Food and drinks just taste better when you know where they came from and who helped create them!
And sometimes, casual conversations (maybe over beers) lead to beautiful things, like the tasty, new, EarthDance and Earthbound Beer collaborative Earthberry Ale and the yummy Fennel Cooking Studio farm-to-bar treats you can enjoy at the new brew release party and fundraiser today, Saturday, August 20, 2022, at Earthbound Beer from 4-7 pm at 2327 Cherokee Street.
Last winter, EarthDance Farm Manager Jena Hood was chatting with her friend and Earthbound Head Brewer Danielle Snowden, and the idea for a collaborative brew began to ferment. “It happened fairly organically,” Jena said. “I’ve known Danielle for years and knew of her passion for brewing using local and wild or foraged ingredients. I offered up the idea of using EarthDance ingredients.” Fast forward to June, and Danielle and Earthbound Beer owner Stuart Keating visited the farm, enjoying the summer beauty and tasting cherries and mulberries, which were ripe at the time. For brewing purposes, they decided on mulberries and blackberries, and came up with two beer recipes. Earthbound also decided they wanted to have a fundraising event to support the many educational programs and food access programs that EarthDance offers, and potentially have a popup with food from the farm available at the event.
Meanwhile, Jena and Fennel Cooking Studio Founder and Chef Jackie Price met at a Pride kickoff party popup that Jackie hosted in June. “We bonded over our love of beautiful produce and our passion for teaching others how to grow and cook that produce,” Jackie said. “As I told her about opening Fennel, she asked me to be part of this collaboration, and it’s been such fun!”
Thanks to Earthbound’s generosity, $1 of every beer sold will go back to the farm to help support EarthDance programs like our Farm-to-School partnership with the Ferguson-Florissant School District and the Pay What You Can Farm Stand. The Cherokee Brewed Arts Fest also happens to be today on Cherokee Street, where Earthbound is located, so you can start with the fest (1-5 pm) and land at beer release party (4-7 pm).
In case you decide to attend the event and want to chat with these amazing makers, we asked them a few questions you can use as conversation starters.
EarthDance Organic Farm School Farm Manager and Lead Educator Jena Hood
Favorite thing about what you do: As the Farm Manager and Lead Educator, my favorite thing is being able to impart knowledge organically through the hands-on activities that are a part of everyday farming.
Favorite produce item to share and how: Cucumbers. They’re easy to grow and make great pickles!
Favorite beer: Fruity, sour beers. My favorite right now is Earthbound’s Berlinerweisse. I’d definitely recommend the mulberry syrup party topper (and not just because it’s made from EarthDance mulberries 🙂 )
Favorite thing about this collaboration: My favorite thing about this collaboration is how many folks have played a part in making it happen; from all the hands that lovingly tended the produce, to the different partners in the collaboration, to all the folks that will get to enjoy the produce through the food provided by Fennel STL and the delicious brews from Earthbound.
What are you especially looking forward to with this event? Sharing beers with new friends!
Anything else you think would be interesting for people to know? I might be slightly obsessed with the fig trees at the farm. I literally check on them every other day (at least). I thought I’d accidentally killed them over winter but it turns out nature is rad, and they’re way more resilient than we thought. Hmm, I wonder what beer you can make from figs?
Earthbound Beer Head Brewer Danielle Snowden
Favorite thing about what you do: The people! I get to work with wonderful humans everyday and I get to meet so many awesome people who are out there doing incredible things for and with our STL community! The craft beer industry has given me the opportunity to meet and get to know so many lovely folks like-beekeepers, chefs, farmers, political activists, and artists, to name a few!
Favorite produce item to share and how: As of now I really like talking to and with people about honey! I went to a honey conference with the National Honey Board a few months ago and became a little bit obsessed with the stuff. My main message is that BEES ARE AMAZING! You should take the time to educate yourself about them and learn how they make our world go round. Also I love sharing honey samples. Meadowfoam honey tastes like toasted marshmallows, whereas avocado honey tastes like rich, dark molasses . Honey is so weird and wonderful.
Favorite beer (or drink that includes produce if it’s not beer): It would be very hard for me to narrow down just one beer. So I’m going to say anything with pawpaws. I fell in love with pawpaws while working for the Missouri Botanical Garden a few years ago and anytime I see a beer with pawpaw I have to try it. Have to! Other than beer, I would say coffee. It’s so complex and diverse, just like honey. You could have coffee beans that give you floral fruity notes or milk chocolate marzipan vibes, and I am here for all of it. And it’s not just the flavor of coffee its the ritual that comes with it that makes it so enjoyable.
Favorite thing about this collaboration or collaborations in general: Developing connections and meeting new people. I really enjoy creating bonds with local organizations and collaborating with folks. I always learn something new and learning is what keeps life exciting and moving forward. I also love sharing my knowledge with people too!
What are you especially looking forward to with this event? The food! I mean, no offense but I’ve already had the beers.
Anything else you think would be interesting for people to know? We here at Earthbound plan to incorporate more local produce/products into our beers. It’s important to us to support our community and to support other small businesses. A lot of businesses are still reeling from the pandemic, ourselves included, so if you love a small business, make sure to let them know.
Fennel Cooking Studio Founder and Chef Jackie Price
Favorite thing about what you do: I love seeing people transform their cooking skills and gain confidence in the kitchen. When someone tastes a dish they made in class or nails a cooking technique and gets excited about it, my heart soars. Helping people fall in love with cooking is absolutely my favorite thing.
Favorite produce item to share and how: Obviously, fennel. It’s such a versatile vegetable that most people don’t think about beyond maybe fennel seeds in sausage. But the bulb and the leafy fronds at the top are so bright and refreshing! I love fennel sliced super thinly and served raw with a simple vinaigrette for lots of fresh anise flavor, or sauteed in butter until deeply caramelized and sweet.
Favorite beer: I love IPA’s and anything that includes ginger or other spices – Earthbound’s Thai Basil IPA and Earthbound Blonde with cardamom, tea, and black pepper are my two favorites.
Favorite thing about this collaboration: My favorite thing about this collaboration has been the opportunity to work with two STL food scene staples that I’ve admired from afar for a while. I’ve enjoyed Earthbound’s beer and EarthDance’s produce for years, so making connections and working with both parties has been such great validation that I’m launching Fennel into an environment with fantastic, supportive neighbors. In general, I love collaborations because community is such a big part of culinary experiences for me. Working with other businesses/organizations/people who also love to build community around food is what makes this city feel magical! I love getting to network with people who have similar goals and create spaces where people feel connected to food.
What are you especially looking forward to with this event? Honestly, I’m really excited to make this menu. I decided to cook all the things I love to eat in the summer, and I can’t wait to share that with everyone. I honestly teared up looking at how stunning all the produce from EarthDance is, so getting to start with such beautiful building blocks for Fennel’s first pop up is a dream come true!
Anything else you think would be interesting for people to know? Fennel is all about breaking down the process behind great food, so I’m bringing some gorgeous recipe cards with me to the event so you can replicate the marinated tomato tartines at home! I would love to see what everyone cooks up if they tag @fennel.stl on Instagram 🙂
Earthberry Ale was also collaboratively named, thanks to folks who submitted names online and voted in our beer naming contest! The winner was @malajo3612! Congratulations! We hope to see you at the event!