Monday, September 03, 2012

Happy Labor Day: Get Ready For Local food for the Winter!

Today is Labor Day, a day in which we honor the people who work to make our nation and society possible. Most of us number ourselves among the laboring masses, so let's celebrate our greatness. We don't really need the Aristocracy (today called the 1%) because any idiot can see that without us, they'd starve and without them, we'd get along just fine.
This week's Change the World Wednesday Challenge is about local food:

"This week share ideas on eating locally during the winter months." 
Yard Chard - still growing strong!
We're fortunate in that Seattle has relatively mild winters. Our chard will continue to grow for harvesting for a couple more months. Leaves and other bits that are not beautiful in appearance can be chopped and frozen for winter use; why not? when the professional ag industry has a batch of leaves that aren't perfectly aesthetic, are they more likely to trash them or to chop them up and sell them? 
We're also fortunate in having a farmer's market that persists through the year, although in the winter it's maybe half sized and the product selection is limited. Still there are squash and roots even in the dead of winter, and it is a small joy to stop buy and get something locally grown, not only for the benefits to our environment and the local economy, but also because food that is not optimized for travelling thousands of miles can be optimized for flavor and nutrition.
We also plan to can tomatoes again. Some will be those we grew ourselves, but to fill out our supply we'll be hitting the farmer's market again. A couple of buying tips
  • Often you can get a better price if you buy a whole box
  • Often you can get a better price if you buy "seconds", that is, tomatoes or whatever that don't have a pleasing appearance, e.g. a lumpiness, but are still perfectly nutritious.
We have used these two tips to get canning tomatoes for about half price.
Another tip for eating local during the winter is to replace our freezer's ice cube tray with a few more bags of frozen, home-grown veggies. Who uses ice during the winter? Wouldn't you rather have another bag of homegrown greens or berries? In a pinch, if you really want something to cool your drink, the frozen berries work perfectly fine ... I don't recommend the frozen chard!

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