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Building Our Communities Through Food

February 23rd, 2014

We can feed our hunger for connection by eating seasonally and also by buying directly from small farmers at the farmer’s market. Forming relationships with the people who grow our food, and taking up opportunities to visit their farms, is a healing practice. It is important for the farmers as well. The majority of small farmers are not in it for the money – farming is no longer lucrative. They do it because they have a love of independence, because they love working with the land, and often because they believe in building a food system that is based on relationship. They get immense satisfaction when their customers take an interest in their farming practices and in how and why they grow their produce.

Jessica Prentice – Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection
farmers market
As I was at the farmers market on Friday morning I was thinking about why buying local is so important to me. It’s about a lot of different things, including health, but most importantly, it’s about directly supporting small farmers and producers in my community.
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The truth is that many things I buy at the market could be grown in my garden, now that I have more than enough space, but I want to invest in the local food web not just for myself, but for others who can’t grow their own. I want to get to know the person nurturing the chickens that produce the meat I purchase for our cats and dogs. I want to chat with the lady who makes the cheese.  It’s very important to me to encourage those that have taken on the burden of growing good healthy food for those in their community even before they had customers to purchase them.
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Waterville market 4
Belfast Farmers Market 3
Personally, I believe we’re heading down a dangerous path with our food in this country. Far too many people are expecting the government to draft legislation for the changes they want to see happen with the food system. What it really takes to spur change is for people to put their money where their convictions. We’ve chosen to invest in our community and it’s good to know that there are others out there like us. I know that should anything ever happen the folks at the local farm will continue providing milk for those of us who purchase from them. We won’t have to worry about not having cash to pay for it. They in turn know that if they ever need our help, we’re willing to step up as well. This is what community is all about and I’m certainly happy that we embarked on this road a few years ago, it certainly has been rewarding!

Are there any changes you’ve made in your life over the past couple years that you’re starting to see the rewards from?

Apple Picking

October 1st, 2013

Yesterday morning I went apple picking with my neighbor. It was a cute little local place, with a beautiful old barn and old apple trees of all varieties (Bailey’s Orchard in Whitestown). For me, apples signify fall. Mr Chiots LOVES apples and apple cider, he’s in seventh heaven during the fall!
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I didn’t pick any for myself, we have a few apple trees in the garden that are loaded with apples. A gallon of cider and a few small baskets of pears did make it home with me though. I’m hoping to pick a few baskets of apples today to get started on making some applesauce and apple butter for Mr Chiots.

Do you have a favorite variety of apple?

Admitting Defeat

September 14th, 2013

This is one of only a few peppers that I have on my plants in the garden.  I knew my pepper harvest would be low due to the location of the pepper plants.  Then the ducks decided that pepper plants were super tasty and my hopes of harvesting even a half bushel of peppers from my garden were dashed.  I have been harvesting a few green peppers and other hot peppers for the past month, but I do not have enough to make roasted red peppers for the pantry.  I don’t do a lot of canning of garden produce, but I do love to have a few jars of roasted red peppers in the cupboard.  They’re so much cheaper than buying them at the store, and you can customize them with white wine vinegar, homegrown garlic, and a really good olive oil.  I even use the brine to make salad dressing. (“>here’s my post about making them, including the recipe)
peppers 1
Yesterday, I purchased a load of peppers at the Belfast Farmers Market to preserve.  Next week I hope to buy more, along with some jalapeños (which I preserve in the same manner and dehydrate as well).
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I also purchased a box of tomatoes since mine are taking they’re time ripening up. Roasted tomato passatta is something I don’t want my pantry to be without as well. I must admit, I’m thankful to live in an area where there are loads of farmers growing all kinds of wonderful organic produce. It comes in handy when my crop doesn’t do well.

Have you had any crops that have done less than stellar this season?

Berry Delicious

July 23rd, 2013

In the future, we hope to plant blueberry bushes and raspberry canes, until then we have to find them elsewhere.  Lucky for us, Sweet Season Farm is located just a few miles down the road and has pick-your-own raspberry and blueberries.
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Yesterday morning we loaded up and headed down there to pick. Our neighbor and her mother-in-law were also in our party.
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Mr Chiots and I didn’t end up getting any blueberries, we plan on heading back for those later this week. I might freeze just a few, or we might eat them all fresh. Last night I was thinking about making a batch of Nourishing Custard with fresh raspberries. Or I might pull out a few of my cookbooks for inspiration. I love fresh berries in season!

Do you grow any berries in your garden? If you had a glut of red and black raspberries what would you make with them?

Friday Favorite: Farm Stands

May 10th, 2013

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a farm stand. Whenever I see a sign like this, I slam on the brakes to see what they’ve got. Last Saturday, on my way between plant sales, I spotted this beautiful farm on a back road.
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Lucky me, I scored a few bags of spinach and very spicy tiny leaved salad mix. Mr Chiots and I especially love seeing these when we’re out traveling. It certainly makes adding local vegetable to your plate much easier wherever you are.
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I especially love little stands like this that work on the honor system. There’s something so comforting about knowing that there are still honest folks in the world and things like this still work.

Do you ever stop when you see signs like this while traveling?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.