Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lessons learned from a year of local eating - Part II

A beautiful bowl of red Borscht - image from
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/borscht/. 

Last time I shared three lessons Chris and I have learned from our year of intentionally including locally grown foods in our home.  Here's a few more lessons - hopefully they'll help or encourage you in your local foods pilgrimage. 

4. Lesson learned:  When butchering a chicken, dip fast. To remove feathers from a chicken after butchering, they are dipped in very hot water.  Thus, when Chris butchered our last chicken, he had a pot of hot water ready.  After dipping and defeathering the bird, he found he had not only made it easier to remove the feathers, but cooked the bird in the process.  "You need to dip fast," my Mom told him.  Lesson learned - maybe he'll get another chance to try next year (but I hope not)!

5.  Lesson learned:  Beets don't always taste like dirtTo me, beets have always tasted like dirt.  If I was a pregnant woman with pica, I would enjoy beets, however, I am not.  Therefore, I avoid beets.  Chris made Borscht tonight, and I discovered I like beets.  Amazing...fresh local food is often like this.  When it is straight from the land, the flavor is amazing.  My cousin didn't like apricots, until she had them fresh from my aunt's tree.  Chris's coworker didn't like pears, until he had a juicy one from my parent's farm.  The stories are endless....fresh local food has amazing taste!

6.  Lesson learned:  Eating locally creates connections among passionate people.  In the past year, we attended and hosted more than one meal where each dish on the table had a story, and its history was shared with excitement by the person that brought it to the table.  Over local produce, meats and breads many gardening secrets have been shared, along with excitement about the current harvest or dreams of future harvests.  These are meals and experiences with people who love the land, and as that credit card commercial says, they are priceless.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lessons learned from a year of local eating - Part I.

The last harvest of chard from our garden.

Chris and I began including more locally sourced foods in our diet approximately a year ago.  It was about this time we saw "Food, Inc.," then read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver.  We were challenged, had great aspirations, but found reality is often different than our visions.  In this two part post are a few insights we've learned throughout the last year.  Many are lessons we'll work to improve upon when we get another change next season...ahh, a clean slate!

1.  Lesson learned: Keep the emotions for your husband, not the chickens.  As I shared earlier this summer, our black chicken was killed by a opossum. A couple months later I saw a hawk on the wood fence staring at the two remaining chickens, and I decided I needed to temper my emotional connection to the animals. A month ago our new puppy tore the chest open on the little brown chicken, but it lived. Thanksgiving weekend Chris and I woke up to find one chicken on the windowsill, and one dead. Two days later Chris "offed" the remaining chicken, after all, they are animals that need companions. The long, cold winter would have been really lonely for that last bird.

2.  Lesson learned: Time management is important to local food security.  Want to eat primarily local food - it's a great idea but when the season between mid-fall to mid-spring arrives you better have been a good squirrel.  If not, you're going hungry.  In order to eat the most local food possible, insight and planning for the future must happen.  Winter meals begin in the spring and summer.  And, you must have the time in your schedule to prepare them when the season is ripe (preserving, gardening, etc.).  So, begin preparing now for the future - here's a great article by Mother Earth News to get you started. 

3.  Lesson learned:  Don't boil the heck out of the cans - they must boil, but a fierce, rolling boil isn't best.  The Sedgwick County Extension Agency Master Food Volunteers have an excellent canning class which is offered for a very reasonable fee. (Find future classes here.)  After taking the class early in the season, I decided to can June berries.  I boiled the berries in the canner for the appropriate amount of time, and when I dumped the canning water it was purple.  Ugh, during canning the liquid seeped from the cans.  Because I couldn't tell which can leaked, they all were considered unsafe for extended time on my basement shelf, so we ate them soon after canning.  I'm trying again with June berries next year.

(More lessons learned in the next post...)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Loco for Local!

My little cousin - bringing in local produce by the (sustainable) truckload!!

Last week Chris and I dined on local foods with individuals who gave us our introduction to the lifestyle of eating locally.  About a year ago I received an invitation from my co-worker, Cookie, (who by the way is an amazing person fighting cancer), to come to a local foods meal and discussion night.  "How neat," I thought, and promptly volunteered to bring a dish made with local milk from a popular store - which I thought was from Kansas.  After doing a little research, I purchased milk from the Iwig Family Dairy, a dairy in Kansas.  Cookie smiled when I talked about choosing Iwig's over my original choice, and was happy I learned more about the source of my milk through my own internet research.

For this year's meal, we were much more informed.  Here's the local menu, and I'm happy to say, my addition came from my friend's apple tree and a local wheat farm.
  • Garden greens, beef and bread crumb casserole - another "from the heart" creation of Chris's.
  • African Peanut Sauce - including home grown sweet potatoes, yummy!
  • Semmel - A hard roll made from Hudson Cream whole grain flour.
  • Baked turnips, beets, winter squash, and pumpkin.  Brushed with olive oil and spices.
  • Apple Cake - It was voted "the best" by Cookie's husband, Dave.  Yahoo - I can cook, er, bake.
Try making your entire meal from local products sometime - it's a fun experience.  The first time we did it was mid-December, talk about a challenge!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Winter Pantry

A few items we'll enjoy this winter...

Much of the local foods season is winding down, unless you were diligent this summer by canning, freezing and dehydrating all the great locally grown products available in our area.  Chris and I did our best, but we definitely aren't up to the standards of Barbara Kingsolver in her book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle."  Her family survived an entire year on locally produced products - plus one splurge item for each person (fairly traded coffee or chocolate, for example.  I'd have definitely chosen chocolate!)

Here's what we have in our winter pantry: 

Fruits:  Frozen mulberries, blueberries, blackberries, apricots and apples; Dried apricots; Canned apricots, apricot jelly, mulberry jelly and rhubarb jelly.  I canned June Berries but the canning process was flawed so we ate them soon after canning.  We've got some pears in the fridge, but those will be gone soon.

Veggies:  We didn't do so hot in this area - we have canned relish, beets, hot green pepper sauce and pickles.  A few butternut squash and two tomatoes await their consumption, as well as turnips, beets and a pumpkin we received from a friend Sunday evening.  We are still working on the last of the Swiss chard and we've still got carrots in the garden.  Chris froze a bunch of pesto.  We've got garlic and are drying beautiful peppers in the sun room.  Chris dried some beans - we're not sure what type of beans but they're brown.  :)  Hopefully next year we'll get to freeze corn, peas and other whole vegetables.

