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UMF #19, A Mart

On Saturday, October 4, we braved the cold and were treated to a tour of one of Madison’s newer Asian markets, A Mart in the Whitney Square Shopping Center. Our tour guide, Vu, took us down every aisle and explained what many of the products are used for, and pointed out many of his favorite brands. I was curious what brand of fish sauce he recommended—his personal preference is for the Squid brand—but said that many choose the Three Crabs brand as well.

Vu himself drives down to Chicago early Friday morning to bring back a wide variety of produce, including Thai bananas, purple yams, durian, and green mangos. Fresh seafood comes in on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Not only does A Mart have a wide assortment of Asian groceries, but also a good selection of kitchen and housewares, and well stocked African and Middle Eastern sections.

If you make it to A Mart, don’t leave without visiting the dessert and deli section—just past the checkout counters on the front wall—where they keep a stack of freshly made Bahn Mi sandwiches everyday, and several house-made desserts on weekends. The sandwiches are ready to eat as is– just add the fresh veggies bagged on the side– or warm in an oven until crisp and warm throughout.

If you missed the tour, don’t despair. Vu and his co-workers are on hand and willing to answer questions about products and how to cook with them.

Cooking Classes at the Goodman Community Center

Slow Food Madison is getting ready to kick off a new series of beginner-level cooking classes, and we need volunteers! The class, which meets once a month from June through October, is being developed in partnership with the Goodman Community Center and is supported by a SEED grant. We are looking for volunteers with basic cooking knowledge and an interest in teaching others how to cook simple yet delicious meals at home. Our first class is Saturday, June 14 from 9 until noon, and we are still looking for a couple of volunteers. If you would like to help out at any or all of the classes, please send Trevor a note at

Course Description

Learn how to prepare simple, fresh, delicious meals at home in this five-part cooking series. Each class will cover kitchen basics, tips for shopping economically, and an overview of healthy food preparation techniques. Sign up for all five classes or pick and choose the topics that most appeal to you! No prior cooking experience is necessary. All participants will receive a home pantry “starter kit”.

June 14 – Salads: learn how to turn beautiful spring greens into a quick, flavorful meal with simple homemade salad dressings.

July 12 – Side dishes: seasonal veggies + inexpensive pantry staples = an endless variety of delicious, easy-to-prepare sides. Great for potlucks, lunch boxes, or a light dinner!

August 9 – Main courses: combine easy-to-find ingredients like beans and lentils with fresh summer veggies and–if desired–a bit of meat to create memorable meals that will feed a crowd! Also, tips for pleasing picky eaters.

September 6 – Desserts: a sweet end to your meal doesn’t have to be loaded with sugar, salt, and fat. Learn how to feature local fruits and vegetables in a number of quick preparations that are bound to impress your friends and family.

October 11 – Appetizers & snacks: learn how to prepare a variety of flavor-packed snacks that are significantly better for you–not to mention tastier–than their supermarket counterparts.

UMF #18, Get Culture

On March 9th, Urban Market Forage participants were treated to a hands-on queso fresco making afternoon with Dave Potter and his daughter Kate, of Get Culture/The Dairy Connection.

The afternoon started with a quick look around the store and the cheese making classroom. Get Culture is the retail location of Dairy Connection, a mail order supplier that works with amateur and professional cheese makers all over the country.

After making the queso fresco, participants were treated to a variety of cheeses, including an unusual (and very tasty) canned cheddar from Washington State!

Dave teaches a several classes around Madison and loves to share his knowledge, including the science behind the making of different cheese types. If you have ever been curious about making yogurt or cheese at home, this is the place to go!



UMF #17, The Conscious Carnivore

On February 9th, 14 people gathered at the Conscious Carnivore ( on University Avenue in Madison to learn about the history and practices of the business from owner Bartlett Durand.

