Food

Park district offers opportunities to enjoy & help nature during May

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, May 2, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan.Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). To register, visit wcparks.org, or call 419-353-1897 Join Hands Day Friday, May 3; 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Wood County Historical Center 13660 County Home Road, Bowling Green Participate in this National Day of Service. We’ll work as a community on a beneficial project. All tools and materials are provided. Leader: Stewardship staff (20) Register for volunteer opportunities at https://wcparks.galaxydigital.com Open Archery Friday, May 3; 5:00 – 7:30 pm Arrowwood Archery Range 11126 Linwood Road, Bowling Green Come anytime between 5:00 and 7:30 pm to give archery a shot! All archery equipment provided, along with brief beginner-friendly instruction from our certified instructors. Leaders: Craig Spicer and Zeb Albert To register, visit wcparks.org, or call 419-353-1897   RAD Program                                     Saturday, May 4; 8:00 am – 5:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Friends’ Green Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Female self-defense lesson. Learn basic self-defense maneuvers, situational awareness, and verbal tactics that can assist before, during, and after an emergency. Leaders: Troy Bateson and Eric Shiffler To register, visit wcparks.org, or call 419-353-1897 Greenhouse Help Tuesday, May 7; 1:00 – 3:00 pm J.C. Reuthinger Memorial Preserve 30730 Oregon Road, Perrysburg Help grow native plants that will go into the parks and preserves. All tools are provided. No experience is needed. Leader: Stewardship staff (12) Please register for volunteer opportunities at https://wcparks.galaxydigital.com Friends’ of the Parks Plant Sale Saturday, May 11; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Over 40 varieties of local genotype native plants are available for sale for $4 each. Native plants can create drought and flood resistant areas and pollinator habitat. Spatterwork Nature Prints Saturday, May 11; 1:00 – 4:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Take a stroll along the woodlot path gathering leaves, then create spatterwork leaf print art to take home.  Clothes and shoes that can get dirty recommended. Leader: Corinne Gordon. To register, visit wcparks.org, or call 419-353-1897 Friends’ Migration Field Trip Monday, May 13; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling…

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BGSU dining service growing its own produce with new hydroponics system

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News When students returned to campus in the chill of winter — so cold classes were canceled for two days — they still could get a taste fresh greens harvested on campus. Over Winter Session, a five-tower hydroponic growing system  was installed in Bowling Green State University’s Oaks Dining Center. Lettuce grown in the dead of winter was livening up the menu in the vegan-friendly Shoots station in the Oaks. Mike Paulus, director of dining services, planted the seed for the project last October. It serves a double function, he said. The sustainable system teaches students about being socially responsible, and it helps keep the cost down for dining services — the cost of the system is expected to be recouped by savings on food costs. Paige Wagner, campus dietician and teaching kitchen coordinator, said once the idea was suggested, she and Dave Beaverson, facilities director, researched systems and came back with a plan of action. The five towers were installed over Winter Session. Within a couple weeks, Wagner was harvesting lettuce, about 30 cups worth. She said she expects to get 30 harvests over the course of the semester. That’s a conservative estimate. Lettuce is the first to come in, but there are herbs in the works as well as peppers and cherry tomatoes.  Produce grows twice as fast as usual in the system. She said they are also looking at investing in a vining system to grow full size tomatoes, an in-demand ingredient.  “That’s something we’ll invest in once we see how all this goes,” she said.… Lettuce was the first, Wagner said, because “it’s the easiest one to grow and the hardest one to kill.” The system has no soil. A sponge keeps the plants’ roots moist, and that means the system consumes only a tenth of the water traditional farming does.  With a 10-gallon tank for each tower, that means no regular watering, just a top-off now and then. Wagner said she does have to regularly check the pH level of the system to make sure it stays in the slightly acidic range, 5.5-6, that the plants prefer. Wagner documents the plants’ growth and how much they’re yielding as well as how much fertilizer is added. The hardest part, she said, was the trial and error involved in getting the new system up and running, figuring out what grows well and…


