Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Locavoricious

A few interesting events happened to have conicided over the last week or two...

I've been kicking myself now that we are into the real bounty of fresh summer produce that I neglected to get signed up for a CSA farmshare this season. I have been intending to do this forever, and I never seem to be able to get my act together and think of it in time and that's really lame and loserish of me. So as a way of making amends for that and to be sure I'll be more on the ball in the future, I did a little research and made a list and contacted several participating farms in our area to be sure I am notified when it comes time to sign up for next seasons' shares.
Now, being handed a pre-packed box of everything that is in season and beautiful and tasty on a regular schedule certainly makes things simpler, but even I am bright enough to know that's not the only path to fresh and locally grown. So while I was looking into the CSA thing, I also spent some time figuring out what farms and markets fall within the path of my daily activities. As it turns out there are several, and never being one to wait around, I took a trip over to At the Farm on Saturday and picked up a whole basket full of gorgeous, organic and home grown stuff and found some respite from the insane 100 degree heat in their 120+ year old earth sheltered German style barn-cum-farm stand...
And then I brought it all home and made some art for dinner:



Sort of an ad lib version of salad nicoise. I mixed up a quick vinagrette to dress it all and we enjoyed a perfect hot weather meal with plenty of leftovers. With the exception of the Maytag blue cheese (Iowa) the corn and the olives, everything is organic and local, as in grown in practically in my back yard local. And the bacon is from my adored Lorenz meats in Cannon Falls and the eggs from Litchfield.
I could have done better, actually, because many local farmers sell eggs and chicken, so I am going to start picking these up on my produce gathering runs whenever possible too.

Now, for various reasons I find that I've become more and more attentive over the years to the pedigree of my food and I've always been inclined to purchase Minnesota products when the option presents itself. And I also enjoy and look forward to the bounty of farmers markets and farm stands in the summer, but beyond that, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I've never really given the impact of eating local much thought or looked at the big picture until recently.
But then, in a cosmically coincidental event given my recent efforts at being more proactive about obtaining local food, I happened to pick up Barbara Kingsolvers book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" at the bookstore over the weekend and I don't think my life will be the same.
Really.
Besides delivering an absolutely compelling, rational and well researched argument for eating seasonally and locally, it's also an interesting story and a fun read and I can't recommend this book enough if you care at all about anything.
Really.
If nothing else, start paying attention to where stuff comes from and consider how it has been produced, OK? And then, where ever you live, head to the nearest farmers market or farm stand and pick up whatever's in season and local. You can munch on it while you read :)

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Comments:
Beautiful salad! I've been reading the same book- it's really made me make an effort to buy local when I can. I'm planning on sharing it with anyone I can get to read it.

I'm going to check into our local CSA for next year. And make a yummy salad like yours- soon!
 
I had the same problem last year - you have to join a CSA pretty early in the spring. I was motivated after seeing a movie called "The Real Dirt on Farmer John". It's being re-released this summer, so if you see it playing locally, I highly, highly recommend it. I got my act together this year and joined "Featherstone Farm" and have been loving getting the box of goodies every week.

If you are interested in a meat CSA, blackberryridgellc.com has spots available.

Another book that I didn't 100% love, but which is a must-read if you are interested in this topic is "The Omnivore's Dilemma".
 
I love my CSA so, so much....I'll have to add the Kingsolver book to my list.
 
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