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I wanted to really know where the food I was eating comes from. REALLY comes from. No surprise, I'm finding that the better the food, the easier it is to trace. Here's my account of how I'm doing it, who is growing it, making it and selling it and what that all means in the big picture of the world...

Heather Carlucci | Chef | Advocate | Mom |


Lunch, Dinner, Gumbo

The other day I went out to lunch with Claire Marin, the recurring character of this blog, beekeeper and entrepreneur. We went to Biricchino Restaurant.

Biricchino is the restaurant that belongs to our friends at Salumeria Biellese

Salumeria Biellese is where we get all of our salumi from (prosciutto, salami, etc.).  What do I love most about SB?  They are old school Italian Americans and their product is totally traceable.

And they have this great restaurant.  The food was really good. Let's get this straight. This is a real Italian-American restaurant.  Of the red sauce variety. It's this kind of Italian-American restaurant:

I know, no joke.

And it's traceable. It's always been traceable. It's this kind of traceable:

We had salad

Salad. Okay, so there's a tomato in there. But they were happy tomatoes.

We had mozzerella

Housemade mozzerella. I think this could be the answer to world peace.

I had orreciette with sausage and broccoli rabe that would make my Aunt Anna really proud. Go there. It's on an unsexy street in north west Chelsea (think edge of Garment District/not quite FIT) and there the great deli they have on the corner with seats.  

You'll love me for this one.

Later that day, I had dinner at Il Buco Alimentari.   Also a somewhat sustainable/traceable Italian restaurant of the other kind. Not red sauce.  It was filled with really good food and mobbed with well-dressed people. My phone ran out of juice so I didn't get any photos.

It was given three stars by the NYTimes this last week.  Why? I don't know. It's great. But this is a different world we live in and it's a store with great food and communal tables and really just ok service.

Big shout out to Pamela.  Best service there and bartender.

They did mention where they get their pig from on the menu.  Many items are Italian and 9 out of 10 times the Italians do handle their food products with completely proper technique.

I would go there again in a heartbeat. I did very much love the props they give the winemakers on the menu.

On Sunday, I judged a gumbo cook-off.  I co-founded and it was a fundraiser. I really wasn't hopeful about the event to tell you the truth.  Gumbo? Cook-off?  God, that's iffy. Anyone could cook.  I tried not to think about it.

The good news is that it was A) a packed house!  B) 10 out of 12 gumbos were really good! and C) we made really good money for a Sunday Gumbo Cook-off in the East Village for A Cause Not Enough People Are Aware Of!

Here are more horrendous photos to show you the low down.

Even for the 5-8 set....

These photos don't show you the sheer volume of human bodies crammed into Jimmy's No. 43.  It got a little hairy there for a little while.  

The fact is, people came out to support, eat some gumbo that they had no bloody idea where it had been or who made it, and celebrate before grabbing Lent by the balls and vowing never to wake up drunk with chocolate dipped bacon hanging out of their mounth for at least 40 days.

Nissa Pierson, winner of most Creative Gumbo with her vegan Gumbo Z'Herbes and Mary Cleaver, lord high priestess of Sustainable, Traceable bad-assness.

I wish I could remember her name. She helped Scott Gold with his duck gumbo. We created a category just for him. Best gumbo with duck smoked in backyard in Greenpoint.

I'll leave off today by saying the road for Delicious America opened up today a little bit and we're ready to take my shoemaker writing, poor poor photography (and yes, my dad is a photographer. No comments please) and our iffy morals and take them to the live camera.

Just warning you now.

Catching up with great service, good candy and gumbo

For those of you in the greater NYC area, what would you do for a green market delivery service? Sort of a Fresh Direct that came right from the farmer's market every week.

Johanna and I have been playing around with business plans so if you have some ideas or would like to be a customer, reach out.  We'll probably be hitting downtown first, should this come to fruition. I'm warning you, we're in the embryo stage at this point.  But how damn handy would this be?  Crazy handy.

It's been a little tough getting the time to sit down to write lately.   Life happens.  The restaurant happens, kids get big cuts that need stitches that interfere with your only "Me Day" in a year, big ticker tape parades happen for your hometown football team that causes major crowding and subway delays.  Stuff happens. I thought I'd throw out some really helpful websites that I've been gathering.  Every once in a while. 

First up:  Natural Candy Store /

Not only do they have candy canes and other usually trashy holiday but now organic holiday candy, they also have sprinkles. Yes, SPRINKLES.  Or Jimmies to those of you that go that route.  All organic.  Just add ice cream. So if you've got a kid or a conscience, this is great way to keep to your "I'm trying as hard as I can to not kill off our species with crap". And really, we all love crap.  For real.  It's delicious.