Grab & Go, latest effort to address food insecurity at BGSU, is off & running

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Last summer Danielle Haynes, who was new to her job as coordinator of student case management at Bowling Green State University,  started hearing from students who didn’t have enough to eat. So she fed them. She had a basket in her office. At first it was filled with food she brought from home. “Then I went to grocery store a few times and bought them things with my own money.” She had a basket of groceries they could help themselves to. Chris Bullins, the  assistant dean of students, noticed. Haynes recalls Haynes asking her: “Are you buying groceries for students?” Grab and Go bags Bullins was able to get her $200, and Grab and Go was off and running. She now maintains a small pantry in a walk in closet filled with bags that contain cereal, oatmeal, rice, tuna, canned vegetables, canned fruit, instant macaroni and cheese, chips, peanut butter, ravioli, and a small bag filled with toiletry items.  It’s enough for three days of breakfast lunch, and dinner as well as snacks. She said that summer proved a challenging time. Students were on campus to take courses, but the dining halls were closed.  But the need extends beyond summer. With shorter semesters, she said, some students who buy the basic Bronze meal plan are finding themselves coming up short because they need to stay on campus more. Often students who are the first in their families to attend college don’t have resources back home to fall back on. And more foster children, who are without family connections, are now attending BGSU.  Haynes’ project is the latest effort aimed at making sure students have enough to eat.  Falcon Care program started about five years ago. Mike Paulus, campus dining director with Chartwells, said he was approached by a student senator wanting to pursue opening a food pantry on campus.  “I’ve never seen a food pantry on campus effectively operate,” Paulus said. The pantries have a hard time keeping enough student volunteers to staff them. But he knew there was a need. He had a student employee who was living in his car. “A food pantry wouldn’t help him.” What Paulus helped launched was Falcon Care, which provides dining cards good for five meals. The cards are generic and can’t be identfied. Chartwells supplies the first 10 cards. Then students are encouraged to donate meal…


BurGers is off to the races with plan to serve iconic DiBenedetto’s sub sandwiches

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Ralph DiBenedetto is back on the job. As the bread dough rolls under his hands, he claims, he’s out of practice. His deft way of stretching the dough to the edges of the sheet pan belies that assessment.  Ralph DiBenedetto Like any good craftsman he measures twice, first using a yardstick to find the midpoint and then to make sure the midpoints of the six long loafs line  up, before he makes one cut down the middle of the loaves. These will be eight-inch rolls. But first they need to sit for 80 minutes in a proofer, and then baked in a steam-injection oven. This is the bread that helped make DiBenedetto’s subs a favorite among local diners for 35 years. Now in partnership with Chris Kline, owner of BurGers (pronounced BG Burgers), those subs will return to the local bill of fare.  Kline reached out to DiBenedetto about adding a selection of his most popular items to his menu. DiBenedetto said it’s an offer he’s been waiting for since his casual dining eatery, which was located next door to BurGers’ 1424 E. Wooster address, closed about a decade ago. “I’ve been waiting for someone to approach me,” he said. There was talk of franchising, but that’s complicated with lots of red tape. Still, DiBenedetto took the time to write an operations manual. If someone picked up his name he wanted to leave nothing to chance. The offer from Kline involves more of a consulting relationship, and that operations manual has been pulled off the shelf. “Basically we want to do it as fast as we can,” Kline said.  “But we want to do it the right way so when the first customer comes in they get the same sub they got before.” That takes time, so don’t jump into the car and head over to BurGers for a sub. The working date for when they’ll be available is Feb. 20. Best to check the BurGers Facebook page, Kline advised. In the meantime, BurGers offers its full menu, which Kline said, has been getting rave reviews online. The goal is to replicate not just the taste of the sandwiches, but the look with the same wrapping. And everything from oven to coolers to prep station and service has to meet the exacting standards of Ralph and Ramona DiBenedetto.  Their son, Chris DiBenedetto who operated…