We were greeted at the large community table, next to a sunny window, with fruit, croissants, coffee, and seasonal cheddar cheese (Spring and Winter) from Otter Creek Organic Farm (

The cheeses started off the discussion. Otter Creek is owned and operated by Bartlett’s father-in-law, Gary Zimmer. It is a sustainable, organic, pastured dairy farm. We discussed the nuances of flavor that change with the seasons, the grasses, the fat content of the milk.

The philosophy behind Conscious Carnivore is “Respect for every animal, on four feet or two”. CC sources meat from small Wisconsin and Iowa farms. They are rated as Organic, Grass fed, or Grandpa’s Way—relating back to how family farms were run before industrialization. Bartlett doesn’t shy away from any questions or discussions. Many regular customers stopped in during our visit. It is a convivial atmosphere that harkens back to when shopkeepers knew all their customers by name. The large table serves as a gathering space as well. Beer and wine are available, as is coffee. You can sit and sip and talk with friends. There are baskets of toys and coloring books for children as well.

Another tenet of the business is that nothing goes to waste. A popular sausage from Black Earth Meats (, the Offal Tasty is also available at the shop. There are meats brined and ready for crockpots as well, but no prepared foods. The shop offers a variety of classes, and always has recipes on hand or advice on how to prepare the different cuts of meat.


We’re all abuzz about local honey!

Did you know that Madison is a hub for local honey? There’s even a Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, established way back in 1964 by Wisconsin beekeepers to protect the local honey market, educate consumers, and conduct research to protect the honey industry from environmental changes. The Dane County Beekeepers Association is another great source for information about local beekeeping and honey production.

Purchasing local honey supports local beekeepers and is of course a delicious way to incorporate local food into your diet. Honey has health benefits galore, and is a great alternative to refined sugars.  

Here are a few options for purchasing local honey in Madison:

  •  Iron Works Café offers honey in 8 oz. bottles from The Goodman Youth Farm.  Proceeds support the beekeeping program at the Youth Farm and the Seed To Table alternative high school program at the Goodman Community Center.
  • Bee Charmer, from the Brooklyn area, offers honey for sale at the Dane County summer farmers’ market and online.
  • Honey Kurt from the Blue Mounds/Mount Horeb area offers honey purchases by phone at 608-277-0251.
  • Willy Street Co-op offers white clover Gentle Breeze Honey from Mt. Horeb in the bulk (as well as in jars). You can also buy Gentle Breeze online here.
  • Turtle Hill Wilds produces wild food, including honey, and wild lumber products in Blanchardville. 608-523-4213,
  • Honey is available by the gallon from Brad Moore of B’s Honey in Mazomanie.  He sells at the WestSide Community Market at Hilldale (during the season).  608-669-2669.
  • Dancing Bee Honey Farm also sells honey in bulk or in smaller jars – contact information is available on their website.
  • MADbees/Dane County Beekeepers Association may be able to put you in touch with folks with surplus honey they’d be interested in selling. Check their website for contact information. \
  • Kicking Bear Apiaries sells honey in jars but also in beautiful, slender bottles – perfect for a gift! You can order through their website.

And this is just the beginning of a list – who are we missing? Let us know your favorite sources for local honey, and feel free to leave suggestion on your favorite way to use it!

UMF #16, African and American Market

On  Saturday, January 11th, Urban Market Forage visited The African and American Market on East Johnson Street. Madison Eats founder and African dance teacher Otehlia Cassidy was our guide for this wonderful outing.

The shop seems smaller from the outside, but inside, 2 rooms are filled to the brim: canned goods from several African countries, beans, pulses, grains, pots and pans, halal meats, imported snacks and sodas, beauty products, woven bags, traditional African clothing, colorful shoes and jewelry.

Owner Miriam Diallo hails from Guinea, West Africa, but ran a shop in Brooklyn, NY for many years before settling in Madison about a decade ago. She and her equally charming husband, Mohammad, have customers from all over the African continent, but also others who have traveled in Africa and are looking to reconnect. For anyone with no connection, but an interest in learning more, they are more than happy to share their knowledge with all who walk through the door. P.S. fight off that dry Wisconsin winter skin with a tub of pure shea butter!

