How's your local meal coming along?
Phil works every Saturday so a few years ago Hadley and I decided that we would make it a ritual to head to the Farmer's Market for some girl time while Daddy was away at work. At first our trips were mostly social. We didn't really buy much food aside from the token treats we couldn't resist and handicrafts for gifts. Gradually we began purchasing food from the local growers and then last year we added purpose and Amelia to our trips to market. I bought most of my produce as well as bread, eggs, and meat from local sustainable farms. I bought boxes of peaches and tomatoes for canning and we enjoyed dozens of beautiful jars of delicious food with our meals.
Sometime in late August I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and it cemented many of the things I believed about food, and changed the way I intended to eat and feed my family. Then winter set in. Every time I went to the grocery store I felt guilty and stressed about everything I was buying. Instead of feeling like I was able to eat the way I wanted to I was feeling like I needed to just fill the pantry and put food on my table. I gave myself permission to ease up on my food goals. These things take time.
So now it is spring again and I'm able to get a jump start on eating sustainable, local foods. I hope to preserve as much seasonal produce as possible, and though we will not go totally vegetarian, we have committed to buying only local, sustainable meat, and eating much less of it than before. That's one nice thing about me staying home. I can now focus more fully on how I feed my family instead of just getting something on the table. I will likely never be able to be a Kingsolver copy, but I'll do the best I can and let the rest go. I still plan to have snacks in the pantry and ice cream in the freezer. Maybe as time goes by, however, we can make our own ice cream with local milk and seasonal berries.
One thing I've already noticed about eating local produce is that by the end of a run of something I'm pretty much sick of eating it. Asparagus for example. I love it! I buy it every week and we eat lots of it. But I'm getting sick of it already. What I need to do it buy a bunch to pickle so we can savor it in winter.
This was my haul for this week:beet greens, spinach, asparagus, green onions, chives, eggs, and milk. Total cost: $10
(the milk and eggs came from a new little market we have downtown that carries lots of local and organic produce.)
I can't wait until things start getting a little more colorful!