Magazine article Sunset

From One Block to Many: How a Sunset Experiment Spawned a Healthy Face-Off among Backyard Farmers

Magazine article Sunset

From One Block to Many: How a Sunset Experiment Spawned a Healthy Face-Off among Backyard Farmers

Article excerpt

SOMETIMES THE STORIES we publish have very deep roots. "The Ultimate Block Party" (page 70), about a group of eight families who tried to grow every ingredient for a party menu last summer, is the latest flowering of a project that began in 2007.

We kicked off the One-Block Diet as a way to explore the burgeoning locavore movement. In a backyard-size garden at Sunset headquarters, we set out to raise everything needed for a summer feast. What we couldn't raise, we learned to make -- cheese, vinegar, olive oil, beer, wine, even salt. Mostly clueless, we plunged in with gusto, and chronicled our adventures on a blog and in our August 2008 issue (see sunset.com/oneblockjeast).

All sorts of eye-opening things happened along the way. We came to venerate the people who make our flour, for instance (winnowing wheat is a gigantic pain, to put it mildly), and artisan cheesemakers who create consistent results (none of our cheeses ever turned out the same). We changed the way we cooked and began to truly understand everything we ate. While harvesting honey, pressing grapes, and cleaning the chicken coop together, we also became better friends. …

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