Saturday, November 12, 2011

Independence Days 2011-12: Slowing Down

Here it is, almost mid-November, and I feel like the last two months of the year are going to speed by in a blink at this rate. I still need to finish cleaning up the garden for the year and harvest a little more, but uff da, I am tired and just not finding the time to do it justice, especially with other events and holiday celebrations starting to fill the calendar.

I'm also having to shift the way I eat -- cutting a number of old favorites out of my meals for the foreseeable future -- and that means approaching my food with more mindfulness and more creativity. I am very thankful that there's still a wide variety of fresh vegetables at Local Roots, despite the end of the season, because I have been eating a lot of greens, brassicas, and potatoes. (And you all know I loves me some tatties.)

So I'm still thinking a lot about food, even if I'm not so focused on the growing or preserving at this point. This will be a slim update for Independence Days, but ideas and plans are still simmering:

1. Plant something: Chesnok Red garlic at the Southern Belle's and German Extra Hardy at the Renaissance Man's

2. Harvest something: chard and carrots from the Southern Belle's garden; turnips from the Renaissance Man's; I've really got to get out and pick more before the harder frosts come!

3. Preserve something: dried lemon verbena, ground cherries, tomatoes

4. Reduce waste (Waste not): finally turned the compost pile at the Renaissance Man's and amended the garden with some of the good stuff at the bottom, along with shredded paper and straw (ahhhh, sheet mulching, I love you!); tucked some chard stems and other vegetable scraps into the freezer for making stock; turned chicken bones from my roasted chicken into 3 1/2 quarts of stock; saved leftover garlic pesto from garlic class for use in baking; saved pie dough scraps from a maple hickory pie for market and filled three mini tart pans (put two in the freezer for future use)

5. Preparation and storage (Want not): restocked cheeses, flour, honey, maple syrup for baking; wrapped last squash in newspaper and put them in cold storage; restocked flavored syrups

6. Build local food systems: baked for market and cafe; donated pita bread and cornmeal bread for a friend to use in her hummus samplings at Local Roots; bartered bread for produce; co-taught garlic class with the Delighted Gardener; worked on Local Roots newsletter; attended meeting for market bakers; took the Renaissance Man to the local orchard to pick up pecks of apples so he could make applesauce and I could bake; shared empty canning jars with the Renaissance Man for his applesauce-making binge; published a book review at The Ethicurean and submitted an article and three book reviews to Farming Magazine; baked for the Inn; baked for a Training for Transition workshop and supplied other food for the weekend

7. Eat the food: mini quiche with greens; roasted Brussels sprouts; hash browns with greens, egg, cheese; chili with homegrown Jacob's Cattle beans; celery and peanut butter (locally roasted); much more

Well, the gardens might be slowing down, but apparently I'm not!

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