(To read the older posts in this blog, click here.)
Day One is going well thanks to some advance shopping. On Monday my Siena Farms CSA share arrived, and on Wednesday (yesterday) I visited my favorite “shops” of all, the tents at the Wayland Farmers Market (I plan to feature that Market later in this blog). Most of what you see in the photograph is a combination of those two. More than enough veggies to work with for the entire week!
Another preparation was the Red Box. Yesterday The Kid and I got out the Red Box, stared down into its fiery-hued depths, took a deep breath and then fed its hungry jaws with seductive, non-local snacks. We were surprised they didn’t even fill the box halfway. The Kid then ceremoniously carried the Red Box into the study. It is not to be touched for a week and, who knows, ever again? (Yeah, right, she says.)
I wish I had had time to buy any of the local salts I discovered: Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt, Maine Salt, or Atlantic Salt Works. I also joined a local grain CSA, but the distribution only happens in January.
Our usual breakfast is a mix of granola and muesli, both of which we buy in bulk at the local Whole Foods, where they are flagged by big green stickers that say “I am local.” However, turns out that the yummy Grandy Oats granola is mixed in Hiram, Maine (138 miles away), with just a vague assurance that they “Source local organic ingredients whenever possible” (source). The New England Natural Bakers (in Greenfield, MA, 83 miles away), who make the muesli, don’t even mention the provenance of their ingredients on their website. So… not local. There we have our first lesson and we’ll come across it often before our week is up:
For most breakfast cereals, breads and cookies, milk products, any product that is processed in any way, “Local” can mean locally blended, pasteurized, cooked or refined or what-have-you, and distributed. Not locally grown.
Instead we had the yummy corn bread I made yesterday. I used 1 cup of locally grown, stone ground (so whole grain) corn meal from Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA (76 miles), which came in our Spring CSA share from Siena Farms (on their website, a 2lb. bag costs $5).
Other local ingredients were 1 local hen yard egg (1 mile) and 1 cup of milk from High Lawn Farm in Lee, MA (113 miles, bought at Wayland Whole Foods at $3.98 for a half gallon). At High Lawn the milk is not only pasteurized and bottled, but also actually “grown” by cows on pasture. The farmers even grow the feed (alfalfa, corn) that supplements the grass! (source). Now that’s truly local/regional! I will return to the question of local dairy, and the plight of New England dairy farmers, later in the week.
Non-local ingredients were 1 cup King Arthur bread flour, 1/3 cup organic canola oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 2/3 cup organic cane sugar. I ran out of time, but next time I plan to substitute the sugar with my bees’ honey, and I will figure out how to grind the Four Star Farms barley and wheat berries I have in my fridge.
- Corn on the cob from Charlton Orchards Farm and Winery in Charlton, MA (37 miles), bought at the Wayland Farmers Market.
- Homemade cornbread.
- Hard-boiled eggs, from aforementioned local chicken yard.
- Bread (not local, yet), toasted and spread with local Fromage blanc with garlic from the Foxboro Cheese company, in Foxborough, MA (22 miles from here, bought at the Farmers Market at $7 for two). This farm also sells raw milk.
- I had a cappuccino with whole milk from High Lawn. The coffee was roasted but not grown locally.
- Amie had some “Green Juice” – not local.
Dinner. I was so excited to find really local beef that I decided to start with the first of our two meat days. Paired with the red peppers from the Farmers Market and my own garden, the beef stew meat will made for a sumptuous goulash. How do I know? I slow-cooked it (for 4 hours) yesterday evening. The cook gets the first taste! Ingredients:
- Stew beef from Codman Community Farms in the neighboring town of Lincoln (7 miles) – $9.87 for 1.04 lbs.
- Onions from Two Field Farm here in Wayland (1.3 miles), bought at the Wayland Farmers Market – $2/lb.
- Red peppers from Two Field Farm and Brigham Farm in the neighboring town of Sudbury (7.4 miles), bought at the Wayland Farmers Market – $4/lb.
- Potatoes from Siena Farms, our CSA also in Sudbury (7.2 miles) – prepaid.
- Tomatoes from Two Field Farm – seconds, at $2/lb.
- For a starch we will have mashed potatoes, mostly from Siena Farms (CSA) and some form my garden, with High Lawn Farm’s whole milk, also heavy cream ($4.19 for 1 pint) and lightly salted butter (1 lb. tub for $6.99). Salt, pepper, nutmeg not local.
Challenging? Well, no. It is, after all, the season of plenty. The farmers at the Market told me there is one, perhaps two more weeks of tomatoes and peppers left. Colder weather greens will be making a come back soon, and then there will be the Siena Farm yearly Carrot Pull, all that orange goodness to round off the turnips, parsnips, and winter squashes. But let’s face it, that table of plenty at the top of this post won’t last. Although many of those veggies will and have already been put away for winter. We preserve a lot in this house: fruit jams and pickles are canned, soups and tomato sauces get a spot in the freezer along with frozen green beans, peppers, leeks, and mirepoix (a blend of julienned carrot, celery, onion which is the basis of many French dishes). So, though winter and early spring will be more challenging to the locavore, it will pay to be prepared.
The numbers. Crunching the numbers is the hardest, least funnest part of the whole diet. In fact, it’s downright excruciating. I keep a running account in a separate file, where all the calories and expenses are added up, averaged and compared. I’ll wrap it all up at the end of the week. So far I’m using the Calorie Counter, but I may find better resources. I’ll share them at the end of the week.