Eat Local

There has been a burgeoning movement towards CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) over the last 20 years. This is a model of food production where members purchase shares at the beginning of the season and receive a weekly or bi-weekly share of produce (some CSAs do provide dairy, meat, or other items) throughout the season. There is an implicit understanding that the consumer and the farmer are sharing in both the risk and potential for bounty, (ie: if it was a bad season for squash, the farmer is not punished for things outside of their control). Getting their income for the year up front allows farmers a more stable income and the ability to invest in their farm without taking out loans from banks. Benefits to consumers include being connected to local farmers, having a real understanding of where their food comes from (including visits to the farm and community events hosted by the farmers or CSA members), and having access to the freshest seasonal produce available!

Seasonal rhythms:

categories: Blog, Eat Local

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Here’s a little glimpse into how fun (and productive!) food preserving and harvest can be.  This also happens to be a part of my seasonal rhythms.  October through December, I make art non-stop, full time, stocking boutiques and going to craft fairs.  In January and February I rest and review my year, thinking of what I can improve, how I can make my life better, and get in some reading and snuggling into the warmth of blankets while snow flies outside.  In March I offer myself to the world: re-stocking boutiques for spring, making screens for friends and local groups and teaching workshops.   And sadly, start running low on preserves.  In June, the land begins producing bold spring greens, tender turnips, crisp lettuce, and the promise of summer fruit hangs in the air.  I work on a farm during the summer, but make time to do MORE picking at local berry farms and apple orchards.

Here are some pictures from last year’s harvest, my co-workers and I couldn’t get enough of getting soaked, muddy, and filling jars with jams, pickles, ferments, and more!  I’m still canning like mad right now, this year I’m learning about pressure canning and peeling skin off peaches. I’m also getting ready with new designs, new bike bells (more about that soon!), and craft fair applications for November and December.  See you soon!

You can pickle that!!!

categories: Blog, Eat Local

This will be my fourth season working on an organic CSA (community supported agriculture) farm.  I come home with lots of vegetables, no recipe in mind and an integrated deadline (it won’t last forever, and I don’t have cold storage!).   It reminds me of the training I got by volunteering with Food Not Bombs.  CSA’s, I’ve found, are one of the best ways to connect yourself to a rhythm of seasonal eating.  From the first year through til the last one, my preserving skills improved: I’m not afraid to take home 30 pounds of tomatoes anymore!

My favourite saying in Polish is “When you don’t have what you like, you must like what you have”, or  “Jak się nie ma, co się lubi – to się lubi co się ma”.  In order to truly appreciate what’s available in our bioregion, it’s important to learn how to cook in a seasonal way.  Many of us grew up eating processed food out of boxes, used bland tomatoes in winter, and never canned or pickled anything.

By getting my vegetables via CSA I have learned to:  process with limited counter space (one step at a time with frequent dishwashing cycles!), can tomatoes (easier than you’d think!), and freeze soup in mason jars (don’t fill the jar even one hair past the curve at the top!).

It may be easier to try new skills when you have friends along for the ride: when I had a surplus of bok choi and wanted to try making kimchi, my friend Sharon was there with me the whole way.  We watched the little bubbles rise to the surface as our “kimchi baby” fermented away, and when it was done we feasted together on Kimchi Jiigae and Kimchi pancakes.

Why not try a new skill with friends this summer? My personal goal is to figure out how to pressure can soup and make pickles.   I see some parties on the horizon…

Me on a tractor in North Dakota with some homegrown tomatoes ready for snacking at my side.

Eat Local

categories: Eat Local, Sweaters

Eat local, forage for wild mushrooms!

categories: Eat Local, Neckties, Wild Mushrooms