Monday, October 29, 2007

Definition of Local

OK, I'll admit I'm now confused by the definition of local. I've been trying to stick to within 100 miles, but I've been doing those as driving miles. I've looked at a number of local food webpages lately and they all do the 100 miles as the crow flies. Doing it this way, here is my local foodshed.

Well poo, blogger won't let me load the picture because it is a pdf, I'll keep trying to get it into another form, but anyway, if you do it by how the crow flies, my 100 miles goes past DC and Harrisburg, both of which are over 200 mile drives.

So what do you think? Should we got by driving distance or flying distance? My 100 miles becomes a lot bigger if I go by flying distance. And then if I extend that to 220 miles as some local groups go by I could eat half the east coast!

I try to get as close to me as possible, but for some things like grains going by how the crow flies I may be able to find "local" sources for these things.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I got this in my CSA box and I'm not sure what it is. I thought they were rutabaga until I peeled one and it was red inside. Are they really big beets? OK, I cut it open and I'm pretty sure it is a big beet. Aren't they hard and woody when they get this big? What do I do with huge beets?

I was really hoping they were rutabaga, I had a plan for those. I sure feel dumb.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Butternut squash muffins

Melinda asked me how I made my butternut squash muffins so here is the recipe. These muffins are incredibly moist and just all around delicious.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup cooked and pureed butternut squash (or any other winter squash, usually I use pumpkin)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup applesauce (I use sauce I made myself and canned)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt

3. In a large bowl, combine squash, sugar, egg and applesauce. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth, don't beat it makes the muffins dry.

4. Scoop into muffin pans, bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DDW -Week 2

This week we had salad, potato-leek soup, and corn bread for our local meal.

The breakdown:

Salad: Mixed greens, radishes, red peppers, yellow peppers - Calvert Farm CSA - 15 miles

Potato - Calvert Farm CSA - 15 miles
Leek - Calvert Farm CSA - 15 miles
Onion - not local
Milk - Trickling Springs Dairy - 170 miles, but bought 7 miles away
spices - not local

Corn Bread
Corn meal - freshly ground by Logan at Coverdale Farm, corn grown there - 20 miles
Milk - Trickling Springs Dairy -170 miles
Flour - Daisy Flour - 60 miles
Eggs - Whimsical Farm - 4 miles
Baking powder - not local
sugar - not local
Honey - C&J Honey (my aunt and uncle's company!) - 100 miles

It was a delicious meal, even if it still isn't soup weather yet!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Turns out money can buy happiness. And it is pretty cheap too! I even got to use a coupon. Who knew?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dark Days of Winter Week 1

I've decided to participate in the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge. We are supposed to eat 1 local meal a week until the new year. For now it will be pretty easy with the weekly CSA, but after Thanksgiving it will get a little harder. Luckily, I have lots of veggies put up and all our animals products are already local.

So, here is our first meal:

I made a salad with mixed greens, radishes, and red and yellow peppers all from our CSA box. Calvert Farm - 15 miles

Spinach Fettucine - Amish, Lancaster, PA - 60 miles
Chicken breast - Locust Point Farm - 7 miles
Cream - Natural By Nature -24 miles
Tomatoes - My garden -0 miles
Garlic - not local
White Wine - not local

Sourdough Bread:
Flour - Daisy Flour - 60 miles
Sourdough starter - originally the Oregon Trail in the 1800s but lately my fridge - 0 miles
Eggs - Whimsical Farm - 4 miles

Apple-Cranberry Crisp:
Apples - CSA Box - Calvert Farms - 15 miles
Cranberries - New Jersey - 50 miles or so
Oats - Not local
Flour - Daisy Flour - 60 miles
Sugar - not local

Butternut Squash

I got a butternut squash in my CSA box last week. This is something I've never cooked with before (or even eaten in my memory). I looked up a few recipes and made 2 dishes with it. I made a squash sausage pasta that was delicious with local sausage. And I made butternut squash muffins this morning. They are also delicious. So, I'm pretty impressed with myself! I'm learning how to eat new things.

No butternut squash this week in the CSA box but I did get potatoes and leeks, so we will be having potato-leek soup tonight. Leeks are another thing I've never cooked with before. I also got a head of cabbage which I've never cooked with, I found a few recipes for different kinds of slaws so I'm going to try that. I also got kale, another new one for me. We ate all our swiss chard from last week raw in salad. Can we do the same with kale? I guess I could try cooking some greens although my husband swears he hates cooked greens. I don't think I've ever had cooked greens. I've sure led a food sheltered life!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Farm Bill Senate Debate

We Need Your Help Urging Senate to Reverse Direction on Farm Bill!

The U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to consider the farm bill the week of October 22 and the full Senate as early as the week of October 29. It's important to note that the farm bill doesn't just affect farmers and rural communities; among other things, it has an enormous impact on the air and water quality of suburban and urban areas.

Immediate pressure is necessary so our senators and the Senate leadership craft a Farm Bill that helps our farmers, consumers and our environment.

The next few weeks offer the last opportunity for us all to send a strong message to our senators and the Senate leadership that the farm bill passed by the Senate must represent an improvement - not a step backward - from the farm bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in late July.

