By Phil VanHorne
CEO, BlueRock Energy
With all the talk about climate change, you may hear companies say they power their operations with 100% renewable energy, but what does that really mean and is it entirely feasible?
Let’s begin by defining renewable energy. Renewable energy means an energy source that is not depleted by use, such as water, wind, or solar power. Specifically, renewable energy sources are wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and solar. Not only can they never be depleted (unless the end of the Earth is near), but they produce zero carbon dioxide emissions. However, they aren’t always readily available to use as energy sources. Think cloudy days with no wind.
Power is power—whether it is wind, coal, natural gas nuclear or solar. There is no quality difference in the fuel source. Pollution is pollution, which is something we all agree is a bad thing. Obviously, we all want clean air, and coal isn’t as clean as wind and solar, but strides are being made to lower the emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases through processes intended to produce ‘clean coal.’ Natural gas while still being a fossil fuel, is cleaner burning and a low emission fuel.
To be 100% reliant on renewable energy may, in some cases, be more of a goal for companies than it is a reality, mostly because renewable energy is a premium product and therefore costs more. Like some energy companies , customers are very committed to lowering their carbon footprint, as it falls in line with their organically grown, locally sourced business philosophy. To achieve that goal, these companies are willing to pay for the premium product. The companies that typically purchase this include craft brewers, specialty manufacturers and some retail sales operations. Therefore, we go out and buy wind, hydro and bio mass and put together an energy package or a mix to help them meet their energy goals, whether the goal is 100 percent or 10 recent renewables.
Currently, BlueRock Energy has about 50 residential customers who are 100% renewable, and the trend is growing. Installation of solar panels and/or becoming a member of a community shared solar project is another giant step in the right direction. By taking advantage of federal and state tax incentives, solar systems can be an ideal way to lower your energy bills and move toward energy independence.
If you are interested in finding the right mix of renewable energy to meet your goals, go online and find your local energy company. Give them a call, so you can get a better understanding of how renewable energy can help cut down on your monthly bill.
Pastificio - More than a Homemade Pasta Factory!
At Pastificio, the first question people ask is how to pronounce our name. It’s “Pah stee feech’ e o”. The second question that I get is, “What made you want to own a restaurant that makes fresh pasta?” The answer may surprise you.
Growing up Polish, we certainly loved sauce and Italian food. But, not nearly as much as my dad loved his Polish heritage. My father and I would make the pierogi. And boy, did we struggle. We looked up all kinds of recipes. They said to make a well with the flour. In retrospect, we made a volcano!
Then we tried to pour in the liquid and mix it. We ended up with a big mess to wrestle with. But, we persevered. In my 20s, while attending the Food Service Management program at OCC, we had a unit on pasta making in one of my classes. There was my epiphany! I went home and showed my day how to make a huge ring of flour on a large board, and then gently swirl that flour into the liquid poured into the middle. Finally, and thankfully, pierogi making would never be the same.
From this experience, I grew a deep love as a chef for pasta. I love its versatility. With, pierogi, there are more limits to creativity, (although we do currently make 10 varieties). With pasta, there are a multitude of shapes, sizes, flavors, sauces, and filling combinations. The possibilities are endless.
When we opened Pastificio, many people asked if I would offer Polish food too. I was very reluctant. Finally, one day I figured, “Why not?” The response has been overwhelming. We now have a full homemade Polish menu including golabki, kielbasa, kapusta, and bigos. We make our own Farmers cheese. We stuff and smoke our own sausage. We are using beautiful local cabbage. I could not be happier than I am creating so much homemade product that ties to so many peoples’ childhood memories.
Pastificio creates everything from scratch. We cure fresh lox for breakfast, and smoke our bacon and our kielbasa. The breakfast and Italiaz sausages are homemade. So are the meatballs. We cure our corned beef, carve our turkey off the bone, and roast our roast beef rare for sandwiches. We have some of the prettiest and freshest salads in town.
And our deserts are to die for!
Even though the name means “pasta factory”, we are really an everything - from - scratch factory!
Visit Pastificio's website here.
In August of 2015 we wrote a blog for a Laci's Tapas Bar event. It was viewed by over 1600 Syracuse and Central New York consumers and businesses. And it's still being viewed!
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5th Year Anniversary August 20, 2015
On August 20th, 2015 from 5:00 - 8:00 PM, Laci’s Tapas Bar will be hosting its Fifth Year Anniversary Giveback Party!
All monies raised that night will be given to David’s Refuge, a four year old nonprofit that serves parents of children with special needs, or those struggling with a life threatening condition.
It is no secret that Laura Serway and Cindy Seymour, co-owners of Laci’s love their community. Five years ago they started a friendly competition on Facebook that gave the community the ability to “vote” for their favorite nonprofit. The organization with the most “Likes” won the competition. With over 10,000 likes in this year’s contest David’s Refuge came out the victor!
On August 20th Laci’s is hosting a Giveback Party where all proceeds are given to support the mission of David’s Refuge, “Caring for the Caregiver.”
Tickets will be sold online for $30 or at the door for $40. You will enjoy five tapas, five drinks, music, raffles, and more.
To purchase tickets you can go to www.davidsrefuge.org/lacisgiveback or call 315 682-4204.
Many vendors will be joining the celebration, setting up their tables in the Hawley-Green “triangle” where the streets will be shut down for the big celebration.
If you are a football fan you will be given a chance to win tickets to the Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears game, Thanksgiving Day. They will be retiring Brett Favre's jersey at the game! This is a life time opportunity for all Cheese Heads out there!
You are invited to “Eat Small and Live Large” at the 2015 Give Back Celebration on August 20th!
Thursday, August 20, 2015 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Laci’s Tapas Bar 304 Hawley Ave., Syracuse, NY
Food (5 samples of tapas) Drinks (5 samples of drinks) Live music, raffles, and vendors A Chance to win tickets to watch Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears And the retirement of Brett Farve’s Jersey!
Pre-Sale Tickets: $30/person (click here for pre-sale tickets)
Tickets at the Door: $40/person
Table for 8 People: $350 (all others will be standing only)
Private Deck for 12 People: $750