Food

BG trims fat off proposed food truck ordinance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some of the leftover crumbs from the food truck discussions were tidied up by Bowling Green City Council Committee of the Whole Monday evening. The ordinance allowing food trucks to operate in the city will be ready for City Council to vote on at its next meeting. The decisions made Monday evening favored making the ordinance the least restrictive as possible – with the understanding that if a problem occurs, council will then handle the issue. But council member Bill Herald, who was head of the committee tackling the food truck issue, brought up several issues that weren’t addressed in the ordinance, just to make sure they should not be included. In most cases, the Committee of the Whole preferred to keep the recipe for food trucks as simple as possible. For example: Trucks in the downtown area Herald noted that the ordinance did not require food trucks in the downtown area to have “visibility triangles.” Council member Sandy Rowland reminded that the goal was to “keep the regulations as free as possible. Those are things we can change as we live through the implementation.” Council president Mike Aspacher agreed that council can “adjust as needed,” when problems arise. If a food truck were to park in an unsafe location, the city will discuss the problem, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said. The city has a history of working with people and coming up with solutions that are agreeable. “We really do try to employ diplomacy,” she said. Hours and days of operation Herald pointed out that the ordinance does not limit food trucks to certain days or hours of operation. Aspacher said the city’s goal is to not place such limits. “My feeling is we should not do so,” he said. Council members Rowland and Bruce Jeffers agreed. Several food vendors have attended city meetings to explain that they only set up on days and times when they can get plenty of customers. Appeals process for those opposed to food trucks The proposed ordinance allows food vendors to appeal if their permit request is denied. However, there is no appeal process for the public if the permit request is granted, Herald said. This addition would allow more freedom to the process, he said. Jeffers agreed. However, Aspacher and Rowland saw no need for the appeal language. “I just feel this is unnecessary,”…


Downtown BG Farmers Market opens May 16

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Take some time to come out and enjoy an evening at the Farmers Market in Downtown Bowling Green.  The market starts May 16, 4-7 pm and will run through October 10th.  But don’t wait; every week brings new produce, delicious cottage foods, some handcrafted items and music too.   The new Farmers’ Market manager, Samantha Beane has organized an amazing slate of vendors and is excited to start the season.  Huntington Bank has generously allowed us to utilize the parking lot on the corner of S. Main and Clough Streets.  This a wonderful location and it gives the market room to grow.    We’ve been able to bring back the Frequent Buyer program, thanks to the support of Newlove Realty and Thayer Family Dealerships and their partner company AllState Insurance.  Each time a shopper spends $5 at a stand, they get a stamp on their card.  When the card is full the card will be turned in for $5 in Downtown Dollars.  For those not familiar with the Downtown Dollars program, more than 70 Downtown businesses accept them for goods and services.  You can get a frequent buyer card and redeem a full card at the market info booth.  Last year, about $2,000 in Downtown Dollars were awarded to shoppers.  All completed cards that are turned in will be eligible to win $100 in Downtown Dollars through a sponsorship by Banfax Pest Control, a local business serving our area for over 30 years. Live music at the market has really been enjoyed by many.  The tradition continues at The Stone’s Throw Stage from 5:30 – 7pm.   Thanks to The Stones Throw Restaurant for sponsoring the stage and to Tim Concannon for making the arrangements and all the musicians who donate their time to perform from 5:30 – 7 pm.  To start off the season, Tim Tegge & The Black Swamp Boys will be bringing some original folk music to the market! This is a pre-show to the Hump Day Review at The Stones Throw every Wednesday evening. This season we will also have some special events including the Zucchini 500 races and a fun run with the support of Bowling Green Parks and Recreation.  There will also be a bike awareness program and a kids fun night through the Bicycle Safety Commission. A full schedule of all the music and special events at the market will be available very soon on our website at bgfarmersmarket.org …


Neighborhood voters say cheers to Sunset Bistro’s request for expanded Sunday liquor sales