It is critical that the Senate farm bill include genuine reform of farm subsidies and new investments to address funding shortfalls for conservation, renewable energy and programs that will provide consumers with greater access to healthy food. Please consider the following points:

There is concern that funding will be taken away from conservation to pay for more commodity crop support. Farmers are eager to share the cost of providing cleaner air, cleaner water, and wildlife habitat, but currently two out of three farmers who apply for assistance through USDA's voluntary conservation programs are rejected.

Senators should support a new bill being introduced by Indiana Senator Dick Lugar, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg and numerous other cosponsors that provides $6 billion in conservation funding, $3 billion in specialty crop and healthy food spending, and a new insurance program that will provide free insurance to all small farmers, covering 80% or more of revenue.

This bill represents a major shift from current Committee debate on the Farm Bill, and strong support for this bill will influence what happens in the full Senate later this month.

Senate leadership must get involved in the development of the farm bill
to ensure that the bill provides for:

1. An effective, cost-saving farm safety net that provides
farmers with help when they need it most, but does not provide payments to
farmers when incomes are high.

2. Redirecting $6 billion in subsidies to fund voluntary farm
conservation programs that are available to all farmers, regardless of
the crops they grow, and produce public benefits of cleaner water,
fresher air, and less sprawl. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Harkin
has pushed for a $6 billion increase in conservation spending, but has
encountered opposition from other members of the Committee who prefer
to increase farm subsidies. Environmental Defense recently analyzed the
effects of shifting $6 billion in direct payments to conservation
programs and found that 37 states would receive more money for their farmers
under this scenario than under our current policies.

3. Additional support for renewable energy and programs that
expand consumers' access to healthier and locally grown foods.

Contact your senators now if you haven't already. Mine are going to hear from me again this week.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Stocking up

This is the first year I've ever put up food for the winter. I haven't done a lot and it certainly isn't enough to get us through the winter (although we will have enough corn to get through the winter). I learned to can and made many things I've never made before to preserve stuff while it was in season. Here is my list of what I've preserved so far.

6- ½ pints blackberry jam
4 pints apple sauce
6 pints tomato sauce
3 pints bread and butter pickles
24 ears of whole kernel corn frozen
3 very large heads of brocolli frozen
10 cups shredded zuccini frozen (10 muffin recipes worth)
3 muffin recipes worth of pumpkin frozen
6 jalapeno peppers frozen
3 apple pie fillings frozen
1 pint blueberries frozen
1 quart blackberries frozen

Oops! How could I forget the loads of pesto in the freezer?!

I'll be freezing more pumpkin, some peppers and probably some butternut squash. I'll have to see what else I get from the CSA to see if anything else gets preserved.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

First CSA share

I picked up my first CSA share ever today! I found a farm that was offering a 7 week fall CSA so I decided to try it. This is a big deal for us because we are very limited in what veggies we generally eat so we are going to be trying a lot of new things over the next 7 weeks. And asking for a lot of ideas of what to do with stuff we've never had before.

Here is my first share minus the butternut squash which I already had in the oven.

Here is the butternut squash that came with it.
Things that are new to us include the butternut squash, radishes, and the greens (swiss chard?). I'm not sure what to do with the radishes or all the peppers we got. Any ideas are welcome! Luckily I still have Simply In Season checked out from the library. I'm going to try the butternut squash bars from it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

U-pick fun

We've been trying to do as much U-pick as we can and get stuff preserved for the winter (that will be another post). We did blackberries earlier this year.

A couple of week ago we picked apples. Here Logan is puzzling over which is the best apple to pick.

Yesterday we picked pumpkins. Those things can be hard to get off the vine.

And we picked corn. We opted to go with the popping corn. Now I have to look up how to dry it and pop it. The corn was really hard to get off the stalk!

Logan got a really nice pumpkin which will be preserved for muffins this winter.

We hope to get fall raspberries this weekend to make some jam.

And this has nothing to do with picking, but these are the latest pants I made for Logan. He picked out the material.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Working Sheep

Today we went over to the "egg ladies" farm down the road and helped her work sheep. She needed to examine, trim hooves, vaccinate and shear the nether regions in preparation for breeding. We rounded up 16 sheep and herded them into the barns. We then 1 at a time took care of each sheep and then put them out with the appropriate ram. Logan and I got a lot of experience at holding down sheep and herding sheep. She had many different breeds so we got to see a lot of different sheep and learn the positives and negatives about each breed. I got kicked in the ribs pretty hard at one point and learned a valuable lesson about where to place your body when holding a sheep down.

Unfortunately, my camera batteries died as soon as we got there so no pictures. And I could have gotten some good ones of Logan sitting on the sheep to hold them down, or Logan petting their head to keep them calm while their hooves were being trimmed, or even Logan holding a leg so the sheep wouldn't kick the woman while she sheared them. It would have been a much more interesting entry with the pictures :( sorry. Another valuable lesson learned, always have spare batteries even if you are running late.

We had a good time and learned a lot. I do believe we will have sheep on our farm, we've been leaning that way for awhile and think we have decided. We may raise a sheep on her farm for 4-H this year. She will have lots of babies come March. I promise to have pictures then!