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Ohio City: Organic caterers grow, prepare meals

1:01 AM, Sep 29, 2011   |    comments
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  • OHIO CITY -- A local chef is taking organic farming one step further.

    Brian Doyle has two decades' experience working as a chef at restaurants and catering events around Northeast Ohio.

    With a passion for organic, locally grown food, he's found a new way to serve: By growing, harvesting and preparing take-home meals for clients.

    It's a concept based in Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.

    "I think anyone who's interested in a clean, healthy meal that is restaurant quality, they know they don't have the time to cook, and they're interested in doing a locally-sourced meal plan, it's a good way to go," Doyle says.

    CSA farms sell shares of a season's harvest in advance. As a return, share holders (members of the community) receive a weekly bag of veggies throughout the season.

    With Sow Food, the organic catering company Doyle started this summer, the concept is taken one step further.

    With the help of his farming partner, Chad Krawtschenko, the duo harvest from their Ohio City farm, White Squirrel Farm, and then prepare the harvest as meals.

    The farm includes a variety of greens, beets, peppers, egg plant, watermelon, beans and herbs.

    Instead of picking up a traditional CSA bag of locally sourced veggies and fruits, clients take home locally sourced dinners each week.

    What Sow Food cannot grow, like poultry, beef and pork, they source from other local farms.

    Programs run monthly or seasonally. Each week, clients receive a tote full of entrees, sides, salads and deserts, for a total of three meals a week that feed two people.

    "You're going to get a full meal with proteins, sides, a starch. Everything from Mother Nature," Doyle says.

    The cost breaks down to about $15 per person, per meal.

    Pickup is every Tuesday during the season, at three locations around suburban Cleveland.

    Doyle says it equals savings for people who want to eat organic, but may not have the time or skill to cook.

    "It affords the option of having local food, but not having to worry about, 'How am I going to cook all this stuff?'" Doyle says.

    He's also seen positive feedback from Ohio City neighbors. One family is thinking of starting their own organic garden in their yard, with Sow Food's help.

    Next year, the chef will partner with Community Urban School to lead an after school cooking club.

    Chef Brian Doyle's Recipe for Swiss Chard and Green Tomatoes:

    (Serves 4 as a side dish)

    1/2 lb fresh Swiss chard, washed and chopped

    2-3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced

    1-2 green tomatoes or ripe tomatoes, diced

    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Heat a saute pan to medium high heat. Add the oil and the garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and continue to saute for 1 more minute. Add the Swiss chard and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add a splash of water and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve or freeze for later.  Buy Local!

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