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The folks at Sunset Bistro were celebrating election night as early returns showed that the west side eatery had easily won a liquor option for Sunday sales. Owner Prudy Brott, her staff, and customers will still have to wait before they can toast expanded liquor sales with a glass of champagne during Sunday brunch. Brott said that she’s heard it takes from 30 days to three months for the Ohio Liquor Control Board to approve an application for Sunday sales. Tuesday voters in precinct 110 gave the bistro their approval, voting 545-114. Sunset Bistro has only been able to serve beer and a lower alcohol sparkling wine on Sundays. “I’m excited,” Brott said Tuesday night. “And we are too,” chimed in customer Ellen Sharp, who said she’d helped collect signatures to get the option on the ballot. Brott said that it will be good to be able to offer a glass of wine or cocktail on Sunday. She expects that will boost her Sunday business. New Year’s Eve was a dramatic display of the impact the limited alcohol options had on her business. People would call to inquire about reservations and be told the limited alcohol options, then go to celebrate at another establishment, she said. That happens on other Sundays, as well. Sharp, a loyal customer, said she’s been in the same position. Some Sundays when they’ve had guest they’d opt to go somewhere else where they could have a mimosa or a glass of wine. That’s why Sharp helped with the campaign, and being a resident of precinct 110, voted in favor of it. The support from the neighborhood is “quite humbling,” Brott said. She people in the neighborhood as well as the staff got behind the campaign. Brott said she had lawyers tell her that usually restaurants fail in their first attempts to get Sunday sales. So she was very pleased that her request was approved overwhelmingly on the first try.    


Art Walk helps downtown BG blossom (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A Walbridge painter who stepped out for her first Art Walk in downtown Bowling Green won top honors in the annual spring event Saturday. Shirley Frater won the first place Juror’s Award. She said she decided to do the event after exhibiting in the 50+ Shades of Grey Exhibit at the Wood County Senior Center. The second place award went to photographer Flannery Murnen, a junior at Bowling Green State University, and another first time participant in the show. Richard Gullet won third place for his detailed pen and ink drawings. Gullet, who showed his work in Qdoba, also won the People’s Choice award. Emily Metzger’s charcoal self-portrait, shown in Murder Ink Tattoo Company, won second place in People’s Choice, and Gail Christofferson won third place for her art guitars, which were on display at Finder’s Records. Following the event, the judges Sara Busler and Lauren Canavan issued a statement, about their choices. Of Frater’s work they wrote: “Shirley draws inspiration from a variety of materials. These materials include found objects such as medallions, old book pages, napkins and photos. Through the use of these found objects she creates an intricate composition that tells a narrative. The arts pays attention to all the fine details of her work from production to presentation. Each frame is found and repurposed to complement the work enclosed within.” Frater said that exhibiting at the senior center inspired her to show her work more, as well as become more involved in the Bowling Green Arts Council, who co-sponsors Art Walk with Downtown BG. Frater said she was a little concerned that she was in Biggby’s Coffee, which is a block off Main Street. But foot traffic at the shop was good, and a couple of the pieces she sold were to people who had just stopped in a buy a coffee. O f Murnen’s work, the judges wrote: “Through the use of traditional film cameras, Flannery’s work is at the mercy of the moment. Pairing her love of history and talent in photography, she captures images for posterity. One photo captures a quick glimpse of the crowd on the Woman’s March on Washington, while another documents a woman in Cuba carrying clean water, a basic amenity often taken for granted in other countries.” Murnen is not a complete newcomer to the show. She works at Coyote Beads where her…


