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Posts Tagged ‘eat local challenge’

I haven’t been a very dedicated participant in the Dark Days Challenge lately. Life is busy and my little blog has taken a back seat. We are still eating as local as ever, though! This time of year, most of my meals fall well short of 100%, but I would say that much more than half of the food we eat is produced locally. Veggies are the only staples we eat that aren’t local, but we still have local carrots, squash, beets, and cabbage. We finished off our local onions with this week’s all-local meal: pulled pork. Everything for the meal except the potatoes came from the farmer’s market – even the barbeque sauce! My husband came home with a giant hunk of pork (a loin end roast, for those who know cuts of meat). He browned it, then put it in the oven for a few hours with some onion, garlic, carrot, a potato, and some turkey stock until it was fall-off-the-bone tender. After spicing it up with Jamaican barbeque sauce made by Derrick, one of the farmer’s market vendors (GenuineJamaican.com), we served it with steamed spinach (the first local greens of spring!) on top and a baked delicata squash on the side. Man oh man, it was so good.

Food provided by:

  • Chandler Pond Farm, South Wheelock: pork, squash, carrots, onions
  • Biz-z-Bee Farm, Lunenburg: spinach
  • Peaslee’s VT Potatoes: potato
  • Tamarlane Farm, Lyndon: turkey for turkey stock
  • Genuine Jamaican: barbeque sauce

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Mmmm…. lamb shanks braised with carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic, and cabbage sautéed in butter. What a delicious and satisfying meal.

  • Lamb from Hope Farm in East Charleston
  • Carrots from Too Little Farm in Barnet
  • Parsnips and garlic from Harvest Hill Farm in Walden
  • Onions, cabbage, and bacon grease (for browning the meat)  from Chandler Pond Farm in South Wheelock
  • Butter from Cabot Creamery in Cabot

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This weeks meal was a simple crustless quiche, made with eggs, milk, cheddar, and onions. It felt a bit odd to make a quiche without packing it full of veggies like I usually do, but quiche-friendly veggies are getting scarce by now. I made baked delicata squash and steamed beets on the side.

This weeks’s local bounty came from:

  • Chandler Pond Farm in South Wheelock: onions, delicata squash
  • Harvest Hill Farm in Walden: beets
  • Cabot Creamery in Cabot: cheddar cheese
  • Tamarlane Farm in Lyndon: eggs and raw milk

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At one of the first Lyndon winter farmer’s markets this year, there was a new vendor from a farm in New Hampshire (Meadowstone Farm in Bethlehem, to be specific) selling veggies, pork, and chickens. I was poking around in his chicken cooler, and he told me he had some old layers that he was selling for fifty cents a pound. What?? I was sure I hadn’t heard right. I’m used to paying three bucks a pound for free-range or pastured chicken. He was selling a 5-lb bird for just $2.50!

The hen sat in our freezer for a couple of months. I hadn’t stewed an old hen since we got rid of our layers a few years ago, so I looked online for instructions. Over and over again, recipes for coq au vin popped up. I’m a lazy cook and rarely follow a recipe to the letter, so I heavily adapted the coq au vin recipes I found.

One thing that went straight out: setting anything on fire. Some of the recipes called for pouring cognac or brandy in the pot and setting it alight. No thanks! I didn’t want a grease fire on my hands. I’m happy to leave those advanced techniques to a braver cook than I.

Most recipes called for starting out by frying up some bacon. Bacon is considered a highly desirable delicacy in my household, and I was reluctant to use up any of our precious reserves. I used bacon fat instead. I cut the hen into pieces and browned them with onion, garlic, carrots and parsnips. Coq au vin usually calls for mushrooms, but unfortunately, I’m the only person in my family who likes mushrooms, so I used the other veggies instead. When everything was nicely browned, I added red wine, turkey broth (I happened to have a turkey carcass simmering on the stove from a late Christmas celebration), and some herbs. I put the whole shebang in the oven at 275 degrees. Two hours later, the meat was still pretty tough, so I decided to save it for the next day’s dinner. After a couple more hours in a slow oven, the chicken was tender and delicious. We ate it with cabbage sautéed in butter and baked delicata squash. I must say, the chicken was one of the best I’ve ever had – moist, tender, and oh-so-flavorful. I licked my plate and my husband’s too!