Rosie’s ready to serve comfort food to BG’s late night crowd

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Rosie’s Rolling Chef’s journey to a spot in Bowling Green streets hasn’t been easy. The food truck version of the Toledo restaurant had to contend with long city council debates and a 180-slide Power Point presentation, and just when it was ready to launch the sub zero weather set in. On Thursday, Feb. 7 though Rosie’s will take up its spot at 405 E. Wooster. The parcel  was a gas station, then a car lot, and now will host Rosie’s Rolling Chef every weekend. And if local diners show their interest by patronizing the food truck, maybe something more. Not that Rosie’s is a stranger to Bowling Green. It’s been here for Firefly Nights and a couple Black Swamp Arts Festivals, and Barone was a regular at city council meetings as the city’s food truck ordinance was debated and finally approved in June.  But this is a more regular arrangement, one that owner Phil Barone hopes may even evolve into a physical restaurant. It all depends on how well the hot mama bread, lobster Mac and cheese, lobster bisque, and grilled lamb chops sell. Bowling Green, he said, was one of the last places in the area to open up to food trucks. He’s wanted to do business here for years. He went to Bowling Green State University as did his wife. He graduated in 1978. Though he first went into real estate after graduation, he and his brothers Mike and John  opened Rosie’s in Toledo 36 years ago. The restaurant was named for their mother, the matriarch of the family and chief counselor for the restaurant. She was born in Sicily and immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island, and under the gaze of the Statue of Liberty, when she was 5 years old. “We just lost her about a year ago,” Barone said. She died at 98 last Feb. 4. “We knew how to eat her food,” he said, but preparing it was another matter. “She always made food exciting,’ he said. But the recipes were all in her head, “a pinch of this, pinch of that.” Chef Eric Kish worked with her to tweak them “so we have them down where we want them.” Those recipes found their way to the streets seven years ago. Barone said his brother Frank, a plastic surgeon, had just moved back to the area…


Scots & friends brave the storm to celebrate poet Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Scottish and their fellow travelers, even those with nary a tartan in their genetic code, are a hearty lot. Elliot MacFarlane recites an ode to the haggis. The storm that gripped the region was not enough to keep a couple dozen souls from venturing out to celebrate the memory of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns at Naslada Bistro in Bowling Green. Outside the weather may have been frightful, but inside we had poetry, food, whisky, and most of all fellowship to keep us warm. This was the fourth year the restaurant has teamed with Elliot MacFarlane (David Donley), a bon vivant and lover of  Scottish tradition, to present this celebration of the Scottish poet.   Boby Mitov chats with diners. We came out to eat traditional dishes, as reimagined by Bulgarian chef Boby Mitov and hear tales of Burns and others by MacFarlane, our host, for the evening. Outside the air was cold, and the atmosphere still flecked with the last remnants of the storm. When someone uttered the word a “blizzard,” Mitov was quick to respond. “Not a blizzard, just snow.” Inside Joe Spencer’s  bagpipes rang out. Linda Brown reads a Shakespeare sonnet. The weather did keep a couple of those scheduled to add to the festivities from attending. No singer, and only one set of pipes. So MacFarlane called on a little extra participation from the guests, handing out poems for them to read aloud. Some came prepared with their own selections. That included Karen Wood, the host’s wife. She offered one of two tributes to Mary Oliver, an American poet who died at 83 this week. But neither this remembrance, nor the recollection of some of the more unfortunate circumstances of Burns’ own life were enough to cast a pall over the affair. Waiter Cole Olmstead serves the Scottish Beef Collops with Whisky Sauce with Rumbledethumps. Not given the measured doses of fine Scotch whisky that were doled out throughout the evening. Each shot offered a distinctive taste of Scotland, whether the peat or the sea breezes allowed to waft through the warehouses where the whisky ages in oak barrels. For their part, the Burns Night celebrants were happy to taste that breeze, and not feel it — the contrast between the warmth inside and cold outside, adding to the festivities. Ending with a congregational singing of Burns’ greatest hit,…