Monday, September 7, 2009

Hooray for Local Foods

This weekend at the farmer's market we bartered a pair of our locally grown wool hiking socks for some more fresh trout from Big Pine Trout Farm.

I have written in the past about my childhood Sunday dinners.

Sunday feels complete to me when we sit down as a family to a meal served on pretty plates with plenty of iced tea. We had some plates with a brown harvest pattern. The meat platter had a big rooster on it. Every Sunday after church we would come home to the smell of roast beef and onions, we would finish cooking up the vegetables, set the table with the fancy dishes and the special silverware, filled up the glasses with lots of ice and iced tea (not the sweet kind.) Mom would put on some classical music on the record player and we would sit down, give thanks and feast. Sometimes with guests, like the preacher or other church friends. Sometimes just us. Of course Daddy would have funny stories to tell and we would eat until we couldn't eat more. Most of the time Sunday involved some kind of dessert.

This Sunday we set the table with the pretty Blue Danube plates that used to belong to Philip's dad. We even set out the pretty old-fashioned glasses. We pan-fried the trout in butter. Sauteed some green beans from the garden with our onions. Boiled some of our potatoes and mashed them with homemade butter and cream. Made some homemade mayo with our eggs, added dill and capers for a delicious sauce for the trout. Peeled some carrots that we were given from our friend, Kevin Roberts. Served them on a fancy crystal dish with homemade pickles from the garden and some cute little cherry tomatoes from the garden. Had some homemade bread and butter on the side. For dessert Maggie made a blackberry cobbler with fresh stone-ground spelt.

It was so good. Even Nora tried teeny tiny little bites of everything, because as we all know, now that she is six it is a good idea to start trying more foods. She didn't really care for much of anything except the bread and butter, carrots and pickles, but at least she tried. Oh yes, she did care for the cobbler.

I felt complete.

So grateful for all the different flavors. Grateful for all the hands that helped make our meal happen. Eating locally makes such a difference. I can be grateful eating grocery store food. I know that many people were involved in getting that food to us and am thankful for them. But they are invisible. I know Jimbo, even if only casually, because I see him and his wife and daughter every week at the market. As we prepared the fish for the skillet I was thankful for their family raising the trout and catching it and especially gutting it! As we ate the crunchy carrots I thought about Kevin, who buys our bread every week. Kevin is a great supporter of the local foods movement. He brings the kids samples of his dried fruits and other goodies on a regular basis. We have already consumed our early carrot crop. What a treat to have some more from his garden. As I peeled them and cut them into spears I thought about how long it takes for carrots to grow and how generous he was with the fruit of his labors.

I remembered the day that Thomas and Philip planted the potatoes, the many days of harvesting those potatoes, the work of my dad making drying racks in the basement so the potatoes would not rot. Patrick planted the green beans, and many friends helped weed them so they would not be choked out.

Eating locally means eating well. Eating richly. It is almost a spiritual experience. Well, for me it is a spiritual experience.

I know that it is not practical for every person to eat like we do. It is much easier for us now that we live on the farm. For those who do not live on the farm it requires many more steps, greater expense, more effort. When I see our town friends make the commitment to support us and other small farmers I am amazed and humbled. It is easier to go to Wal Mart and get the ingredients for Sunday dinner. Easier and cheaper.

Thank you so much, Kevin, Jimbo, and Philip and kids for a yummy Sunday dinner.

And thank you, so much, locavores, for supporting us and all the other small farmers out there. You enable us to live a very rich life.

Hooray for local foods! And Sunday dinner and fancy dishes and a moment to sit and be still and enjoy.

Now, back to work. Labor day means Philip is home to help with the labor! Better go and make it count!


Chris said...

I love that you have such deep appreciation for the gifts of your country life. I do too and it's nice to have confirmation of what is meaningful to me. I had guests from the big city last Saturday. I served them a simple lunch from my garden, big salad, corn fritters, and zucchini bread. They wrote a thank you saying what good food is was. I am so grateful for gardens and friends. said...

Hi Chris! Isn't it a joy to share! BTW, corn fritters sound so great.