Last year I made a New Year's resolution to feed my family seasonal produce. This meant discovering clever ways to turn those wax turnips into a yummy dish my kids will eat because they're one of the few Ontario vegetables available in winter. That's not to say we don't occasionally eat broccoli in winter, but we don't eat tomatoes from abroad and I make a conscious effort to pick the products grown close to home. Choosing local produce over imported may seem like a daunting task but with a few great recipes and some meal planning, it can certainly be done, at least as the majority of choices.
This summer, I took leave from work to stay home with my boys. My boys are a very big part of my life and they love to spend time with mommy, especially in the kitchen. I love to teach them about the food we eat and where it comes from. We have a nice sized garden in the backyard and they help me plant, water and harvest every year. They know what goes into the compost (vs. garbage) and they have learned (after many screaming matches) that the rain barrel is not easy access to water for their dump trucks. Grocery shopping is rarely something I get to do alone so I try to teach them about reading the labels and making conscious choices. I mean really, why buy apples from the Southern Hemisphere?
The choices I make are partly environmental, but they're also in support of the local economy, better for my wallet and better for my health. Surely my grand-mother's boiled turnip, carrot, potato and beef stew in the winter made more sense all around then a cobb salad. This summer I had the chance to drive around my area and find some great farmers who sell wonderful produce but also eggs, cheese, beef, chicken and pork. I took my boys along for the ride and they now know that we go to the farm first, before the big supermarkets.
It was so nice to take the time and drive around and shop here and there but the reality is, I go back to work on Tuesday. I will be commuting 2 hours a day, working 8 hours, coming home to rush and get dinner on the table, clean up, lunches, bath time, homework, piano lessons, swimming lessons, maybe a yoga lesson in there for me once in a while... This blog will be about trying to stay local while working full-time and raising my family. I will also include some recipes that my family enjoys (or at least I do, which means they will eventually, right?) which might give you some inspiration to buy a root vegetable or a funny looking squash once in a wile.