Whip a dip so good you’ll flip! <br>Strawberry Cheesecake Dip - Mulligatawny Soup - Chocolate Mousse Pie </br>Little Piece of my Heart - Dressed to Impress; Mastering Classic Vinaigrette - Pop Quiz! What’s the best way to uncork Champagne?  </br> Michael DeLoach -

Pull up a chair for my new series!

Come join me “Around the Table” at Beyond Wonderful, where the conversations are lively and the food is always good.

On May 3, I’m launching a series of interviews with guests on the frontlines of the food revolution in America—from small organic growers to farmers and ranchers focused on sustainable practices to artisans crafting beautiful breads, cheeses and charcuterie. You’ll meet chefs raising the bar with fresh local ingredients, and the writers and activists that inform and inspire us all.

As a food writer and publisher, I live and breathe food; it is my passion. So I’ve always appreciated the special quality of local, farm-fresh produce and lovingly handcrafted foods. Yet weaning this busy city girl off the quick conveniences of a large supermarket was slow going until I began focused research on the largely unseen world of food production in America. Books, articles and film documentaries exposed a bleak scene that is, in a word, scary.

Over the last 40 years we have evolved from a country that balanced supermarket food with local, seasonal produce and products to one almost totally dependent on prepared “quick and easy” foods and take-out for our daily sustenance. Meals come bottled, boxed and frozen, laden with sugar, salt, fat, flavor enhancers and additives. Fruits and vegetables engineered for shipping and a long shelf life arrive by air and highway year-round, but often hard and tasteless.

What happened to the human element? Where is the passion and pride in growing and creating beautiful food, and the immense, sensuous joy of eating it? I wanted to know—and to share my discoveries with my readers. “Around the Table” lets me introduce individuals making a difference in how we think about food today—how we all may eat tomorrow. Working with passion to nourish our bodies, our souls, our communities and our environment, they inspire us to evolve in the way we view food and feed our families.

First up: Karen Bianchi-Moreda, a talented artisan cheese maker and owner of the Valley Ford Cheese Company on the Sonoma-Marin border. I first became aware of Karen when our Beyond Wonderful cheese expert, Mark “The Cheese Dude” Todd called me about an amazing new cheese—Estero Gold—that he was featuring in his latest column. Its creator, he enthused, was a true find; a fourth generation dairy farmer who makes her cheese using the rich, raw milk of her prized, 100-year-old herd of Jersey cows.

Karen, I soon discovered, lives sustainability 24/7 and is involved in every aspect of caring for and tracking her herd. From breeding and birthing to growing and managing the feed and grasses that nourish the cows, she knows her “girls” by site and through the detailed records that she keeps. Her passion, intelligence and inherent “cow-sense” makes beautifully crafted cheese like Estero Gold possible.

Come join Karen and me “Around the Table” at BeyondWonderful.com on Monday, May 3 for great conversation and several of her favorite Estero Gold recipes. I’ll put a clickable announcement on the Home Page when we launch.

See you soon!

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