I think a lot of people assume that gardening and farming is largely a summertime event, because I've had a lot of people say to me lately, "Well, now that it's fall, things must be winding down for you at the farm."
The harvest may be tapering off, but I'm still working lots of hours preparing for farmers' markets, seeding and planting fall crops, weeding, and cleaning up summer crops to make way for cover crops or mulch. And let's not forget that planning next year's crops starts now, based on what worked and what didn't.
No, I'm still busy. And that's going to make this next week even more challenging.
You see, October 2-8 has been designated Eat Local Challenge Week here in Ohio -- both by the Ohio Department of Agriculture and by the Columbus-area organization Local Matters. And at Local Roots, we intend to make this a high-profile challenge, beginning with a visit from ODA Director Robert J. Boggs TODAY to kick off the statewide event at our market. Exciting!
I did sign up for the challenge (and got my cool button!), but it took some thinking as to what my challenge would be. I mean, most of my food now is local! But I decided to push myself a little with these three goals:
--Eat at least one meal from my own garden produce (the challenge being to actually get to the garden and find enough to eat).
--Make this week's snacks from local ingredients (so that I'm not tempted by highly processed junk).
--Preserve one local food for winter.
And I'm going to add one more goal: to blog about it daily. Given my slack attitude toward blogging lately, this may be my biggest challenge!
Add to that the ongoing Independence Days challenge, and I think it's safe to say that I have my work cut out for me this next week. But here's a quick report from this past week:
1. Plant something: Planted beets at the OEFFA Male's farm.
2. Harvest something: Tomatoes, basil, red pepper, anise hyssop, chocolate mint, calendula blossoms at the fabulous Jen's; peppermint at the Renaissance Man's; sweet potatoes! and more basil at the Southern Belle's garden; many market crops at the OEFFA Male's farm.
3. Preserve something: Dried rosemary, parsley, thyme, tomatoes; froze garlic scape pesto (last of the season).
4. Reduce waste (Waste not): Took more "seconds" off the OEFFA Male's hands (many of which were used in weekly baking or put up for winter); finished off the fingerling potato seconds; tried to stay on top of the produce in the fridge a little better; used leftover flour from kneading in pizza dough for myself; trying to clean out butter wrappers by greasing loaf and cake pans with them.
5. Preparation and storage (Want not): Stocked up on cheese (Canal Junction), milk, flour, and butter for baking; laid sweet potatoes out to cure; requested more herbs from my herb source for drying.
6. Build local food systems: Swapped leftover market bread for herbs; worked at the OEFFA Male's farm over 20 hrs/week; baked for market, including new items for sampling at the Artisan Day; signed up for Eat Local Challenge week at Local Roots; worked on Local Roots newsletter; talked garden plans with the Southern Belle and a writer friend; ran a naming contest for new herbal tea blend and offered bread to the winner(s); made new herbal tea blends to sell at Local Roots.
7. Eat the food: Cinnamon-pecan French toast; roll with kale and cheddar; hash browns with kale, cheese, egg; broccoli pizza; corn on the cob; potato, carrot, broccoli salad; new herbal teas.
This next week, won't you join me in this Eat Local Challenge?
Labels: eat local challenge, farming, herbs, Independence Days, Local Roots, preservation (drying), vegetables, victory garden