After spending a week in Portland, at IACP (The International Association of Culinary Professionals) My time was spent with, chefs, writers, cookbook authors, activists, entrepreneurs, photographers, stylists, food historians and many more. I have finally gotten time to digest what I saw, learned and how to put it all to use.

The connections I made are invaluable, it seems as if we all have a mission and a cause and that creates a giant energetic wave that ran through the conference. You could feel the energy and drive from the presenters to the organizers and the participants. Small change, one step at a time is all some of us can do, but when you get almost 1000 of us together there is no telling the outcome.

Not only did we learn from professionals like Michael Rhulman, Ruth Reichl, Brad and Adam Farmerie and Deborah Madison we also got to talk with them and share our ideas, everyone was accessible and open to a conversation. With new friends like Bryant Terry author of GRUB and Vegan Soul Kitchen and Vanessa Barrington author of Heirloom Beans and soon to be released DYI Kitchen how could I go wrong! I met so many amazing people too many to name (you know who you are) I am looking forward to next years conference.

And then there was the laughing...not only did I get a creative jolt at IACP I got a good spoon full of laughs. Us foodies like to have a good time and we certainly did. My friend Dan and I got a little wild but all in good fun. Don't miss his web shows at Renegade Kitchen he's all about cooking for allergies you can get great ideas for your kids on his site. And then there was the eating...Pok Pok with its spicy sloppy noodles and delicious crispy fish was a lunch treat. Higgins was another amazing meal, the food in Portland is fresh, seasonal, handled and grown with care. It showed in all the food we ate that people care and want their product to be the best it can be.

One of the most amazing events I was involved in was Kids Cook for a Cause workshop that the Kids In the Kitchen This was planned by the committee but proposed by Michelle Stern of What's Cooking. Everyone worked incredibly hard to make this happen. Local kids were paired up with IACP members and cooked a great meal of Soup, pasta and turkey meatballs. We sat and ate with the kids, parents and people in need of a hot meal. It was so touching and rewarding and I cried.

So to wrap up here I am inspired and feeling the love from my community. I will be bringing you some recipes soon to inspire you and your kids to be creative in the kitchen.

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Summer is Just Around the Corner!

We just announced the dates for our farm-to-table summer adventure camp, called Dirt-to-Dine Adventures, which we created last year in collaboration with Connolly Ranch in Napa.

This year, we are pleased to be offering three one-week sessions in July, available for children who are kindergarten ready through age 11.

Additionally, Connolly Ranch also offers its popular Life on the Farm camps all summer long.

Below is a short description of

Dirt-to-Dine, with full details and registration information available online:


Hope to see your children there!

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Dirt Made My Lunch

Dirt made my lunch,
Dirt made my lunch.
Thank you Dirt, thanks a bunch,
For my salad, my sandwich
My milk and my munch 'cause
Dirt, you made my lunch.

Dirt is a word that we often use,
When we're talkin' about the earth beneath our shoes.
It's a place where plants can sink their toes;
In a little while a garden grows.

A farmer's plow will tickle the ground,
You know the earth has laughed when wheat is found.
The grain is taken and flour is ground,
For making a sandwich to munch on down.

A stubby green beard grows upon the land,
Out of the soil the grass will stand.
But under hoof it must bow,
For making milk by way of a cow

I learned this song last summer at our Dirt To Dine Summer Camp. Before the kids went onto the farm they sang this song with the farm educators and they loved it. Well, we are getting ready for camp again, this summer we are doing three one week sessions in Napa. We have a new web page describing how it all works right here.

A few weeks ago My partners and I held a one day Dirt to Dine event at Frogs Leap Winery. Here is how it went: The kids got to tour the garden, get fresh eggs, study bees and chickens. They chopped, whipped, squeezed, emulsified, baked and sauteed
while and working with Michael Chiarello and myself in the kitchen. We wound up with a Spanish torta, granola, honey lemonade, herbed homemade mayonnaise and the kids served a huge feast for all the parents.
They also left with fresh eggs, granola and a jar of mayonnaise each.
It was perfect.

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