If you want to feel more in tune with where you live, one of the first steps you can take is to prepare a meal derived of foods grown by someone in (or very near) your zip code. Local Matters, the Columbus not-for-profit group devoted to spreading the good food gospel, does its part every day to teach people how to think local by eating fresh, healthful and affordable food and drink. Beginning officially on Saturday and continuing through Oct. 8, Local Matters will intensify its light on all things local.
During Local Foods Week, events starring local farmers, chefs, grocers, wine and beer makers and other food gurus will take place throughout central Ohio. Jeni's contribution to the celebration will begin with the Local Foods Week "pre-parties" Friday Oct. 1 at Whole Foods in Upper Arlington and will conclude with the Harvest Dinner and Ball Friday Oct. 8 at Station 67, the former Toledo and Ohio Central Railway Station just west of downtown Columbus.
Through the week, here's where you can meet Jeni and sample the latest in local, handcrafted ice creams:
* 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday October 1 at Whole Foods Market, 1555 W. Lane Ave.: Jeni and her husband Charly will mingle with guests and taste the goods during a Local Foods Week "pre-party" that features a superb wine and food tasting. (Another Local Foods Week pre-party will take place simultaneously at Whole Foods' Dublin location.) Tickets for the tasting cost $5. Call 614-481-3400.
* 9 a.m. Sunday Oct. 3 at House Wine, 644 N. High St., Worthington: Jeni and Jeni's test kitchen maven Christen Corey will be making their "famous" waffles and serving those fluffy and perfectly crispy suckers three ways: savory style (with Bluescreek Farms' ham and Oakvale Farmstead Cheese's gouda), sweet as sweet can be (with Ohio sausage and maple syrup) and straight-up vegetarian (with butter, syrup and Luna Burger's meat-free patties). All plates, which include Stauf's coffee and Snowville Creamery's milk and cream, cost $10. Call 614-846-9463.
* 3 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 5, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, 1145 Chesapeake Ave., Suite E: Jeni will host a rare tour of the kitchen and then make Pumpkin Tiramisu Parfaits (an elegant new treat to be unveiled Friday Oct. 1 in all six Jeni's shops). Reservations are required for the Local Matters-sponsored tour. For more information, visit http://jeniskitchentour2.eventbrite.com.
* 6 p.m. Thursday Oct. 7, The Hills Market, 7860 Olentangy River Rd.: For the Fall Family Dinner and fundraiser for Local Food Week organizers Local Matters, Jeni will prepare one of the ice cream world's most underrated foodstuffs, real whipped cream. You haven't eaten whipped cream until you've eaten Snowville Creamery's cream whipped into shape by Jeni, laced with Ohio maple syrup and placed atop her Ohio Apple Sundae. Admission: $10 ($5, children ages 10 and younger). Reservations are required. Call 614-846-3220.
* 6:30 p.m. Friday Oct. 8, The Station 67, 379 W. Broad St.: Jeni and Charly will help cap Local Foods Week in style at the Harvest Dinner and Harvest Ball in the former Toledo and Ohio Railway Station that's been renovated to the nines. The Harvest Dinner is not to be missed. Local foods, wines and brews will comprise a delectable five-course meal. Tickets cost $75, with 100% of the proceeds going to Local Matters. Eat, drink, be merry, then stick around to get down during the Harvest Ball. Tickets cost $25 and include three drinks, as much local dancing as you can handle and all the local fun a person can have legally in the great state of Ohio.