Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thinking Hard about the Dark Days

The upcoming Dark Days Challenge is heavy on my mind. In a good way. Winter is clearly upon us here in the north, the gardens are asleep, and I am trying to figure out exactly what my definition of local is.

Last night's snowfall on the office woodpile.
When you live in the U.P. you have an office woodpile. 

I really thought this would be easy. I'm a CSA farmer. I am local food, right? But there is so much more to it than that.

I live in a small community that is still very agricultural, so in many ways I am at an advantage. The local foods I have are varied and readily available. I have meat in the form of chicken, duck, turkey, and lamb my husband and I raised, beef from a nearby farm, and fish that we catch or purchase from a local market. I have a fair amount of fruits and vegetables canned, frozen or dried, some root vegetables in storage, and two good co-ops that will be sources for other local winter produce. I wish I had more stocked up in this category, but being beginning farmers means that we often sell the produce that we would like to can for ourselves and end up buying from bigger local farmers in the winter. It is getting better every year though. What I have put up is a mix of our produce and produce from other local growers. I also have eggs, from our chickens and other local farms. I have a milk share from the same farm that we get beef from, which is less than ten miles from our place. I can also get cheese and butter (and milk if we need more than our share provides) from a regional dairy that is located about 100 miles from us.

Sounds good, right? I thought I was pretty much set, until a tiny whispered question crept into my brain.

What am I going to do about grains and pulses?

You know, the staples of my diet. The quart jar of hutterite soup beans from our little dry bean test plot is not going to last through the winter.

Hmm...I am looking forward to a serious learning curve.

I'll leave you with that until after Thanksgiving. I'm planning a lovely holiday with the things I am most grateful for. My family and good food.

I hope you all find yourselves doing something equally wonderful.

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