Originally Posted by Super Pickle
This book really influenced me and changed our summer. I have been taking the kids to pick-your-own farms regularly; we grew a few things in our yard; we've gone to the farmers marked every Saturday; and we even caught and ate our own fish from a nearby lake!!!! I would say that since late June, we've been eating 80-90% local.
The problem is figuring out what to do when Ohio's relatively short growing season is over. Soon it'll be all apples and squash, but then what? I do not know how to can and I don't know if a food dehydrator would really be a worthwhile investment for our family. We've put away a few freezer bags of berries, and I'm planning on making and freezing some tomato sauce, but once winter comes, I have a feeling it'll just be impossible to try to eat local.
One thing that really bugs me is fish. I have begun looking to see where the fish in the grocery store comes from. Almost all the tilapia comes from China (WHY? Tilapia is so easy to raise!!!) and they sell other fish from Russia, Vietnam, etc. We need to be taking care of our waters and eating fish out of our own regions. Or at least our own continent!
Another annoying thing: my local corporate chain grocer has started advertising local produce. You walk in the door and you see a sign: "We proudly support Ohio farms!" Great! They ususally have a few items. But at the eame time, they have this produce display under a big sign that says, "A A Taste of New Zealand!" and they have all these fruits from NZ. Hello???? Ohio is always claiming Johnny Appleseed as our own, yet we're selling APPLES from halfway around the world in the grocery stores?
We have CSA's in the growing season. I think it would be awesome if a few people with some business experience and skill in the kitchen could get together and figure out how to do something similar in the winter. Like, during the summer and fall, they could make soups, casseroles, desserts, etc. out of locally grown produce, and then freeze or can their culinary creations, and then in the winter, they could provide their subscribers with these prepared foods.
She makes canning and cheesemongering sound so easy I want to try both. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they sell wild caught Alaskan salmon, and I believe all their other fish is domestic, too. Not Ohioan, but closer than China. Check thrift stores for food dehydrators - they're like bread makers & waffle irons, everyone gets one as a wedding gift and then gets rid of it 10 years later after never using it,
I LOVE the idea of CSA-style casseroles & canned goods. Pickles, canned beans, fresh canned fruit (no heavy syrup!), etc. I know some places have "canning parties" at community kitchens - bring your own produce & jars, and you get a lesson. See if you have something like that in your area. My mom has never canned, but she makes AMAZING freezer jam, it's super simple, she learned from a library book. She has so many tomatoes this year that she has to learn how to can, otherwise it'll all go to waste!
I'm lucky to live in Seattle and have all this stuff close by, but the price is prohibitive. Seriously, fish at farmer's market is twice what it is in the store, bread (which I could make myself if I got off my lazy butt) is $4 per loaf, etc. I know they need to make a living, but if I bought everything local, I'd be living under the Fremont bridge
! And while I have signed up for a community garden plot, the waiting list is 2 years long. In the meantime, we have no balcony, cats that eat every plant we try to grow in the windowsill, and a toddler who'd dig in the dirt of large pots (that are SO expensive anyway, why is that?) if we put them on the floor. I love the accessibility of everything in the city, the public transportation system, etc., but rural living is looking nicer and nicer the more I think about this issue. Too bad I'd go crazy without a library within walking distance (TWO when our neighborhood branch reopens), a yarn shop up the street, and a TJ's around the corner. *sigh*