Sunday, August 17, 2014

Eating from the Homestead Week 2: Eat Local Challenge 2014

The thing about challenges is that they are ... challenging, and I have, actually, been surprised at how much of a challenge this challenge has been. It's not that we don't have enough food to eat, even limiting ourselves the way we have, but rather that, in our culture, we have access to so much food, so much of which is not local, and constantly having to remind myself of what is okay to eat and what is verboten has been rather taxing.

Unfortunately, last weekend, we decided not to follow our Foraged Sunday rules, because Deus Ex Machina was not able to forage, but we did keep it local with dinner consisting of chicken and local vegetables. The Nurse Practitioner told Deus Ex Machina to stay home for a few days, which he (reluctantly) did, and we had soup for dinner on Monday night, with lots of garlic (from our garden) to help him build his immune system while his body fought off the allergic reaction to the poison sumac.

Tuesday and Wednesday we tapped into our beef stash for steak and roast. I also made use of some of the frozen tomatoes from last year's garden in the pot roast. It was a rainy, chilly day - perfect for a hearty, heavy meal. Thursday, we, again had beef, and I, again, looked toward our stored foods. The field corn I've been growing, harvesting and storing for a while now, has come in really handy. This week, Precious and I ground a few cups of it, and I made a, kind of, corn tortilla.

I'm looking at recipes for making grits with some of the corn - just to see if I can.

I've never been one to eat three meals per day, anyway. I start my days slow, often not eating my first meal until almost lunch time on most days. In my attempts to eat from the homestead, brunch has been potatoes grated and fried with an egg on the side. I love this time of year, when I can add tomatoes, vine-ripened and delicious, to the meal. The only thing that would make that kind of meal more perfect is a slice of mozzarella cheese.

Alas, there isn't a creamery close enough to my house that I could use their cheese this month in my challenge, but ... the good news is that I can have cheese - if I make it, and that's exactly what I did on Saturday night.

I made ricotta, and we still have enough milk to make either a batch of mozzarella or some yogurt. And we can always head back over to the farm for more milk, if we run out. I'm looking forward to zucchini lasagna with my homemade ricotta for dinner on Monday night.

And I have a lot of whey to use. Looks like it's time to start fermenting. Zucchini pickles anyone?


Melonie at Wandering Quail Road is participating in the challenge to eat local for the month, and not only is she eating food, mostly, from her local food shed, but she's also been foraging! A woman after my own heart.

And yay for berry season!

Give Melonie a shout-out, and if you're participating in the challenge to eat, at least, one local meal per week for the month of August, leave a comment and let us know how it's going. What are your greatest challenges? How do you deal with cravings for non-local foods? What, if anything, have you learned?


  1. Your mention of veggies from the freezer just made me realize I should be dicing and freezing some of the many bunches of carrots that are coming in from our CSA right now. I don't know why I didn't think of that - I've been freezing berries and rhubarb left and right! LOL

    It's not an immediate solution, but since chocolate is the one thing I would miss the most if I couldn't have non-local foods, I've been researching how to grow it and carob, as well as tea and coffee for my husband. It may have to wait until he retires though, since we know we will most likely move at least once more before he hits his "twenty". I just have to hope the world doesn't come to an end before then. ;) (And I'll stock up on semi-sweet chips in the freezer in case it does. HAHA)

    Yay for cheesemaking! I'm going to make ricotta again this week; I want to make lasagna for lunch Wednesday.

    Did a class on dyeing with seasonal items yesterday and had a lovely walk to the farmers market with my classmates and instructor - which also turned into a semi-foraging walk. We were looking for plants to use for dye, but since the instructor knew what a lot of the trees and bushes were, and I knew that certain things were edible, I was able to use her plant identifying to help me figure out what's what in the area. I mentioned she should lead a foraging/edibles walk some time for the folk school, and she kind of laughed it off, but since she's on the board of the school, I'm hoping she'll take the suggestion as a valid one and put it out there for someone else to teach. (Her response may well have been because she didn't feel qualified - I don't know - so I intend to put in a formal request as well in case there are folks on their list who could teach it.)

    To better answer your question about cravings, which obviously aren't met with just planning - I'm just doing without. That's easier said than done for me though, because it's really just more of an urge, and certainly not a true addiction in my case. I have learned, though, that stocking up is worth my while because I've got those chocolate chips in the freezer for baking. And maybe a little fudgemaking for the days that I need "real" chocolatey something, not just a few chips.

    1. My cravings are mostly just nuisance "I-wish-I-had-some-[fill in the blank}" wants, too. If I could say I was addicted to anything, it would be coffee or tea, but more likely is that I'm addicted to the sugar I have in my coffee and tea :).

      I really wanted a ... something ... nutty. I kept thinking hot fudge Sundae ;). But not really. I'm not much of a sweets person, actually, and so, while I enjoy chocolate, in very small pieces, periodically, I'd be fine without it.

      I think, right now, what I really want are some roasted and salted almonds or pistachios ... but those are definitely not local. I'm anxiously awaiting the hazelnuts being ready to roast, which will probably be an adequate substitute for those nuts I'm craving.