Category Archives: Local Foods

The Perennial Plate

Wanted to share this awesome site. It’s a sustainable food documentary series about a year of eating locally in Minnesota.   The series is described as “following the culinary, agricultural and hunting explorations of chef and activist, Daniel Klein.  Taking place over a calendar year…Daniel takes the viewer on a journey to appreciate and understand where good food comes from and how to enjoy it.  Recipes, politics, long winters,  urban gardens, ice fishing, blood, hunting and guts… all line the path to the perennial plate.”

The videos are enlightening, well-done, and sooo much fun to watch! You can find all the videos here: http://theperennialplate.com/

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Faces of Women Farmers Around the World

Did you know most of the world’s farmers are female?  Here’s a fabulous photo blog featuring women farmers around the world.

Female Farmers

Food is Holy

This food comes from the Earth and Sky,

It is the gift of the entire universe

and the fruit of  much hard work;

I vow to live a life which is worthy to receive it.

–Grace of the Bodhisattva Buddhists

Growing our own food and eating locally has brought us to a new level of awareness of what “food” is.  No longer can we look at a shrink-wrapped container of meat in the grocery and just see “pork chops.”  No longer view a head of broccoli and not wonder where it came from, or how it was grown.  We recognize that behind each piece of food is true story.  Sometimes very complicated, other times not.  Sometimes sad, even heartbreaking.  While still others celebratory.

In this world exists a constant give and take.  To grow and thrive we must consume.  And when our lives are through we will be consumed back into the earth.  Though we may not want to admit it, we are interwoven into the tapestry of the natural world around us.  We are made of the same elements of everything in the universe.

When we eat the good bread,

we are eating months of sunlight,

weeks of rain and snow from the sky,

richness out of the earth.

–Monica Shannon

Spending time on farms puts us back in the reality of the story behind food.  Behind every glass of milk is a cow.  Behind every sack of potatoes is a field.  Behind every pork chop is a pig.

I was reading a friend’s blog post not long ago about her reflections on her first year of farming.  In it she mentioned that when she first started her farm she wondered if she could raise an animal, care for it, and then eat it.  After her first year she had done just that.  She said that the experience made her much more mindful of the food choices she made.  Her story made me reflect on my own experiences with learning to butcher chickens and eating an animal I raised.  In the past I had always been afraid of the reality of eating meat, which is part of the reason I have been vegetarian over the years.  I didn’t feel it was right for me to eat meat if I was so uncomfortable with the reality of what had to happen in order to get a hamburger on  my plate.

Becoming involved with the farming community and raising my own food has put this experience in a new perspective.  I have come face to face with the reality of where food comes from and like my blogging friend, it has made me a much more mindful eater.  When I see a roast on my plate, I see an animal and I recognize the life that was given.  (And for this reason we only buy meat from local farmers who raise their livestock on grass and sunshine)  I accept the responsibility of eating.  And I honor the holiness of the food.

Mother Earth, you who give us food,

whose children we are and on whom we depend,

please make this produce you give us flourish

and make our children and animals grow…

 

Children, the earth is the mother of man,

because she gives him food.

–Rigoberta Menchu

Food is a gift.  While my family is blessed with sufficient resources to feed ourselves well each day, we  recognize that much of the rest of the world goes to sleep hungry.  Each time we sit down to a table with brimming, full plates we are humbled by the recognition of our good fortune.

Because food is a holy, wonderful gift, we have begun giving thanks at mealtime.  We want to raise Harper with a mindfulness toward eating, a gratitude for our daily bread.  Our mealtime prayer provides us with a moment to stop, recognize the holiness of the meal in front of us, the effort that was given to bring this food to our plates, and our incredible blessing of having enough to eat.  It is a powerful act, one that centers and grounds us, and brings us together as a family.

May you be a mindful eater, and give thanks.

To all else thou hast given us, O Lord,

we ask but for one thing more:

Give us

grateful hearts.


–George Herbert

Hidden Roots of the Local Food Movement

Great slideshow from Yes! magazine featuring the war time promotion of local foods:

Hidden Roots of the Local Food Movement — YES! Magazine.

Good Eats

A sampling of our recent meals:

Here’s a dish we love to make:  Green Goddess Pasta.  It’s a pesto made with basil, sunflower seeds and walnuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  We usually make it with spinach because it’s too expensive to buy basil, but since we’re GROWING our own, we have a little goldmine in the backyard and can eat as much fresh basil as want!

