Monday, September 8, 2008

Local food movement, join today

Hello All,
I've been on the local food movement for about 5 months now. REALLY into it, so forgive me if I sound a little insane. Some of you may appreciate my passion about it, and some may not, that's okay either way.

For dinner tonight I served an almost exclusively organic, local meal. Now, if you think about where your food comes from, you may or may not know. I know where all but the ground turkey I bought (though it was organic) for meatloaf came from.

I dug new baby potatoes from my garden last week and they spent the week hardening off and getting ready for their winter storage in the bulkhead. Hopefully, this will work out and they won't freeze up. This was my first year growing potatoes, and it was seriously fun. It was like a treasure hunt harvesting them, you should have seen the boys and I elbow deep in dirt fishing around like we were looking for a crock o' gold. When we'd locate a big one, we'd get all giddy and see who had the biggest one as we went along. Anyways, they are so easy to grow, you can do it in some of those large plastic bucket tubs. Just fill with dirt, plant the spud seeds, cover with hay and let 'em go. They needed very little attention and in fact all I did was water and make sure they were covered in hay as they grew. You have to add more hay on top as they get bigger plant tops, but other then that, no weeding, no attention except water. Try it, you won't be disappointed. They are the most delicious potatoes I've ever had. I put a bit of kosher salt in the boiling water, a little pat of butter at the end, so yummy.

The green beans were also new for me this year as I don't really like green beans. But, they are going like gang busters as well. All the boys in the house love them, so I relented and planted some this year. I've already harvested enough to put some away in the freezer for winter. I found I actually like them when I grow them myself, fresh and snappy and good. The boys will eat them fresh off the vine, but not if I cook them (can anyone explain this to me?), so they get their daily fiber snacking on those while we pick. The boys each have their own small garden bed, and Maestro wanted to plant broccoli, carrots, spinach and beets in his this year. So, we grabbed one of his carrots and two of mine and made some honey-thyme glazed carrots. I told him that his carrot was the best I've ever had, and he glowed. The boys gobbled those carrots up and Maestro had the pride of planting, growing and harvesting something that became part of our family's dinner. It's a great thing to teach a child to grow food. They get a much better appreciation for it when they contribute to it themselves. Little Red only wanted to do flowers in his bed this year, but he told me next year he wants to do cucumbers, that's his favorite veggie.

So, I have really put some thought into having as many meals be local for us as possible this summer and I can say with all honesty, it's been the best summer eating we've ever had. I love that I'm giving my money to farmers that are in my community. That my money stays in the community in which I live, supporting farmers that care about the same community I do and not giving my money to grocery mongers or worse, MalWart Super Stores. It's a wonderful sense of satisfaction to grow and harvest your own food as well. My little plot is very small by most standards. I have four beds that are 4' x 8', and one of them is all strawberries. And let me tell you, those are the best little heavenly bits of sunshine on the planet. Anyway, my garden is organic, and I've not figured out how to keep all the pests at bay, but after some trial and error, I've figured out a few. Planting marigolds in and amongst the veggies will keep lots of insects away, as will nasturtiums. They have a very deliciously edible flower that goes great in a salad, they are peppery and good. I was able to ward off the local groundhog after he mowed down my first round of broccoli and lettuce with fox urine placed every 10 feet around the garden on saturated cotton balls. I don't really want to think about how they collect that stuff to sell it, but it worked like a charm. We've agreed to live in harmony with each other, that little brown fur ball and I.

So, anyways, I feel like I'm contributing in a very important way to trying to save our planet. The less fossil fuel we spend getting our food, the better for all of us. I love knowing that none of the food on my dinner table traveled more then 5 miles to get there. And that my hands contributed to the bounty that's truly nourishing my husband and children. Nothing artificial or dyed or high fructosed there, just good old fashioned food. I just wish there was a way for me to grow enough to last the whole year through! I've put up some local produce for winter in our freezer and canned some stuff as well, and tomorrow I will be canning some sweet pepper relish with red bell peppers I've grown myself. Along with the jalapenos that are right there next to them on my little plot. My sister tells me I HAVE to do more this year, so I guess that's telling me I did okay with it last year. I share when I can and that's also an important part of gardening for me.

Enjoying the bounty that is truly mine,~ Peacemom

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