Image found here: McConnell, IL History
Making Chop with a crowd of people is not unlike a frontier Barn Raising. You have a specific goal in mind and everyone takes part making it a group effort. With everyone helping on various tasks, the goal is easily accomplished and the barn is built.
Chop is very similar. Making it by yourself is doable, but it’s simply not as fun. And we proved that on Saturday, July 20th, 2013 at the Phoenix Landing Chop Workshop in Towson, Maryland. What a good time! This event was absolutely loaded with terrific people and enormous energy. I flew up Friday and was picked up at the airport in Baltimore by Phoenix Landing Education Coordinator, Laura Ford. Laura was a terrific host and handler. We also had a blast! When I landed she took me to the hotel where I changed into comfortable clothing. Then, Laura and I went to lunch because I was starving. Here is “The” Laura Ford:
After I tucked into about 3 pounds of food, (A “steam pot” at Joe’s Crab Shack) we went shopping for produce. Laura was a “fresh food” feeder for her 6 parrots before Saturday. She had never made Chop before. And she has certain ways and beliefs in feeding her birds, which is fine. So I went with the premise that we were going to make “Laura’s Chop” this time around. We went to Wegman’s produce department and I looked at her and said, “So, what do you want to put in your Chop?” She was unsure so I suggested we start with a theme or flavor concept.
One of my favorites that my Greys seem to enjoy is Thai flavorings, which is ginger, cilantro and garlic. By adding jalapeño, you can jack up the hotness and it simply lends itself to a terrific smelling concoction. Once we decided on that, we scooped up the garlic, cilantro, ginger, and dived into the greens. After combing through the organic area, we filled out our needs with the conventionally grown produce and ended up with a nice pile of vegetables:
Notice the HUGE pile of greens in the back as well as the carrots with the green tops still on them. . We got those carrots with the tops specifically so we could explain the use of the tops in Chop. Carrot tops are a very good addition to Chop. If you can get the tops from a produce supplier who is throwing them out, please do. But we weren’t done with getting greens. Laura has a garden. 100% organic, Laura grows kale, broccoli, basil, tomatoes and other beautiful produce.
Here is a video of Laura explaining some of the stuff we got from her garden to put in the Phoenix Landing Chop:
In order to set up for a Chop Event, there has to be some prior preparation: The grains, pasta, quinoa etc. have to be cooked, bagged and refrigerated before the event and the produce has to be cleaned, trimmed and packaged to make the process go more quickly and efficiently at the event site. So we set to work and got everything cleaned, cooked and bagged as well as selecting our additional dry ingredients.. Once that was done, we were ready for the event the next day.
Saturday, Laura picked me up and we headed out to set up the room:
We set up the tables for the Chop processing and laid out the ingredients, including the empty boxes so people can see what goes into it:
People began coming in and we talked about what was going into it and the nutrition in those ingredients:
I then did a bit of a talk on the Chop Concept and exactly the philosophy behind it.
We then got Chopping! Here is Ariel, our youngest Chopper. I love it when kids come and learn about Chop:
Everyone leapt right in and began chopping, cutting and mixing Chop:
It didn’t take long with so many helping hands:
I encouraged everyone to take a sniff. It really wasn’t necessary because the fresh smell permeated the room:
Once it was mixed, we began bagging it. Here I was demonstrating how rolling the bag and squeezing it made it almost air-free which cuts down on the risk of freezer burn:
After we were done, all of the attendees got to take home some Chop and we talked a bit more and cleaned up. It was really a wonderful event for everyone. I loved it!
My thanks go to everyone who allowed me to use their photos and who came to the event! Special thanks to Laura Ford, Carey Wentworth, Katrina Webster, Mike and Linda Fabrie, Carmel Mahan, Ariel, Stewie Bird, Sharon Pfeiffer, Mary Jaworski, Claudia Lamp, Crystal Heck, Gwen Daniels, Debbie Lee, Julie Bird, Jan Baker, Christine Carter, Kasaundra Heck, Roger Wood, Terry Riordan, Matt Ford for the crabs, and all of the cool people who attended. It was a blast meeting you and let’s do it again real soon!
My hand-carved feather pin from Claudia Lamp! Thanks Claudia. I love it!
July 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm
Great article, Pat!!!
July 22, 2013 at 5:09 pm
I have been making and feeding my parrotlet, Poppet, a ‘7 layer’ salad for months (though not really seven layers, more like twelve). I made a batch weekly and stored it in the refrigerator, stirring a portion up into a feed mix every other day. The bird took to it reluctantly and I hung my hat on ‘patience’, being sure to augment her diet with other, less desirable items when I noticed she simply refused her salad.
I discovered your ‘Chop Concept’ this morning and researched it as much as I could. I then went and purchased a full-scale food processor to replace my little dinky thing I had been using for the salad without much happiness. After that, I went to the grocery store and acquired the wildest combination of roots, and greens, and vegetables, and nuts, and this, and that. I purchased produce the checker had never encountered, causing a backup in my aisle as the poor thing had to research all of these ‘foreign’ items I was buying.
And I made the Chop with a parrot on my shoulder: Chopping, and processing, and pouring, and dumping, and flinging, and flying. Abandonment was met, and carelessness was the theme of the day. We just went wild with ingredients: Quinoa here and jicama there, beets and flax, shoots and leaves. It was fun.
We bagged everything up and I wiped my hands on a towel with the exclamation: “Another experiment in an optimal diet. My expectations are extremely low, though I am fond of the experience.” I doled out a portion of the Chop into a little dish and we went back to the desk, where Poppet’s food and water resides (I work at home and the bird is out and with me at all times, ~10 hours a day, hence the feeding station on a desk).
My little parrotlet has gone bananas for this Chop Concept. Within minutes she hopped up on the edge of the dish and began exploring. She then sat there and ate, and ate, and flung, and ate. I have never seen anything like it since I brought her home. An hour later she was back for more, ignoring foraging enticements: She went straight back to the dish. Even now, as I type, she has wandered back to the Chop and is filling that crop.
Thank you. I admit to being skeptical when I sense sensationalism, but this idea works. I’m not sure what has made such an astonishing difference between that salad and this Chop Concept (though I have theories), but seeing this little bird be so enthusiastic about good food makes me swoon. And for that I am grateful, and for that I tip my hat in abundant appreciation.
July 22, 2013 at 6:55 pm
July 22, 2013 at 8:51 pm
CHOP ON GF, Chop On!!!! I’m SO sorry I missed you, Life keeps getting in the way lately. Know I’m thinking of you and always trying new variations of CHOP in this household, I’m a devoted CHOP’r!!! Love ya vc
July 26, 2013 at 1:01 pm
Wanted to come see you so bad, but I am 72 and don’t drive quite as much anymore. Driving from the Eastern Shore across the Bay Bridge and tackling 695 Beltway was a bit intimidating for me. I am so sorry to have missed you 😦
July 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm
You were there in spirit! That’s okay. Next time, we’ll try and arrange for a ride. Can’t wait to meet you!