Locavorean notes from all over

Last week I asked readers how they eat locally in winter. A few MidWesterners responded, and I decided to call Mom of La Muncha, who lives in Northern New Mexico, to see what local options are like in in the high country. Also, check out our guest post from Montreal.

Meanwhile, here in Seattle the snows are but a pleasant memory.

winter.jpg

Wisconsin

EcoMama in Wisconsin wrote us:

I'm writing in response to your discussion about locavores in tougher climates. My family of ethicureans does our best to eat SOLE year round. It's definitely tougher to do that in Wisconsin in the Winter. Luckily, we live about 45 minutes from Madison's Farmers Market. We were able to get cabbage, broccoli, beets, spinach, potatoes, onions, and the other usual suspects for quite a while.

The pickings have gotten much slimmer over the past month, but our Whole Foods Market in Madison is still able to offer us local potatoes, leeks, cabbage, yogurt and things like locally made bread, baba ghanouj, and veggie burgers. We also still have local honey, maple syrup, wine, eggs, and milk. If we ate meat, we'd have plenty of local options.

Her mention of veggie burgers reminds me that Gardenburger was (and may still be) based in Portland, Oregon. I've never found out whether they sourced ingredients locally, but I can show you the big house in Portland that Gardenburger's founder built in the 1990s.

We still have a few preserves like apple butter and jam made from local fare, but we're learning that if we want more local foods year round, part of our efforts need to be preserving more foods in their own seasons. With what we do have access to, we're still able to do a good number of soups, stir fries, vegetable pies, and roasted vegetables as a local basis for our meals. We do have a blog detailing some of our efforts to eat locally, but it's a bit sparse. Eating local in Wisconsin definitely takes some effort, but it's certainly not impossible.

Check out their Year Round Harvest blog, which is pretty cool.

New Mexico

Mom of La Muncha has been a vegan for a number of years, except for a trip to France where she relished the local cheeses.
She participates in a CSA from Morningstar Farms, an organic and biodynamic farm located in Arroyo Seco that sells vegetables, chicken eggs and duck eggs. She's also a fan of the local farmers market, which, like the CSA, runs only from April until October.

Other than squash, apples, potatoes and similar items that can be stored in coolers, everything else is brought into the area during the winter.

Michigan

JulieW reported from Ann Arbor, where the icicles grow as long as a person is tall, and included a nifty tip for locavoreans about Eden Foods:

... I think the keys to eating locally in the winter are to plan ahead and establish connections with local farmers. This year we froze local corn, broccoli, peppers, and raspberries. We still have parsley, sage, oregano, and thyme growing in their sunny spot next to the house (it has been a mild winter). Our local tomato season was bad this year so we didn’t can any, but we eat Eden Foods canned tomatoes since the company is local and almost all of their tomatoes are from Michigan.

She continued with mention of making sauerkraut, which I love, but no recipe. Well, maybe next time. Ann Arbor's markets offer quite a bounty compared to Seattle, where the farmers are heading home to deal with winter floods and snow.

We can still get local onions, potatoes, apples, pears, turnips, radishes, parsnips, eggs, meat, grains, winter squashes, and maple syrup at our Farmer’s Market. The textures of the fruit and vegetables do diminish a bit over the winter, but the taste often even improves. We get all our dairy, including butter, delivered year-round from a local dairy with local cows.

Local butter? Oh, the envy.

We also have a lot of dried beans. This year, a local farmer started a passive solar greenhouse where he grows a large variety of greens in the ground (http://brines.org/) so luckily we are even eating local greens throughout the year. We have found it is actually quite easy to eat locally in the winter here once you figure it out.

Passive solar is a great option for greenhouses, which typically are heated by burning fossil fuels.

Minnesota

hokan commented on the availability of meat, fowl, beans, grains, apples and mushrooms in wintry Minnesota.

4 Responsesto “Locavorean notes from all over”

  1. Juliew says:

    Sauerkraut is really easy to make. There are a lot of different philosophies about making it, but the following is how we were taught to make it and we know it works. Just remember there are only three basic ingredients: cabbage, salt, and time.

    1) At the end of the cabbage-growing season, buy the biggest, heaviest, oldest cabbages you can find. 2) Chop them into sauerkraut-sized pieces (we used a mandolin) 3) Wash a food-grade 5-gallon plastic bucket or ceramic crock. The crocks are more romantic, but a lot heavier to work with. You can line your container with a large food-grade plastic bag if you want. 4) Put a few inches of cabbage in the container and sprinkle a good handful of kosher salt over the top. 5) Tamp or bash it down (this is where many people differ--we were told to really smash down the cabbage until liquid comes out but other people say you have to very gently tamp it down so you don't bruise it). 6) When liquid starts to come out of the cabbage, add another couple inches of cabbage, then salt, then smash/tamp until all the cabbage is used up or you are close to filling the container. Taste it when you are done to make sure it tastes fairly salty. 7) Cover it all with a heavy-duty food-grade plastic bag filled with water to seal the top and prevent mold from growing on it. 8) Let it sit at around 70 degrees for five or six weeks to ferment. 9) Once it is fermented and tastes enough like sauerkraut for you, you can freeze it (which many people say is the best way to keep it), can it, refrigerate it or let it sit in the container in a cold area (we keep ours on the unheated back porch). Yum.

  2. Man of La Muncha says:

    Thank you JulieW! It might be too late for cabbage this year, but I will keep your sauerkraut recipe for next year.

  3. Carla says:

    Yes, sauerkraut rocks! It's filled with probiotics. I use the recipe in Sandor Katz's book. I posted it here on my blog, LocalForage.com. It works brilliantly. I don't let any plastic come in contact with the kraut.

    Cabbage is still in-season (jan/feb) here in northern california.

  4. Emily says:

    Wow! Julie W, thanks for the post about Eden; I'm in A2, too, and was going to mention them but didn't get around to it...many of Eden's products (beans, tomatoes, pastas, etc.) are grown and processed in the Michigan-Ohio-Indiana area. See http://foodorigins.wikispaces.com/Eden+Foods for a list.

    Also note: the site above is a wiki - please add your own discoveries!