Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eating in Season

One of my long-term "practices" (in both habitual and zen/spiritual sense) has been to try to focus my daily diet on things that at least COULD be grown at Pinwheel Farm, and that COULD be reasonably available at the season in which I'm eating them. This is a big step towards eating locally, eating homegrown, etc... but a bit more managable when I'm so busy. Even though I'm still shopping at Dillon's, I'm at least training my taste buds to more local habits.

With the full-time job and so many other important pursuits, I have to admit that my diet has degenerated to new lows in the past year. I eat what comes prepackaged from the grocery store or from Burger King. How embarrassing for someone who produces such amazing vegetables and meat!

So it's been a real treat, and balm to my soul, to come home each night to a dinner plate prepared by WWOOFer KK. The last two nights have been especially local/seasonal.

Last night, it was spring rolls. Homemade whole wheat wrappers (definitely localable/seasonal) filled with Jerusalem Artichokes (harvested on the farm last week), onions (localable/seasonal; could have substituted green onions from the high tunnel) and PWF's Mutton and Pork Summer Sausage. YUM! I could have scarfed all 3 down last night but savored two then and saved the third for my lunch on the bus today.

Tonight was even more local/seasonal. Barbecued walnuts and apricots with acorns.... WHAT???? Well, it's a food chain, right? KK asked one of the "tree rats" that has been decimating our favorite tree crops for years to star in tonight's main dish, and then didn't give it the option of saying "no, thanks". Actually, if we do get a crop of apricots and walnuts this year thanks to her skill with a .22, I may experiment with developing an apricot/walnut barbeque sauce to serve with next winter's squirrel dinners.

A salad from the high tunnel--baby chard, shepherd's purse, chick weed, green onions, carrots, and salad turnips--complemented the squirrel nicely, dressed with a celeryseed dressing sweetened with PWF honey. Biscuits (localable) balanced the plate and filled in the empty corners.

Someone on the bus was grousing gently today that their doctor had told them to try to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. It just seemed like a lot of stuff to them. But as I crunched and chewed through my small but incredibly colorful salad, I got to thinking that it probably has several times as many vitamins and minerals as a similar sized salad from a restaurant or grocery store. The leaves are dense, not watery, and deeply colored, not pale. The plants have especially deep roots because they've grown slowly over the winter...bringing up minerals from deep in the soil. They haven't been force fed water to bulk them up.

That leg of squirrel, small as it was, probably was more nutritious than any store-bought meat. It was raised on the fruit (grrrrrr) of trees rooted deep in healthy soil, drawing clean water up through their roots. It certainly bore no resemblence to bland, pale store-bought chicken.

The cost of such a meal is hard to calculate, though. Do we include the bushels of fruit stolen by squirrels over the years? If so, it was a very pricy affair. If not, it hardly cost a thing.

1 comment:

Camille said...

Wow! I'm getting hungry just reading about it. Squirrel, acorns, BBQed walnuts! I love creativity in the kitchen.
Take care, and I'll be seeing you in about 4 weeks!
-Camille Cody