The Main Dish: Target Launches $5 Wine Line, The Birth of Beervana and Craft Beer, and Other Highlights

In the age of information overload, refinement is key. That was the thought behind The Main Dish — a quick compilation of the most bookmark-worthy links from the Foodable Network. Aside from our usual daily content, every Sunday, The Main Dish will serve a fresh batch of handpicked pieces of the most appetizing lists & literature that you may have missed.

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The Birth of Beervana and Craft Beer

The beer industry has changed tremendously over the past 20 years. Today you can find a local Craft Beer in almost every city across the country, creating a new generation of beer lovers. The United States has gone from the home of the light lager to one of the most recognized beer manufacturers in the world.  If you have been following the progression of craft beer in the U.S.A, there’s one place you must explore: Portland, OR. Also known as Beervana. Arguably, the birthplace of the craft beer movement. Learn more about host Kerry Finsand in our pilot show— Beer Artisan.

Can Aquaponics Change the Food System?

In this episode of Sustain, we meet JD Sawyer, founder of Colorado Aquaponics, which houses an aquaponics farm known as Flourish Farms. “The food system is out of balance. We’ve got to figure out a way to have higher quality foods using less resources, period, or it’s not gonna work. It’s really gonna take a grassroots effort. Instead of fighting the model, we’re just gonna have to change it.” Says JD and he believes that Aquaponics can be the solution. Aquaponics is defined as an eco-friendly system that recirculates water from a fish tank through a vegetable grow bed. Nutrients from the fish waste feed the plants and the plants filter the water to keep the fish healthy. Raising fish is a huge part of the equation for Flourish Farms. 

Is Your Operation Ready to Offer Digital Ordering?

Nearly every household orders food to-go from a local restaurant at least once or twice per month (some per week) and the days of traditional ‘phone orders’ or simply waiting in line, are clearly coming to an end thanks to new and continuously improving technology. Many independent restaurants have been sitting back, watching the development of online/mobile ordering, also known as digital ordering, wondering if they need to get into this space and/or how to even get started. The question shouldn’t be ‘should we introduce digital ordering?’— the question should be ‘when will we introduce digital ordering?’ 

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Orchestrated Chaos at Chef Adrianne's

On this episode of Food as a Lifestyle, we meet Chef Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar as she begins her day with a little bit of foraging at Paradise Farms. These little adventures that she takes often inspire her menu. Today’s inspiration comes from double-yolked eggs. Before Chef Adrianne even arrives at the restaurant, she’s outlining the menu. “Eggs. Bacon. That’s a classic combination! I think I have that Berkshire pork belly... So, perhaps I will do the pork belly, but I’ll do it in, like, a square. Braise it soft…,” says Calvo.

Winemaking Sparking Consumer Interests

On this episode of On Foodable Side Dish, Rachel Speckan walks us through City Winery, a West Loop winery, restaurant, and concert hall. A lover of dusty Italian reds, lush and stony Savennieres, and funky American microbrews, Speckan is a true connoisseur. She uses her expertise to teach courses at City Winery and host wine tastings.Speckan, the National Wine Director for City Winery, loves that the modern consumer has begun to more deeply interact with the wines they drink.“People are really starting to care about where things came from, wanting to know the story behind it and its journey through life,” said Speckan. “...they really care and want to hear about its provenance and its terroir…”

From Clubs to Inexpensive Private Labels— How to Get in on the #WineTrend

Whether people are drinking more wine to get through the week #WineWednesday or to simply save the wine bottle corks for their next Pinterest project, wine culture has become increasingly popular in the U.S. showing a steady upwards growth in consumption year over year. After all, the U.S. has about 9,091 wineries, with California vineyards accounting for about 87 percent of the total U.S. wine production, giving Americans plenty of options to choose from when it comes to New World wines alone. The bottom line is wine is trending and big corporations, as well as consumers, are taking notice and doing something about it.

Could Aquaponics Be the Future of NYC Agriculture?

While aquaponics isn’t new, increasing interest in growing fish and plants in an integrated, indoor system could make it a future reality for New York City’s food system, despite skepticism and a questionable track record.

Issues facing the food system in the United States are no secret: overconsumption, underproduction, waste, inequitable distribution, and unsustainable farming practices all top the list.

Innovation could help. In fact, aquaponics could make agriculture commercially viable in New York City, thanks to new technology (think proprietary software, complex plumbing systems, and LED lighting) and a strong demand for local food.

A 2010 report from the New York City Council revealed unmet demand for regionally grown produce of $600 million. One need only imagine how that number has skyrocketed in the last five years.

“We do aquaponics for the quality of produce it yields,” Jason Green, CEO and co-founder of Edenworks, told Crain’s New York Business. “Our innovation is that we can do aquaponics cost-effectively, scalably and repeatedly.”

Data on the economic feasibility of aquaponics in the United States is sketchy, and economic feasibility metrics are inconsistent. Although the long-term viability hasn’t been proven, the business model has huge potential, with triple bottom-line benefits ranging from the environment to the community.  Read more

Urban Farming Expands to Aquaponics in Denver

With urban farming becoming all the rage as a source for local restaurants, some Denver entrepreneurs have turned to an even more innovative farming system: aquaponics. Aquaponics is essentially a farming system in which the waste from farmed fish and other aquatic animals is utilized to supply nutrients for plants, which then in turn purify water. An entirely sustainable aquaculture system, aquaponics seems poised to offer local restaurants and chefs access to a number of locally produced foodstuffs that are beneficial to the environment.  

As Colorado's climate is incredibly arid, which limits traditional water-reliant fish farming, the Colorado Aquaculture Association has stated that the move towards aquaponics has fueled an expansion of the number of fish species farmed within the state lines. Read More

Aquaponics Company Launches Mini-Vegetable Growing Systems

Aquaponics Vegetable Tanks  | Courtesy of Mobius Microfarms

Aquaponics Vegetable Tanks | Courtesy of Mobius Microfarms

Portland based Aquaponics company recently announced its creation of cabinet sized food growing systems that will grow a variety of vegetables in small fish tanks. Aquaponics includes utilizing water mixed with fish waste that feeds plants, allowing for the avoidance of fertilizer, the reduction of environmental costs and food waste, the conservation of water, and a retaining of more nutrients in the food products.

Using prize money won at the Portland State University/Wells Fargo Cleantech Challenge, Mobius Microfarms has already established several of these mini-food growing systems inside both local Portland homes and restaurants. Mobuis Microfarms next plans to create a subscription service where the company will sell their produce directly to local Portland residents. Read More