Thank you to Otehlia for her time and experience, and also for providing us with this classic West African recipe. Enjoy!

First Annual Zymology Fest


“the area of applied science related to fermentation”


This 5 session “festival” is a series of workshops where you’ll learn the science behind fermentation as well as gain practical, hands on experience with making fermented foods.

The 5 fermentation workshops are:

  • Vegetable (curtido, sauerkraut, many more)
  • Dairy (yoghurt, kefir, cheese)
  • Grains (sourdough, injera)
  • Nonalcoholic Beverages (kombucha, kvass, more)
  • Meats, legumes, and more

Read More and Buy Tickets Here

The instructors are:

Branden Byers

Branden Byers is a fermentation generalist willing to try and taste anything and everything fermented (with a special place in his heart for heirloom yogurts). He is the host of a weekly program called FermUp – The Fermented Food Podcast. Any health benefits of fermented foods are a welcome side-effect, but it is the taste, experimentation, and DIY fun that inspires Branden’s enthusiasm for fermented foods. You can learn more about Branden and his fermented ideas at


Trevor Brown

Trevor will be leading the sourdough course. Trevor has been baking sourdough bread for many years and is passionate about experimenting and teaching others the joy of sourdoughs.  He is on the board of Slow Food Madison and has taught about both east (injera) and west sourdough bread making at Madison Food Camp.


Madee Hartjes
Madeline Hartjes is an avid herbal enthusiast who discovered kombucha five years ago and eagerly began making her own. She blends each batch with nutrient rich and gently medicinal herbs to maximize the health benefits of drinking kombucha. Madee drinks her own home-brew daily, and finds that it quenches her thirst, clears her head, and always satisfies any random cravings. When not brewing she can be found mixing drinks at the Heritage Tavern, or spending time with her fiancé and their 18 month old baby boy.

Last-Minute Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

Looking to give some homemade gifts this year, but don’t know where to start so close to the holidays? Here are some unique favorites from the Slow Food Madison team:

  • Oven-dried apple chips – use a food dehydrator or a low oven, and try sprinkling cinnamon or finely-ground pistachios on top before drying
  • Crystallized ginger dipped in dark chocolate – try this Alton Brown recipe for the candied ginger
  • Sourdough dog treats – Trevor submitted these notes: A great way to use up extra starter! I use whole wheat, corn, and oat flours, a couple of eggs, grated carrot or squash, and a scoop of peanut butter if I’m feeling generous. Stir together with enough water to form a stiff dough and ferment overnight. When ready to bake, roll to about 3/4″ thickness and use a biscuit cutter to cut into shapes. Place biscuits onto sheet pans and bake at 350F for half an hour or so. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the biscuits dry out thoroughly in the warm oven.
  • Toasted nuts – try this recipe or this recipe
  • Bolognese sauce (gifted frozen in jars) – try this Bon Appetit recipe
  • Homemade granola – make it more festive and decadent with dark chocolate chunks, cacao nibs, coconut oil, or vanilla-infused honey
  • Homemade vanilla extract – simple to make and perfect for the bakers in your life; try this recipe from TheKitchn

Happy Holidays from Slow Food Madison!

Ideas for locally-produced food gifts

What to get for the person who has everything? Something edible, of course. Here in Madison we enjoy some of the best ingredients and artisan products in the world, and they conveniently make perfect gifts for friends near and far. To get those gears rolling, here’s a list of just some of our favorite local food artisans (sadly we can’t list them all!). Happy Holidays, and happy gifting!

Hawkwind Mustards and Relish

Quince & Apple Small Batch Preserves

Gentle Breeze Honey

Kicking Bear Honey

Mad Urban Bees Honey

Old Sugar Distillery

RP’s Pasta

Underground Meats

Potter’s Crackers

Just Coffee

New Glarus Bakery – Holiday Stollen

Yum Butter

Gail Ambrosius Chocolates

DB Chocolates

James J. Chocolates

Christine’s Toffee

(p.s. Another good gift idea: channel your inner food artisan and give the gift of something homemade!)