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Posts Tagged ‘locavore’

A Bowl Of Local Wisdom: The Cleaner Plate Club

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Originally posted on the Basic Country Skills blog at Mother Earth News.

By Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club, Storey Publishing.

When my little girl and I head to the farmers market, we leave the house with an empty market basket and open minds. Of course, she already has her list in her head — cheese bread from the local baker, honey sticks from Joli’s bees, and fresh sheep’s milk cheese with rosemary. It’s a great list for a six year old, really.

As for this bigger kid, I’ve finally learned not to make a list mental or otherwise. What ends up on the dinner table on Saturday night just … happens. Almost always, it’s one ingredient that catches my eye. One flavor that makes my imagination work, and the recipe comes to me in that moment.

One of the first farmers we visit at the market is a Thai family. Over the years, they have added new ingredients to our menus weekly; small green Thai eggplants, water spinach, fiery peppers, amaranth leaves, and some kind of greens that have no name in English and taste heavenly sautéed and paired with fish. Their table is a weekly source of inspiration for me, and this week is no exception, offering up lemongrass and cilantro.

Across the way is one of my regular stops, heirloom tomatoes in a rainbow of colors beckon next. The farmer knows me well due to my pumpkin addiction. Come fall, I’ll buy over 100 lbs. of his exotic squash. He nods at my kiddo and puts in an extra pint of heirloom cherry tomatoes just for her along with my four ears of corn and three pounds of heirloom tomatoes.

Two more stops, one for a head of red Russian garlic. I promise the farmer there that if he would just bring in the scapes in spring, I would buy these. For now, he’s been giving them away to restaurants, not realizing consumers would buy them. The last stop is the farmer on the end who only comes to market in August with fifty different varieties of peppers. I get a basket of the sweet ones that include chocolate-colored peppadews. He hands a curly, red sweet one to my kiddo and puts in a couple of extra hot pepper varieties for me.

Along with the ingredients for my recipe, somehow my basket is overflowing with a tiny heirloom melon that smells heavenly, a larger watermelon, peaches, berries, and beans to shell later.

On the way home, the kid and I stop at the grocery store. We won’t even need a hand basket. We’re here for just limes, ginger root and fish sauce, and a pound of sustainable seafood — a few things that cannot be sourced locally. The final ingredients come from home; okra from a friend’s garden and three kinds of basil, lemon verbena and mint from my own.

As I serve dinner that evening, a tangy, tart and spicy Lemongrass and Tomato Fish Soup, I realize our meal is a reflection of all my Eat Local food values in single bowl:

  1. Buy as much locally, in season as possible from small, family farms.
  2. Grow what I can myself.
  3. Cherish bounty from friends’ gardens.
  4. Buy only ingredients that cannot be grown locally at the store, buy USA products first before sourcing from other countries.
  5. Buy organic when possible.
  6. Embrace the cultural diversity of the farms in my food shed.
  7. Support farmers who grow heirloom and rare varieties.
  8. Buy only sustainable seafood.

Recipe:

Smash a bit with a mortar and pestle:

2 cloves garlic

4 stalks lemongrass

½ bunch cilantro

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into three pieces

Add to:

8 cups vegetable stock.

And simmer for 20 minutes. Strain off the solids and return liquid to the pot.

Mix in a small bowl:

1 tbs. fish sauce

1 tbs. soy sauce

1 tbs. sugar

3 tbs. white wine vinegar

Juice of three limes

Add:

1 lb. sustainable white fish, cut into four portions.

Add to the infused vegetable stock. Bring back to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes until the seafood is cooked.

Chop:

4 large tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped into small wedges

Kernels from 4 ears of corn

4 okra sliced

Add to the soup, simmering for another 10 minutes. Place one piece of fish in each bowl, add soup and vegetables.

Garnish with:

Leaves of basil, mint, cilantro, lemon verbena, sliced hot peppers, and wedges of lime. Serves four.

Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club , has been a photojournalist, writer, and shark wrangler. As much activist as cook, she is most of all a mom determined to make the world a better place for her child, one meal at a time. She is a food blogger at Expatriate’s Kitchen and contributes to EatLocalChallenge.com and EatDrinkBetter.com . She lives in Kansas.

For HOMEGROWNers this week: Leave a comment here on the blog telling us how you cook using similar tenets to what Beth lists in her post:

  1. Buy as much locally, in season as possible from small, family farms.
  2. Grow what I can myself.
  3. Cherish bounty from friends’ gardens.
  4. Buy only ingredients that cannot be grown locally at the store, buy USA products first before sourcing from other countries.
  5. Buy organic when possible.
  6. Embrace the cultural diversity of the farms in my food shed.
  7. Support farmers who grow heirloom and rare varieties.
  8. Buy only sustainable seafood.

Definite bonus points for including a recipe or link to one of your recipes, which we’ll also consider for the last week of The Great HOMEGROWN Cookoff of 2011. One lucky person will get a copy of The Cleaner Plate Club book, too! Happy cooking and happy eating!

It’s Twinsanity: How A Locavore Feeds A Family Of Eight On One Income

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

twinsanityheader

Heather’s blog, “It’s Twinsanity“, is an account of every day life with two sets of twins + two more kids + a military husband. You may think she has superpowers or a couple of nannies, but she runs the house and feeds her family by keeping things simple – which includes subscribing to CSAs and shopping at farmers markets. In this post, she breaks it all down:

I can’t even count the number of times that I have had someone ask me how we can afford to feed a family of eight on one income. One military income. And what they don’t usually know is that we eat fresh, organic, healthy foods and I rarely use coupons. How do we do that on such a limited budget? Because we are basically locavores.
A majority of what we what our family eats each week arrives on my doorstep on Thursday mornings in a brown cardboard box. It’s always like unwrapping a special gift when we look inside our box and see what foods we’ll enjoy in the next few days. Where does this mystery box come from? From a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it’s a beautiful thing. All across the country, farms of all sizes offer their bounty to local customers who pay for a share of the crops. (Continued here)
Of course, our options for eating local produce vary by geography, but there are more year-round farmers markets than ever, so don’t let that stop you from trying! Have some skeptics in your midst? Pass this along!