Meats:  We've got locally grown whole and parts of chickens as well as locally grown cuts of beef in the freezer.  The chickens have stopped laying for the season - shortly after our new puppy tore one of their chests open, ugh.   :(

Breads:  We've got our stock of wheat to use for bread products all winter.

Spices:  Chris dried dill seeds, and we got two large chunks of salt when we visited the Kansas Underground Salt Museum last weekend, but I doubt we'll be eating that! 

Beverages:  Apricot brandy and apple brandy - but since I'm pregnant, I doubt I'll be having much of that!

And so the planning and dreaming begins...we've got all winter to come up with our list of hopes for next year's garden.  I'm happy another chance to put away as much local food as we are able is given to us each year.  I expect every season we'll get better at doing this - the summer of 2010 was our first experience, and what a fun learning experience it has been!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Campaign for Local Food (part 3) - The Recipes!

Local Foods - Lavosch and Pinto Bean Dip are in the middle of the photo.

In a previous post I wrote about the local foods menu we helped to create for a campaign event.  The bulk of the ingredients, except for some spices and salt, came from Kansas.  And we are happy to say, the food was excellent!  I've asked my chef (that would be hubby) to share the recipes with readers, and he kindly obliged.  However, the man often doesn't really follow recipes, but cooks using his taste buds.  As he always says, "If you're not tasting, you're not cooking."  So, here goes...what he "thinks" he did...

Lavosch Crackers and Pinto Bean Dip - a great combination!

Lavosch Crackers 

He got this recipe from a restaurant he worked in, they made fresh crackers.  We started with fresh milled wheat, but you can purchase Hudson Mill flour, which is a local product, if you don't own a mill.

1 cup flour (freshly milled hard red winter wheat)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp brown mustard seed
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 oz. melted butter

Combine all ingredients except flour, mix well.  Add flour and mix until combined.  Do not overmix.  The dough will be very wet.  Scrape dough out of bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight to rest.  Remove dough from fridge and let come to room temperature.  Divide into 4-6 pieces.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  On a heavily floured surface roll dough to a thin sheet (hint:  when mustard seeds start to crack under the rolling pin, you are at an appropriate thickness).  Place dough on baking sheet, brush with oil, sprinkle with salt/pepper then cut with pizza cutter into desired shape.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Pinto Bean Dip (This is really good - even if it doesn't sound like it!)

1# pinto beans
1/2 c. white wine
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Soak 1# dried pinto beans overnight, cook until tender (al dente).  Place all ingredients in a blender, blend thoroughly.  Pour mixture into a sieve or strainer and force through with spatula to remove skins.  Taste and reseason as needed.  Add more wine if thinner consistency desired.  Refrigerate overnight to let flavors mellow and for the mixture to firm. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Campaign for Local Food (Part 2)

In the last couple weeks I had a family member admitted to the hospital, and while visiting her I caught a bug and Chris dropped my phone in the urinal. Yes, ick! So, you’ve had to wait patiently for the unveiling of the candidate who values local foods, which I blogged about previously.

First, I know the rules: 1. Never discuss religion and 2. Never discuss politics with people you want to keep as friends (and I want to keep all my blog readers as friends). So, I hope you understand what I’m doing is sharing my experience with this candidate, because I find it refreshing. Not because I’m trying to push my values on you – many of you will not be able to vote for her anyway. So here goes…

I have been impressed, not only with Ms. J’s interest and passion for buying locally, but with her integrity as a person. When Chris and I were helping to plan the menu for her campaign event, the topic of alcohol came up. Should we include it, should we not? Smiling I said, “you’ll probably get more donations if you include it, that’s what the casinos do.” Ms. J responded with a statistic about the amount of alcohol that is abused in the US, and shared how shocked she was reading about it. She’d rather not include alcohol, that isn’t the type of campaign she wanted to run.

Another lesson I learned from Ms. J is the importance of being positive about local eating, rather than tearing down manufacturers or companies that may not behave in a way I consider ethical. “Positive messages,” is what she told me, “we need to share positive messages.” We all know these:

District 105, you have an excellent House
of Represenatives candidate.
• Local eating builds community
• Local eating supports the local economy
• Local eating provides the freshest foods
• Local eating decreases the distance food travels
• Local eating tastes great!
• And on and on and on…

There are many negative things we could focus on as locavores, however, from Ms. J I have learned how important focusing on the positive is, and I for one, have not heard her talk negatively to bring down others. I completely respect that.

So who is this mystery candidate…her name is Jane Byrnes and she is running for House District 105 which is located in west Wichita. I don’t live in her area of Wichita, so I can’t even vote for her, although I considered moving to do so ;) Learn more about her and her values at http://www.campaignjane.com/.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Campaign for Local Food

Local Aqua Fresca - Refreshing!

Recently Chris and I helped out with a campaign fundraising party for a candidate who supports local eating.  We assisted in developing a menu for the event and Chris prepared some of the food while I compared the distance our food traveled with the distance food would typically travel for a party.  Here's what we did and a comparison:

The campaign menu consisted of:
1.  Aqua Fresca (Two flavors of water infused with local peaches, cucumber and herbs from local gardens)
2.  Bean dip and Lavosch Crackers (Made with pinto beans and wheat from a Kansas farmer)
3.  Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil H'orderves (Tomato and basil from local gardens, mozzarella made with fresh milk from a dairy in Hesston)

Farthest distance traveled:  37 miles (for the milk)

A typical menu may consist of:
1.  Aqua Fresca (Peaches from Somewhere, USA and cucumbers from Mexico)
2.  Hummus and pita (Made with garbanzo beans from the Mediterranean and what from ???)
3.  Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil H'orderves (All items from Somewhere, USA)

Farthest distance traveled:  6013 miles* (if the beans came from Athens, but it's hard to know for sure)


Local Flavor
 I went to the grocery store to research the origins of many of the typical menu items, but produce stickers don't indicate a state, just the country (USA, Mexico, etc.)  In my research, I found that the method of transportation impacts the amount of fuel used.  Transportation by sea is extremely efficient while air travel is very inefficient, but how do you figure that out?  Does the produce guy know if his produce traveled first class on a plane, or had a port hole window on a ship?  In comparison, you can ask the farmer at the local market where the produce came from. 

