The Locavore Way

I almost passed Amy Cotler’s book by. I’m not fond of trendy labels, and “locavore” strikes me as a way to categorize people to market to them. Then I thought, well, if I’m writing a local food blog, I should give this book a chance. I’m glad I did. The Locavore Way, Discover and Enjoy the pleasures of Locally Grown Food, is a great first book for people who have just decided to give it a try. Cotler doesn’t go into great detail into any one subject but covers the basics of the skills a person or family needs to return to the life of buying, cooking, and eating real food. She talks the reader through shopping at a farmer’s market, how to sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share, how to deal with the food that comes in the share, ways to think about cooking, how to … Continue reading

Locally Delicious

On vacation in August I stopped in Arcata, Humboldt County, California, where I happened to pick up a recipe book, Locally Delicious, Recipes and Resources for Eating on the North Coast. The six women who compiled the book dubbed themselves the Heirloom Tomatoes. The book starts with a series of essays discussing approaches to local food. Why eat local? What is organic? How to save money? Local in this case means the bioregion known as the Six Rivers Region, including Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties. Recipes used nearly entirely foods grown in that region – one notable exception is olive oil, which is grown in nearby Mendocino County. Reading the recipes taught me what a fully developed local cuisine looks like, and pointed out to me the ingredients in my own food that don’t come from my food shed: olives, olive oil, lemons, rice. The book includes information on … Continue reading

Time management

As we learned more about the industrial food system my family decided to shift as much of our food processing as possible to our own kitchen. I think of it as stepping up and re-assuming the fundamental responsibility to feed myself and make sure that the food I eat is safe. This is a lot of work. It helps to buy and grow fresh ingredients because they can be prepared simply and taste wonderful. Eventually though it became clear to me that I needed to study kitchen time management. Batch cooking: At the local Barnes and Noble I found Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg’s book Once a Month Cooking. The first year of eating local I had a lot of fun with that book. I’d block off a weekend and spend two days in the kitchen. Alex was my sous chef and would do the prep. I learned that … Continue reading

Food, Inc.

Last year the local co-op group (still founding, no co-op yet) passed out postcards at county farmer’s markets for months. The postcard let us know about a special showing of Food, Inc. at the Port Orchard theater. Part of our ticket price would end up back with the co-op. On the day we went, a sunny weekend, we were nearly the only people in the theater. Things I’d been reading about jumped off the screen. There was Joel Palatin of Polyface Farms, the poster boy for diversified small farming. There were interviews with famous writers. There were shots of the poor cows in CAFOs. By the time I saw the movie I was pretty well educated, and I don’t know that I learned anything from it that I hadn’t heard, but the screen put faces and voices to the issues. There’s one moment I flash on whenver I enter a … Continue reading