Author: Ben Trentelman

Daniel Day Trio

Black on Black

Self-Released

Street: 12.17.12

Daniel Day Trio = SLAJO + Joshua Payne Orchestra

Black on Black is composed of the well-known Trio’s ambiance-enhancing, jazz-infused covers of a wide range of artists and genres.  Recorded during a live performance on KRCL, Black on Black possesses every element that you would hope to hear from a live performance. The Trio recorded with no set list, so there are a few transitions between songs that seem a little jumbled, but once everyone is on the same page, everything flows nicely into a recognizable and nostalgic tune that is easily appreciated. Guitarist Geoff Miller and bassist Dave Bowen provide resonating waves of sound that come together nicely.  Miller’s effects define his sound—no element of the original song he is covering is lost, as it is fun discovering songs like Oasis’ ÏWonderwall,Ó or Journey’s ÏDon’t Stop BelievingÓ as they are organically expressed. I can now enjoy the unique feel that the Daniel Day Trio provide at any venue for a fraction of the cost on my own front porch.

 

Photos:

La Machine
Phases & Repetition
Castle Face Records
Street: 07.16
La Machine = The In Sound from Way Out + Booker T + Man or Astro-Man?
I can’t help but imagine these tracks backing a David Lynch film—something along the lines of a black Cadillac racing through the desert night pursued by creepy-looking pale corpses in dark suits. I speak first of the imagery that comes to mind when I listen to this because the music itself is minimal in execution—heavy bass, steady drums, ambient noise. These elements come together in phases through repetition (yup, exactly like the name of the album!) to create several tracks that manage to tap different musical styles to give us a little industrial, a little reggae, a little psych, etc. The mind can’t help but conjure up these obscure avante garde scenarios as the repetitious and catchy tunes allow the listener a good deal of mental stimulation. If I wasn’t writing this review right now, I would probably listen to this album while purging my brain into some other project with great fervor. –Ben Trentelman
 

Photos:
(L–R) John Holliday, Syd Smoot, Melissa Jackson, Virginia Pearce, Christina Martin and Derek Mellus. Photo: Talyn Sherer

So you want to make movies. You have ideas, you have storyboards, and you’ve even rigged yourself up a half-decent cell-phone steadicam using some duct tape, an upside-down tripod and a yo-yo string. You have an abundance of heart and ambition, but your pockets are empty, and you may have exhausted your YouTube fanbase. If only there were some means to help you get your foot in the door of the ever-elusive film industry to jumpstart your career as a serious filmmaker. This is the plight of many aspiring filmmakers who have the knowledge and the talent to make a good movie, but they don’t have the money or connections to make it happen. According to Virginia Pearce, the Director at the Utah Film Commission, it is common for these aspiring filmmakers to understand the technical-skill-driven aspects of making a movie, but the business side can be tricky, particularly the fundraising side. This is why she was eager to discuss the Next Level Grant Program that the Film Commission released earlier this year.

Open to Utah residents over the age of 18, the Next Level Grant Program will award up to five applicants $2,000 of seed money to take the first steps they need to start their film career. “The Next Level Program came about because we see a lot of talent wanting to enter the film industry,” Pearce says. “All of the major universities have film programs turning out a lot of talent, but fundraising can be a difficult roadblock for these filmmakers.”

Pearce, who has a background with the Sundance Film Festival and was once the Director of Marketing & Community Programs at Spy Hop Productions—a Salt Lake–based program that mentors youth in the digital arts— feels strongly about continuing to encourage amateur filmmakers and artists. “We have a very large film-production industry in Utah, but there are definitely some missing pieces in the talent pipeline,” Pearce says.

The Utah Film Commission works to attract filmmakers from around the globe to film in Utah and to use local cast, crew and services. Ultimately, as part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, they help the state generate income, and the commission sees their investment in new, local filmmakers as a future investment in the state. “We’re hoping that this becomes a pipeline of our own program,” Pearce says. She explains the commission’s hope for these beginning filmmakers to continue to come back to the state as they become more successful and, in turn, reinvest in our local film industry, which currently employs 5,500 individuals and generates $142 million in salaries and wages.

Intended for those who aspire to direct and/or produce films, the $2,000 grant can be used for what is most needed to get things moving on whatever kind of project the applicant may have in mind. “The film can be any kind of project—a short, VR. It doesn’t have to be one specific thing,” Pearce says. “It’s $2,000 to help you get a start, whatever that means for you. Is it a trip to L.A. to attend a meeting or a trip to SXSW to see what other filmmakers are up to.”

