and donate as much food as we did.
Our number two goal was to stay open for business and get back to normal as fast as possible. To that end we owe a giant debt to Lochmead, Nancy’s Springfield Creamery, Toby’s and many other local vendors who put together orders on short notice and showed up to stock their product and get our coolers and freezers full again. Another big thank you goes out to all the Kiva shoppers who came on down and shopped with us on Monday even though we had limited inventory. I personally want to thank all the Kiva employees who put in a VERY hard days work and did it with a smile. It was a difficult situation, but we made the best of it and I feel good as the Kiva manager about how little was actually wasted.
Some of you may have seen news coverage of this power outage. KVAL news chose to focus on food being thrown in the Kiva dumpster and subsequently salvaged by dumpster divers. The total amount of food thrown in the dumpster represented less than 10% of the total lost inventory, and mostly consisted of items from the open-faced dairy coolers that had warmed to room temperature for over six hours before the power came back on. Nothing that could have been donated was thrown away – even charitable organizations ask that food that could potentially be a health risk not be donated. People who were willing to risk it did organize a large group to salvage the food that was placed in the dumpster for immediate consumption. In the end, very little food was wasted at all.
A number of customers have expressed concerns about the Kiva’s ability to recover from this setback. Let me assure everyone that we will not have to pass on any costs from the power outage to our customers in the form of price increases. We are working with EWEB and our insurance company to recover the losses we incurred. The Kiva is going to be just fine!
By Tuesday morning, a large order had arrived and the store was more or less back to normal. We all collected our collective breath and moved on with business as usual. We feel content with the knowledge that we did everything in our power to recover from the power outage as quickly as possible while donating every last item of salvageable food to local charities that could ensure the food got to those in need. I am proud to work at a store and live in a community that values good food and pulls together in a crisis. Thanks Eugene!
– Carl Nash
Kiva Grocery Store
Register Guard article (http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/25236647-41/power-eweb-street-avenue-east.csp)
Personal conversation with EWEB representatives.