I didn't get distances for all items involved, due to lack of information on the label.  It's difficult to figure out where a food comes from unless you know the producer of the food, and we all know how to do that, right?

Who is this candidate that supports local production of food? Find out in my next post...

*Distance is the theoretical air distance

Thursday, September 30, 2010

An (Organic) Blast from the Past

Our day at the wedding...

When you grow up in a small town, you get to know or know about just about everyone (whether what you know about them is true or not is up to the townspeople  to gossip about).  I grew up in a small community of ~1500 residents, and graduated with a sum total of 30 students.  I attended my cousin's wedding a few weeks ago, and of course, ran into many individuals I haven't seen for a while.  One of the most fun encounters involved a couple, I'll call the X's whom I knew in high school.  While catching up, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they have been organic farmers for the last 14 years or so.  We found that we share beliefs about farming, and I felt encouraged to see full-time farmers doing things in environmentally friendly ways. 

While doing a mixture of conventional and organic farming, Mr. X got cancer.  After having part of his body artificially recreated the X's were done with chemicals and conventional farming practices.  They shifted to an all organic farm, and are energetic about what they do.  Always curious to learn, I asked about their yields.  They said no, they do not have as large of yields as a conventional farmer, but they also do not have the costly inputs that conventional farmers do. 

The conventional farmer would say he needs to feed the world, and needs to increase yields.  However, the United Nations World Food Program realizes current problems with world hunger are not due to lack of food, but problems with distribution of that food.  And, countries who need the food aren't able to afford the prices our western culture wants, therefore, why increase our production when the members of our society are over nourished and those who need it can't pay for it?  Which leads me to an interesting quote I read recently:

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

Something to think about.  There are a lot of opinions when it comes to farming...and it's important to remember how important farmers really are to every one of us

Monday, September 27, 2010

A local restaurant I'm happy to support - But it's local in an unexpected way...

Our new neighborhood watch sign. 
I was thankful to see the last one replaced.

Recently the Wichita Eagle reported on City Life Cafe, located at 2111 E. Central.  The Cafe is aimed at helping former gang members obtain job skills and experience earning an honest wage.  Since I'm from an area where the neighborhood watch sign was covered in graffiti for over a month, I'm happy to support a program like this one, even if the foods they serve aren't locally sourced, (although they may be, I didn't ask), the people are locally sourced, and that's important.

My friend, Rich, and I dined at the City Life Cafe recently. After looking over the reasonably priced menu, we each ordered a plate of brisket, potato salad and baked beans with BBQ sauce. Pleasantly filled with my meal, I turned down dessert but am going back another day for peanut butter pie. The service from our two young waiters was excellent, and next time I'm taking my culinary professional along (that'd be Chris).

The Cafe, run by a non-profit organization has needs, one of which is a new sign for their restaurant.  Chris and I were immediately drawn to this need, not only because it helps former gang members (which Chris did as an Americorps volunteer in Colorado), but because we love food!  So, we're donating, hoping they raise enough for a sign and other needs to continue the impactful business.

You always get back when you give...How does it come back??  Maybe not in dollars, maybe your car tires last longer, or the electric bill is lower, or you find a great deal on surplus tomatoes at the farmers' market, or get a great rate on a mortgage, or your garden really produces.  I've found there are many ways giving comes back...so consider giving locally to Youth for Christ's City Life Work Program.  Include that you want the money to go for the sign...or one of the restaurants other needs (below), and mail it to P.O. Box 3700, Wichita, KS 67201.  Or even better, go have breakfast or lunch at the restaurant, and leave your encouragement with the guys and the leader, Dale McMullen.

City Life Work Program Needs (A complete list is available in the restaurant)
1.  Deep Fryer
2.  Plates (Dinner & Saucers)
3.  Glasses (Juice & 24 oz.)
4.  Pots and Pans
5.  Silverware
6.  Napkins
7.  Paper towels
8.  Frying Oil
9.  Charcoal
10.  Smoking Wood
11.  Printer Paper
12.  Printer Ink
13.  Pens
14.  Entry door rugs
15.  Sign for side of building
16.  Syrup dispensers
17.  Safety glasses
18.  Gloves
19.  Trash bags
20.  Yard tools (rakes, shovels, etc.
21.  Mops and buckets
22.  Wall pictures
23.  Mentors

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Buying Bread - Keeping Money in Our Local Economy

Four loaves of fresh baked bread.  One is cut and eaten immediately,
the other three go into the freezer for later use.

My most recent post included the shocking amount of money a Kansas wheat farmer gets for the wheat in a loaf of bread.  After my last posting, I realized many people may not know how/where to purchase local bread products (where the wheat is grown ~70 miles from Wichita, and the bread is baked here too.)  The way I see it, you have two options...and here they are:

1.  Mill and bake your bread:  Buy wheat berries from a local farmer.  A locally owned farm, Janzen Family Farms, grows certified organic wheat berries (find their info/website on the local producers list).  Norm Oeding is the farm manager, and formerly marketed his products under the Spring Creek Ranch label.  The wheat berries (both hard red winter and hard white winter) are sold in the bulk bins at local stores.  After purchasing, mill the wheat and bake the bread yourself.  This is the option Chris and I choose.  We also make homemade noodles, pancakes, tortillas, crackers and other bread products from fresh milled flour.  I organized my life in order to have time to do things like this, but not everyone has the time, so the second option is...

2.  Buy locally sourced bread products:  Janzen Family Farms also has a company called the Little Red Hen Bakery.  At the bakery, their locally grown organic wheat is made into bread products.  Baking happens on Wednesday, and products are delivered to stores that afternoon.  They have a good variety:  Honey Whole Wheat Bread, Old Fashioned Cracked Wheat Bread, Whole Wheat Raisin Bread, Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls, Whole Wheat Buns, and Whole Wheat Raisin Rolls.  Plus, a couple of multi-grain artisan breads:  Honey Five Grain Bread and Whole Wheat Seven Grain Bread.  So, want fresh, locally grown and baked bread - shop late Wednesday afternoon! 

Where can you find Janzen Family Farms bread products?  All three Whole Foods stores and Food for Thought (see the Local Producers List for locations.)

