At the beginning of the year, so many of us try to start over....try to improve ourselves. We make resolutions.
I don't, at least not any more. I just try to improve on what worked for us the previous year.
Now it is time for us to think of a "simpler time" (except it really wasn't, but that's a blog post for another day.) and a meal my spouse recently cooked featuring local foods. You don't have to have land - you can live in an urban area, which we do - you just need to love to cook and make the time for it. I'm very fortunate to have a spouse who loves the kitchen. And, we still have some produce from our summer community garden - and some leftovers from the last farmers markets.
We shop at farmers markets because we want to be able to interact with the food producers and support our local economy. I will admit we do enough supermarket shopping - too much. If I were still making resolutions, mine would be to increase my support of local farmers this coming year.
So, about that meal.....
The meat (we are meat eaters) was a locally farmed brisket of beef, slow cooked with onions from our garden. We are fortunate, in our part of New York State, to be able to grow excellent keeper onions. We are in a "long day" area (long summer sun) so "short day" varieties like Granex (the "Vidalias" grown in a specific part of Georgia) will not grow for us. Our onions are sharp, good for cooking, and keep well.
One of the two vegetables were carrots, again from our garden, and stored. They were cooked and sweetened with local honey.
The other vegetable was potatoes, grated with (our) leeks and sauteed into potato pancakes.
Spouse took some Empires (a tart and good all purpose apple), and made it into a wonderful applesauce for the potato pancakes. Apples are an integral part of upstate NY life and we are fortunate to live right in the midst of apple country. As a result, we get local varieties, a number of which you can not find in the supermarket.
Some apples with good keeping qualities will keep a couple of months in the refrigerator or in a very cool place.
The wine was a - yes, upstate New York wine. Again, we are fortunate to live in wine country. But more and more, local wines are being produced and in some farmers markets they are able to sell local wines. If not, and you are a wine drinker, definitely check your local retailer.
You don't have to live in upstate NY to find good produce. Many cities now have good farmers markets, and, wherever you live, you will find good local fruits, veggies, and eve, n meats at those markets. You may also find good baked goods.
We have shopped in local farmers markets in Maine, in New York City, in Maryland, in Virginia, in Kansas, in Arkansas, in South Carolina, and in Vancouver, British Columbia (among other places). Each time is an adventure, and we always learn something.
Learning and eating...what a wonderful way to spend time.
Support your local farmer in 2012! And, if you haven't tried gardening before, and have the space, give it a shot. Even an Earthbox and six tomato plants will give you a harvest of taste you will never forget.
Your local economy and your taste buds will thank you.