Food truck discussion takes sweet and sour twist

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The discussion over food truck rules in Bowling Green erupted into a verbal food fight Wednesday evening. But when it was over, rules allowing food trucks to operate in the city were ready to move on to City Council. On one side of the dispute was council member Bill Herald, who had spent countless hours covering every possible angle of the mobile food truck issue in a 180-page slide presentation. On the other side were council members Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino, who wanted to move along the process, stop reviewing the slide presentation, and instead discuss a one-page food truck permit proposed by Rowland. “We talked about the size of this report,” Rowland said to Herald, referring to council members asking the committee to move along the process. “It’s taken far too long at this point.” While the committee has held eight meetings, they took place over a condensed space of less than two months, Herald said. He stressed that the one-page permit proposal “isn’t as rich with detail,” as his 180-page report. Herald asked his fellow council members to give him a half hour to get through his executive summary of 21 pages. “I think we’ve been thorough. We’ve been comprehensive,” Zanfardino said. “I don’t mean to be argumentative up here,” Zanfardino said, but added that he wanted Wednesday’s meeting to end with a plan that council as a whole could review. Rowland agreed, and pushed for a product that could go before City Council soon. But both agreed to let Herald start through his executive summary. As they studied the slides, Rowland and Zanfardino pointed out unnecessary specifics or redundancies. For example, there was no need to stipulate that the food sold has to be legal, or to identify the type of vehicles allowed. The locations where food trucks would be permitted was narrowed down to not allow the vehicles on Main Street, Wooster Street or any of the sides streets one block off of those. Those restrictions are due to safety on the state routes, which don’t have much spare room. “It’s just not made for it,” Herald said of the downtown streets. Rowland and Zanfardino agreed. “I’m personally trying to strike a balance” between local concerns and mobile food vendors, Zanfardino said. Food trucks will also not be allowed in city parking lots unless for special events….


Food truck talks continue to simmer in slow cooker

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The food truck discussions in Bowling Green may be cookin’ but they are still far from complete. During the seven meetings held so far on the topic, there’s been talk about peeling back the layers of an onion, putting meat on the bone, taking the issue off the back burner, and peppering the ordinance with certain language. Yet, the food truck issue remains simmering in a slow cooker. “It’s just the nature of Bowling Green to be cautious,” said City Council member Sandy Rowland, who is working with council members Bill Herald and John Zanfardino on the food truck regulations. But time is running out if the city wants food trucks to operate in the community this summer. “I think seven meetings is an awful long time,” Rowland said during last week’s food truck meeting. Rowland suggested that an ordinance be drafted by the city attorney and presented at next week’s City Council meeting. But Herald balked at that idea. “We’ve been meticulous, we’ve been balanced,” Herald said, urging his two fellow committee members to resist rushing to the finish line before the ordinance is ready. The varying work styles of committee members became even more apparent last week, with Herald referring to his 168-page report, and Rowland presenting a one and a half page draft permit for food truck vendors. “I’m hoping we can do something to attract them before 2019,” Zanfardino said, with some frustration. “I believe in the benefit they bring to the entire city.” But Zanfardino echoed Rowland’s description. “Bowling Green is very cautious and very slow to move,” he said. During last week’s meeting, like the six before, the council committee members listened to concerns from food truck vendors, brick and mortar restaurant owners, and citizens. Max Hayward questioned why the food truck proposal did not allow vendors to set up anywhere along Main or Wooster streets in the downtown area. He called that an “unnecessarily restrictive rule” that could doom food trucks to failure. Bowling Green is being “needlessly conservative and cautious,” Hayward said. Phil Barone, who owns a food truck and the restaurant, Rosie’s Italian Grille, said hiding food vendors will not work. “Food trucks need to be seen,” he said. But Herald said there is not enough room and too much traffic to allow food trucks in the area of the downtown four corners….


