Wednesday, August 29, 2007

OLS-Week 10

Our last week (sob!). I've really enjoyed this challenge, it has been educational, fun, and at times really frustrating. I've had to learn to be happy with where I am and not expect perfection. I've really increased the amount of local food that is now being bought on a regular basis. I've put up a fair amount of local food so we can keep eating at least some local food during the winter. And I've learned how to make a lot of things with local ingredients instead of buying the pre-made, non-local version.

This week for our local meal we had Potato-corn chowder and homemade crescent rolls.

The breakdown:

Potato-corn chowder:

Potatoes - my garden - 0 miles
Corn - Hazeye Farm -Newark, DE - 6 miles
Milk- Natural by Nature - 24 miles
Onion - Hazeye Farm - 6 miles
Basil - my garden - 0 miles
Bacon - Rumbleway Farm - 25 miles
Green onion - my garden - 0 miles
Black Pepper - not local

The corn, potatoes, basil and green onion were all picked that day!

Crescent rolls:
Flour - Daisy Flour - 60 miles
Milk - Natural by Nature - 24 miles
Egg - Whimsical Farm - 4 miles
Sugar- not local
Yeast - not local
Butter - not local, but I've found a source of local butter

I've loved reading about everyone else's meals and have picked up a bunch of recipes to try. I can't wait for next summer!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A cool local food story

I had a cool thing happen today. I feed my cat a local cat food called Beaverdam I've been feeding it to her for awhile and am happy with how and where it is made. The only problem I have with it is it is hard to find. The closest place that sells it is a 35 minute drive each way. Luckily, one of Logan's best friends live very near the store and we are up there visiting them about every other week so I can usually keep us stocked in food. Unfortunately, they have been traveling pretty much the whole month of August and we ran out of food last night! I didn't want to make the drive up there so I decided to see what the local natural foods store had for pet food since we were going there anyway. I didn't like any of the choices they had there and was thinking about how I was going to have to stop at the grocery store and get some food there (not a choice I was relishing).

As we walked out the door of the natural food store, a van pulled up with the Beaverdam logo on the side. I accosted the poor man as he got out of the van and asked him if he had any cat food in there and if I could buy a bag. As he got a bag out of the van I explained my situation to him. He gave me the bag of food for free and told me he was trying to get this store to start stocking it. So I went in with him to talk to the manager and let them know I already buy the food and would definitely buy it there if they carried it. They said they would give it a try!

It was really cool because I had looked up their webpage before leaving home to see if it was carried anywhere closer to me than the place by Logan's friend and it wasn't. I was leaving the store agonizing over what I was going to do for cat food since we were totally out and this free bag of the food I wanted pretty much dropped in my lap! I will be going to the natural food store near me soon and buying a few bags so they know that someone does want it.

Not only have I found a local cat food but I've met the owner of the company! Eating local can be so cool.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Logan and I went blackberry picking last week. We picked 3 quarts of blackberries. Upon returning home I decided to attempt making jam. I've never done it before but used the recipe that came with the pectin. This particular pectin came with a packet of calcium that is supposed to help the pectin gel so you can use a lot less sugar.

Here is my jam boiling. Making the jam itself was pretty easy. I left the seeds in because we all like the seeds in our jam. I used 2 of the quarts for jam and froze the other quart for crisp sometime this winter. I found the actual canning part to be intimidating. I've never seen canning done and I had all these visions of exploding jars in my head. I used a boiling water bath and the jars seemed to have sealed. I still have visions of opening moldy jars of jam this winter. I really was wishing I had an Amish neighbor as I was doing this! The pictures on the internet were helpful but not quite the same as having someone there to hold you hand.

Here are my sealed jars. I sealed 6 and had 1 that I didn't seal to use right away. I managed to get blackberry juice everywhere! But it was fun and everyone agrees the jam is delicious. I only used 1.5 cups of sugar for the whole recipe so you really get the blackberry flavor.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

OLS- Week 9

I feel like I cheated this week since I already made this dinner for One Local Summer back in week 5, but my mom was visiting and she had never made pasta before. So, I decided to make pasta and asked her what she wanted on it. She wasn't sure she knew what pesto tasted like and I have a lot of basil in the garden, so presto, pesto. I did make different size noodles this time. But the breakdown remains the same. This time I added a couple of hot peppers from my garden.

We also had a somewhat local meal which I thought I'd write about since it sums up a typical meal around here. I didn't get a picture however. The meal was Thai basil chicken.



Chicken - Rumbleway Farm - 25 miles
Thai Basil - My garden
Thai hot peppers - my garden
Garlic - West Chester PA - 20 miles
Onion - PA, but not sure where in PA, I got it at Newark Natural Foods
Brocolli - same as onion, I should have gotten these at the farm market but it is only once a week and I missed it last week so I had to buy these at the store. The sign did say local from PA.

