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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Local Food Friday(s) - week 3 and 4 - Eat Local 2011 January wrap-up.

We wimped out a bit the last two Fridays of the month.  We didn't have to do much searching for our local food.  Week three we had steak from our cow, mushrooms we grew, and squash soup we bottled earlier in the fall.  Week four we had spaghetti and meatballs from sauce we bottled this past summer, meatballs we made from our beef, and bread we made from local flour.  We were lacking on the salad for the last meal, but our greenhouse plants aren't ready to harvest and we didn't have two hours to drive to Wooster and back.

For the most part we were successful with our Eat Local Project for January.  One meal a week 100% local made us stretch a bit, and spurred us to find sources for some staples we don't produce ourselves.  What we found was pleasantly surprising.

What we learned
  • many staples like flour, grains, potatoes, cheese, meat, eggs are available from local producers year round. 
  • Oils are much more difficult to find.
  • You can't do this alone.  You need a local network to help you find producers, and to support them so they can keep producing.
  • There are a lot more people in our community interested in local food than we thought.
  • Preparing for the long dark season starts in the early spring.  If you don't plant it, it won't be there in the winter when you need it. 
  • We need to can more, have better storage options, and buy things when they are in season.
  • Cooking local food (which means mostly cooking from scratch) takes more planning and more time.  Learning new processes and habits is hard.

For February we will continue Local Food Fridays.  We hope to build a more comprehensive network of producers and get it posted on the blog for others to use.  We will be having at least one local food event.  And we are going to take on snacks.  We are snackers.  We eat 6 or 8 times a day (little bits, not huge meals...)  Finding local, healthy alternatives to crackers and chips is the challenge for Feb.  HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

5 comments:

alayne said...

Hi. I'm a NE Ohioan myself who is also on the path to local, organic foods. You hit the nail on the head with all the challenges that come from living in this climate.

We have increased our canning and storage (freezer) areas over the last few years. We grow much of our own food, but also buy what we don't produce from a local organic farm during the veggie season. Now, there are only a handful of veggies we don't store from local sources - carrots (need to work on this one really badly as we go through them quickly) and celery (but I can really do without this).

Anyway, the real reason for my comment (before I start babbling your ear off) is that we eat a LOT of popcorn for snacks. Although what we are currently eating is not local, growing our own or finding it local is definitely a possibility here. Someday. It's a healthy alternative to crackers and chips, and is a nice and crunchy to satisfy the 'crunch need'.

I'm enjoying reading about your journey, and hope to learn something to help me along mine.

thanks!

Texan said...

Muffins make great healthy snacks, I use spelt flour but any flour you can get local. You can use sugar, honey, maple syrup which ever sweetner you have found local. Pretty sure you can do them all local. Pumpkin muffins if you put up pumpkin, so good! They freeze well also. So you can do up large batches and take a few out each day to thaw.

We have really expanded what we are canning! Our electricity is a bit dicey here sometimes so I am leary of using the freezer to much. We have a small freezer and a generator now after three days last winter with no electricity. I can mostly as it doesn't need electricity to stay good!

Several winter squash will keep for months off the vine, Spaghetti Squash I can grow, harvest and just be finishing them up when the following years are getting ripe. Not to mention they are sooooo tasty!!

Paul.is.slow said...

Hey Alan,

I am not sure why you are self-deprecating for making simple meals. I think most of us make reasonably good choices when we make a concerted effort. It is the decisions we make when we want fast or easy that seem to make the difference. Good for you for staying with it on nights when you didn't want it to be a big production!

jack-of-all-thumbs said...

Alan,

I hope you've had a bit of web traffic today since I referenced your instructions on the predator-proof chicken gate. It seems to be a hit.

Robin Mullet said...

OK, I am totally embarassed. I haven't followed your blog for a couple of months (you were quiet for a while), and here you are blogging about the same thing that I am. Didn't copy, honest! But I have to laugh that two families are on the same track, thinking the same way, and live just a few miles apart. Which is also SO encouraging. We need to tell the Starving Chefs about this...Let's definitely keep in touch-this COULD be a community movement.

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