In a little over a week we will enter into our third year of eating locally. The first year presented new challenges at every turn, but over the course of the second year, the experimental feeling simply faded into normalcy. We eat what’s in season, or what we have stored in anticipation of the leaner months. We still have a few exceptions (nuts, tea, olive oil, and some spices) and occasionally enjoy a meal out (favoring places that have local items), but all in all, what seems strange now is the idea of eating fresh strawberries in December or lettuce in February.
This spring I have been writing more about our garden than about what we have been eating, but to catch up, we have been enjoying our own backyard spinach, kale, lettuce, chives, sugar snap peas, baby beets, and cabbage. Asparagus and fiddleheads have passed by, but not before finding their way from local farmers/harvesters to our table several times. This past week we had our first strawberries with the taste of summer in every bite (something you simply don’t find in December). We still have some potatoes, onions, a couple jars of sauerkraut and jam, and a freezer half full with meat, and the remains of last year’s blueberries and peas. Our storage was adequate for winter, but each passing year we learn what we can do better. What we could use more of (blueberries, carrots and corn relish). And what just doesn’t taste that great after a season in the freezer (peas and green beans).
New food endeavors this year include the garden, constructing a root cellar in the basement to efficiently store our own as well as purchased crops, and participating in a cooperative arrangement where we perform animal chores a couple times a week at a nearby farm in exchange for raising a pig there. I anticipate doing a lot of fermenting, and have already put up several jars of kraut from almost full sized cabbages I had to thin from the garden this week. I am hoping to try some dry curing (salami, prosciutto, pancetta) this fall with our pork as well as smoking ham and bacon again. And another preservation method I am interested in exploring is dehydrating, either with a commercial dehydrator or simply using the sun. Needless to say, it should be another busy, interesting and delicious year!