Chris and I love our homemade bread, and no, I don't sell it.  But, I do barter with it - I've been trading loaves of bread for some great organic products from a local farm.  This is one of the many ways using local products builds community, and I'm all for that!  (If you're interested in bartering, send me an email.)   :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's the most important job in the world?

My grandparents (left) with my gma's twin sister, celebrating their 91st bday.
My grandparents were farmers, and growing up 2 miles from them I learned a lot about agriculture.

While spending the weekend caring for my 94 year old grandfather who still lives on the family farm, I thought about this question.  My proposal is that the most important job in the world is the farmer.  After all, would the computer guru innovate if he didn't have food to eat?  Would the scientist do research if his belly wasn't full?  Would the chef or nutritionist (as Chris and I are) teach others about food if there is no food to talk about? 

According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the bottom level includes our physiological needs of hunger and thirst.  Unless we have these fulfilled, we cannot move on to focus on other parts of our life such as safety, social needs or recognition and status.  So, without food and clean water, we are stuck, focused on getting those needs fulfilled.  Who meets this need, the farmer (and arguably, the water purification specialist.)

Unfortunately, I have been accused of being anti-agriculture (by only one person, thankfully).  I grew up on a family farm, and my parents ended up leaving farming because all the money they made went toward inputs and repair costs for machinery.  Part of my family still farms full-time.  While reading a recent issue of a Kansas Farm Bureau magazine, I was shocked to learn that Kansas wheat farmers get a whopping 10 cents per loaf for the wheat in the bread...and wheat is the first ingredient!  Where does the rest of the cost of a loaf of bread go?  I assume marketing, shipping, packaging, the store cashier's salary (and the manager, the housekeeper, etc.).  So, how do I help my local farmer?  I purchase straight from the farmer...and the extra $$ that would have been used for production goes into their pocket.

I've got four loaves of bread in the oven, but I realize not everyone wants to bake their own bread.  Therefore, it's good to know that the same holds true for other items, like fresh fruits and vegetables.  Buying local, whatever the product, puts more money into the pocket of your neighbor, the local farmer.  Time magazine says twice the amount of money stays in the local economy when we buy locally.  So buy from your neighborhood farmer, what would we do without them?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Simple Life

A beautiful, simple rose from our backyard.

I've been thinking a lot about the voluntary simplicity movement.  Voluntary simplicity, or minimalism, focuses on living simply outside in order to live richly inside.  At the peak of burnout from full-time work in a field I spent five years studying to enter, I first heard about living simply when I read the book, "Your Money or Your Life," and the desire for a simpler life resonated with me.  At the time, I had a $1000 monthly mortgage, shopped continually, ate dinner out most nights of the week, and failed to make time for activities that truly gave me life (if I even knew what they were).  At a young age, I realized this type of life wasn't sustainable, and I began making changes. 

I quit my stressful job, moved back to Kansas, sold my house, and happily left most of my worldly possessions in Georgia to a homeless ministry.  Initially struggling with working part-time, because a full-time job is what I was "supposed" to do, I got another full-time job in Kansas.  I believe the lies that unless we overwork and over schedule ourselves, we don't have value.  About a year later, I found courage to take the leap and quit my full-time job.  Surprised at how much better life was by decreasing my expenditures and living in a 400 sq. ft. apartment in order to work part-time, and do things I really enjoy (like learning pottery), I was sold.

I regularly read blogs focused on simplicity/minimalism and want to share my favorites with you.  Topics focus on simplifying life in order to work less and have more time to enjoy what you really want out of life.  Here are my favorites:
One of life's simple pleasures, homemade
apple pie!
While minimalism is not specifically focused on local eating, eating within ~100 miles (or 10 miles as Vicki Robin is doing) in many ways does simplify life.  At the farmers' market, there are a variety of options of items, but not aisle upon aisle of cereal and jelly or multiple packages of bread.  One stand at the Old Town Farmers' Market sells bread - how much simpler is that choice, one stand?  Going to the store these days, where the household goods and groceries are all under one roof, can be an exhausting experience and one I try to avoid.  While there are limitations to local eating based on the season, in a way, that simplifies life, and that's something I like.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turns out I was wrong.

Today's eggs - can you tell which one is ceramic?
Rather than hunting for eggs each day, a ceramic egg teaches chickens where to lay.

Last week when writing about the recent egg issues, I stated "I believe there are many checks in our current food system to keep food as safe as possible."  Well, turns out I'm wrong in this case, although the FDA is implementing more stringent requirements for egg safety (and planned to prior to this outbreak).  Earlier this week, the Wichita Eagle listed this egg farms' past violations.  I felt even more disgusted after learning the shady history of one of the farms in a Food Consumer article.  Looks like there have been problems since before 1980 - ugh. And to think, thousands of innocent people, food service operations, and farmers who produce safe eggs, have been impacted by their carelessness.

A recent NY Times op-ed titled "Math Lessons for Locavores" seems to completely miss the point of locavorism.  Most of the article is focused on the view that local eating is energy taxing on our earth and land.  What the author fails to realize is that individuals who choose local foods do so for many reasons other than energy savings.  Look at the Love Local Food blog description...inspiring people to choose locally produced foods to keep money in our local economy, help local food producers (i.e. create local jobs), and impact our health (when is the last time you saw Twinkies at the farmers' market, and who needs dessert when you've got great tasting produce?) 

And, don't forget, eating locally spreads the risk of food safety.  What if the individuals in the 20+ states affected were buying eggs from producers in their own states, or community, rather than from two farms in Iowa?  (I know, the big industry folks say enough eggs couldn't be produced by small farms, I've heard the arguments.)  Sure, they could get food poisoning from eggs from a local producer, but a much smaller number of individuals would be affected because all the eggs would not be coming from one or two locations.  So, add smaller outbreaks of food borne illness to the list of reasons to eat locally.

Chicken Update:  When reading about the problems with eggs, I learned chickens ingest rodent droppings, which causes them to lay eggs with salmonella inside the egg.  Monday I went out to feed our ladies and alas, I found rodent droppings in my bag of feed.  So, this food safety inspector and egg production employee purchased a mouse trap.  Nope, no salmonella in my eggs, thank you very much (I caught him).  How's that for control over the food system?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Fabulous Wichita Organic Garden Club

I love a good pot-luck.

