I know, I know, my blog isn't exactly 1 year old yet but hear me out. I started this blog to write about the challenges and successes of trying to source and feed my family local food while working full-time outside the house and keeping up with the hectic schedule of 3 little boys. I am fortunate enough to have the summer off from work and stay home with my boys so technically my blog year is September to June :).
What did I learn this year? I learned that sourcing local food is possible but it requires a lot of meal planning, organization, taste adventures and money.
Meal planning: I learned that when your fridge is full of parsnips, carrots and potatoes, you need to plan your meals around them as opposed to planning your meals and fitting them in. Not doing this results in a large pile-up of root vegetables in the veggie drawer.
Organization: CSA deliveries happen bi-weekly on Wednesdays. I have to remember to get the cooler outside with the blankets or ice blocks before I leave the house in the morning. So far I've only forgotten once and had to improv with corn for dinner since the frozen corn had thawed by the time I got home. It also means that if I need some meat I have to plan a Saturday around going to pick it up which adds to the errand-running time on my precious weekends. It can be done, but sometimes you have to give in to reality and pick up your groceries in one stop.
Taste adventures: Parsnips, mangels, lamb's quarters, beets, farmer's cheese... These all foods that I had never eaten before. Ok, well, I had eaten beets before, but never in ice cream form! Choosing to eat local and seasonal means much less variety on your plate in the dead of winter but with some planning there is always a jar of summer tomato sauce in the freezer or some frozen summer berries for dessert. My family now eats two meatless meals a week, sometimes three if there are leftovers. I'm very proud of my boys for trying all the frittatas I made and braving all my other culinary experiments!
Money: There is no question, living local and supporting local farms and businesses costs more money. But that's when you look at the value of your dollar and realise the impact of how you spend your dollars. You may recall my post on blueberries back in the winter when I was faced with a great bargain price of $5 for 3 quarts of off-season imported blueberries. Sometimes it makes sense to buy at a great price but most times I prefer to give my money directly to our farmers.
Looking forward, here is the direction in which I would like this blog. I'd like to keep posting recipes that are seasonal and made with local produce, I'd like to keep my readers informed of my great local finds and I'd like to start writing about my lifestyle change away from dairy and sugar.
That last one is not going to be easy. I love dairy and I love sweet but I've begun seeing a naturopath about ways to boost my immune system and this was his recommendation. We're starting with milk, cream and white sugar. Cream. As in ice cream. How ever will I survive the summer without ice cream? Well, here's a look at my first attempt at dairy free ice cream.
Coconut and Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream
2 cans coconut milk (not light) - definitely not local
3 tsps matcha green tea - also very far from local
1/4 cup of honey - local
Blend all ingredients with a hand mixer under smooth. Place in ice cream maker and churn for 30 to 40 minutes until well set. Transfer to freezer for about 3 hours. Serve.
It will not be very sweet but it will certainly be refreshing!!