WXXI AM News

Summer of Food

It's a second helping of the Summer of Food, and we're going a half hour west of Rochester to a historic old property. In LeRoy, a beautiful building on the edge of the Oatka Creek became one of the first Main Street locations in the 1820s. It was a fixture, but in 2004, a massive fire gutted the building that had served as a factory, a bank office, a private home, and then a restaurant. The burned out shell was a sad reminder of what was lost -- until a team of individuals decided to pour a lot of money (that's the publicly disclosed sum: a LOT) into reviving it. This summer, it opened as a restaurant for the locals (Farmer's Creekside Tavern & Inn); a high-end dining destination upstairs (One Main LeRoy); and a wedding / special events facility.

Here's the big question: can it become enough of a regional draw to survive? Our guests hope the answer is yes. 

  • Bill Farmer, owner of Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn and One Main LeRoy
  • Chris Grocki, general manager of Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn and One Main LeRoy
  • Sean Wolf, executive chef at Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn and One Main LeRoy
  • Greg Rogers, mayor of LeRoy

We're wrapping up our Summer of Food series with a visit to El Pilón Criollo. It's a family-run business that grew from a vendor stand at the Puerto Rican Festival to a neighborhood hot spot on North Clinton Avenue.

We talk to El Pilón Criollo's founder, Zury Brown, about her journey to Rochester from her native Puerto Rico, the ups and downs of opening a restaurant, and the heart and soul of Hispanic food and culture. Our guests:

  • Librada “Zury” Brown, owner of El Pilon
  • Alejandra Brown, Zury’s daughter
  • Norma Holland, anchor at 13WHAM

The Summer of Food takes a journey half an hour east of Rochester to the site of the historic Pultneyville Grill. When the restaurant closed in the past year, locals worried about what might replace it. The answer has been twofold: Swilly's, a fast casual joint that offers lobster rolls and other sea-based fare at a walk-up window, and The Owl House, which has a home in Rochester and a new home in the old PG.

These kinds of establishments can offer new life for communities, and we talk to long-time Pultneyvillers who want to see a successful enterprise in this space. Our guests:

  • Brian Van Etten, owner of Swilly's
  • Jeff Ching, owner of the Owl House on the Lake
  • Deb Parts, Co-Chair of the Pultneyville Home Tour
  • Peter Parts, former owner of the Pultneyville Grill and owner of the Pultneyville Docks on Salmon Creek

The Summer of Food on Connections continues with a look at our food system, from the farmers to our plate.

Our guest is the founder of the Headwater Food Hub, which is working toward a fully sustainable local system. What would that mean? How are they supporting small farms? We find out. In studio:

  • Chris Hartman, founder of Headwater Food Hub

Our Summer of Food series continues with a conversation about Rochester's food identity. If someone was visiting Rochester from abroad or even out of town and wanted to learn about Rochester's food culture, what would be at the top of the list? A Garbage Plate? Red and white hots? Dinosaur Bar-B-Que? Would you introduce visitors to the local farm-to-table movement?

We discuss Rochester's food identity and the future of our food culture. Our guests:

Our Summer of Food series continues with a discussion about...well, worm poop. Vermiculture is the process of using worms to decompose organic waste. Landfills make up 17 percent of the nation's methane emissions, and companies like Organix Green Industries are using vermiculture to keep organic waste out of landfills and recycle it for a variety of uses. 

Organix Green Industries is partnering with a number of local organizations and municipalities to make vermiculture and composting more mainstream and help communities reduce their food waste. CEO Jacob Fox joins us to talk about the process, the impact, and his thoughts on the future of the industry.

Our Summer of Food series continues with Sarah Goodenough, owner of Kitchen Verde.

As a college student in Boston, Goodenough fell into a pattern that’s familiar to many students -- eating Ramen Noodles and ordering from restaurants because it’s convenient. When she moved back to Rochester to begin nursing school, she weighed nearly 300 pounds and was experiencing a number of health issues, including the early stages of fatty liver disease. She was only 22 years old and was struggling to keep up with physical demands of her job in the critical care unit. That’s when Goodenough decided it was time for a lifestyle change. She read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and adopted a whole food, plant-based diet.  She lost 125 pounds in a year.

Goodenough is using her story and love of cooking to help other people in the community change their diets. In 2016, she opened Kitchen Verde, a whole foods, plant-based, oil-free and vegan meal delivery service. This hour, we talk to Goodenough about her journey, her business, and her goals for the future.

We kick off our annual Summer of Food series with a conversation about women in the wine industry. We’re joined by organizers of an upcoming symposium hosted by the Finger Lakes chapter of Women for WineSense. The organization’s Grand Event later this month will cover a number of subjects, including the science of food and wine, how wine factors into a healthy lifestyle, how dessert wines fit into the craft cocktail scene, and more.

Our guests discuss current issues in the wine industry, and the origins of the Women for WineSense group: why it was formed, how it has evolved, and its goals for the future. Our guests:

  • Donna Schlosser Long, president of the Women for WineSense Finger Lakes Chapter
  • Katie Roller, co-chair for the Women for WineSense Grand Event
  • Michaela Rodeno, co-founder of Women for WineSense
  • Julie Johnson, co-founder of Women for WineSense

It's our final conversation in the Summer of Food series, and it's all about the future of American food.

A book tells the story of a series of unlikely meetings in the winter of 1970, set in Provence. That's when, by chance, some of the most powerful voices in American food were passing through. Julia Child, MFK Fisher, James Beard, Richard Olney...and in that series of lunches and dinners, they debated how American food should be. More high-end, or more egalitarian? More snobbish, or less? More about hard-to-find ingredients, or more focused on the authenticity of flavor from the back yard?

Author Luke Barr sifted through diaries and letters to piece together this story about how American food pivoted, bringing us to where we are today. Our guests:

If a craft brewery sells to a big corporate parent, is that evidence of "selling out?" In Virginia, some craft beer drinkers seem to think so. When Devils Backbone Brewing Company was acquired by Anheuser-Busch, the backlash was severe. It was no longer allowed to compete for the annual Craft Beer Cup, and it will no longer host the annual craft beer festival and competition where the Cup is awarded.

Across the industry, this is a growing trend: big corporate beers criticize craft beer, then make plans to buy up successful craft breweries. Should we blame the smaller breweries for selling? Can the beer remain, well, craft and pure? Are we being too hard on craft brewers who struggle to make money? Our panel discusses it:

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