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Back in Business

October 3rd, 2012

We’re back in business as far as our raw milk is concerned. Luckily it’s much easier to come by in Maine that in Ohio. Back in Ohio, we were lucky that our dairy farm was only a few miles away, though I would have driven a long way to get milk from them. They stocked us up with lots of milk before we left and we were on our last jar.

I had a list of farms to call and visit, but then our neighbor gave me the name of a friend who does dairy on a small scale. We headed down the road yesterday to see her cows and chat with her. She has 3 Jersey cows that she milks. The dry periods are staggered throughout the year so she’s always milking 2 cows.

They were out frolicking in the 40 acres of pasture. In fact we weren’t sure if we were going to find them when we first arrived, but they finally came around. One of them thought my camera was a delicious cow treat and kept trying to eat it.

We made it home with a gallon of fresh raw milk. The cows we got milk from back in Ohio were Normandy cows. The Jersey milk is definitely different, much creamier. Milk is one of those funny things you always think it just tastes like milk until you start drinking pastured raw milk. Then you start to notice the changes that come throughout the seasons and from different cows.

Now that we’ve been drinking raw milk for many years I could never go back to the regular stuff. Even when we had to get lightly pasteurized milk from another small local dairy it always tasted boiled and weird to me. I’m happy that we should have enough options here in Maine to have a steady supply of raw milk all year long. Though I must admit, I’ll miss heading out to the farm on Thursdays and my chats with Dawn!

What product do you source locally or make at home that you could never buy the store/processed version again?

Chicken, Duck, Goose

March 28th, 2012

I buy chicken and duck* eggs at the farmers market all the time, in fact we eat about a dozen duck eggs each month and about 2 dozen chicken eggs each week. A lot of eggs, I know, that’s why I’m so excited to have chickens someday. Until then I’m happy getting them from Martha’s Farm, the chickens run happily outside and are fed a diet of organic GMO-free grains purchased from a local farmer. The eggs are fantastic! Yesterday, when I was at Local Roots in Wooster, OH I reached into the egg cooler and spotted goose eggs. WOW.

I grabbed two and nestled them in the skein of alpaca yarn I was buying (my mom’s making me a nice new winter hat). The cashier and I were talking about how the farmer couldn’t figure out what to put the eggs in for people to take them home. She offered some newspaper, but I had my hat and gloves since it was a chilly 28 when I left the house that morning. One giant egg was nestled into each glove which were then stuffed into my hat.

They made it home without a scratch. Each one weighed in at almost 8 oz, that’s almost 4 chicken eggs. Now that’s a bargain for 60 cents!

I’m an adventurous eater so I can’t wait to try these, I was told at the market that they make a wonderfully rich scrambled eggs. I’ve never met an egg I didn’t like and these will most likely be no different. It certainly will be interested to see what they’re like, I’ll have to do some reading on popular cooking methods. I certainly hope they have more next time I’m there!

Have you ever had a goose egg, ostrich, or any other egg besides a chicken egg?

*The duck eggs I buy are used for custard and ice cream since they have big thick yolks and thinner whites than chicken eggs, this results is a creamier custard.

Another Reason to go to the Farmers Market

March 22nd, 2012

I’m a big advocate of shopping locally, mainly because it’s good for both you and the local community. Even though I have a fairly large edible garden I still head to the local market a few times a month throughout the year. Besides purchasing eggs, cheese and milk there, I also wander the stands in search of new kinds of vegetables to try or to grow in my garden. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the local farmers are branching out to sustain a year-round market, you might find yourself with a whole new world of vegetables to try to grow in your own garden.

Take this sprouting broccoli for example. I’ve tried growing it in my garden before, but I had a hard time finding specific cultivation information and thus was not successful in getting it produce. I was reading Tender“>’Tender’ by Nigel Slater the other evening and discovered how it needed to be cultivated in order to produce. I spent some time searching the internet for a few varieties that would survive my zone 5 winter and came across West Coast Seeds who sells a nice variety of sprouting broccoli. Essentially, you start sprouting broccoli in late summer and allow it to overwinter. In spring, around this time, it will start producing shoots of broccoli, not one large head, but small side sprouts.

Wouldn’t you know it, I went to Local Roots in Wooster, OH last week and one of the farmers was selling sprouting broccoli! You know I’m going to order some seeds for a few different varieties and I’ll be starting them in late summer to overwinter. There’s nothing I would love more than to be harvesting broccoli from my own garden right now – and I know for sure that it can be done in my area thanks to my friendly local farmer.

Have you ever heard of sprouting broccoli or grown it in your garden?

I cannot recommend this book more, it’s part gardening manual, part cookbook it really is quite a bargain for around $25. Nigel recommends specific varieties of vegetables to grow and cultivation information. The recipes are usually simple and any that I have tried are outstanding. After checking it out of the library several time I finally have a copy on my bookshelf.

Small Business Saturday

November 26th, 2011

Machine-made things are children of the brain; they are not very human. The more they spread, the less the human being is needed. What seems to be a great advance is also a great step backward; the desire for the natural as opposed to the artificial surely has some basic, unchanging significance.

Robyn Griggs Lawrence (The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty)

As a small business owner I’d like to encourage all of you to support your small local businesses not just today, which happens to be Small Business Saturday, but every day. Think about shopping local artisans for you holiday gifting this year. I love the uniqueness of the kinds of gifts I can find at Local Roots Market in Wooster, OH. Here’s a sampling of what I saw last time I went to the market.

Considering spending some of your gift money this season on items made by human hands or to use your hands to make some of your gifts. If you can’t find small local artisans in your are, search on-line or try You’ll not only be giving a unique one of a kind gift, you’ll be supporting the small arts community not just in your area, but around the country as well.

Do you have a great local place for unique handmade gift items? Any great websites for beautiful handmade items?

My Turkey from Martha’s Farm

November 22nd, 2011

A few weeks ago I ordered my turkey from Martha’s Farm while I was at the Local Roots Market in Wooster, OH. Martha is Ecuadorian, and she has a small farm in Ashland, OH. I love buying eggs, chickens, and vegetables from her because she tends her farm using the old methods she learned while growing up in Ecuador. She was telling me that whenever she has a pest problem or one of her animals is sick, she calls her mom in Ecuador and gets a natural herbal remedy for the problem. Last Friday I was supposed to go to Martha’s Farm to pick up my turkey, but since I was sick my dad went. Sadly I have no photos of that part of the Thanksgiving day meal preparation, but I’m planning on heading over in the spring to see it.

This is one of the reasons I love eating locally. I really appreciate that Martha takes the time to raise happy turkeys that we can enjoy for our Thanksgiving feast. I also love knowing that my dollars are being spent to strengthen my community. Is there a better way to show your Thanksfulness than by sourcing your meal from your garden or local farmers? The funny thing is that I don’t really even like turkey; everyone else in the family does so it’s worth it for them to enjoy it!

If you didn’t eat turkey for Thanksgiving what would you choose instead?

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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.