Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eat Local Right Now

It is my conviction that it is possible to eat local in some way "right now" no matter what time of year it is. I had this great idea for that post in late March, early April. It felt a little too early, and now after a whirlwind summer it feels a little too late. I suppose that is the point, though, it is truly neither and I might as well begin.

I am Susan, I am a wife, mom to a nine year old and custodial step-mom to a 17 year old and 3 young adults, 2 of which at the moment are still living at home. Your guess is as good as mine about who might show up for dinner tonight. My husband and I enjoy the self-reliance and sustainability of eating local, both in growing our own food and from buying from growers and producers in our community. I love the nourishment of local food, as well as the connection and reassurance of knowing who grew it and how it was grown. We really find the whole endeavor fun.

I am also co-founder of the CORV Eat Local Guide. When the project began 4 years ago I remember saying, "this listing is important but it isn't everything. I have this list of farms on my computer and I'm still not eating local as much as I'd like." And that still holds true for me. In these posts I'm going to explore some of the various aspects of eating locally, hoping to continue to remove barriers for myself and inspire you as well.

I intend to post monthly about Eating Local, Right Now, and the posts will be a collection of what is possible for this time of year and what my family is actually doing. I honestly didn't do so great this year in getting to market regularly and in putting things up for the winter so it should be fun to see what we can accomplish a bit "after the fact" but then again this is about now.

It is now November, what does that mean for folks striving to eat local, right now, all year long?

In the Garden
We have carrots still in the ground I hope to harvest this week. This weekend we planted our garlic which will should ready in June.

At Market
Last night my husband, Ken, and I went to Northside Market. The Market is now indoors for the season and a great resource for local eating year round. We purchased carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, eggs, apples and some local Hopi Blue Corn Polenta. There was lots more available onions, greens, beets, sprouts and microgreens, sweet potatoes, squash, and that is before the breads, preserves and specialty items.

In the Kitchen
November is still a good time to go to the Farmers' Market before you finalize your meal plans and grocery lists for the week. There is still lots of fresh veggies, apples, eggs, poultry, meats and cheeses. It's great to have a rough idea of what you'd like to serve in the week, but not so planned out that you can't utilize those great beets you didn't expect to see.

In the next week we'll have local ham (we purchase a side of pork about every 6 months) and local broccoli; local chicken, with local potatoes, carrots and onions; butternut squash soup with onions and squash from our garden; and the polenta I bought last night.

For the Root Cellar
We do have a root cellar set up in our garage, it is a small room with lots of shelves, a cabinet ventilated outside for squash, apples and such, and then hooks in the main room for garlic and onions. Here also lives our freezer. So for my purposes the root cellar really just means put away for later use regardless of preservation and storage method.

Our root cellar is as of yet pretty bare. In the spring I went crazy with strawberries and lost a lot of my enthusiasm for taking anything like that on with all the busyness of our home. I am realizing I might be more successful doing a little at a time. Last night after market and before the 9 year old got home from his dad's, I cleaned, steamed and froze carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. I'm definitely excited to try this little bit at a time method for the next couple of weeks to see if I can't stock up a bit better going into winter.

We also individually wrapped half of the basket of apples we bought and put them in a bin in the cabinet downstairs. That cabinet has several butternut squash from both my backyard and the farmers' market but otherwise is empty.

I'm thrilled to be sharing our story with you as we head into the holidays and winter. What does eating local right now mean for you?