Pearce is realistic about the fact that $2,000 doesn’t seem like much in the grand filmmaking scheme of things. “It’s obviously not a ton of money, and we wouldn’t expect a feature to be made on this budget,” Pearce says. “But it’s really meant for the very beginning filmmaker who is just trying to figure out how to get there.”

Helping to push that $2,000 a bit further in moving a film project forward, grantees also receive other benefits, such as an annual membership to the Utah Film Center’s Artist Foundry where they can gain access to a network of other filmmakers, a library of movies and literature, editing bays and rehearsal space. Grantees will also receive special access to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and the Sundance Institute’s
Co//ab Artists Network.

If you are looking to get a leg up on your celluloid dreams, interested directors and producers over 18 and residing in the state of Utah can apply at film.utah.gov/nextlevel. Applications for this round of grant awards are due on Dec. 31, with initial recipients receiving awards just in time for the Sundance Film Festival. Depending on how many of the five awards have been filled at this time, additional grants may roll out through the spring.


Editor’s note: The article previously stated Virginia Pearce as the erstwhile Executive Director at Spy Hop Productions, and was amended to indicate that her title as Director of Marketing & Community Programs.

(L–R) Lulu Podratz, JP Bernier and Vita Bernier. Photo: Jennifer Thayn

When I received my Local Spirits Issue assignment, I expected to talk about different liqueurs that Hammer Spring is working on, the distilling process and to get a really cool tour of the actual distillery. What I didn’t expect is to talk about potatoes and pancake syrup. JP Bernier, the founder, owner and Head Distiller at Hammer Spring Distillers, has shown me the unexpected and left me in awe of potatoes—potato vodka, to be specific. Bernier is excited to talk about his Hammer Spring Vodka, which consists of two main ingredients: potatoes and yeast. Hammer Spring is the only distillery in the state making true potato vodka and one of the few distilling it in the country.

Photo: Jennifer Thayn
Photo: Jennifer Thayn

I was surprised to learn that potato vodka isn’t actually the norm. I had naïvely concocted a romantic idea of Russian potato farmers blissfully working away in their potato patch, eagerly awaiting a pull of vodka to warm their bellies and leave them feeling satisfied after a hard day’s work. That is all wrong. These days, much of the vodka that is produced is made from fermented grains. Much of what you get off of the shelf in your local state-run liquor dispensary is made this way. According to Bernier, this leaves little variance between common brands—much of the variance actually comes from the label on the bottle rather than the flavor of what you’re drinking.

Hammer Spring makes a grain-based vodka called Hidden Vodka, which Bernier attributes to helping pave the way for their craft products. “We realized that there is some benefit to distilling this way, in that you can make it quickly for a decent price,” Bernier says. “It helped us pay the bills while we worked on our craft vodka.” After getting a boost from Hidden Vodka, Bernier now sees this more easily mass-produced product as an opportunity to give back. A percentage of all Hidden Vodka sales benefit organizations combatting human trafficking.

Bernier takes full advantage of using one vodka to sell the other as well—if you visit him at the distillery, he’ll gladly take you on a tour and let you try some samples. For my sample, he says, “I always start people off with the Hidden Vodka so you can taste the difference between the two. It is a great mixing vodka that goes well in a cocktail because it has a nice neutral flavor and works well if you don’t want a lot of personality—it is smooth and easy to drink.” I can now attest that it was delightfully smooth, and I quite enjoyed it on its own, and I can only imagine the trouble I could get myself into with a proper mixed drink. Bernier then moved on to the Hammer Spring Potato Vodka. “The difference is immediately clear, even as the smell hits your nose before you taste it.” While the two vodkas were the same proof, the Hammer Spring had a much fuller, voluptuous flavor that was much more engaging. While it did have a subtle bite, it still went down smoothly and wasn’t as viscous as I’d heard other potato vodkas described. Locally sourced potatoes are processed in shop, where Bernier has equipment uncommon to most of the distilleries I’ve seen: a giant machine that scrubs and strips the peel off the potato and a large, industrial grinder used to turn the potatoes into a fine pulp, which is then fermented, distilled and bottled.

