Monday, August 18, 2008

A Local Food Update

This spring, I catalogued our desire to eat locally.  In order to do so, we planted several beds of a vegetable garden.  As of this writing, 3 of our desired 8 beds got dug and planted.  We'll have those to plant in spring while we dig more.

In addition, we joined a CSA, to get a farm share.  Every Sunday from early June on, we've gone to our local farm to bring home a bounty of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit.  

But things didn't quite work out as we planned, and much of the food was given away, or composted.  This wasn't exactly what we were going for, but just as summer's bounty was coming into full flower (so to speak), so did I.  I got pregnant.  And started having some serious food aversions.  Specifically to vegetables.  

The mere smell of grilling squash curdled my stomach.  Greens?  Ugh.  I was lucky to make it through the first trimester with barely a touch of nausea, but vegetables became an anathema.  

For a while, all of them, with the exception of potatoes.  Recently I've been managing salad greens (just as lettuce went pretty much out of season, but I've got some more planted for fall), tomatoes, cucumbers, and broccoli.  Corn too.  The list broadens each week, thankfully.  

Seeing as it had taken us 22 months to get to this point, the fact that some veggies didn't get eaten probably seems a small price to pay, but it was hard to swallow the idea that I wasn't eating the way I like to eat.  Our typical stir fries and grilled veggies went out the window in favor of comfort food - pastas and other carb-heavy foods.  If it hadn't been for my fruit cravings, I might have been completely nutritionally deprived. 

Yeah, comfort food.  In summer. I know.  

Add to that my all-too-common first trimester exhaustion, and more than one store-bought chicken pot pie got eaten instead of all the amazing foodstuffs coming out of the ground from the local farmers.  BJs over farmers markets.  Stuff from boxes.  Cans.  The freezer section.

Sigh.  Add to that me being a too tired to write my blog most days - not to mention tiredness making me unable to process any complex thinking, and it's been an interesting summer.  

I have managed to bake bread most weeks, and that has been rewarding indeed.  Between a recipe for no-knead bread, and sourdough starter passed on from a friend, it's been a good bread season.  

As I pass into my second trimester, things are getting better.  Yesterday I dug up our first batch of homegrown fingerling potatoes, and have visions of herb roasting them with the local chicken from our CSA are running through my head.  I'm again daydreaming about uses the fresh pesto we've started to make.  I've managed to blanch and freeze some beans, and will be making a large batch of fresh salsa to can and serve at our annual cookout.  

Our sole pumpkin is ripening on the vine, ready to be turned into pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The sweet potatoes are looking great, and mashing and baking them will be a joy when the weather turns colder.  

The peppers in the garden are starting to redden, and the tomatoes, while still mostly green, are coming along.  A combination of near-daily rain and lack of tying up have stunted their development, but there are gobs of them on the vines, if the frosts will hold off until at least late September. 

It hasn't been the best local food season we could have had, certainly not the one I daydreamed about while I started my seedlings in March.  But it could have been worse.  Good things happened, just not the ones I expected. 

The nice thing about gardening is that there is always next year.  Will we do the CSA again?  I don't know.  Parts of it I have loved, parts not so much.  Next year, with a hopefully larger garden (and a small-ish child) we'll grow enough that supplementing from a farmers market and various farm stands may be a better option, so we'll be mulling that over for a bit.  We've got until January to decide.

Despite our less-than-stellar attempt at local food this year, impending parenthood has confirmed my desire to eat responsibly.  And that means locally.  The pride I felt in bringing a salad to a family cookout that was almost entirely locally or self-grown confirmed that.  And I know the food coming out of the ground in our yard isn't subjected to contaminants or being trucked from thousands of miles away.  The world is running low on oil, and running far to high in toxins, so whatever I, and my family can do to lessen that impact is a good thing.  As Mother Theresa said, we can only do small things with great love.    And what is more loving than feeding one's family and friends great food that's good for them and Mother Earth?

Things didn't turn out quite the way I planned this year.  Not by a long shot.  But it's been a good summer nonetheless.   And local food matters more to me than ever.  

Because it's not just about me anymore.  I'm going to be someone's mother.  


EJW said...

Pregnant?! That's wonderful! I'm so thrilled for you!

I hope it all goes smoothly and next thing you know, you'll be out in the garden next summer with a little person!


Jessica said...


Anonymous said...

congratulations!!! i am a regular lurker who loves your blog (sometimes i think you're in my head). sending good thoughts for the rest of the pregnancy. :)

Adinda said...

I am a regular lurker also that came to your blog through the nest and I just want to say Congratulations!!! Alright you get a pass for not writting more of your wonderful blogs. ;) Congrats again!!