Food truck discussion continues to cook up controversy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The idea of inviting transient food truck businesses into downtown Bowling Green leaves a bad taste for a stalwart member of the downtown business community. Floyd Craft, owner of Ben Franklin, Ace Hardware and other downtown buildings, said existing downtown businesses pay taxes into a Special Improvement District that supports items such as street cleaning, flower planting and watering, snow cleanup, and weekend trash pickup. Craft pays the SID anywhere from $200 to $1,049 a year, depending on the property. My main concern is the downtown,” Craft told the three council members – Bill Herald, Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino – charged with coming up with regulations for food trucks. “I’m very much against having outsiders in our downtown” – people who don’t pay property taxes and would only have to pay a relatively small permit fee, he said. “We can barely cover our expenses as it is,” Craft said of the downtown district. But Craft also noted that he was one of the people behind the start of the Black Swamp Arts Festival, which allows food trucks to set up in a city parking lot for a weekend. The fee charged for that is quite high, he added. The discussion at the previous meetings on food trucks has focused on allowing the vendors downtown for special events – not on an ongoing basis. Nadya Shihadeh, owner of Qdoba in the downtown, said parking is already a problem for downtown restaurants. However, if the city sets specific rules for the location and hours of operation, Shihadeh said she could get behind the idea. “I think food trucks are cool, totally,” she said. “I’m not against food trucks,” as long as they are regulated, Shihadeh said. Garrett Jones, owner of Reverend’s, said the city needs to limit the number and the size of the food trucks. “Some of these vendor trucks are massive,” and would take up too many valuable parking spots, he said. Rather than focusing on the downtown, Jones suggested that the city look at the mall parking lot on the north edge of the city for food trucks, and maybe for the weekly farmers market. “There’s not much going on there at all,” and the site could benefit from some revitalization, he said. Jones also said he has spoken with some downtown Perrysburg restaurant owners who have seen their businesses…


City trying to digest on all sides of food truck issue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A downtown restaurant owner suggested last week that Bowling Green focus more on keeping its existing restaurants busy than on bringing in new competition. During the fifth public meeting of the City Council committee working on food truck regulations, Garrett Jones, the owner of Reverend’s at 130 E. Wooster St., said some brick and mortar restaurants are struggling now. Rather than the city working so hard to come up with provisions for food trucks, the community should patronize the brick and mortar restaurants that are already here, he advised. “Instead of bringing more competition, you should support local businesses as it is,” Jones said. City Council member Sandy Rowland said food trucks have helped restaurants in other communities. “More people go out to eat when there’s more to choose from,” she said. But Jones said the downtown parking is already difficult enough without adding more congestion. “I’ve got customers who tell me they drove around 15 minutes looking for a spot,” he said. Bowling Green resident Kathy Pereira de Almeida asked if it might be helpful to allow the downtown brick and mortar restaurants to set up some tables outside on the sidewalk. But Jones said that would require restaurants to hire more staff and would be a strain on their kitchens. “I was just thinking it might satisfy some restaurants downtown,” Pereira de Almeida said. The council committee working on the food truck issue – made up of Bill Herald, John Zanfardino and Rowland – continued looking at questions that must be resolved. Should the food truck rules cover food vendors and farmers selling produce from trucks? Should the types and size of vehicles be restricted? Where can the vehicles sit? How close can they be to restaurants? Can they be on residential streets, along Main Street, along Wooster? What hours will they be allowed to operate? What type of noise restrictions are needed? How will litter be handled? Can they set up seating for eating areas? “We don’t want structure to get in the way of creativity. And we don’t want creativity to get in the way of structure,” Herald said. The goal is to perform a “balancing act” so the city allows food trucks and retains a vibrant downtown, he said. The food trucks must pass inspections by the Wood County Health Department, and income tax collection provisions are…


Climate change poses threat to coffee business

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Climate change may increase the cost of your morning coffee. Kelly Wicks, who owns Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green with his wife, Laura, was quoted in a recent Business Forward report saying that climate change is “adversely affecting the long term outlook for coffee, putting additional burdens here at home and putting small farmers in potential financial peril in all the major growing regions worldwide.” Early this year, the Wicks family and a couple key employees traveled to the Siles Farm in Matagalpa, Nicaragua to get a first-hand look at how their main product is grown, and the challenges facing the  farmers, small business owners like the Wicks family, who provide it. Coffee growers, Wicks said, are battling “rust,” a pathogen that can have devastating effects on a coffee plantation. The disease thrives at warmer temperatures. Even a temperature increase of a couple degrees can promote the disease and that can reduce the crop dramatically. The Siles farm is large enough with several thousand acres, that the growers can, for now, combat the spread of the disease by moving production to higher elevations, where the trees are less susceptible. “They have some ability to combat the challenge from climate change,” Wicks said. Siles also has its own dairy herd. The whey is used to produce a material to help protect the trees from rust. The milk is given to their employees. “It’s small growers who have no option.”  While Siles produces thousands bags a year, a small farmer may produce 20-30 bags. “They can’t say we’re just going to go up the mountain,” he said. “And if their well runs dry, they’re out of luck.” While rust is a problem wherever coffee is grown, it is a particular issue in Central America. Should the region’s coffee crop be devastated, that would put a million people out of work, Wicks said. Coffee harvesting and processing is still a labor intensive process, Wicks said. “It’s labor intensive hands-on commodity.” The crew from Grounds got to experience that first hand, getting up before dawn to head out to pick the fruit that contains the beans from the trees. They did so under the watchful eye of the experienced hands at Siles Farms. The coffee fruit that look like mini crab apples, must be picked one by one since they ripen at different rates. And this highlights another problem…