Photo: Jennifer Thayn
Photo: Jennifer Thayn

As you browse the Hammer Spring Facebook page, you’ll find a nice tribute: “Hammer Spring Distillers thanks the hardworking explorers and adventurers who discovered and settled the Great American West. Our hat is off to them, along with the miners, soldiers, cattle ranchers and other brave folks!” Bernier says “We feel a bit like pioneers ourselves.” “Being the only potato vodka distillers in the state, we spend a lot of time out knocking on doors, educating bars and restaurants about our products, and we want to pay tribute to those who have made difficult journeys themselves.” Pushing the potato vodka hasn’t gone as easily as selling their Hidden Vodka and Hammer Spring Gin, which have both been picked up by the DABC and should be available in state liquor stores by the time this story goes to print.

While the potato vodka is one of the more unique products at Hammer Spring, they also offer Hammer Spring Gin, which Bernier says “captures the essence of Utah wilderness in a bottle” with hints of juniper and mountain sage. If you like to start your day with an eye-opener, Hammer Spring also has your breakfast covered with their Perky Cowgirls Coffee Liqueur. Made with Millcreek Coffee Roaster’s beans, the Liqueur is sweet with a strong espresso taste and is wonderful in your coffee or over ice cream, and Bernier swears it makes a killer tiramisu.

What is a tasty, boozy cup of coffee without some pancakes? Hammer Spring also offers JP’s World Famous Whiskey Pancake Syrup, which I haven’t been able to try yet. Aged in whiskey barrels, JP’s syrup came about while Bernier was working as a volunteer paramedic at Burning Man. While making a big pancake breakfast for his volunteer crew, he spontaneously mixed some whiskey into the syrup he was preparing. It was an instant hit among the volunteer paramedic crowd, and was soon in high demand. You can find JP’s World Famous Whiskey Pancake Syrup at Boozetique in Salt Lake City, The Store in Holladay and at the distillery. Hammer Springs Potato Vodka can currently only be found at the distillery, along with his other spirits, but Bernier hopes to see it picked up by the DABC and widely available throughout the state.

You can find info about Hammer Spring Distillers on their Facebook page, Instagram and their website, hammerspring.com, which is currently under construction. Bernier is more than happy to show you around the distillery and offer you tastes of all they have to offer: Call to make an appointment at 801.599.4704 or drop in during business hours at 3697 W. 1987 South in Salt Lake City. Hammer Spring Distillers will also be at SLUG Mag’s Brewstillery on Nov. 17 at the Union Event Center.

(L–R) Scott Parker and Jeremy Ford proudly oversee Salt Flats Brewing’s operations, boasting an impressive roster of 20 high-flavor session beers as well as new high-point releases. Photo: ColtonMarsalaPhotography.com

I have to admit that I was surprised when I walked into Salt Flats Brewing’s large warehouse. Located in a west SLC industrial area, there’s a row of race cars lining one side of the building and giant shining, fermenting barrels towering on the other. After Jeremy Ford—who oversees operations at Salt Flats Brewing—offered me a beer, I thought for a moment that this stunning collection of cars and large beer production could only come together in some sort of dream. What Salt Flats Brewing has to offer was nowhere near my normal Wednesday-afternoon cup of tea, and I was feeling thirsty.

As Jeremy poured me a glass of Salt Flats Hefeweizen, he introduced me to the rest of the crew: Steve Pruitt, the owner of the brewery and of The Garage Grill in Draper, and Scott Parker, the brewmaster. Pruitt has been in the racing world as an owner and driver since 1975. The warehouse where the fine beer I sipped had been crafted was home to his racing team until the expenses of the sport made the restaurant business seem like a better venture.

“We started out as the Salt Flats Grill and Brew House [now Garage Grill], where we had a one-barrel brewing system,” Pruitt says. “The restaurant took off, and we decided to make room for more people, so we moved the brewing operation to the warehouse.” With so much space and customers taking a liking to some of the brew they produced, it was time to expand brewing operations. Steve cleaned up the space and invested in an admirable brewing setup, able to produce a line of 20 different beers under the name RPM Brewing, which they soon changed to Salt Flats Brewing. “We went with RPM early on, which fit in with the Garage Grill in Draper, but unless you’re a gearhead, RPM doesn’t make as much sense,” Pruitt says, pointing to a slick-looking car that looks, to me, like a rocket ship. He had raced it on the Salt Flats, which makes for a decent brewery name and a solid bridge between his love of racing and something that might get more traction with an average beer fan.