Not local:
Fish sauce
Soy sauce

And so it goes most days here. All of our animal products and veggies are local. Spices, rice and pasta usually not local.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Introducing the kids

It appears our hummingbirds had 2 babies, they have started coming to the feeder everyday. They are quite a bit smaller than the adults and don't have adult coloring yet. It looks like we have a male and a female but I wouldn't bet my house on it or anything.

Male juvenile

Female juvenile

I was able to get some pictures yesterday of both hummingbirds at the feeder at the same time, but it was raining and the lens was clouded up so they turned out awful. I'll keep trying. I'm having so much fun with these guys! We now have 5 coming to our feeder everyday.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

OLS- Week 8

This week we had chicken quesadillas as our local meal. I made the tortillas from scratch using the Bob's Red Mill recipe but not their flour since it isn't anywhere near local. This was the first time I'd ever made

Whole wheat flour - Daisy Flour - 60 miles
Chicken - Rumbleway Farm - 25 miles
Cheese - Peppercorn from Mooo Over Cheeses - 25 miles
Thai hot pepper - my garden - 0 miles
Salt and baking powder - not local

These turned out pretty good. The tortillas weren't quite like store bought and will take Logan a little getting used to but they were quick and easy to make.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hummingbird friend

I staked out the feeder the other night hoping to get a closeup picture of my hummingbird friend. I was successful! He was within 4 feet of me. We actually have 3 hummingbirds that come to the feeder, 2 males and 1 female. The males are usually chasing each other away from the feeder while the female shakes her head and sighs.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

OLS - Week 7

The theme this week was maple syrup. We had 2 meals that I would consider local this week, one dinner and one breakfast.

Dinner: Maple-Rosemary glazed pork chops, corn on the cob and Royal Purple beans
The breakdown:

Pork chops - Touch the Earth Farm - 140 miles, this is outside my usual range for local but I was visiting Danielle and we bartered for pork chops. Since I was there anyway I sort of figure they are local

Maple syrup - Patterson Farms - 280 miles, way outside my normal range for local but as close as I think I'm going to find maple syrup

Rosemary - my garden - 0 miles

Red peppers - my garden - 0 miles

Corn on the cob - Lockbriar Farm - 46 miles

Royal Purple beans - my garden, I only have 1 plant producing right now so I get maybe 1 bean day, I saved them all week and had 6 beans total, so DH and I each got 3. Luckily they taste really good you so want those 3 beans

Breakfast - Sour dough french toast
The breakdown:

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
Maple Syrup - Patterson Farms - 280 miles

Maybe we could do an average miles for the meal to make up for those things that aren't so local? Hmm...I think I like that idea, if I can keep my average miles around 100 I'll consider it local, then maybe I won't be so disappointed by the rice that sneaks in or the things that end up being not quite as local as you thought they were when you bought them (like the maple syrup).

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Stealth cucumber

I was reading on someone's blog (sorry I forgot whose, I read a lot of blogs) about stealth cucumbers. These sneaky guys grow up when you aren't looking and blend in with the plant. I found one of these today. I had no idea it was even there and saw it for the first time today. By the time I even noticed it, it was huge! This thing is as long as a pen and 8.5 inches around! Who knew they could get so big without even being noticed. I assume it is tough or bitter or something now that it is this big? Can I still use it to make pickles or is it better given to the compost pile?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

OLS- Week 6

This week I made my first ever frittata. The official verdict was, "it isn't great, but I kind of like it" It didn't fluff up at all while cooking.

The cast of characters for this frittata, all from my garden: blue potatoes, onions, rosemary, marjoram and basil.

Here it is served up, see how thin it is? How do you get these things fluffier?

Onion-Potato Frittata:
Eggs - Whimsical Farm - 4 miles
Onion - my garden
Potatoes - my garden
Rosemary - my garden
Majoram - my garden
Basil - my garden
Cheddar cheese - Lancaster, PA - 50 miles

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More actions to take on GMOs

I found a few other webpages that have letters you can print up to send to your representative and senators regarding GMOs. They also have links to send emails, but letters have a greater impact. I'm going to print up and mail a bunch of letters today. Contacting my representatives on issues that are important to me if one of my newer commitments.

This page has letter encouraging mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs.

This page has letters against pharmcrops, meaning crops that have pharmaceuticals in them.

I figure it won't take me but a few minutes to print the letters up and throw them in the mail.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Yesterday was a day of harvesting root vegetables. I wanted some potatoes for dinner and hadn't tried to harvest any of my potatoes yet, so yesterday was the big day. Logan and I went out and started digging around in the container the potato plants are in. At first we weren't finding anything and I was starting to get worried but we kept digging and finally found one! We dug up a little less than 1/4 of the container and got a pretty good haul I think. Searching for potatoes is so much fun! Everytime we found one Logan and I would cheer.

I also harvested some onions and a carrot yesterday. Here is yesterday's whole haul.

I finally made pickles with my cucumbers. I decided to make bread and butter pickles since they are my favorite. I got 3 jars worth and they are really good! And my sweet potato plant just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It is now blooming, I get 2 or 3 flowers on it everyday. The flowers are really pretty.

Isn't this pepper plant just the cutest thing?