Bikeloc [from BA 43-100]

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"They biked 4,521 miles, across 16 states, over 107 days to capture stories of the local food movement through 18 community potlucks with 432 potluck-goers."

from BA 43-100

Lots of people ride across the country on their bicycles, but Aaron Zueck and Robert DuBois, did so with a clearly defined purpose. “We really just wanted to get people talking about eating,” Robert told Boneshaker over a much-deserved bourbon barrel-aged doppelbock at Portland’s HUB Brewery after they finally crossed their finish line. The pair rode from Hardwick, Vermont to Portland, Oregon, stopping along the way to meet with people, enjoy a potluck made entirely with food grown in whatever region they found themselves, and discuss the idea of local eating.

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Aaron, originally from Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Robert, originally of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, developed their adventure ride/potluck plan in early 2010. “We didn’t dwell too specifically on the details,” Robert admitted. “We just sort of went for it. We couldn’t have dreamed that it would turn out this well!”

Between couch surfing and tracking down hot showers, what all did they ride through? In addition to the miles and miles and miles of flat open countryside, Aaron and Robert zigzagged across the northern part of the U.S., pedaled furiously through a swarm of bees, rode even more furiously to avoid packs of farm dogs, and once found themselves teetering on a foot-wide dirt rim of a washed out road 30 feet above a river and rubble below. They climbed towering mountain passes and confronted prairie winds head-on for days. They also crossed several food deserts along the way—sections of the nation that donn’t have a grocery store for more than 50 miles in any direction. “Sometimes, we could only find a waxy, mealy Red Delicious apple and some Poptarts at a gas station,” Robert said.

And they did this why again? “We wanted to have the chance to become a part—however small—of the 18 communities we shared meals with across the country,” Robert explained, “and talk about food, over food, because it’s the most important thing we can all possibly talk about right now.”

Having completed their trip, Robert glowed as he sipped his beer and reflected. “We got to share everything from blueberry pie to lamb’s quarter quiche (recipe below!) to raw lemon beet juice with real people across the country, which reaffirmed for us that local food just tastes better. We could fill a book with the many amazing home-grown meals we had along the way, and the inspiring stories that went along with them.”

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Mini Lamb’s Quarter Quiche Cups

Recipe credit: Cindy Kinate, Bikeloc Potluck on Spence Farm near Fairbury, Illinois

Ingredients

Pie Pastry: 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup butter 1/3 cup shortening cold water

Filling: 2 cups cooked lamb’s quarter (see below) 3 eggs 1 cup cottage cheese pinch nutmeg salt pepper Garnish with radish blossoms or other edible small flowers if available.

Process: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift flour. Cut or rub in butter and shortening until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add enough cold water to form a soft but not sticky dough. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll out dough and cut with a round cookie cutter to fit the size cupcake pan you are using. Press dough into cupcake cups. Combine lamb’s quarters with 3 eggs and 1 cup cottage cheese. Add pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Pour filling into cups until 1/2 full. Bake 20-30 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean. Garnish. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Cooking Lamb’s Quarter

About 7 cups of lamb’s quarter leaves will yield 2 cups cooked. Use only tender leaves from the top of young plants that you are sure have not been sprayed with chemicals. Pick leaves off, rinse and without draining toss into medium hot skillet. Cook at medium heat until wilty. Drain and press with a wooden spoon to get as much liquid out as possible. Use cooked lamb’s quarter in any way you would cooked spinach.

Evan P. Schneider