Photo: ColtonMarsalaPhotography.com
Photo: ColtonMarsalaPhotography.com

Seeking how to create a unique beer in a quickly growing craft brew market, Pruitt brought in Parker, who had been brewhouse manager at Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles, California. “Scott has been able to pare down what he knows about beer to the 4-percent [alcohol by volume] content,” Pruitt says, “and retain the flavor.” Parker adds that using the freshest malts, freshest hops and maintaining strict expectations of cleanliness have been key factors in his brewing.

All 20 of Salt Flat’s beers are currently 4-percent ABV, or 3.2-percent ABW (alcohol by weight), and the Salt Flats crew doesn’t see that as a disadvantage (even as potential changes to Utah’s liquor laws loom, which may allow for higher-point beers to be sold in grocery stores). Pruitt, who questions whether the laws will actually change in a state where alcohol regulation can be slow-moving, maintains an optimistic perspective. “Selling high-point beers in grocery stores doesn’t really align with the state’s new legal driving limits,” he says, referring to the state’s .05 blood alcohol level. “These 3.2 beer sales will be so small for major distributors that it won’t be worth it for them to sell in our state, and they’ll be clearing the shelves for local craft brewers to fill the need.”

With six of their beers canned for mass distribution, Salt Flats is ready to respond to whichever direction the market goes with beers that will satisfy every palate. The marketing behind Salt Flats targets both fans of craft beers and other, more widely distributed beers like Coors and Bud Light with their P1 Pilsner, Salt Flats Hefeweizen, Daytona IPA and Back Seat Blonde Ale, which are among the beers that you’ll soon find widely available. “Our branding approach is different than what you’ll see locally,” Ford says. “We’re a little brighter, a little louder. There is a barrier into the everyman market, and this makes our beers accessible.”

What you won’t be able to get on grocery-store shelves you can currently find on tap at The Garage Grill in Draper, which Pruitt describes as “something like what you would expect to see on Gasoline Alley,” where you can also find sushi, wood-fired burgers and pizza, and unique specialties like Sushi Nachos (fresh tuna loin, seaweed salad, crab and avocado cream sauce piled on top of fried wontons) and the Crabby Patty (a wood-fired burger topped with tempura-fried shrimp and eel sauce). All 20 of Salt Flats’ session beers are available, and a selection of other breweries’ high-point beers will soon be jettisoned to make room for their own high-point Scottish Ale, Double IPA, Oatmeal Stout and Belgian Double.

Regarding the lack of other beer staples on tap like the Coors and Buds of the world at The Garage Grill, Pruitt admits they took a risk. “Some people haven’t changed what they’ve been drinking since they started, but when we can sway them to try our P1 Pilsner instead, they love it,” he says proudly. “We’re easy to understand, and when you try our beer, you’ll like it.”

With mass distribution in coming months, you can currently find Salt Flats beers at the The Garage Grill and Toscano Restaurant.

The Garage Grill
1122 E. Draper Pkwy
thegaragegrill.com    801.523.3339

Salt Flats Brewing
2020 Industrial Circle
rpmbeer.com    801.828.3469

(L–R) Head Roaster Zach Amador, President Stacey Maxwell and CFO Steve Brewster underscore the freshness of their roasts at Millcreek Coffee.

Just over 24 years ago, Millcreek Coffee CFO Steve Brewster set out to produce some of the finest locally roasted coffee in Utah. Now with just over two decades of successful roasting behind him, Brewster is ready for his daughter, President Stacey Maxwell, to take a crack at leading the family business.

Millcreek has thrived locally due in large part to one driving principle: “We roast coffee and deliver it the next day,” Brewster says. “That’s been our model, and we haven’t wavered in 24 years. We buy the best stuff, we roast it, and we get it out …We do that at a price you pay for the bad stuff.” Brewster visits countries of origin to make sure that farming practices are sustainable and fair where he buys directly from growers. “I can taste it—it’s all in the cup,” Brewster says. “Once you go to origin, they won’t send you crap. They understand that you know better. If it isn’t good, we aren’t buying it.”

