Locavore June 19
Last night dinner was an appetizer of sage leaf tempura (sage from the garden), sautéed golden pork chops (locally raised) with 2 onions (yellow & shallots, not local), and garlicky braised kale (from the garden). Pickled chilies (from last year’s harvest). No dessert.
I buy the pork in bulk from Belle Meade in Sperryville, VA, and store it in the freezer. Cheaper, tastier and THERE. I don’t have to run to the store for meat and it makes menu planning – which tends to be a lot less extensive than when I was working a corporate job – much easier. Grab a few things at the beginning of the week and let them thaw in the freezer. See what’s good in the garden veggies wise, and – voila – dinner’s ready. I am not the only one to this – i.e. buy meat in bulk: yesterday’s Washington Post had an article about buying meat in bulk “I can’t believe I Bought the Whole Thing” (Alan Zuschlag drew my attention to it) and featured farmers who sell in bulk (Alan is one of them) an d consumers who buy in bulk (they did not interview me, though….). Obviously there seem to be a hunger from a growing number of people to take control of what it is exactly we put in our mouth and to re-establish connections with the farmers people who grow or raise our food.
Breakfast of cereal (organic but not local), raw milk, wild black raspberries collected in the hedgerow.
Lunch was a gigantic salad (6 kinds of lettuce + young beet leaves) with sugar snap peas and radishes – all from the garden – with chopped boiled eggs (local); dessert was honey roasted banana ice-cream which I made a while ago with local honey, local eggs, local cream & milk – not local bananas! They take a long time to mature (the plant needs something like 18 month above 70 degrees to produce fruit, so I don’t think I’ll grow that).
Dinner tonight of home-made grilled pizza. The tomato sauce and herbs are from the garden; the cheese from a Pennsylvania dairy – bought at Roy’s in Sperryville. Garden lettuce salad. We’ll be eating lots of lettuce in the next few days trying to beat the bolting of the heads. I can’t expect much more than an additional week of lettuce before summer heat really make them bolt, turning them unpleasantly bitter. By then we should still have arugula and other greens. And tomato orgies are in sight.
Correction later that evening: I was typing this log entry while the baker in the family was making the piazza dough. My job was to assemble the pizza. The baker would grill it. Ahh… marital cooperation. Anyway, there was no home-made tomato sauce left, so had to use store bought. We had canned tomatillos, but I did not think it would make a very good pizza. To make up for the non-local tomatoes, I throw on some venison patties left over from a couple of nights ago, and the first bell pepper from the garden (Yeah!). Also had dessert of sour cherries (picked this morning at Fairlea Farm and B&B, following the Longyears’ gracious offer to do so on Rappnet – the last ones for those trees, alas!) tossed with a little sugar and yogurt.
I really need to source flour made from local wheat. Maybe from Shenandoah Valley, the bread basket of the confederacy? Problem, of course, is that unless it’s organic, it probably is genetically modified – something to which I object for many reasons. Our own Rappahannock County used to produce wheat when its agriculture was more diversified. There is very little left now, but in 1954 there were 935 acres in wheat, and 25 years earlier: 3,054 acres! Most of it was used for feed on the farm, the rest sold to the mills in Luray and some even sent to Baltimore. (Source: Soil Survey of Rappahannock County, USDA/ VA agricultural Experiment Station, October 1961). I have a friend who is trying to put a group together to cooperatively produce wheat and it would be very exciting and tremendous good news if the project came to fruition (pun intended).