Just when you thought you knew everything about the local food movement, a locally produced documentary, “The Maryland Harvest,” brings more to light. Produced by internationally recognized, Baltimore-based, Houpla, Inc., a colorful and tantalizing one-hour documentary previewed Friday night to a standing-room only audience at uber-local venue, The Woman’s Club of Roland Park.
Scheduled for broadcast Tuesday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on MPT, the program shows the intimate, working relationship and mouth-watering creations jointly produced by Maryland farmers and top Maryland chefs, including Baltimore’s Cindy Wolf, Spike Gjerde, John Shields and Nancy Longo. Chefs work with crops that farmers already grow and suggest others. Farmers in turn bring new ideas to the chefs, in an ongoing creative process of reinventing Maryland cuisine. According to the program, Maryland cuisine is considered among the top five in the U.S. Who knew?
Shown Friday night was the spring segment, where ingredients like freshly cut asparagus, grown by Tom Godfrey of Godfrey’s Farm in Queen Anne’s County, and English peas, grown by neighboring Tom’s Farm, are turned into an artistic English pea risotto with asparagus sauce by Cindy Wolf.
Along with producer/director duo Brooke McDonald and husband Michael Brassert, on hand for the preview was co-producer/director and host, food and wine expert Al Spoler as well as Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen and radio-host-turned-farmer Steve Rouse. (Remember him from “Rouse & Company?”) Using organic practices at his Rousedale Farms, Rouse says demand for local crops is strong. With 200 chickens, he sells 300 dozen eggs per month, in addition to seasonal vegetables like flavorful heirloom tomatoes. “If we had 50 acres, I could sell everything,” he said.
Spike and his hardworking Woodberry staff are shown in the program preparing and freezing fresh rhubarb pickle for winter use. They pickle, preserve and can locally grown fruit and vegetables. “Can we feed ourselves?” asks Spike. “That is the question.”
With news that Spike is expanding his operation to include both a café and a take-out shop, it’s clear that Baltimore locovores are on the rise. A survey taken after the segment previewed Friday also showed an audience more interested in the local food movement.
Hungrier too, judging from the stampede upstairs to the food tables where attorney-musician Paul Snyder added jazzy flavor to a tasty Friday evening.
Watch the teaser for Maryland Harvest.