You can pick up Millcreek Coffee in a number of restaurants and businesses around Salt Lake City and surrounding areas, as well as in-house at their retail location: 657 S. Main St, Salt Lake City.
Photo: ColtonMarsalaPhotography.com

Once roasted, coffee loses much of its flavor within seven to 10 days, so Millcreek roasts and delivers daily to provide the best product. Their coffee is date-stamped to encourage consumers to make the most of their fresh roast. According to Brewster, “Everything has a shorter fuse the closer you get to the cup.”

Zach Amador, Head Roaster at Millcreek, will be working closely with Maxwell as she begins her run as CFO to ensure the continued quality of their main product while she focuses on the business plan. Amador cut his teeth on coffee beans as a barista at Millcreek, and his passion for the craft helped him move up in the field. “I’ve gotten to see all sides of the business and made this a lifestyle, learning about coffee,” which is precisely the approach that you can expect from Millcreek, Brewster says. “It has to be grown properly, processed properly, roasted properly and then brewed on time. We need guys like Zach who know what they’re doing and who we can trust to do their job well so we can focus on the bigger picture. You’ve got to be able to say we have our roasting covered.”

Maxwell grew up in the coffee industry—her brother was a roaster, her mother helped develop much of the coffee you can enjoy at Millcreek, and, in addition to her own time as a barista, Maxwell played a big role in opening Millcreek’s airport location.  “Someone has to run the business,” Brewster says, “and if someone is part of the business from the start, they can carry on the company culture instead of bringing someone on from the outside.”

Millcreek Coffee has been a successful business model, but their success has largely been in the wholesale business, which is where Maxwell and Brewster see room for growth. Aside from their coffee, Brewster’s retail plans haven’t been ambitious.  Brewster admits, “I never was a really big fan of retail and tried a joint venture with a bagel chain, only to discover that it wouldn’t work. What we’ve done best is our model of wholesale.”

Once roasted, coffee loses much of its flavor within seven to 10 days, so Millcreek roasts and delivers daily to provide the best product.
Photo: ColtonMarsalaPhotography.com

Maxwell’s plans for change are to follow the model while making more appeals to younger coffee consumers who have been drawn to artisan coffee shops specializing in things like slow drip and pour-over coffees. “I’m trying to learn as much as I can in order to not only market to our audience, but to educate them,” Maxwell says. The time and care put into Millcreek’s roasting process yields a product that is equally rich in flavor to some more expensive processes. With a potential TRAX stop coming in the near future in front of the store and a greater focus on expanded local partnerships to provide more products in-house, Maxwell anticipates a stronger retail atmosphere to appeal to a broader consumer base. “Our focus is on local products, local Winder milk, Millcreek Cocao and Vosen’s,” Maxwell says. “We use their products, and they use our coffee.”

Plans are even in the works to house a satellite bakery with one current partner, Pierre Country Bakery, to offer freshly baked goods. “We think we could offer a great catering experience: local bakery paired with great coffee,” Maxwell says.

In order to meet the increased demand for their coffee, Millcreek is adding a third roaster and looking to bolster their online sales throughout the state. 

You can pick up Millcreek Coffee in a number of restaurants and businesses around Salt Lake City and surrounding areas, as well as in-house at their retail location: 657 S. Main St, Salt Lake City, and at Concourse C at the Salt Lake International Airport, where you can enjoy a variety of fresh menu items for lunch or breakfast. Head to millcreekcoffee.com to learn about how Millcreek supports sustainable coffee agriculture, get educated about coffee in general, or order a bag of coffee for your home or office.  You can even subscribe to receive your choice of Millcreek coffees on a monthly delivery basis.

Chris and Ashley Cross have taken the necessary measures to ensure that New World Distillery is as environmentally friendly as possible.
Photo: Chris Kiernan

About 30 minutes east of Ogden, heading up a narrow canyon of the same name, I made my way through the beginnings of fall foliage near the cold-looking Pineview Reservoir to the small town of Eden, Utah. There, overlooking a small valley, stands an impressive structure modeled after an old barn. Construction vehicles loomed in the background, and the noises of drills, saws and the light hum of music permeated through the walls of the new structure. Over the last year, the dreams and ambitions of Chris and Ashley Cross have finally begun to take shape to bring locally distilled spirits to Ogden Valley.

