What food grows in your region in the fall? Let’s eat and find out… Have you always wanted to try canning and preserving food for the wintertime? Let’s try it this year.
The locavore movement — people who try to eat only locally produced food — is growing “from San Francisco to New York,” reports New York mag. Green-leaning consumers seek ways to cut down on the oil and chemicals used in the growing and transporting of food and preserve small farm methods. Barbara Kingsolver’s memoir “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” and Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” about modern food production, have fertilized the trend.
One New Yorker Stater the magazine spoke to found out the hard way that local does not need to mean on your own land. He figured his farm could provide him enough food for a month late in the summer and began preparing in March. He built a chicken coop, dug a drainage system to water his crops, spent thousands of dollars on topsoil to cover his yard’s lead-rich, nutrient-poor clay and bought rabbits, ducks and 25 chicks.
But the original Locavores do not see the need to be THAT local. they are a group of “concerned culinary adventurers” who are making an effort to eat only foods grown or harvested within a 100 mile radius of San Francisco. They recognize that the choices we make about what foods we choose to eat are important politically, environmentally, economically, and healthfully.
Hpowrd in upstate New York soon learned it was hard work — seven days a week, six to 16 hours a day, tending his farm nearly every day until the experiment of eating his food began in mid-August.
Howard wanted to use duck fat for cooking, but ran into a problem. “You can kill chickens, but don’t kill any ducks,” his 4-year-old daughter told him. He compromised on olive oil.
The ducks were the only lucky ones. He learned how to kill and pluck roosters — several got their heads chopped off after neighbors complaints about the crowing. And some of the rabbits died from maggot infestations.
“I was not so much a farmer … as an undertaker,” he wrote about that experience in New York magazine, which partly funded the experiment.
And he suffered hardships. He nearly sawed off a finger building the chicken coop and went without alcohol because making a home distillery was too much work.
He sat longingly through meals of non-local food his family ate. In the month of reaping what he sowed, he lost 29 pounds, both from the work and sparse meals, mostly eggs, tomatoes, greens, and chicken stew.
And the first tornado to hit Brooklyn in nearly 120 years bashed his corn, eggplant and squash crops.
It was hard on his family, too. His two kids grew bored with him because he rarely left the farm. His wife grew distant, even more so after seeing the carnage left by a rabbit that had panicked and killed her newborns.
He said she only began to see his side of things after she banged her head in a dark corner of their basement on a slaughtered Flemish Giant rabbit.
“She asked me if she had hit her head on a dead chicken. When I told her it was a 20 pound (9 kg) freshly-skinned rabbit, I broke down and wept,” he said. “I think that’s when she realized I wasn’t getting off on all the blood and gore, and it was beginning to wear me down.”
Financially the farm was perhaps unsustainable. The costs rose to $11,000 — or more than $120 per meal for the month.
But now his family has a greater appreciation for the business of food and the people who grow it, he said. And the toil made the food rewarding to eat, even if his kids didn’t eat everything he grew.
“I don’t know if anyone else liked the chickens I ate, but I just loved them,” he said.
Still, it was nice to finish the month, Howard said on Friday, the day after the experiment ended. His eyes grew wide describing the white wine, short ribs and Washington State oysters he enjoyed in celebration.
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