Monday, January 07, 2008

How to Eat Local

Prepare, Prepare and Prepare to Prepare

This is our third winter of eating local. The more we do it, the more the same truisms apply. Eating local is like being a boy scout. Be prepared.

First of all, each week of meals needs some forethought. Be prepared on Monday for what you will eat on Friday. Mainly, it is a question of defrosting meat. As there is no steady source for local beef, pork or lamb in our area, our supply is what is in our freezers. It takes time, a fair amount of time for bigger cuts to defrost, surely to defrost safely. Thus, we need to prepare for our Friday night meal early (took out a round roast that we will braise).

Second, be prepared to work each meal. It is a truism of truism that nearly every meal in the bungalow begins with some form of low impact aerobic exercise. Down the stairs to the canning room, another trip down to basement fridge. My wife commented the other day that tight homes would make for limited local eating. We are lucky to be in an older home with a big (full size) basement and an attic. We have food planted strategically. Each meal begins with a game of hide and seek. After finding the food, be prepared to work more. I was reminded of this on Friday as I peeled just a few more beets to supplement the already made beet salad. Excruciating work, the older beets do not necessarily skin easily, and I only did about ten. Eating local means nearly always starting with food in its rawest of states.

Third, be prepared to prepare. As I have said many times, you cannot just jump into the localvore thing. What you need to do is try, experiment, see what happens. We are constantly working on the best storage options, what to store, where to store, how long will it last us. Plus, we search out markets and vendors. Last year, Farmer Vicki of Genesis Growers helped us paper over a lot of months with our hot house produce. This year, we plan also to shop the winter markets. Next year, I expect to have more options. Still, each day of eating local this year helps me prepare for eating local in coming years.

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