New World Distillery hopes to open by the first of December, after delays due to weather, construction and licensing. The three New World spirits—Ogden Valley Vodka, Oomaw Gin and Rabbit and Grass Agave Spirits—feature images that were locally designed by Tyler Davis and include strong local symbolism in their design. As Ashley showed off the Oomaw Gin bottle, she explained the meaning behind the intricate design of a clear dragonfly with images of bees, honeycombs, the Delicate Arch and distinctive Utah mountain ranges hidden within the dragonfly’s wings. “‘Oomaw’ in Hopi is a cloud deity who works in concert with the dragonfly to unlock untapped water resources,” she says. “It is a very hot topic, politically, when someone messes with the water up here. This is why this name and imagery were so important to us.”

This imagery emphasizes the effort that the Crosses have taken not only to show their Utah pride in the labels on their bottles, but to distill as responsibly as possible. New World will use a waste-water evaporator and recirculating water chiller to drastically reduce the amount of culinary water they need. “Most distilleries use culinary water for their fermenters and the condensers on their stills,” Chris says. “The water just goes down the drain after they use it, which seems wasteful and irresponsible. We reuse all of our water.” One hundred percent of New World’s electricity will come from a new solar array, and the packing from incoming shipments has been customized to be reused for distribution. They are even hoping to use organic dust from their waste water evaporator in their nearby organic garden.

In addition to aiding them in their conservation efforts, technology is helping the Crosses hone their distillery. Their high-tech fermenters, which are jacketed and insulated, are temperature-controlled to ensure consistency and easy replication in a process that helps conjure the fine taste and aromas that we’ll find in their spirits. New World uses an exclusive still designed solely for their vodka, rather than a converted whiskey or bourbon still. “We are going to have one of the best small-batch vodkas that you can find,” Chris says. “A lot of times, people aren’t making it with equipment that was designed for vodka.” A separate stainless-steel, computer-controlled still is used for the gin and agave nectar.

As patrons visit New World, they’ll be able to see all of this in action through large windows in the distillery’s showroom, where tastings and New World’s product line will be available. The Crosses want to educate their customers about the entire distilling process, which begins with being completely transparent about their work and business model. This has helped to create buzz around the community and garnered support from other local businesses and Eden. The Crosses hope that their distillery tours will attract tourists visiting nearby ski resorts Snowbasin, Nordic Valley and Powder Mountain, and that it will reflect well on Eden. New World will offer tours and tastings to the public as well as privately arranged tours. “If you are a gin drinker and only want to hear about and taste gin, you can schedule a private tour, and we can just talk to you about gin,” Ashley says. As a Western United States Training Center, people will be welcomed to New World to receive training on their unique processes and machines. These distilling classes are also available to the public, and some of the small-barrel products made during classes may become available as limited-edition spirits.

The distilling industry is surprisingly communal and collaborative.  Ashley sits on the board of the Utah Distillers Guild, where she and fellow distillers are able to have a united voice on legislative issues regarding liquor laws in the state, support the industry and educate the community.  One big issue they hope to see change in future legislation is the fact that distilleries cannot open on Sundays and holidays.  When you are a destination business attracting people on weekend getaways, this could have a huge impact on your business.  “Being in a tourist industry, this is something we would like to see addressed,” Ashley says. “Working with the guild, we have one unanimous voice speaking up for the industry and seeking legislative action.”   

If all has gone well with their DABC commission meeting, Chris and Ashley hope to open their doors on Dec. 1 with statewide distribution to follow within the next few months. They’re optimistic: “The state has been easy,” Chris says. “There are lots of advantages to being a distillery in Utah, with tax breaks and incentives.”

So, cross your fingers for New World Distillery and that we’ll all soon be sucking down some of those agave spirits. Follow New World’s progress at newworlddistillery.com or take a drive up to Eden to see them for yourself.

(L–R) Real Food Rising’s Sara Simmons oversees teen employees Lilly Slack, Oliver Nsengiyumva and Oscar Arriaga at Urban Greens Market, which provides healthy food for the Glendale and Poplar Grove communities of SLC. Photo: John Barkiple

For many living on Salt Lake City’s west side, a few essentials that many enjoy can be just out of reach. Things like quick trips to the store can be tricky if you don’t have a car. Transportation can be one of the greatest hindrances in helping families enjoy healthy meals if there isn’t a grocery store within close walking distance to a home, and some are forced to compromise the health of their families by grabbing quick food fixes at gas stations or fast-food joints because they are nearby and cheap. Those two brown bananas and that crusty-looking apple at your local five-and-dime could be the best selection for some families.