Tonight this pregnant gal ate well, really well.  Chris and I attended the Wichita Organic Garden Club's annual picnic.  Not only did we eat outstanding food, but the view of a member's garden gave us visions of the possibilities for our own backyard.  Beautiful and healthy...what a combination!

The Organic Garden Club is made up of interesting and incredibly knowledgeable individuals who are (almost all) passionate about gardening.  I say "almost all", because precious Sylvia, the club president's wife, does not garden.  Tonight I asked her how to recognize a ripe sweet pumpkin, which was part of the dish she prepared.  She replied, "I don't know, they just show up in my kitchen."  So, I encourage you to attend a garden club meeting sometime, whether you like to garden, or just like to eat the organic produce you find at the farmers' market.  You'll meet wonderful people and hear about interesting topics related to growing produce using organic methods.  Monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

If you're interested in getting connected, visit the Wichita Organic Garden Club website and contact Mel, the president.  (Mel would be able to tell me how to pick a ripe sweet pumpkin!)  Or, send me an email and I'll get you linked into the group. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Hundreds believed sickened by tainted eggs."

Our chickens have become productive!

As I sat at my computer earlier today, the CNN headline about a recent food illness issue involving eggs caught my attention.  I thought, "I sure am glad I get my eggs from the back yard."  The beauty of raising your own food is that you know pretty much everything about it.  This knowledge includes:
  • how it's raised (what it's fed, what's sprayed on it, when it's picked, etc., etc., etc.)
  • if it's treated appropriately (in the case of eggs, how soon they are refrigerated)
  • how ethically the workers are treated
  • if employees or the farmer are paid a fair wage for their work
I believe there are many checks in our current food system to keep food as safe as possible.  Still, to me, there's nothing like knowing for yourself the safety of the food you eat, especially with high risk foods.  Unfortunately, it seems many foods are becoming high risk, from spinach to peanut butter, in which outbreaks of food borne illness have occurred.

After returning home from Oregon a couple weeks ago, I found a nest full of eggs in the hen house.  Most of them ended up in the compost pile, not knowing which were fresh and which were not I wasn't about to save them.  I am my own check and balance when it comes to the safety of my eggs, and that feels really great in light of today's egg outbreak news.

As I've said before, chickens are really easy animals to care for - check out my post about raising chickens if you're considering getting a few hens.  You can get chicks from local farm stores or order online from a site such as Murray McMurray.  If you prefer to start with hens, craigslist is a great place to search, but remember, no roosters within city limits!

Chicken Update:  Our chicken's don't set foot in the hen house at night any longer - post opossum attack.  Nope, it's on the window sill as close to Chris and I as they can get...after all, in absence of real ones, we're considered the "roosters."  I'm hoping the winter weather causes them to return to the house on their own, only time will tell.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No, it's not a tequila worm...


It's an apple worm steeped in vodka! 

After a day at my grandfather's house last week, I brought home two bags of apples, and the first gpa's pears. Chris started earlier this summer with apricot brandy, and while he is still waiting for it to finish, he's moved on to include apple brandy.  It's really easy to make, and you can use just about any fruit.  Check out this blogger's simple directions.

Local Food Sources Update:  Good News - The local foods list is online!  Check out the Love Local Food blog homepage - at the top you'll see a link that says "Local Food Sources."  I'm continuing to work on a few more pages, and hope those will be up soon as well.  Bon appetit locavores!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's a...

It's a watermelon!

Our first watermelon of the season!  Chris, new to gardening and perturbed by the watermelon vines taking over his garden, asked and experienced gardener what he should do about it.  "You should celebrate!" was the reply.  Chris had hoped for some guidance on how to prune or cut back the invasive vine.  Oh, the lessons of a novice gardener.

You might notice, the watermelon in the photo is strategically placed, and will be replaced in a few months with a real belly bump.  Yes, Chris and I are expecting.  We surprised our families at our 1st anniversary celebration on Aug. 1st, and surprised they were, some were shocked.  After all, we're both older than typical first parents and "Paula" and "pregnant" have never fit into the same sentence before.  But here we go...no turning back now...and I've got the nausea and cravings (for Malt-o-meal of all things) to show for it.  Chris has been a doll, giving me daily belly rubs to sooth my sickness.

Exciting News about "the list":  I'm working on getting the local food producers list on the internet!  I'll let you know when this is complete and where to find it.  As always, share the info with those you know and send me producers that you use who may not be listed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Local Food - Oregon Style

The Blackfish Cafe - Locally Sourced Oregonian Food!
After sightseeing on the Oregon coast last week, Chris and I wandered into The Blackfish Cafe for dinner.  The walls covered with magazine articles featuring the restaurant indicated we'd made a good choice.  While dining, the waitress proudly told us the restaurant has its own local organic gardener and bakery (the Rockfish Bakery).  Each dish came decorated with edible organic flowers, and as much food as possible is purchased locally.  They even feature work from local artists.  Now, that's the kind of place I like to support!  If you're ever in the Pacific Northwest, I highly recommend looking this restaurant up!

Locally Sourced Farro
While in Portland, we visited Bob's Red Mill, a company dedicated to whole grain products.  Seeing locally grown grains available in their store made me smile, and I took a snapshot to share.  A couple of the local options included "Rolled Emmer Flakes," and "Emmer Berries" also known as "farro." 

We love community gardens, and visited one while walking on a misty morning.  Surprised at the abundance the cool northwest community grows, I felt challenged. They even had kiwi fruit, which made me wonder how we could increase the options in our Kansas garden, where the growing season is longer and the temperature is warmer.

As you travel this year, consider where your food comes from and take advantage of the locally sourced foods/restaurants where you're visiting.  Chris's Dad told a story about some Oregon natives traveling in Hawaii, and ordering Salmon while there.  Salmon is native to Oregon, not Hawaii.  Don't make the same mistake they did!  Explore the foods from the area you're exploring, you may be surprised at how wonderful they taste fresh, and you'll cut down on the economic and environmental costs of transportation (well, other than your plane ticket!)

Chris admiring the community garden.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why did the chicken cross the road?


Rocky from Oakschmied Honey, who sells products at the Old Town Farmers' Market, sent me an email that helped me to find out the answer...I wanted you to know why too!



