This past Friday and Saturday Irving Farm got the chance to connect and reconnect with some of our favorite farmers, chefs, and agronomists at the Just Food Conference in Manhattan.
1,000 members of the local food movement, including our friends from the Stone Barns Center, gathered to learn more about each other’s interests and initiatives… and, of course, to drink a lot of coffee! Tickets for the event sold out, and the morning crowds kept Jake Leonti (Director of Wholesale) and Miguel Rios (barista at 56 Seventh Ave) busy serving coffee faster than they could brew it.
Special shout out to Organic Valley; pairing their great milk from NY dairy farms with our coffee made a great combination! We’re happy to have had the opportunity to be a sponsor and to have had Dan Streetman (Director of Coffee) participate as a workshop panelist.
Third Place for Irving Farm in the Brewer’s Cup at the Northeast Regional Barista Competition! Go Tamara!
Last weekend, Irving Farm was involved with this year’s Northeast Regional Barista Competition. Every year it is a gathering of the best baristas from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Maryland. At the event there are two competitions. The Barista Competition, and the Brewer’s Cup. This year from Irving Farm our Director of Education Tamara Vigil competed in both competitions and took Third Place in the Brewer’s Cup!
Trying out Craft Coffee — coffee tasting boxes mailed to you once a month filled with 3 different yummy hand selected premium artisan roasters from around the country with sustainability focused coffee! I love it.
This month’s box of beans was from roasters in California, Michigan, and New York and is doing it’s job of waking me up!
Summer starts tomorrow (officially), and we’re already wondering where all the time went. Everybody’s walking around New York City with ice cream and iced coffee, and the weather doesn’t seem to be getting any cooler. We’re just trying to keep working on cool projects.
One of these projects we’ve been quietly working on this spring is in collaboration with our friends at Blue Marble Ice Cream Company. Wiggles spent the first two weeks of this month working with their non-profit, Blue Marble Dreams, on their first project, Inzozi Nziza, in Butare, Rwanda.
Inzozi Nziza is an ice cream shop operated by a local women’s cooperative. Wiggles traveled there to help them set-up and train them to operate a roaster donated by Irving Farm so they can roast for themselves some of the great coffees produced in the region. He also trained some of the women in by-the-cup brewing with Beehouse drippers. Now, in addition to their own ice cream, Inzozi Nziza is offering locally produced coffee that is roasted and brewed on-site.
Now we’d be set, if only Wiggles had learned as much about making ice cream as he was able to share about preparing coffee.
For now, check out the excerpt below, taken from the Blue Marble Dreams blog. Click through to read more about Inzozi Nziza and Wiggle’s trip.
The goal of this coffee project is to close the circle of the Rwandan coffee production. “A lot of the women working in the shop are already connected to the local coffee production. They have family members or friends who pick the coffee cherries or work at the local washing stations, yet none of the quality coffee is prepared here,” Wiggles has observed. We therefore are aiming to improve the quality of the coffee served in Butare. “In Rwanda and most coffee producing countries, the best quality coffee is usually reserved for export. Even in big cities like Kigali, the coffee they serve is not of a high quality.” By buying fresh local coffee and roasting it on site, we hope to amend this problem.
During the rest of his time here, Wiggles has focused on training the women at the shop. They have learned everything from the history of coffee, to the science behind roasting, to how to brew a simple cup. Irving Farm generously donated a high quality roaster that we have been roasting around 10oz a batch on. To brew the coffee we are using a single cup pour over system. This allows us to keep the coffee fresh and only grind beans directly before brewing it. The women are really excited to be starting this new coffee project, and soon we hope to offer a range of drinks and products around it.
We wish Inzozi Nziza happy roasting and happy brewing! We’ll be staying tuned for more good news from Rwanda—we hope you will be, too!
As I see it, MO was just prepping the place for our appearance tomorrow. I guess you could think of it as the Mighty Michelle O. and Friends opening for the Stone Barns Center Harvest Fest 2010… Yeah, that’s it.