Monday, June 7, 2010

"Hi there, can I buy you a (local) drink?"

Our transition to eating locally immediately started with purchasing farmers' market fresh produce and honey, then meat and eggs from a sources within 50 miles, and later local chicken. This year's wheat harvest will provide Kansas wheat (we have a mill), and our search for other local sources of foods will continue.  One I haven't given much consideration to, until I read a recent blog (you should read it), is including drinks in the mix.  Usually it's easy, Chris and I drink only water at home from the good ol' City of Wichita.  Well, I should clarify, I drink mostly water - with a few sips off of Chris's occasional beer.

Have you ever thought about making your own beverages -- or, buying local drinks?

Beer:  Homemade beer is an option, and there's even a brewing store in Wichita where you can find supplies to get started.  Be careful though, too much sugar causes beer bottle explosions (Chris has experience with this!)

Wine:  In a previous post I wrote about dandelion wine, but we can't stop there (or maybe you don't even want to begin there!).  Chris and I are talking about making mulberry wine with the berries we collected earlier this summer.  If you don't feel like making it, you could purchase wine from a local winery (WyldeWood Cellars, Vin Vante).  We purchased apple wine from Vin Vante winery at the Old Town Farmers' Market - 90% of the ingredients were grown in Kansas.  Grapes used to make wine, even wine produced in Kansas, are usually not local (but they sure taste good!).  

Soda:  I'm not sure about making your own soda, but if you like root beer Louisburg Cider Mill makes Lost Trail Root Beer (along with other flavors).  Louisburg is south of Kansas City, 175 miles from Wichita.  Are their ingredients local?  You'll have to ask for specifics, although they also make apple cider and according to their website, they get most of the apples locally.

Juice:  While you probably won't find oranges locally to make orange juice, there are other kinds of juice that can be made.  This is one way to use excess produce from the garden or farmers' market.  A home juicing machine is a great way to make homemade juices from local products - think tomatoes, lettuce or spinach.

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