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Oooh, that fruit is bad."

Picking apricots at my Aunt's farm - the best ones are at the top!

Chris and I picked 11 gallons of apricots in July.  My cousin, who said she doesn't like apricots, couldn't get enough of the fruit.  Picking produce at its peak can make an apricot hater into a lover.  She decided it's canned apricots she doesn't like, fresh from the tree they are delectable. 

Chris took apricots to work to share, and was surprised by the reaction of many students, "Oooh, that fruit is bad."  When fruit trees have grown naturally, without chemicals, there will be spots and imperfections.  But many people are so removed from farm fresh, chemical free food, all they know is perfect fruit grown with pesticides.  After all, as I learned in college, "the eye eats first."  Unfortunately, the eye can be deceptive.

Needless to say, we've got canned apricot preserves, canned apricot halves, frozen apricots, and dried apricots.  We look forward to using the bounty this winter, thanks to a class I took at the Sedgwick County Extension Agency on canning where I learned about the National Center for Home Food Preservation.  It's a great resource to use for safe food preserving.  Chris and I have used the site multiple times this summer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's a Hit! -- Tomato Devil's Food Cake

It's the Sweet Side of Tomatoes!  Aren't they beautiful?

The Wichita Organic Garden Club featured "The Sweet Side of Tomato: Tomato as Fruit" last Saturday at the Kansas Grown Farmers' Market Tomato Day celebration.  Desserts made with tomatoes displayed the variety of sweetness the fruit can add to life.

Paula's (dietitian) Evaluation:  A little something sweet can fit into every diet!  And this cake is great - the day after you make it.  Seriously, it had to sit a bit to let the tomato flavor dissipate, especially in the frosting.  I started to lick a beater, but it was too tomatoey, however, the following day, SO good!  Plus, this is a great way to sneak in some phytochemicals and antioxidants if you don't like straight tomato!

Chris's (chef) Evaluation:  This seemed to be a French genoise style recipe.  I think genoise means sponge in French.  So a fancy French sponge cake.  The recipe is excellent and the flavor of the cake was pretty good as far as chocolate cake goes.  But I've never been able to duplicate Betty Crocker.  The whole technique is getting everything to room temperature so that nothing is too hot and nothing is too cold, the presence of either condition will deflate the foams you have created and thus your cake when it is baking.  So I added the tomato puree and vanilla to the chocolate mixture to bring it down to room temperature before adding it to the butter.  And I was fortunate enough not to have my cake fall.  This was a fun and challenging recipe and the frosting was a snap.

Tomato Devil’s Food with Tomato Butter Cream Frosting
From Greene on Greens and Grains by Bert Greene (Tess Press)

Make this recipe only when tomatoes are in season. Winter varieties will not do.

Cake
2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound)
4 ounces sweet chocolate
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup milk
3 egg yolks
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and seed the tomatoes. Place them in a blender container; blend until smooth. Measure off 1¼ cups tomato puree; reserve.

3. Place the chocolate, brown sugar, milk, and 1 of the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler. Cook, stirring occasionally, over hot water until smooth and slightly thickened. Set aside.

4. Sift the flour with the baking soda and salt.

5. Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until light. Slowly beat in the granulated sugar. Add the remaining 2 egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the tomato puree, the vanilla, and the chocolate mixture. Beat thoroughly. Slowly stir in the flour mixture.

6. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold them into the cake batter. Pour the batter into two buttered and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out fairly clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook. Cool on a wire rack. Unmold.

Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon brandy
4 tablespoon tomato puree
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

7.  Mix together sugar and butter on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

8.  Add brandy, tomato puree and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Seriously, a peach thief?

After our "thief" struck, a lovely neighbor shared sweet peaches with us.  

I planted a peach tree in the backyard two years ago.  Supposedly they take five years to produce, but this year it had a bunch of peaches, many the birds enjoyed.  Chris and I went in the backyard Tuesday evening and noticed that every single peach is gone.  Chris thinks we had a human peach thief.  I am dumbfounded, would someone really come into our backyard, walk to the back corner of the yard where the peach tree sits, and take all of our almost ripe peaches?  Considering our neighborhood watch sign is covered in graffiti, it's a possibility.  However, I can't decided if I'm going to believe it was a nasty thief, or if I'll explain away the disappearance as the work of a really thorough animal.  Opossums don't eat peaches, do they?

Thank goodness there are other places to get peaches this year, even though I am horribly disappointed and a little freaked out about the recent disappearance in our backyard.

*Hobbs Heritage will be selling peaches at the Kansas Grown Farmers' Market.
*Local U-pick farms that feature peaches (and some even do pre-picked):
  • Triple R Orchard, 7570 N. 159th St. Ct. E, Benton, KS 67017, (316) 992-4080
  • Steffen Orchard, 1345 West 90th Ave. N, Conway Springs, KS 67031, (620) 456-2706
  • Sargeant Berry Farm, 9836 S. Hydraulic, Haysville, 316-788-1370
  • Entz Orchard, 8604 S. Webb Rd, Newton, KS 67114, (316) 799-2515
  • Regier Orchard, 12249 NW Meadowlark Rd, Whitewater, KS 67154, (316) 799-2025

Chicken Update:  An opossum was in our trap this a.m., but, it looks bigger than the one I remember.  Surely it couldn't have grown that much in a week!  The hunt is still on, but the good news is the chickens are going into the house on their own at night again.  However, that doesn't mean they're sleeping in the nesting box yet.  Nope - eyes toward the door, that's the sleeping stance now.  Poor chickens!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm grieving chicken.

Our chicken house, AKA the death chamber.

I've written about the three girls Chris and I raised in our office and set free to roam in the backyard.  They started laying fresh eggs ~2 weeks ago, and last Thursday night an opossum put his natural instincts to work, leaving us one headless black chicken and a brown chicken with missing tail feathers.  I got up at 5:30 a.m. to let Jacques out when I noticed the chicken run was still open...yes...it's our fault the chicken was massacred. 

Heart beating I raced out, opened the hen house and piles of brown and black feathers greeted me.  I immediately knew our chickens were dead (thankfully a few minutes later I discovered the two brown chickens as far from the hen house as they could get.)  Peering around the run to an area Jacques was barking, I saw an opossum in full dramatic death act.  While he looked dead, I knew better and ran inside to get Chris to come deal with the little bugger.  I figured gunshots in our neighborhood aren't all that abnormal.  By the time we got back out there the opossum was gone. 

