Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Backyard Food

It wasn't so many years ago that we were participating in Eat Local Challenges. One of my favorites was the Dark Days of Winter challenge, because here in Maine, during those dark days, one can feel as if there really isn't anything to eat except what's at the grocery store ... and who knows where that stuff came from. With some planning, and careful shopping, we were able to eat local through the several months when nothing is really growing.

We've come quite a long way since that time - to the point where we find ourselves today. Nearly every meal is more than 80% local.


And a good portion of that local food is homegrown.

I love preparing a meal and sitting down to eat, and then realizing that most of what we have on our plates was grown here, on our nanofarm.

Like, tonight. We had chicken fingers. We raised the chicken, and I cut off the breast meat, sliced it into strips, dipped it in a homemade batter, and fried in olive oil until the battered strips were crispy and brown. They were so delicious and tender and yummy and crispy, and way better than anything we could have bought. I'm not saying that because I cooked them. I saying it because it was that good.

I also made coleslaw using a farm stand cabbage and carrots from our garden, and we had cantaloupe from the farm stand also.

And Deus Ex Machina and I each enjoyed one of our homebrewed beers.

I ate too much, as usual ;).

For those of you who are attempting to eat local foods, what is your biggest challenge? What is your biggest success?

I watched this video today about an impoverished community that transformed their drab, dirty, and crime-ridden alleyway into a garden oasis, and I was heartened to see the possibilities. These people didn't settle for what they were given. Instead, they strove to make something different and better.

A few seeds, some containers, some dirt, a bit of water, lots of sunshine, and a bit of patience, and miracles do happen. Not only are they growing food, but they've created a cooperative community where everyone pitches in and everyone benefits.

It's amazing what can be accomplished.


  1. Wendy, that is a really great number. 80%. Well done! I am really good with buying local fruit and veg, dairy and meat. I do buy tropical fruit from northern Australia - bananas, oranges, melons, the occasional mango. But I refuse to buy food that grows here, out of season from somewhere else. No tomatoes, strawberries etc out of season.
    I am slowly finding what local grains are available, and we are eating local honey.
    Growing is harder in our suburban garden - I can get a crop, but I have trouble with succession planting. I think it will take some more years of experimenting and recording to tweak growing times to stay self-sufficient in greens and vegies. I do have a year-round supply of lemons though, with six trees and three different varieties!

  2. My biggest challenge has to be utilizing the abundant harvest of zucchini each summer in a way that enriches our meals. Yes, I also grate and chop extras and freeze to use later in baking and soups. But using fresh is a huge challenge for me.

    My largest success is converting our yearly yield of home grown tomatoes into tomato sauce that last us at least a year. I also make enough salsa to for at least one weekly mexican-like meal for a year.

    I hope to eventually raise my own chickens, but need a local butcher with reasonable rtes to make that possible.

  3. I got inspired by the same idea and started a Dark Days challenge for myself last winter. Not much grows In Idaho in the winter. I was able to eat some local and homegrown, pickled and canned items. There's always local breads, cheeses, my own eggs, etc. It's tough though. Our elementary school paired with the neighborhood and started a community garden (funded thru grants) and many of our high poverty parents participate. They had an excellent harvest last year. For most it was the first time they ever grew anything! The kids got really excited...