Friday, November 30, 2007

Because Coffee Doesn't Grow in Ohio...

For those items that you can't find locally, it's great to find a source for organically-grown options that goes even a step beyond Fair-Trade. Benevolent Blends, run by Cistercian monks in Wisconsin as a way to support themselves, donates a portion of its profits to various charitable organizations.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Small Organic Farmer Faces a Difficult Decision

Another excellent article from Food Democracy. Must reading for any consumer who wants to eat locally.

From the article:

Have we failed? No. We’ve provided income to hundreds of people and their families, produced the finest organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers available anywhere and fed thousands. We’ve shared bounty with the needy and pumped large sums of money back into our local economy. Even though farming has not been financially rewarding, we’ve lived a life of indulgence that few can embrace·the life on a farm. No price can be placed on living the miracle of the soil, walking fields each week and witnessing the effect of warm rains and steaming sun brining life and growth of luscious, healthy produce grown naturally in concert with nature.

Joel Salatin on technology, science, and belief systems

From the excellent blog Food Democracy, Joel Salatin's article Sound Science is Killing Us is a bit on the long-and-dense side but worth plowing through.

From the article:

A diesel tractor can either pull an anhydrous-ammonia-fertilizer injector, or it can pull a manure spreader full of compost. It is the heart, the soul, the belief system that determines how technology will be used. Electricity can be used to power feed augers and ventilation fans, medication timers and artificial lights in a confinement poultry house, or it can power an energizer hooked to high-tech, information-dense, polyethylene-stainless-steel-threaded poultry netting in a pasture setting. The belief system defines the use.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Home Days

Pattie over at Foodshed Planet has a great idea which I am shamelessly stealing: setting aside several days between Thanksgiving and Christmas to do nothing special at all. Accept no invitations, host no gatherings, attend no shows, plan no shopping trips or outings. Just a day to take a deep breath and enjoy being together during the holiday season. This is especially a great idea for me because my favorite winter meals require ongoing light supervision which keeps me at (or very near) home but not really busy.

Pattie calls them 'yellow days' because that's how she marks them out on her calendar, but I think I'm going to call them Home Days. I'm marking my calendar right now.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Update on Locavore vs. Localvore

My indolence is fast becoming net-famous, with my rationale for choosing 'locavore' over 'localvore' ("reasons of simple laziness: it's easier for me to pronounce") being quoted by Language Log and Daylife. It seems locavore is still winning even though some folks fret about its unfortunate resemblance to 'locovore.' Which critics might use to imply we were crazy.

Really, is it any less likely critics will turn localvore into locovore? If people want to make fun of us I doubt they're going to stop and say, "Oh, but I can't turn 'localvore' into 'locovore.' There's an extra letter in there! Damn. So close."

The coiner of the term, Jessica Prentice, explains her reasons for choosing locavore over localvore here, noting that "if journalists wanted to question me on (the association with 'loco' as in crazy), it would be an opportunity to explain that what is really crazy is the amount of unnecessary importation and exportation of food that currently happens in our globalized food system."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More backlash against locavorism.

William Moseley on condemns the locavore movement for hurting organic and fair-trade farmers in developing countries. It seems that supporting our neighbors is unfair to farmers in Chile and Africa who are depending on us.

Me, I'm prone to feeling liberal guilt. But it seems like some people are just plain greedy for that extra helping of it.

Dark Days Challenge/Turk-a-leekie soup

Thursday's turkeys are picked over and the carcasses in the freezer for stock. I have a lovely bunch of leeks from Boulder Belt Eco-Farm, picked up at the November Winter Market in Oxford the weekend before Thanksgiving along with carrots, celery, and garlic, so I decided to make Turk-a-leekie soup. Like Cockaleekie, only with turkey.

First I started the stock. Into my largest stockpot I put one of the turkey carcasses plus several bags of vegetable trimmings I've been saving for the past week or so -- some carrot tops, onion ends, a celery end, some garlic ends, and potato peelings. I save these trimmings as I prepare veggies from week to week and stick them into the freezer for stockmaking. Seems a shame to put a perfectly good carrot into my stockpot when I can just save the trimmings which would otherwise go to waste. I also added a couple of bay leaves, a few peppercorns, a piece of ginger, and some allspice berries. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer, and leave for a couple of hours.

In the meantime I started the veggies for the Turkaleekie. I heated some good homemade butter in my 6-quart soup pot, pressed a couple of garlic cloves, and sauteed them for a few minutes. I ground a lot of pepper in, diced my carrots and added those, then the celery and leeks and turned the heat to low. All the trimmed ends went into the stockpot to help out.

While the veggies sweated, I cut up turkey into medium dice and set it aside. When the veggies were tender, I added the turkey, covered the pot loosely, and set it into the fridge. Then I waited for my stock. I let it simmer for a couple of hours, then strained it into a bowl and added enough to the veggies and turkey just to cover and returned the pot to the simmer. For a bit of added interest I stirred in some hot sauce and a couple of spoonfuls of leftover mashed potatoes. I didn't need to add any salt, probably because the turkey had been brined prior to roasting. The resulting soup was rich and flavorful.

We served it with rye rolls that were purchased from a local baker, but I doubt the grain was local. But with local turkey, local butter, local garlic, carrots, celery, leeks, and potatoes, we're still calling this a 90% local meal.


3 T butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 C diced carrots
2 C diced celery
3 C leeks, halved lengthwise, cleaned well under running water, then sliced thin
3 C diced cooked turkey
4 - 8 C turkey stock
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 C leftover mashed potatoes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt butter and saute garlic. Add carrots and saute briefly, then add celery and leeks and turn heat down to sweat vegetable until barely tender. Add turkey and stock and bring to a simmer. Add hot sauce and potatoes if desired and correct seasonings. If you aren't starting with good homemade stock, you may want to add a bouquet garni when you add the carrots. A good addition to this soup would be barley, potatoes, or wide noodles.

I had lots of stock still left, so I packaged that up for the freezer. I still have another turkey carcass, too, but as I used up all my veggie trimmings I'll probably wait a week or so before I make the second batch of stock.