The Water Issue

By Lauren Titus / Photography By Sean Kelly Conway | Last Updated June 28, 2016
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"We forget that the water cycle
and the life cycle are one."
Jacques Cousteau

On a recent Sunday, I took a ride to the Orange Park Farmers’ Market. The 100-mile round-trip route from St. Augustine carried me over 14 bridges, underscoring the abundance of water in Northeast Florida. Starting from the ocean, I crossed the Intracoastal Waterway, the mighty St. Johns River and numerous creeks and branches (Governors Creek, Black Creek, Doctors Lake, Johnson Slough, Julington Creek, Cunningham Creek, Mill Creek, Kentucky Branch, Kendall Creek, Trout Creek, Wades Creek).

That was just the visible water I traversed. Underneath the entire state sits the Floridan Aquifer, the main source of ground water for this area. One can get a sense of liquid prosperity during the course of an average day’s travels throughout our region.

There’s a lot of talk these days about being more mindful of our water footprint, especially when it comes to producing what we eat. You might be surprised by how much is needed to grow and make our food. According to recent research, it takes about 1,000 gallons per person per day to produce the standard American diet — more than the global average waterfoot print of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy and the consumption of material goods.

The stories in this issue look closely at the food we harvest from the sea, how we get the water we drink and why water is vital in the production of the things we eat. We showcase research on the health of local oysters and ways you can get involved to help rebuild their beds. Tired of the same old seafood choices? Read about some delicious alternatives you can find at your local fish market to support a more sustainable seafood industry. Learn about programs local farmers are implementing to conserve water use and reduce impact to the St. Johns River while growing our food. And finally, we go beyond your coffee cup, to the source of the beans, and explore the role water plays in creating one of our favorite daily elixirs.

I hope you enjoy this issue. And remember, as you think about what’s for dinner, make sure you appreciate how much water it takes to produce that meal.

Lauren TitusEditor

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STORIES & RECIPES FROM THE HEAT ISSUE

What's in Season

Beets with greens on gray background
Here's a list of local food you'll find in season throughout the year in Northeast Florida.

Fernandina Beach Bacon with Datil Pepper Remoulade

While prepared smoked mullet can often be found at local fish stores, there’s nothing like the flavor and satisfaction of smoking your own. Serve this locally caught mullet dish with Datil pepper...

Prosciutto-Wrapped Triggerfish & Vegetables

Prosciutto-Wrapped Triggerfish with Spring Vegetables
This dish is easy to assemble and works with a variety of vegetables, so you can adapt it to what’s in season at the market.

Pickled Shrimp

No more rubbery shrimp! This recipe uses a oil and vinegar-type dressing rather than a vinegar pickling liquid alone and when doubled or quadrupled, it's perfect for a crowd.

A River Runs Through It

Farmer Simon of Urban Folk Farm in Jacksonville, Florida
Northeast Florida farms, both large and small, are taking control of water challenges with farming practices that promote sustainability.

Why Ice Matters

Ice at the Ice Plant
The art of making ice. There's more to it than just freezing water.

Conserving While We Can

Intuition Ale Works beer in glass
Intuition Ale Works isn’t waiting for a drought to start conserving its most precious resource.

Casting a Wider Net

Fish on ice
Local chefs showcase less-familiar fish species in support of a more sustainable seafood industry.

Tips for Buying Sustainable Seafood

Selecting fresh seafood at a local fish market
When it comes to seafood, it's easy to eat local and seasonal once you know the questions to ask.

Grilled Squirrelfish

Grilled Squirrelfish
Squirrelfish has delicious meat, best cooked whole over a charcoal grill.

Salt of the Earth and Sea

Salt varieties
There's more to salt than what's in the shaker on the table.

Oysters in Northeast Florida

Shucking oysters in Northeast Florida
Could Northeast Florida be the next oyster hotbed?

Socializing Over Seaweed

Making Sushi DIY
With a DIY sushi party, guests can help with the food prep and learn a new skill!

Just Add Water

zach burnett pours water over coffee at bold bean roasters in jacksonville florida
How much water does it take to produce a good cup of coffee? More than you think.

Chickpea Socca with Radish Salad & Carrot Top Pesto

Chickpea Socca with Easter Egg Radish Salad and Carrot Top Mint Pesto
Also called farinata, torta di ceci or cecina, socca is a type of unleavened pancake or crêpe made from chickpea flour.

Cornbread Pudding with Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Cornbread Pudding with Salted Bourbon Caramel
Here’s a tasty dessert idea for your leftover cornbread.

Build a Hugelkultur Bed

Installing a hugelkultur bed
This age-old gardening technique is perfect for the sandy soil conditions of Northeast Florida and aids in water conservation.
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