Friday, September 4, 2015

Finding food a little closer to home

It's Prince Henry in the movie Ever After who tells Danielle,
I used to think that if I cared about anything, I would have to care about everything, and I'll go stark raving mad. But, now I have found a purpose.
There are times on this journey of ours when I share his sentiment. Admittedly, I still find myself laughing at some of the people I meet or hear about - the extremists, or perhaps the ones who are simply further on the journey than I am, the ones who are so committed to their quest for health and well-being that they are seemingly in another world.

I think I felt this way as I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and considered her family's commitment to only eat local produce and food for a year. The thought of rhubarb being the only fruit for a period of time in one's diet seemed ludicrous (especially with toddlers!). Yet, as I considered her challenge and thought more, it started to make sense, until I tried to figure out what it would look like in my own family and I headed towards the "stark raving mad" end of the spectrum.

What I'm learning in this process is to glean bits and pieces from each of these journeys that work for our family, as best as I can, utilizing the resources I have, or the ones available to me. But, as I crawl further down this proverbial rabbit hole, I am realizing just how far our society, and myself along with it, has fallen to convenience.

In our attempt to find food closer to our home, I have been doing the following:

  • growing a LARGE garden with a friend. Hard work (weeding!) is always easier with a friend.  We each have two toddlers, so finding the time to spend in the garden is not always easy with the four of them racing about - our onions are looking a little sorry thanks to their trampling efforts. But we are working with it, and some times even recruit our husbands to play with the kids while we work our garden. That being said, the time spent together has been good and the yield has been satisfying and fun - so far we have enjoyed peas, lettuce, tomatoes beans, potatoes, carrots, onions and rhubarb. We have planted some berry bushes too, which will hopefully yield fruit in future years.
Garden pano from earlier in the season. I'm standing in the potatoes.

Garden pumpkin - harvested early because of the threat of frost!
  • asking friends who have fruit trees and bushes in their gardens if they're using them or not. We scored a tub of apples (for pies and smoothies) and these plum/cherry (there's a bit of a debate able what they are!) that we are  going to can. The girls inhaled these as we were washing and de-stemming them!
Mysterious plum/cherry. The debate rages on!
  • shopping our local farmer's market - this is hard as I need to still form relationships and figure out exactly what I am buying, as at one of the booths I spied the same MANGOES that I bought from the store the other day. Um, not local farmers. Our market also sustains itself with "home party" type goods, so we're working on it.... Meat seems to be our must successful thus far, but we're slowly adding other food, as we are also trying to build relationships with others in the area - unpasteurized honey from a friend I was in Bible study with a few years ago, a local producer who grows tomatoes and peppers without pesticides (especially since those are on the Dirty Dozen List), having sourced chicken from some family friends; we "grow" our own steers in the pasture, and we are very fortunate because my husband is able to hunt and fish which provides us with wild game and fish. 
12 eggs from this week's market - for $3.00! I love the different sizes & colours!
  • and finally, checking out options such as The Green Pantry who deliver to our area. I might have some more success in finding what I'm looking for through them - though some of their items still travel a LONG distance because we're rural and in a northern climate. But, I really appreciate that they have a link on their site called Our Producers where I can read about who is growing/making the food and where it is coming from before it hits our table.

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