The only non-local ingredients in my coq au vin were the wine, salt, pepper, and herbs. Everything else came from:

  • Chandler Pond Farm in South Wheelock: onions, carrots, delicata squash, cabbage, and bacon (the source of the fat)
  • Harvest Hill Farm in Walden: parsnips
  • Mountain Foot Farm in Wheelock: garlic
  • Cabot Creamery in Cabot: butter
  • Tamarlane Farm in Lyndon: turkey (the source of the broth)
  • Meadowstone Farm in Bethlehem: old hen

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This blog has been dreadfully neglected for the past couple of months. I have been busy with other things, and have not been keeping up with the localvore blogosphere as much as I used to. Therefore, I missed the kick-off of the 3rd Annual Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge. Never fear – this does not mean I have been eating a packaged-food diet! On the contrary, eating local has become such an ingrained habit for us that nearly all our meals consist largely of local food, almost always produced less than 30 miles from our house.

This week’s meal featured classic comfort food. My husband made a fantastic meatloaf, made with pork sausage, ground beef, onions, garlic, eggs, and spices. I made spaghetti sauce to top it from canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs. We also had potatoes mashed with butter and cream, and steamed beets.

The sausage and all the veggies (including the canned tomatoes) came from the farmer’s market, except the potatoes, which we grew ourselves. The beef, the eggs, and the cream for the potatoes are from Tamarlane Farm, the the wonderful place that supplies us with raw milk as well as beef, eggs, chickens, and turkeys. Non-local exceptions included olive oil, spices, and butter (I can buy local butter, but not organic local butter, and I believe that when eating foods rich in animal fats, it’s important to choose those which are produced with as few chemicals as possible). Many thanks to the dedicated farmers who provided us with this delicious food: Tamarlane Farm, the Wardens, Chandler Pond Farm, County Road Farm, and Harvest Hill Farm.

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Time for another challenge! The folks at Farm to Philly are organizing a local eating challenge for the summer (June 1st through August 30th). This challenge is easy because it only involves one meal each week. Here’s their pitch:

We’re pleased to announce that for the second year, Farm to Philly will host the One Local Summer challenge (June 1, 2009 through August 30, 2009)!  The registration period is open now – the last day to register will be May 30, 2009.

The rules are simple:  cook up one meal each week during the challenge using locally grown ingredients (exceptions: oil, salt and pepper, and spices).  Post about your meal on the blog, or email it to your regional coordinator – we’ll detail your meal here every Tuesday!

Last year’s One Local Summer challenge (formerly hosted by Liz at the now-defunct Pocket Farm) attracted well over 100 participants from around the world.  Some were new to the idea of locavore-ism and for some it’s just a way of life – wherever you fall, we’d love to see what you’re cooking up this Summer using locally grown ingredients!

Interested?  Leave a comment or email us (please include your name, location, and blog URL)!  We’re also accepting volunteers for regional coordinators – regional coordinators are responsible for collecting meals from participants in their region and posting the update here on Farm to Philly.  One Local Summer is only possible with the help of fantastic volunteers!

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The second Northeast Kingdom Localvores potluck was held on Valentine’s Day at the West Danville home of Janet, Woody, and Mildred. We had several new participants from St. Johnsbury. I thought that having a balanced meal would be difficult as we are almost out of our local veggies and, and locally grown produce is hard to come by these days (although the co-op now has local black beans! Yay!). Thankfully, I was proven wrong, because others are much better planners than I am! We feasted on a delicious vegetarian dish made with homegrown beans, pumpkin, sun-dried tomatoes, and other veggies; a roast chicken with stuffing and roasted homegrown carrots and parsnips; meatloaf made with Lyndonville beef and pork; and carrot-ginger soup made with homegrown carrots. For dessert there was bread pudding and, since it was Valentine’s Day, local chocolates! Woody gave us a tour of his very impressive root cellar, which still held a respectable amount of root vegetables. 

Our next potluck will probably be after mud season. If you would like to participate, email or leave a comment. New localvores are always welcome!

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Some of the potluck participants. Thanks to Mildred for the photo!

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