Chris got the shovel, picked up the black chicken and headed to bury it.  Looking at the two brown chickens frozen with fear across the yard I said, "Shouldn't we show them, so they know?"  "They're not that smart Paula," he replied, and went to dig a hole.  He was ticked, and kept saying, "I was going to eat that chicken."  I suggested he eat the black chicken, and his Gma said if he was a real famer he would have, but he wasn't interested in an opossum's leftovers.

So I'm grieving and feeling really badly that we didn't protect the chickens.  We're on the hunt, in two ways really.  For an opossum and for some chickens.  We're experimenting with a live animal trap for the opossum, and craigslist for chickens.  We hope for hens, I'm not ready to turn my office into a chick nursery so soon.

And, for the comfort of those of you who are animal lovers (how could you love an opossum) - we plan to free the murderer in the country, far from our chickens.  I realize, he was just following his instincts, as angry as that makes me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Food grade wax at the farmer' market, is this really local?

An egg sandwich with tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella cheese and homemade bread.

Recently Chris and I found a deal on fresh mozzarella cheese, and wanted to have tomatoes with our cheese.  He headed out to the farmers' market to purchase some ripe produce, and brought home red tomatoes, along with food grade wax.  Yes, food grade wax on farmers' market tomatoes.  My culinarian spouse said, "they're probably Sysco tomatoes."  To say the least, I was disappointed.  Now, I'm not saying foods from Sysco are bad.  I am saying when I go to a farmers' market, I expect to get locally grown produce -- ripe, fresh picked, succulent, yummy.  Unfortunately, it's not always the case, buyer beware.  Is anything simple these days? 

In my eyes, the integrity of the grower has been tainted.  No, they weren't promoting the tomatoes as locally grown, but I assume if a farmer is at a farmers' market, they are selling produce that actually grew in this area.  And honestly, maybe they did grow these tomatoes and covered them in wax, but I doubt that's the case.  Sure, they just wanted to provide me with what I want.  But what I want is seasonal food, if tomatoes aren't ripe, I'll eat something else.  And, if I want wax on my tomatoes, I'll buy them from the local chain grocery store (and sometimes I do.)

I believe most farmers do sell locally grown crops, but to those who don't, here's my plea -- farmers, we want to support you, but in return we want locally grown foods.  I wonder if this producer realizes the amount of my sales they lost to other producers due to one Sysco tomato.  There's a business concept in there somewhere.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A nutrition trend...tasty vegetables for dessert!

A Chinese Cucumber from our local foods meal - what beautiful edges (and tasty too)!


I experienced something Saturday evening that I can honestly say I have never felt before.  Chris and I entertained a group of local food enthusiasts, each of whom brought a dish they grew or got from the farmers' market.  The food was incredible, tasty, amazing and often unique.  As I finished my plate, I thought, "This is so good I don't even need dessert." 


Whoa..."I don't even need dessert..."  I love sweet foods.  I look forward to my dessert, chocolate, pie, creme brulee, cheesecake, tiramisu...I love it all!  This thought from nowhere, much like an epiphany, caught me completely by surprise.  It also helped me understand what I heard in the past, that fruits and veggies don't taste as good because they are picked early, shipped across the country (or world), and land on our plate less tasty than if they had been picked at their peak from the region we live.  That we struggle to get kids to eat their fruits and veggies not because they don't like produce, but because what we serve doesn't taste like it's intended.


The next day Chris and I cut into a honeydew melon I got at the store, yep, from Mexico (hey, even us local food enthusiasts don't do everything right!)  Mexico City, ~1300 miles to Wichita.  With the cost in oil, this melon better be amazing.  No flavor...okay...a tiny bit of flavor, but nothing compared to the apricots we picked from my aunt's farm a couple weeks ago, or the blackberries and blueberries I got from the Chautauqua Hills Farm.  And again, the concept of succulent fruits and veggies vs. mediocre produce changing a culture's intake came back.


Saturday evening, one guest shared that when her sons came home from college they asked her to make vegetables - can you imagine!  They told her the vegetables they got at college were terrible, nothing like the home grown goodness their mom prepared all their lives.  Amazing...what a new perspective...vegetables for dessert, mmmm.  How's that for a new nutritional trend?  Somehow, I doubt that will take off in our country anytime soon.


Oh...and the apple mulberry pie my friend brought made with fresh milled wheat and lard, yes, lard from a home butcher, was amazing too - I still love my sweets!  But, I have a new found understanding of what to look for in produce to increase my own intake - not because I "should" for nutritional reasons, but because it tastes amazing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Think a hybrid is environmental? Even better, a car that runs on water!

A colleague told me the other day that they've created a car that runs on water, and consumers should have waited for this invention instead of buying hybrids.  The catch - the water has to come from the gulf coast.  Hee, hee, hee!

While this joke adds a little laughter to the BP oil crisis, it's really no laughing matter.  And, the unfortunate part is that those of us who drive, ride the bus, or eat bananas are part of the problem.  Eat bananas, you may ask?  Yes, here's why...

Tuesday evening, while at the grocery store, I started reading the origin labels on foods.  The bananas came from Guatemala.  In preparation for a presentation, I looked up the distance from Wichita to Guatemala City.  It's ~1600 miles, so the banana I enjoyed everyday for breakfast for many years traveled many, many miles to reach my plate, was probably picked early so it would be ripe by the time it got to me, and allowed me to be part of the BP oil spill problem.  Thankfully, through much enlightenment, my morning fruit now comes from within 50 miles.  This includes mulberries in my oatmeal, Juneberries on my yogurt, or apricots with my pancakes.

While I was still sitting at the computer, Chris came in from the garden with ripe produce.  In awe, I told him the bananas traveled ~1600 to our local food store.  "This cucumber traveled 17 feet," he responded.  How's that for perspective?

Required labeling of origin on meat, poultry, produce and peanuts sold in the U.S. began in 2008, although, there are some exemptions.  Next time you're buying groceries, pay attention to these labels.  Think about how far your food is traveling, and how dependent you are on oil for your nourishment.  You might be surprised.  Then visit a farmers' market, and ask the farmer how far the products you purchase there traveled.  Do the math, does your typical plate of food travel the average 1500 miles most plates travel?

