Sunday, August 31, 2008

Eat Local, You Say?



What you are seeing here is a plate of (mostly) locally grown food, the majority of it picked from our own garden. We grew the potatoes, the tomatoes, the lettuce, the green beans, and Reuven grew the garlic. How much more local does it get?? :) We do try to buy produce from local farms as much as we can too. On Saturday, we perused the Arcata Farmer's market for onions, carrots, red peppers, strawberries, pears, apples, and peaches. Why all this fuss and what does "eating local" mean?


According to http://www.eatlocal.net/why.html; "When you buy directly from local farmers, your dollars stay in the community and strengthen the local economy. More than 90¢ of every dollar you spend goes to the farmer, thus preserving farming as a livelihood and farmland. This is important because as mergers in the food industry have increased, the portion of your food dollar paid to farmers has decreased. Vegetable farmers earn only 21¢ of your dollar; the other 79¢ goes to pay for marketing, distribution, and other costs." The lack of financial income for small-scale, local farms leads to large-scale, mono cropping farms getting the lion's share of the money. Mono cropping is dangerous because it leads to a loss in biodiversity which may never be redeemable, as well as many food crises. This article gives a thorough explanation of mono cropping and its dangers, among other things: http://www.straight.com/node/141020.

So back to the solution: eat local. Local is defined as a 100 to 150-mile radius. For Humboldt County, that includes Humboldt County, Del Norte county, Trinity County, and Mendocino County. On average, "from field to fork, an average dinner travels 1,500 miles!" (Also taken from http://www.eatlocal.net/why.html). So eating local not only supports the local economy but helps reduce the impact on the environment.

Which brings me to my final point: September is Eat Local Month in Humboldt County, but this is a great time to enjoy your locally grown produce anywhere. The end of the summer is bursting with a veritable rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables. So here's an idea on how to start (again, from http://www.eatlocal.net):

For one week, commit to the following:
  • Spend 10% of your grocery budget on local food
  • Try one new fruit or vegetable each day.
  • Preserve food to enjoy later in the year.
  • If you can, find some local fruit to pick like blackberries (my addition)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oregon Exploration

Here are a couple pictures from our trip to Oregon; more about the whole story later! For all the pictures, click on the title link.



Exploring the Oregon Caves




Crater Lake framed by pine trees



Biking 11 miles around Diamond Lake


Monday, August 11, 2008

I was touched by this song today...



Artist: Natalie Merchant

Album: Ophelia
Year: 1998
Title: My Skin


Take a look at my body,
look at my hands
there's so much here that I don't understand
Your face saving promises,
whispered like prayers
I don't need them.

Cause I've been treated so wrong
I've been treated so long as if I'm becoming untouchable...

Well, contempt loves the silence
it thrives in the dark,
the fine winding tendrils that strangle the heart
They say that promises sweeten the blow
but I don't need them... no I don't need them.

I've been treated so wrong,
I've been treated so long as if I'm becoming untouchable
I'm a slow dying flower
I'm the frost killing hour
sweet turning sour
& untouchable.

ooh I need
the darkness,
the sweetness,
the sadness,
the weakness,
ooh I need this.
Need a lullabye,
a kiss goodnight,
angel, sweet love of my life
ooh I need this

I'm a slow dying flower
frost killing hour
the sweet turning sour
& untouchable

Do you remember the way that you touched me before,
all the trembling sweetness
I loved and adored...
Your face saving promises
whispered like prayers.
I don't need them.

I need the darkness,
the sweetness,
the sadness,
the weakness,
ooh I need this.
I need a lullabye
a kiss goodnight,
angel, sweet love of my life
ooh I need this
Well, is it dark enough,
can you see me?
do you want me?
can you reach me?
or I'm leaving...
you better shut your mouth
and hold your breath
you kiss me now,
you catch your death
oh I mean this...
oh I mean this..

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blueberry Fields Forever

Yesterday we rode our bikes to the blueberry farm down the street, where you can pick your own organic blueberries!



Me picking berries


The berries pose for their close-up


David with the bounty of our harvest
(it was about 2 pounds)



Pretty horses grazing near the farm

This morning we had some blueberries in a smoothie, but my favorite blueberry recipe is........... these blueberry cornmeal pancakes from Cook's Illustrated that always come out perfect:


The Best Blueberry Pancakes (I know, everyone says that)

**To avoid a tough, rubbery pancake, a less thorough mixing is needed here, just until ingredients are blended. A few lumps or streaks of flour here and there and you know you've done it correctly.**

1 Tbs juice from 1 lemon
2 cups milk

1. Whisk lemon juice and milk in medium bowl or large measuring cup, set aside to thicken while preparing other ingredients (OR use 2 cups buttermilk).

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour OR 1.5 cups stoneground yellow cornmeal and 1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs sugar


2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl to combine.

2 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
2 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)

3. Whisk egg and melted butter into milk until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients bowl; pour in milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined. Do not overmix!

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and dried
1-2 tsp vegetable oil

4. Heat a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 tsp oil and brush to coat the skillet bottom evenly. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto 3 spots on the skillet. Sprinkle 1 Tbs blueberries over the top of each pancake. Cook pancakes until large bubbles start to appear, 1.5 to 2 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side, 1.5 to 2 minutes longer. Serve immediately and repeat with remaining batter.

Yummy!