‘Tastemakers’ unearths America’s current and future culinary artisans

Join journalist and host Cat Neville for an eye-opening journey into the heart of the food movement.

“Tastemakers” is part of an hourlong tribute to food — both locally and nationally — every Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. on Arizona PBS, immediately following new “Plate & Pour” episodes. “Tastemakers” showcases artisans, cooks, wineries and much more across the United States, “foodie” folks who are defining the flavor of American food. The series takes you to a shellfish operation in the icy waters off the coast of Washington, a sheep’s milk dairy in the rolling hills of Missouri, an organic tofu factory in the heart of Chicago, and beyond.

Each episode explores how the artisans do their work, traveling to unique corners of the country while uncovering regional food culture and history along the way. Throughout the series, you’ll also learn what drives these makers, what inspires them and how they perfected their craft.

Jan. 10: “Preserved”

Journey to the tiny town of Saxapahaw, North Carolina, where Ross Flynn works directly with Eliza MacLean of Cane Creek Farms and Charles Syndor of Braeburn Farm to source sustainably-raised heritage pork and grass-fed beef for his butcher shop, LeftBank Butchery.

Jan. 17: “Sweet Stuff”

How do you go about changing the food system? If you’re Kathleen Morgan, you make frozen custard. Travel to Houston and meet a woman with degrees in business and animal science from Texas A&M who is educating people about the food system one sweet spoonful at a time.

Jan. 24: “Not So Fast”

Heliculture, a fancy word for snail farming, is on the rise here in the U.S. Visit a tiny greenhouse in Cutchogue, New York, where tens of thousands of snails are being hand raised on foraged greens. Almost all of the escargot served in the US is imported either canned or frozen — Peconic Escargots’ Taylor Knapp is one of a very few American farmers that produce fresh escargot and snail caviar.

Jan. 31: “Fun Ferments”

The ancient preservation technique of fermentation turns out to have tremendous side benefits. Meet the team behind Edible Alchemy in San Diego. They vend at more than a dozen of the city’s bustling farmers’ markets and source directly from local organic farms, turning the region’s bountiful produce into healthful and totally delicious fermented foods, including kombucha, sauerkraut and coconut yogurt.

Feb. 7: “On the Vine”

Travel to Jack Rabbit Hill Farm in Hotchkiss, Colorado, where Lance Hanson is crafting biodynamic wines that express life on his farm’s high desert terrain. To make eau de vie, cider, gin and other beverages that reflect the character of western Colorado, Lance sources apples, pears and peaches from local organic orchards where the focus is on building healthy soils to produce amazing fruit.

Feb. 14: “Shelled Out”

Head to Coupeville, Washington, to meet Ian Jefferds. He is on the forefront of sustainable shellfish farming, growing and harvesting delicious oysters, clams and mussels that are beloved by the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish Market and Seattle’s best chefs.

Feb. 21: “Extracted”

Cat travel to Pitts, Georgia, to meet Clay Oliver. His cold-pressed, unrefined oils, made from sunflower seeds, pecans, peanuts, okra seeds and sesame seeds, have become one of the South’s most sought-out ingredients, with James Beard-winning chef Steven Satterfield among its fans.

Feb. 28: “Warm and Wooly”

Visit a farm in Weston, Missouri, that specializes in cheese made from rich and creamy sheep’s milk. Green Dirt Farms’ cheeses begin in the pasture, with well-tended soil that grows a range of prairie grasses which develop seasonal flavors in the cheeses depending on what’s in the field. That milk is turned into bloomy rind, washed rind, aged and fresh cheeses, which pair beautifully with local wine from nearby Terra Vox.

 

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