|Lisa Herlinger with treat|
Fields of Plenty, the new book by organic farmer Michael Ableman, has forward-thinking foodies twittering. Like Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, Ableman's book is about what's happening to America's food supply. Now, put down the Zoloft; unlike Nation, this book is actually uplifting. Through beautiful winding prose, Ableman describes his journey across America to find farmers and food producers who are doing it right—heirloom tomatoes grown in inner-city abandoned lots, goat-cheese producers in Velveeta land. Fortunately, he gets around, and will be alighting in Portland this week to spread the good word of the new agrarian movement.
Ableman will read from his book at a Sauvie Island Center benefit dinner at Wildwood Friday, Nov. 18 (1221 NW 21st Ave., 248-9663. 6:30 pm. $90 with book.). Then on Sunday, Nov. 20, he will be part of a panel discussion, "Who Grows Our Food," at Ecotrust (721 NW 9th Ave. Call 467-0770 for reservations. 4-6 pm. $10.) in conjunction with Chef's Collaborative and Slow Food, as well as a book signing at Hillsdale Farmers Market the same day—ample time for foodies and sustainability boosters to meet the visionary (and very handsome, I might add) man who is breathing positive life into sustainable agriculture and food production.
It's mind-blowing to think that Bite Club first wrote about Ruby Jewel Treats creator Lisa Herlinger's chillingly good ice-cream sandwiches only a year ago. Today Herlinger is all over this town with her scrumptious buttery lemon cookie and honey-lavender ice-cream sammies stocking the shelves at local markets like New Seasons and her fleet of Ruby Jewel carts' shaggy, flamingo-pink umbrellas poking up all over Portland-area farmers markets.
Now the entrepreneur is about to become a reality-TV starlet too: Ruby Jewel Treats is slated to be featured on Recipe for Success, the Food Network's creampuff drama that follows foodie businesses in the making, from Midwestern homemakers hoping to sell the perfect peanut butter to the formation of Oregon's own Rogue Creamery. A Food Network crew stalked Herlinger for three days this past August for Ruby Jewel's national debut (9:30 pm Tuesday, Nov. 22). "They tried to get me to be all stressed-out," Herlinger says with a laugh. "The 'Will she make it? Will she lose everything?' moments."
The stress doesn't seem to be slowing her down yet. Herlinger recently moved into a new commercial kitchen in North Portland and is busy crafting her newest treat: creamy pumpkin ice cream sandwiched between ginger cookies. For your Thanksgiving dessert fix, visit Food Front (2375 NW Thurman St., 222-5658), call 805-8369 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order by Tuesday, Nov. 22. Singles are $3.50 each, or nab a cheapie dozen for $30. Bonus: This dairy queen delivers.