A century old business

Schwarz Fish Company.

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At Braise, we strive to use Wisconsin-local products and support local farmers as part of our local food mission. It’s no exception when it comes to seafood. Here are a few facts about one of our fish suppliers, Schawz Fish Company, a family-owned and operated business in Sheboygan, WI.

They’ve been in business for more than a century.

Schwarz Fish Company opened in 1912. That’s more than a century old! The business, created by Herman Sr. and William Schwarz, opened alongside the Sheboygan River and focused on selling their smoked fish. In 1924, the company moved to its present location and expanded to fish processing and frozen seafood. To date, the Schwarz family still owns and operates the business.

They’ve used the same smoking process for over 90 years.

Schwarz never altered their fish smoking process. They use only sea salt and water in their brine and all natural hardwood fires. This method of smoking fish is still used by only 4 fish companies in the state.

They helped start the Wisconsin tradition of Friday fish fries!

Origin stories of the Friday fish fry point to prohibition as the catalyst to this long-standing tradition. During prohibition, taverns needed a way to draw in business. When prohibition ended, fish fries continued on in the heavily Germanic Sheboygan, and Schwarz Fish Company was around to help supply the fish! Locals can still enjoy the same fish fry every Friday at Schwarz’s retail store.

Visit Schwarz’s website and like them on Facebook for more information!

 

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Big Events, Small Waste

Reducing single-use product waste with fallen palm leaves

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Throwing a party is fun, but no one wants to deal with the mess. Since the invention of the paper plate in 1901, we have exponentially increased our use of single-use products to avoid doing the dishes, reaching an unsafe amountfor the health of our planet.

Now, after the detrimental effects of plastics, styrofoam, and other harmful chemicals often found in these single-use products have been discovered, we need to make steps towards changing our single-use products.

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For our single-use plate needs, we turn to Patra for a better alternative to plastics and chemicals. Patra uses fallen areca palm leaves to shape their signature dinnerware. Not only does it look better than the less-friendly alternatives, Patra plates have many eco-benefits including being biodegradable, sourced from raw and natural materials, and using less energy in the composting process.

Next time you are enjoying a meal at one of our farm dinners, know that the plate you are using is free from harmful chemicals and is helping to reduce single-use waste. It’s small steps such as these we choose to help make the food industry more sustainable.

Follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter to keep up to date with all things Braise and see more #SustainableSunday posts.

Rooftop Ecology

Essential to a local food mission

It’s obvious why rooftop gardens are essential to a local food mission. You can’t get more local than your own roof! Here are some more reasons why rooftop gardens are important and essential.

1. They’re sustainable!

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Rooftop gardens support sustainable solutions in various different ways. An obvious bonus of having a roof garden is their ability to absorb rainwater. This helps prevent overflow in sewers and runoff into local waterways, especially in cases of heavy rainfall. (Rain also means our gardeners get a watering break…).

Plant-covered roofs also ease urban heat, through their natural ability to absorb it. This means we have the ability to use less air-conditioning in the space below our garden during hot summer months, saving money, energy, and emissions!

2. They improve health!

Plants are known for their health benefits. As plants absorb carbon dioxide to photosynthesize and do other plant things, they also absorb other unnecessary or harmful particulates. The result is a cleaner air quality for those who breathe oxygen!

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Plants also make you feel better! Plants have been shown to reduce blood pressure, increase attentiveness, and improve your overall well-being among other proven benefits. It’s not a bad side effect for enjoying a meal on our rooftop patio, adjacent to the garden! Not to mention our rooftop bees are happy rooftop pollinators.

3. The food!

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Growing your own food is as fresh as it gets! We use the veggies and herbs from our roof in our dishes and drinks. The result is delicious, quality and healthy food! Look for menu items marked ( R ) for a taste of rooftop ingredients.

For our menu and more information, visit braislocalfood.comor “like us” on Facebook

Roof Honey

How sustainable beekeeping is essential to our local food mission.

When you think of bees, what comes to mind? A pesky creature with the potential to cause an unpleasant sting? A simple machine that creates delicious honey for your evening tea?

In reality, bees are so much more. According to the Natural Resources Defence Council, bees are responsible for cross-pollinating at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and around 90 percent of the world’s wild plants.This pollination is a critical element in keeping plants alive and thriving.

 Braise rooftop honey

Braise rooftop honey

Since it’s clear that bees play a critical role in keeping our food systems at large alive, it’s no question that bees play a central role in local and sustainable food systems. This vital information led Laura Maigatter, Braise server, to a position of head beekeeper at local beekeeping company, Beepods.

“I was interested in local food systems and I realized just how important bees are to keeping these systems thriving,” Maigatter said. “Without bees, many of these systems would collapse.”

 Maigatter (left) with Braise’s rooftop Beepod

Maigatter (left) with Braise’s rooftop Beepod

In collaboration with Beepods, Braise keeps our very own beepod in the corner of our rooftop garden. The pod, while providing delicious honey for our drinks and dishes, also helps to keep the rest of our rooftop veggies thriving, and creates a more sustainable ecosystem.

“It’s not just about the honey,” Maigatter said.

Beepods, known for their innovative “top bar” design, allow bees to create hives more similarly to how they would create them in nature. This allows for happier bees and less chance of bees dying prematurely.

“Stacked hives, while having good intentions for their bees, isn’t how bees would keep their hives in nature,” Maigatter said. “They can stress bees out, or even make them sick.”

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Beepods work to eliminate bee fatigue while also allowing beekeepers the luxury of safely harvesting honey. It’s a win-win-win for bees, our local food systems, and beekeepers alike!

Make sure to follow Beepods on Facebook and Instagram for more information on innovative beekeeping, sustainability and Braise food and drinks featuring Beepod honey! Visit their website for more information.

www.braiselocalfood.com

https://www.instagram.com/braiselocalfood/

https://www.facebook.com/BraiseLocalFood/

https://twitter.com/BraiseLocalFood

Straw Talk

A step in the right direction.

It’s no question that our excessive plastic consumption and production has gotten out of hand. It can be found nearly everywhere; in our oceans, landfills and our homes.

Most sources estimate plastic to stick around for hundreds of years past our use of it before decomposing. This number is only increased when the compound is dumped in oxygen-deprived landfills, all while leaving behind a plethora of microplastics to further pollute our earth.

With all of these plastic problems mounting, it’s no wonder that businesses have been looking for more sustainable solutions when it comes to plastic. In recent headlines, one seemingly simple solution within the foodservice industry has been a hot-button topic among news and social media outlets. Plastic straws.

 Braise’s compostable paper straws

Braise’s compostable paper straws

“I’ve heard more straw talk in the last two months than the entirety of my foodservice career,” says David Swanson, owner of Braise.

This talk all came to a head when the largest coffee corporation, Starbucks, made an announcement about eliminating straw use from their products altogether, opting for a “sippy cup” lid on their drinks, deeming their actions an “environmental milestone.”

While their intent can be questioned, the overall reduction of any plastic waste is to be celebrated. It’s a step in the right direction and can help encourage more businesses and individuals to make sustainable practices more common.

Braise has been using compostable paper straws since opening in 2011 as reducing plastic use has been part of our local food mission.

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“The idea of using local food goes beyond what’s on the plate,” Swanson says. “It’s a holistic approach to water usage, packaging, and environmental issues from carbon footprint to what chemicals are rampant in our everyday lives.”

Braise applauds business that follow suit in choosing sustainable solutions, in whatever way they can.

Cheers! To spreading environmental awareness and paper straws!

Follow Braise on Instagram and like Braise on Facebook for more information on our local food initiatives. braiselocalfood.com