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Localvore Challenge

09/23/08 5:55PM By Mary Barrosse-Schwartz
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(HOST) Commentator Mary Barrosse Schwartz thinks that harvest-time is the perfect time for eating-local - a concept she's been mulling over while milking the family cow.

(BARROSSE) It was morning and time to go out and milk the cow, but it was pouring so I had another cup of coffee. Our family cow, Giddy, is patient and will wait if I don't push it too far, and if I give her a little extra grain. Our cow provides the family with 2 gallons of creamy goodness daily. We make our own half and half and I love to watch the cream swirl through my morning coffee.

We just finished our town's Eat Local Challenge. We've been getting ready by spending a lot of time in the kitchen. We made fresh ricotta salata by pressing our homemade ricotta cheese, plus a pure white mozzarella and small curd cottage cheese, both made from gallons of milk leftover from Giddy the week before.
 
For the week's dinner menus, we had chickens in the freezer, raised by our small farming collective. We raised the birds at our place, but our friends in the collective came and helped process them. The chicken was roasted with carrots, potatoes, onions, and turnips from our root cellar collective garden, and then the carcass was slowly boiled for chicken soup with spinach and garlic. The collective is made up of 6 families, the adults of which have day jobs as teachers, doctors, and business people, and we join together to grow our own food, since these days it's almost impossible to be self sufficient alone.   The apples I picked from the orchard up the road will provide apples sauce all winter, but were nice as local fresh fruit last week. The juicy snap and crisp sweetness of apples in the fall, always makes me feel not so sad about the coming of winter.

We made salads of green zebra and oxheart tomatoes, along with buttercrunch lettuce and thinly sliced cucumbers. The cows got into the garden in mid-August, so I had to pick up more vegetables from the local farmstands. But the seeds planted after the cows finished off the green beans are producing flowers and with some nighttime protection from frost may soon give me one more crop of beans and black simpson lettuce.

The joy of providing our own food, especially when it tastes so good, is not just the reward of the homesteader. Our state provides plenty of delicious, wholesome food and it can be a joy for everyone. And many towns will be offering eat local challenges this fall so we can learn more about the food grown within 100 miles of our homes, or at least within our borders. Most towns make allowances for foods like coffee, olive oil, and chocolate, some of the non-local foods most of us can't do without. And if you visit the local farmer's market and plan for just one local meal, I promise you'll be a winner.

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