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Garden Bouquet!

Since we're all back to work after a wonderful 4th of July and Food Independence Day, I wanted to eliven the return to normal life with a garden bouquet my hubby brought me. Isn't it beautiful?
Tasty too, we ate it shortly after this photo was taken. 
Yep, that's swiss chard and squash blossoms!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Celebrate Food Independence Day With Us!

Foraged lavender drying in the sun room, isn't it beautiful!

July 4th is all about freedom, food...and fireworks! This year join us in asking government leaders to participate in the Food Independence Day movement by celebrating freedom with locally sourced foods. In support of the event, Chris and I are using as many locally produced foods as we can this holiday. We hope you get involved by signing the petition and sharing your holiday menu on the Food Independence Day facebook page.

Most people start with a recipe, and go the store with a list of items to buy. Instead, when preparing your Food Independence Day Menu, look at what's available locally then determine what you'll make from those items.   Here's a snapshot of our holiday spread:

Breakfast, my favorite meal of the day.
(Well really, I like 'em all)!

Earlier I blogged that I've become passionate about lavender.  While walking recently, Chris and I stumbled across some lavender. Excited, I took a few sprigs since, well, I killed the lavender plant Chris bought me.  We the lavender and made lavender pancakes with homemade June berry syrup.  We're starting off our holiday weekend by making these pancakes again.  We might add some locally raised scrambled eggs too.

It's prime lavender season and if you prefer not to forage for lavender, Clark Farm has lavender bunches for sale.  Saturday they'll be at the Kansas Grown Farmers' Market.  Visit them and wake up to your own lavender pancakes this July 4th.  You could also make lavender lemonade, or use a beautiful lavender bunch as the focal point of your table.

The Main Event - Our Fourth of July Celebration!

Chris here, Paula's letting me write on her blog, isn't she just the sweetest thing!  We collected a fair amount of local ingredients over the last six months, so our menu is made up of items we have on hand and some currently available at the Farmers' Market.  I scoped out the availability at the Andover Central Park Farmers' Market Wednesday.  They had cucumber, zucchini and squash, potatoes, peppers, garlic, green beans, herbs, a tomato here and there, lettuce and other greens, and corn (a little wormy but the farmer says he will pick the real deal sweet corn next week, can't wait).

We're going to make Chicken Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy using  poultry we got from the last Unruh Pastured Poultry butcher (see Paula's list for their info).  Sides include:
* Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Green Beans (red potatoes from the farmers' market, garlic, green beans and rosemary from our garden)
* Cucumbers and onions in a sweet and sour dressing (cucumbers and onions from our garden)
* Fresh bread made from local wheat (Paula makes it and it is wonderful) with apricot jelly.  Local flour, wheat berries or bread are available from Norm's Flour.  We picked apricots last weekend at Paula's Aunt's house and are making the jelly as I write.  
* And for dessert, a Chautauqua Hills Farm Blueberry and Blackberry parfait with fresh sweetened whipped cream from Hiland Dairy for dessert.  Lance from Chautauqua Hills Farm said many of you picked their berries last weekend, so you know, they are excellent!

Like Paula said, I encourage you to work backward on your menu.  See what is available and then google a recipe and have fun making it!  Happy 4th of July and God Bless America.

Local Foods and Community Gardens Update:  Paula here again - Tuesday I sent out an updated  list of local food sources and area community gardens.  If you missed it, send me an email at pswedel@yahoo.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Local Food Wedding - What a Splendid Idea!

Doing our best impersonation of "American Gothic" at our wedding last August.

While interested in simplicity and focusing on things that matter, Chris and I chose a country marriage on my grandparent's farm.  Since childhood, I dreamed of coming down the beautiful staircase in their parlor, to my beau waiting at the oak fireplace.  Dreams do come true, we married in that setting on a beautiful, 80 degree August day.  Many guests complimented saying it was one of the best weddings they attended, unpretentious and meaningful.

At the time we married, introduction to eating locally wasn't on our radar - a few months into newlywed bliss we watched Food, Inc. and our food practices were challenged - nutritionally, economically, ethically, and sustainably.  We made changes immediately, and learn more everyday.

Last week I read a blog by a couple getting married and celebrating by producing all of the food for their reception themselves - a local food wedding.  I love the idea, and am encouraged to see another young couple committed and passionate about the local food system.  They plan to blog their progress - I'll be smiling as I read the updates.

While reading "Farm City, The Education of an Urban Farmer" I came across a Portuguese quote that said something like "The happiest times in life are the year after marriage and the week after killing a pig."  I read it to Chris and he said, "so are we killing a pig Aug. 1st?"  After all, he is 1/4 Portuguese - what a great idea! 

My poor husband, shouldn't have opened his mouth, that's exactly what we're doing, Hawaiian style - he's Portuguese AND Hawaiian!  Stay tuned - I'll post pictures of our 1st anniversary hog roast in the country once it happens!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Get Connected!


C O N N E C T I O N

Part of supporting local foods includes getting involved and connected to organizations supporting the movement.  The internet has a plethora of sources, here are some I use:
  • FRESH the movie listserv - Provides updates on political events related to foods (pesticides, Genetic Modification, etc.) and creates online petitions for the government about controversial food related practices.
  • Savor the Season:  Eating by the Calendar in Kansas highlights seasonal produce, includes recipes, and discusses food related issues.  They are on facebook.   
  • The Kansas Rural Center is a "non-profit organization that promotes the long-term health of the land and its people through research, education, and advocacy. The KRC cultivates grassroots support for public policies that encourage family farming and stewardship of soil and water." They are also on facebook.  
  • Slow Food International "was founded to counteract fast food and fast life."  Slow Food USA focus on our country and  Slow Food Wichita/Flint Hills is committed to slowing down the local food culture.  Their group meals focus on local, organic foods.  Announcements and updates can be found on facebook.
  • The Food, Inc. website includes information about food related issues and an area to sign petitions to support healthy foods.
Many more sources exist out there, if you have a great source of information leave a comment or email me at pswedel@yahoo.com.

Local Foods List Update:  I sent out the most recent food list on Tuesday. Email me if you would like to receive a copy.