Now you can indulge and hopefully not do major damage.  Just semi-major damage. (I know. No dentist will saint me.  But some kids will.)

This Sunday, February 19th is the Gumbo Cook-off for Chefs For the Marcellus, an org co-founded with Hilary Baum of   I'll be a judge.  Judging gumbo.  Happy Mardi Gras.

May I just say that the one food I just can't do is okra? Deep fried, sure.  Deep fry concrete and I'm happy. No, it's not the texture.  It's the taste.  Like some passed life issue.  Totally freaks me out.

So if you'd like to be amused and give to the cause that supports fresh water, healthy kids and good food, come by. It'll be at Jimmy's No. 43 on east 7th street between 2nd and 3rd aves.  1-3pm. $20 at the door.

And if you like gumbo, it's your lucky day.

Look out, posts with actual photos are coming.  I'll throw in a recipe for good measure.

IACP Presents: \"Regulatory Update on Food Marketing to Children\" Webinar

Hey Everyone- Tune into this webinar.   See why our kids still think that eating badly is a good thing and how we can change it.

IACP Speaker Series:

The Food Policy and Kids in the Kitchen Section

"Regulatory Update on Food Marketing to Children" Webinar

Marketing and advertising food to children is an area of increasing interest.  Join Christina “Tina” Poturica-O’Neill and  Magdalena Hernandez for a comprehensive overview of the foremost self-regulatory programs concerning children’s marketing: The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) and the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI). Sheila Crye (IACP) will moderate.

The presentation will cover relevant industry guidelines, look at specific cases, and provide a roadmap on how to create truthful, accurate and acceptable advertising for children. It will also go over recent developments in nutrition criteria for products featured in child-directed advertising.

The presentation will cover relevant industry guidelines, look at specific cases, and provide a roadmap on how to create truthful, accurate and acceptable advertising for children. It will also go over recent developments in nutrition criteria for products featured in child-directed advertising.

Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Time: 12:00 p.m. EST*, 11:00 a.m. CST, 10:00 a.m. MST, 9:00 a.m. PST

Speakers: Christina “Tina” Poturica-O’Neill & Magdalena Hernandez

Moderator: Sheila Crye

Reserve Your Space Now:



Christina “Tina” Poturica-O’Neill, JD

Legal Associate, Senior Legal Associate Children's Advertising Review Unit Tina Poturica-O’Neill joined the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) in 1996. Tina is responsible for evaluating child-directed advertising in all media, pre-clearing advertising in various stages of development, as well as drafting case decisions.

During her tenure at CARU, Tina’s decisions have dealt with a myriad of issues including responsible advertising practices for mobile marketers, children’s online privacy, representations of proper portion-size in food advertising, in addition to truthfulness and accuracy.

Tina enjoys educating the advertising industry on the self-regulatory process through public speaking at agency and industry conferences.

Tina has a J.D. from New York Law School and received a B.A. from Barnard College as well as a NYS Certificate to Teach Elementary Education. Prior to joining CARU, she worked as an elementary school teacher.

Magdalena Hernandez, Program Manager

Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, Council of Better Business Bureaus Prior to joining the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, Ms. Hernandez was an associate at the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. She has also worked in advertising standards at the NBC and ABC television networks. Ms. Hernandez was Director of Advertising Standards at NBC Universal where she managed advertising challenges and specialized in evaluating research studies and advertising clearance for prescription and over-the-counter drugs, nutritional supplements, foods and beverages. At the ABC Department of Broadcast Standards & Practices, she was the Senior Research Editor responsible for managing advertising challenges, reviewing research substantiation for all advertising submissions, and approving health and medical advertisements for air on the ABC network.

Ms. Hernandez is a graduate of Yale University and NYU School of Law. She also has completed four years toward a Ph.D. in Human Development at Columbia University.

Sheila Crye

Sheila Crye, Owner, Young Chefs, Inc. Sheila Crye has served as an advocate for youth culinary education over the past seventeen years.  Her company, Young Chefs, provides after-school cooking programs at the middle school level in Montgomery County, Maryland, through a federally-funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant.  She participates in Maryland state-level advocacy through the Maryland Out of School Time Network and serves on the Governor’s Office for Children Health and Family Community Environment workgroups.  Sheila was recently appointed to serve as one of fifteen founding members of the Montgomery County Food Council, a public/private partnership.  The food council is a collection of diverse stakeholders that examine how well the local food system is serving its community, and then find solutions to take action toward improving it.

Sheila is a graduate of Columbia University.  Her early career was in registered nursing.


IACP Speaker Series Guidelines and Etiquette

Please call-in from a quiet location to minimize any background noise.