Green Goddess Pasta with dilly beans, and fresh goat cheese and crackers

Green Goddess Pasta with dilly beans, and homemade fresh goat cheese and crackers

Here’s a soup we made from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors cookbook.  It’s a hearty borscht recipe that allowed us to utilize our yummy beets, potatoes, and a variety of other garden goodness.  The recipe was huge and we were eating this soup for about three days.  It really got better as time went on and the flavors developed.  It’s also finished with some vinegar and a dollop of sour cream, which really made the soup.

'Ultimate' Borscht

We’ve been buying fresh pork roasts from the South Dakota Local Foods Co-op.  These come from The Goosemobile and usually feed us for about 3-4 meals.  This one we  cooked slowly in the crock pot with potatoes, fresh onions, and dill, all from our garden.  We’ve also cooked one with pineapple, mushrooms, and a few dashes of red pepper flakes.

Fresh ham roast in the crockpot

We also made one of our favorite dishes, feta olive lamb meatballs with sides from the garden.  We also buy our lamb through the SD Local Foods Co-op, and it comes from Svec Farm out of Estelline. Oh so good!

Feta Olive Lamb Meatballs with buttered beans and mashed potatoes

*drool*

What have you been eating these days?

To market, to market

A couple weekends ago we finally made it out of the house in time to catch the Farmers Market. Actually, we made it to TWO markets that morning–the Falls Park Farmers Market and the Sioux Empire Farmers Market. Since we garden and are members of the South Dakota Local Food Co-op, we didn’t have a lot that we needed, but it was mighty satisfying just to enjoy the atmosphere of the market…the hustle and bustle of the customers, the beautiful produce on display, the smell of burgers and brats on the grill, and the wonderful conversation with the vendors, many of whom we know quite well and consider friends.

Harper surveying the Fall Park market

Mama and Harper at the Sioux Empire Farmers Market

I recommend checking out both markets to get the full variety of local foods and crafts that are available. The Falls Park Market is located north of Falls Park under the newly constructed open-air market shelter. The Sioux Empire Market is located at 8th and Railroad Center.

You can check out their websites at:
http://www.siouxempirefarmersmarket.com/
http://www.fallsparkfarmersmarket.com/

Do you know your farmer?

I do!  And I know quite a few, too.

Today is milk day, the day our local dairy farmer delivers to our home two half-gallons of raw, organic milk from his herd of 100% grass-fed Jersey cows.  This is an anticipated day at our house, as we usually have to ration the milk to make it last a whole week.  The milk is thick, creamy, and pure, utter, deliciousness.  This time of year it takes on a yellow hue due to the amazing nutrients the cattle are receiving from grazing on the thick spring grass.  This stuff is pure gold in the land of healthy eating.

Milk and Eggs from my local farmer

While exchanging pleasantries with my milk farmer, whose farm I have visited on numerous occasions and whose family I consider friends, I also picked up two dozen farm fresh (organic and pasture-raised) eggs out of his refrigerated truck.  Fresh, organic milk and eggs delivered right to my front door by a farmer-neighbor, and at a better price than I could buy organic at the grocery store.

We’ve got more local food coming this Saturday, which marks the first delivery of the South Dakota Local Food Co-op, a brand new co-op that allows members to buy local food online straight from their South Dakota farmers and have the entire order delivered to a central drop site once a month (right now these drop locations are in Sioux Falls and Brookings).  Wyatt and I have been involved in helping get the co-op launched through Dakota Rural Action and are more than thrilled to see it finally in action.  If you’re looking for the freshest food out there, check out the website and browse the product list, which, for the first ordering cycle, contained over 200 products.  The next ordering period begins on June 1st, and there’s doubtless going to be a whole bunch of new products the second time around as the co-op has been growing by leaps and bounds.

We’ve got some delicious items on the way:

  • Whole chickens from Svec Farm and Fifth Generation Farm
  • Pork Brats and Sausage Links from the Goosemobile
  • A bag of fresh spring veggies from Prairie Moon Winery
  • Bread from Cider Hill Farm and Mary from Gary Breads
  • Jelly from Mary from Gary Breads
  • Flax from Fifth Generation Farm
  • Soap from Star Grazing in SD

For budgetary reasons we had to restrain ourselves from buying a lot more, so for next order cycle we plan on purchasing from some of the other farmers we didn’t buy from this time.  Can’t wait for the food to get here!

To find your local farmer, and other local foods goodness, check out:

South Dakota Local Foods Co-op: www.sdlocafoodcoop.org
South Dakota Local Foods Directory: http://www.sdlocalfoods.org
Dakota Rural Action (shameless plug, full disclosure: I work there!): http://www.dakotarural.org