Public hungry for solution as food truck talks continue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials hope to recreate the winning recipe used by other communities where food trucks co-exist with brick and mortar restaurants. A group of three council members – Bill Herald, Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino – has now held four meetings on the topic of food trucks. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, at 4 p.m., in the city council chambers. “I really would like us to start to put some meat on this,” Herald said about food truck regulations. During last week’s meeting, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter explained the city’s current process for allowing food trucks on private property. At the committee’s request, Tretter also outlined public owned lands, such as city parks and parking lots – areas that could potentially be used for food trucks under new regulations being considered. Tretter also outlined the city’s special event permits, such as those used for food vendors at the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival. The 14-page permit is extensive, and sets requirements on insurance, litter control, security, locations, host organizations, parking and other issues. The Wood County Health Department inspects the actual food service operations. “This is a very extensive permit process,” Tretter said. “This is like gold,” Herald said. “It’s so comprehensive, there’s nothing left out.” Zanfardino questioned if the food vendors will have to avoid the downtown area, due to concerns from brick and mortar restaurant owners. He also suggested some pilot projects, “to see if it truly works for vendors who want to serve Bowling Green.” Both Zanfardino and Rowland pointed to food truck information from the National League of Cities. “There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel,” Rowland said, suggesting that Bowling Green also build on the success of communities like Perrysburg and Toledo that allow food trucks. “We know there were trials and tribulations at the beginning, but it works well now,” Rowland said. Rowland pushed back at the idea that food trucks should avoid the downtown area. “I’m bothered to think that nothing will work downtown,” she said. “I hear everywhere I go that people want food trucks,” and that those same customers will still continue patronizing downtown restaurants. Herald suggested the food truck committee build on the city’s existing permit process – with the rules covering four main categories for food trucks: On private property for planned events. On public property for planned…


Ohio Signature Food Contest seeks innovative culinary ideas

From CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE FOOD TECHNOLOGY Ohioans with a strong passion for the food industry now have the opportunity to land their product on grocery store shelves with the Ohio Signature Food Contest, running now through May 31, 2018. Sponsored by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), the contest will showcase new, innovative products from across the state. “This unique contest serves as a catalyst to the growth of the food industry in Ohio,” said Rebecca A. Singer, president and CEO, CIFT.  “There is such a deep history of great products that started right in this state, such as the iconic Dum Dums lollipops, Quaker Oats, Bob Evans sausage, and Life Savers candy.  The creativity and innovation we have seen each year means there is a bright future ahead toward launching the next signature food item that can in turn enhance the economy and create jobs.” The economic benefit from a food manufacturing company can be significant based on the number of people employed, use of Ohio resources for products, the increased income potential realized by an existing business/restaurant advancing a “signature item” consumers recognize, and the trained base of resources already available within the region. Entering is simple and quick.  Contestants complete a simple online form outlining the basic details of their product, and food industry experts will judge each based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, marketability and overall appeal to the marketplace.  Emphasis is placed on products integrating Ohio ingredients when possible.  Finalists will then be invited to present their business concept and product to a panel of judges. The Ohio Signature Food Contest winner will be announced during a special ceremony in late July at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus, Ohio. Following the announcement, the winner will receive: Technical and business development assistance to help advance a product to the marketplace Production of product to be used for consumer feedback Nutritional analysis Shelf life/stability testing Review of trademark and copyright components Coordination with Ohio Department of Agriculture for label approval Label design, packaging, and ingredient source consultation Attendance to training seminars for free Inclusion in news release sent to media outlets across the state. Production will be available at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen in Bowling Green, Ohio, a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen,…