How it works:

1. REGISTER TODAY - Click on the Webinar Registration link above

2. Fill out the Webinar registration form and click "submit"

3. You will receive an e-mail notification with a link to access the webinar (note: you will access this link on the day/time of the webinar in order to view the presentation)

4. PLEASE log-in a few minutes before the session starts because it may take a few minutes to get connected. 

5. Enjoy the presentation!

If you have any problems accessing the webinar, please email


The Q&A session will start after the presentation.

Why the Occupy Big Food was happening and what happened: Press Release: OSGATA v. Monsanto: Will Family Farmers Receive Justice?



For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Gerritsen (207) 429-9765

Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association

OSGATA v. Monsanto 

Will Farmers Receive Justice?

New York, New York - February, 2 2012 - It was standing room only as family farmers from around North America filled Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald's courtroom in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 31.  The topic was the landmark organic community lawsuit OSGATA et al v. Monsanto and the oral argument Monsanto's pre-trial motion to dismiss which it filed last July. Plaintiffs from at least 21 States and Provinces were in the courtroom including Oregon, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Saskatchewan, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine.

 Citizen's Assembly. Courtesy of Simran Sethi

Meanwhile, outside the courthouse in Foley Square, hundreds turned out for the Citizen's Assembly of support for family farmers, an action organized by several groups including Occupy Food Justice.  A depiction of Monsanto's infamous 100 year history including Agent Orange, Dioxin, PCBs and now gene-spliced food was presented.  Speakers addressed topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to risks associated with GMOs to issues of good food and food justice. After the conclusion of the courtroom oral argument, the plaintiff farmers and their legal team from the Public Patent Foundation provided details and comments on the courtroom proceedings, to supporters at the Citizens' Assembly.

"We were very pleased that the court granted our request to have oral argument regarding Monsanto's motion to dismiss our case today," said Daniel Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation, lead lawyer for the Plaintiffs.  "The judge graciously permitted both parties to raise all the points they wished in a session that lasted over an hour.  While Monsanto's attorney attempted to portray the risk organic farmers face from being contaminated and then accused of patent infringement as hypothetical and abstract, we rebutted those arguments with the concrete proof of the harm being suffered by our clients in their attempts to avoid such accusations.  The judge indicated she will issue her ruling within two months.  We expect she will deny the motion and the case will then proceed forward.  If she should happen to grant the motion, we will most likely appeal to the Court of Appeals who will review her decision without deference."

The large group of 83 Plaintiffs in OSGATA v. Monsanto is comprised of individual family farmers, independent seed companies and agricultural organizations. The total number of members within the plaintiff group exceeds 300,000 and includes many thousands of certified organic farmers.  The Plaintiffs are not seeking any monetary compensation.  Instead, the farmers are pre-emptively suing Monsanto and seeking court protection under the Declaratory Judgment Act,  from Monsanto-initiated patent infringement lawsuits. 

President of lead Plaintiff, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen was in the courtroom and witnessed the oral argument. Gerritsen had this to say, "Our lawyer did a good job explaining the current injustice farmers face. We have a right to be secure on our farms and to be free from Monsanto's GMO trespass. If we become contaminated by Monsanto, not only is the value of our organic seed crop extinguished but we could also be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement because their contamination results in our 'possession' of their GMO technology. We have farmers who have stopped growing organic corn, organic canola and organic soybeans because they can't risk being sued by Monsanto. It's not fair and it's not right. Family farmers need justice and we deserve the protection of the court."

Early on in the legal process, Monsanto was asked by lawyers for the Plaintiffs to provide a binding legal covenant not to sue. Monsanto refused this request and in doing so made clear that it would not give up its option to sue contaminated innocent family farmers who want nothing to do with Monsanto's GMO technology.

In a remarkable demonstration of solid support by American citizens for family farmers, co-plaintiff Food Democracy Now! has collected over 100,000 signatures on it's petition supporting the rights of family farmers against Monsanto. "For the past 12,000 years farmers have saved the best seeds each year to increase yields and improve traits for the food we eat," said Dave Murphy, founder and Executive Director of Food Democracy Now! "In 1996, when Monsanto sold its first patented genetically modified (GMO) seed to farmers, this radically changed the idea of how farmers planted and saved seed. Less than two decades later, Monsanto's aggressive patent infringement lawsuits have created a climate of fear in rural America among farmers. It's time for that to end. Farmers should not have to live in fear because they are growing our food."

A complete 36 page transcript of the Oral Argument is available here.

Further information on OSGATA v. Monsanto is available at and

About OSGATA: The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association is a not-for-profit agricultural organization made up of organic farmers, seed growers, seed businesses and supporters. OSGATA is committed to developing and protecting organic seed and it's growers in order to ensure the organic community has access to excellent quality organic seed free of contaminants and adapted to the diverse needs of local organic agriculture. 

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