A recent Community Food Assessment identified the Glendale and Poplar Grove areas in Salt Lake as food deserts, where individuals are having to deal with limited food resources. According to Bridget Stuchly, Program Manager with SLC’s Sustainability Department, SLCgreen, these areas have “low supermarket access and some of the lowest vehicle ownership rates in the city.”

With the support of a USDA grant, SLCgreen has teamed up with The Green Urban Lunch Box, Utahns Against Hunger and Salt Lake Community Action Program’s Real Food Rising to establish Urban Greens Market, five pop-up markets that provide fresh and local produce within walking distance to community members.

“Community members we spoke with were incredibly frustrated with the lack of options that exist in their neighborhoods and were excited to now have the opportunity to walk over to one of the five locations to shop,” Stuchly says. “Not only do community members benefit, [but] the farmers supplying the produce for the market now have five additional outlets through which to sell their fruits and vegetables.”

I spent an afternoon hanging out at the Neighborhood House pop-up market with a crew of farm-wise teens and a few neighborhood chickens ogling a beautiful selection of freshly grown peppers, a variety of tomatoes, zucchini, squash and other early-harvest goods. The majority of the produce sold at the markets is locally grown, and much comes from Real Food Rising’s large community garden located next to the Neighborhood House pop-up market. Green Urban Lunch Box also provides fruit for the markets.

The markets do provide some fruits and vegetables that weren’t grown locally, such as bananas, because there is demand from the community for them. According to Sara Simmons, who oversees the Neighborhood House market, “People coming to the market can be surprised by what is available at different times of year,” she says. “They don’t know that you can’t buy everything year round, so we work to educate and talk about how the garden works.”

In addition to fresh food, these pop-up markets provide work and experience to teenagers. Real Food Rising, according to their website, “uses sustainable agriculture to empower teens with the skills they need to thrive while increasing access to healthy food in Salt Lake.” The organization hires teens ages 14–17 to work in their garden and sell produce in the Urban Greens Markets. Lilly Slack, a 15-year-old from Salt Lake, is getting her first experience working in a garden. “I’ve always wondered about how my food gets from the farm to my table,” she says. “I get to learn about growing food and how the people that live here need it. The community is grateful to get to walk here and buy good food.”

Simmons mentioned that teens are also getting experience and training in several job-related skills through the work they do growing and selling produce. “They do workshops and learn about public speaking, working as a team and helping the community,” she says. Lilly chimed in again to mention writing resumes, learning how to interview for jobs and participating in a guided communication exercise called Real Talk, in which staff and teens can give each other feedback on what they are doing well or what they can work on.

Utahns Against Hunger helps patrons of the markets stretch their food dollars a little further with the Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles the amount of money that individuals using SNAP EBT Cards can spend—up to $10 per market day. Brian Emerson, Community Food Systems Coordinator at Utahns Against Hunger, says, “Double Up Food Bucks help low-income families have access to fresh, affordable local foods, often grown in their neighborhoods.”

Moving forward, Stuchly hopes to see the program continue to grow and better meet the food needs of the community. “We hope that the Urban Greens Market will be a success and that we will be able to expand the program to other areas of the city for urban agriculture so we can grow more food—food [that] is affordable and healthy,” she says.

Urban Greens Market manifests as stands in various locations around Glendale and Poplar Grove throughout the week and will be open through Nov. 14. You can find hours of operation and additional info about the markets at slcgreen.com, or you can text MARKET to 51555 to receive updates on available produce and more. Be sure to catch Green Urban Lunch Box’s 35-foot school bus/greenhouse/mobile farmers market at the Urban Greens Market pop-ups that they oversee.

Crank lost its cool? Shifter gotten stiffer? Don’t let your busted bike get you down: You can swap that thing out for a rad new ride at the Ogden Bike Collective’s 8th Annual Bike Swap. Predating the actual collective, the swap originated to raise seed money for a collective in Ogden, similar to the Salt Lake City model, with a mission to “Promote cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and as a cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier and safer society.” The collective also provides refurbished bikes and educational programs to the community, with a focus on children and lower-income households. “We rely on the money raised at the Bike Swap to keep us running,” says Clint Watson, director of the Ogden Bike Collective. “Fundraisers like the Bike Swap account for about 25 percent of the collective’s budget, with another 25 percent from grants and 50 percent from bike sales.”