Food truck meeting gives BG officials a lot to digest

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The committee studying food trucks in Bowling Green got a heaping serving of advice from a wide range of food providers Monday evening. They heard from the owners of a burger bar, family diner, fast food site, and the chef at a country club. They also heard from food truck owners who sell everything from perch and grilled cheese, to grilled lamb chops and lobster macaroni & cheese. And all of them seemed to want to find a way that brick and mortar restaurants can not only survive, but can benefit from having food trucks in the city. “I’m here to find out how we have to adapt to compete,” said George Strata, who owns Beckett’s Burger Bar and Call of the Canyon with his wife, Phina Strata. “Competition is good,” as long as it’s fair, he added. A current city ordinance allows food trucks on private property, but not on public property within 150 feet of a right-of-way. A committee made up of Bowling Green City Council members Bill Herald, Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino, is studying if those rules should be changed to make it feasible for food trucks to set up in the city. Herald asked for input on where trucks should be allowed, the specific hours of operation, the duration of operations, and how many locations may be used? Food truck operators abide by a “code of the road,” Herald said, but some specific rules may be in order. “We’re in the process of trying to see what’s feasible in town,” Zanfardino said. Russ Courtney, owner of Rusty’s Roadtrip which sets up weekly in Perrysburg and once a year at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in Bowling Green, suggested that the rules not be made too restrictive. “If the law gets convoluted enough, people will say, ‘Forget it,’” Courtney said. The city of Perrysburg has no rules limiting the days of operation, said Phil Barone, owner of Rosie’s Italian Grille, a food truck owner, and president of the area food truck association. The food trucks go to Perrysburg on Thursdays during the weekly farmers markets, and go to Maumee for “Food Truck Fridays.” “You don’t need to worry about food trucks hanging out,” Barone said. They are too busy, and will only go where there is demand. “Maumee embraced this,” Barone said. And Perrysburg restaurants are thriving on…


Urban agriculture helps communities blossom

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News American agri-business brags that it feeds the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean that food industry does a good job feeding its neighbors. Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry. Ohio also ranks seventh in food insecurity, said Carrie Hamady, from the School of Health and Human Services at Bowling Green State University Hamady was moderating a panel of six local food activists brought together by BGSU’s Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at to discuss “Sustainability, Sustenance, and Stewardship” at the Wood County District Public Library. The activists from Toledo and Bowling Green covered a broad range of issues, related to food, health, and community development. “The end goal is to get healthy food into people’s hands,” said Sean Nestor, who is organizing the Urban Agriculture Alliance in Toledo. Toledo GROWS is one of the urban agriculture pioneers in Toledo.  For 23 years they’ve assisted grass roots efforts to develop community gardens, said Yvonne Dubielak. Their seeds and seedlings have helped spawn 130 community gardens. One of the beneficiaries of Toledo GROWS has been Elizabeth Harris, of Glass City Goat Gals. Once when Attorney General Mike Dewine was campaigning, he asked Harris what was needed in her neighborhood. “Goats,” she told him. Goats can survive in city lots. They keep down the weeds, provide milk, and meat, which can be sold to provide cash. Harris’ project, which includes a community garden as well as the goats, has helped turn around her neighborhood, once known as “murder alley,” into a good place to live. These gardens, she said, can help provide nutritious vegetables that are otherwise not available in a central city neighborhood. Harris said, she remembers going into a corner store, and basically all she could find were chips. The few fruits and vegetables are wilted and unappetizing. This lack of grocery options in the city led ProMedica to finance a grocery store in its neighborhood, said Kate Sommerfeld. The shop benefits the hospital’s patients, who now sometimes receive food prescriptions, as well as its employees and nearby residents. The hospital’s concern about food, Sommerfeld said, stems from the realization that many of the health problems its patients face are not medical, but social, including food insecurity. Doctors now screen patients for hunger. Lack of proper food, Harris said, results in people lacking energy and mental acuity. She has seen one woman lose…


America’s cookies rely on winter wheat grown in Ohio

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wheat grown in Ohio is a mainstay for Oreos and Chips Ahoy. Sure, other states grow the wheat that makes artisan breads and premium pastas. But Ohio’s soft red winter wheat is the type needed for pastries, cookies, saltines, cake, brownies and pretzels. Brad Moffitt, director of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, talked about America’s crops in general and Ohio’s wheat in detail at a recent Bowling Green Kiwanis Club meeting. “We are the top soft red winter wheat state,” Moffitt said. Six main types of wheat are grown in the U.S., with the differing soil types and growing seasons determining which type grows best in which areas. Though corn and soybeans are currently more profitable, farmers realize it’s good to keep wheat in the soil rotation, Moffitt said. More than 590,000 acres in Ohio were planted in soft red winter wheat in 2016. Moffitt described himself as “a farm boy from Urbana,” growing up with crops, cattle and hogs. He then went into a career in education, before “getting back in agriculture, where I belong.” His current job consists of working on research, market development, promotion and education. Moffitt talked with the Kiwanians about agriculture remaining the largest industry in Ohio, and about America’s role in feeding the world. “Our farmers are more than capable of feeding the U.S. and the world,” he said. “We’ve done it before. We’ll do it again.” Estimates suggest that 9.7 billion people will need to be fed by the year 2050. “American farmers have met the challenge before,” he said, describing farmers as industrious and ingenious. The problem isn’t growing the food, Moffitt said. The real problem is transportation infrastructure, storage, refrigeration and processing. “We can produce the food – getting it there is another problem,” he said. The world’s demands for food have not only grown, but they also have changed. More “middle class” people means more demand for meat protein. “They want some of the things we take for granted in this country,” Moffitt said. “When you move into the middle class, you want to eat a little bit better.” More meat demand means more corn, wheat and soybean needed for livestock consumption, he added. Nearly half of the wheat grown in the U.S. ends up in 125 other countries, Moffitt said. Common destinations include Mexico, South America, northern Asia, China…


BG Council committee chews on food truck information

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents are hungry for food trucks in the city. And Phil Barone thinks he has a menu that might please their palates. Barone, who has owned Rosie’s Italian Grille in Toledo for 36 years, has a food truck that serves customers in Perrysburg and Toledo. “To be honest about it, I’ve been looking in Bowling Green,” said Barone, who is a BGSU alumnus. But Bowling Green’s food truck rules are too restrictive, he told city officials Saturday during a work session examining the city’s food truck ordinance. No food vendors are allowed on public property – unlike other communities where food trucks can set up in parking lots or in street parking spots. The city of Toledo first balked at changing its ordinance, Barone said. “I got a lot of flack. The restaurants didn’t like us there,” he said. But the food trucks have transformed St. Clair Street every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon during lunch time. Now instead of just a handful of people venturing out to eat on St. Clair, the food trucks draw about 1,500 during lunchtime. “People come out like ants. It’s fun to watch,” Barone said. Barone heads up a food truck association which has 11 members. Their menus offer items like grilled baby lamb chops, lobster mac and cheese, cauliflower crust pizza, Cuban food, steamed mussel salad, perch, cappuccino, and ice cream. “Food trucks aren’t just serving corn dogs,” Barone said. The committee examining Bowling Green’s food truck rules – made up of council members Bill Herald, Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino – has heard from citizens wanting food truck options, from local business owners concerned about the impact on their livelihoods, and from prospective food truck owners who would like to set up their mobile shops here. “I’m hearing from a lot of people,” Rowland said. “The citizens say ‘Yes, we want them.’” Some downtown businesses also would like to see food trucks. “We need interesting things to bring people downtown,” Rowland said they have expressed to her. But brick and mortar restaurants, and the Downtown BG organization have voiced concerns about the mobile vendors taking business from existing restaurants and creating litter problems. So the committee has been looking for common ground. “I firmly believe there is an intersection,” where all can co-exist, Herald said. Barone may have given them that common ground…