The swap will feature a wide range of bikes and components for sale, and this year, for the first time, will include new bikes from QBP (Quality Bicycle Products), such as three Trolls, two Cross Checks and a Karate Monkey. “We get donations from several of the bike manufacturing companies around town that we can sell for cheap,” says Watson. If you have a bike you want to unload, you can even consign with the Collective at the swap. They’ll sell your bike and retain 25 percent of the sale price as a donation, and you get a little padding for your pockets to splurge on more bike swag. “A lot of people have bikes just sitting around the garage that they might be on the fence about,” says Watson, “and this could be their chance to move it off and pick up something new.” You can bring your bike in a few days before the swap or even the day of. If you are shopping for a bike, you can purchase with confidence, knowing that all of the used bikes being sold will be in tip-top shape after a tune-up from one of the Collective’s professional bike mechanics. “We don’t send any bikes out for sale that haven’t been looked over by a technician,” Watson says proudly. “We stand behind every bike that leaves the shop.” On top of quality and safety, you can’t beat the swap’s generous 10 percent off purchases for the day. You can also expect help finding a bike that fits your body and riding needs, as well as any technical advice that you may need.

 5-OBC-BikeSwap-Kiernan-Walter-09270 Walter Sestiaga putting in some work.
Walter Sestiaga putting in some work. Photo: Chris Kiernan

At the swap, you are bound to see a wide variety of folks who love bikes and want to support their community collective. “We see families, we see young single guys working on fixed gears and we see everyone here,” says Watson. Upon entering the collective’s small building, located on a quiet neighborhood street, it is immediately clear that the Ogden Bike Collective is community driven. Their current shop still holds some remnants of the old dry-cleaning business that once occupied the space. Pictures of the building’s transformation into a bike shop adorn the wall as you near the entrance, which is lined with bike-filled racks and bins full of parts. Watson fondly recalls the community support that went into helping set up this newer shop after the collective left its previous Downtown location due to rising rent costs. “A lot of the work here was donated by local businesses and volunteers,” says Watson. “Through generous support from Ogden City, we were able to completely landscape outside of the building, and Pitcher Plumbing & Heating donated all of their work to redo the plumbing.” In addition to a strong community showing, Watson is excited to have a taco truck and Grounds For Coffee on hand, as well as some live entertainment to keep swap attendees in good spirits while they peruse the array of gear.

The 8th Annual Bike Swap will take place on Saturday, May 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Ogden Bike Collective is located at 936 28th Street. The swap typically ends with an improvised group ride around the city as attendees are eager to try out and flaunt their new gear. You can find additional info on the Collective’s Facebook, Instagram or website, ogdenbikecollective.org. The Ogden Bike Collective is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 5 p.m. for buying bikes or working in the DIY bike shop. If you are handy with a wrench (or want to learn how to be handy with a wrench), you can volunteer at the Collective on Thursdays from 1 to 8 p.m. or by appointment. The Collective will also take bike donations Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12 to 5 p.m.

“There is no event like this north of Salt Lake,” Walton says, so bring out your old bike and join a tight-knit crew of fellow bike enthusiasts looking for a little something special to add to their two-wheeled collection.

Let’s Learn: S.T.E.M.

Nickelodeon
Street: 04.28

If you’ve paid any attention to what kids are being taught in school these days, you should be well aware of S.T.E.M. programs, which focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  Although not new at all, the idea of bolstering our focus in these areas is intended to give kids a leg up on 21st century skills and help them develop their inquisitive nature and curiosity about areas that may be slightly neglected as folks have taken a greater interest in someday becoming reality TV stars or DJs.  This DVD compiles episodes of popular Nickelodeon cartoons that focus on S.T.E.M. concepts such as Dora the Explorer and Blue’s Clues.  The cartoons aren’t groundbreaking, but they take popular characters your kids trust and adore and make the pursuit of knowledge and exploration seem fun.  The characters are diverse and balanced with a great pool of female role models who really dig learning about S.T.E.M.—helping to address the deficit of women in these fields.  I think if you really want to teach your kids about these ideas, you should be out in the world doing it—climbing trees and looking at bugs and stuff—but when it is time for the TV babysitter to step up to the plate so you can wash some dishes, this DVD is definitely going to be better than letting your kids watch Sir Mix-A-Lot videos on Youtube. –Ben Trentelman