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Quote of the Day: Jessica Prentice

December 8th, 2013

In the rush to industrialize our food system, tradition has not only been ignored, it has been actively shunned. We make the assumption that the new thing is the better thing, indicating progress and vision, and that the old thing is obsolete. But vision, to be healthy, must be balanced by tradition. Unfortunately our country neglects tradition.

Jessica Prentice – Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection

I was thinking about this quote as I was talking to my grandma about her childhood last week. She said they raised 8-9 hogs each year and butchered them in the winter to help feed the 8 kids in the family. We chatted about how we butchered our own hogs a few weeks ago right on our place.
pigs in the chicken yard 1
Growing and raising your own food is definitely a way to connect with tradition. For most of history our ancestors have had a hands on connection with their food. Not only in the cultivation of it but in the processing of it as well. If you can’t grow your own vegetable or raise your own meat, I’d highly recommend connecting with a small local farm that does. Even going out to the farm to see the vegetables in the garden and animals in the field will help connect you with your food heritage.
Nesting Boxes
Learning to make food from scratch is also a way to connect with tradition. One of my favorite things to make is bread, whenever I knead bread I think about the millions of women around the world that are kneading bread now and the billions that have done it throughout the ages. Such a simple act that transcends culture and time.

What kind of food do you feel most connects you with the past?

Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

September 15th, 2013

Americans are fondest of the foods of summer. Peas, beans, corn, and tomatoes are most people’s first choices among vegetables, regardless of the season. Modern agriculture, modern trucking, and the freezer allow us to have them even in the depths of winter–beets, carrots, parsnips, turnip, cabbage and winter squash–were popular then because they kept with little trouble in the cellar all winter long without much loss of flavor; and they were, in any case, sustenance when nothing else was available.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

Personally I much prefer the flavors of most of the other seasonal vegetables above the typical summer ones. Perhaps it comes from a childhood of eating canned green beans, frozen corn and applesauce all winter long. Perhaps I’m just older and learning to appreciate a wider variety of vegetables for the many flavors and textures that they bring to my table. Or perhaps, I just love being able to garden over a longer season because of these vegetables.
cabbages 1
Sweet Potatoes 3
winter_carrots
harvesting_golden_beets
This winter I’m looking forward to my root cellar full of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips and celeriac. In the coming years I hope to add chicories and other brassicas to my stores.

What’s your favorite non-summer vegetable?

Cultivate Simple 39: Keep It Seasonal

July 22nd, 2013

Today we’re talking about living seasonally, particularly when it comes to the food on your plate.

Even in the dead of winter, the products of our labor were good. From the freezer we could choose broccoli or cauliflower, peas or beans or corn, anytime we pleased. In spring, we often had them all together in orgies of vegetable soups meant to clear the freezer for the next round. Though certainly we were well-fed, and spiritually content at living from our own labors, the broccoli, peas, beans, cauliflower, and corn came to have a certain sameness about them, a predictable ready-on-demand sort of quality that robbed us of much of the joy of them. The seasons were all flattened out, and one sitting to the table came to seem just like another.


Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd from Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

What is your favorite season of eating and why?

Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

April 14th, 2013

Even in the dead of winter, the products of our labor were good. From the freezer we could choose broccoli or cauliflower, peas or beans or corn, anytime we pleased. In spring, we often had them all together in orgies of vegetable soups meant to clear the freezer for the next round. Though certainly we were well-fed, and spiritually content at living from our own labors, the broccoli, peas, beans, cauliflower, and corn came to have a certain sameness about them, a predictable ready-on-demand sort of quality that robbed us of much of the joy of them. The seasons were all flattened out, and one sitting to the table came to seem just like another.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

I’ve talked about learning to live seasonally many times before. This time of the year it becomes increasingly difficult. As I sow the seeds for broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and tomatoes, my mind turns to freshly picked summer vegetables once again.
harvest_from_moms
The beauty of learning to eat seasonally, however, is that you learn about so many new and interesting things you can eat. In my journey to eat more seasonally I’ve discovered things like: sprouting broccoli, mache, endive, parsnip, bok choi, and so many more. ┬áMeals are so much more interesting when you’re not eating the same thing over and over again.
Sweet Potatoes 3
The majority of the vegetable consumed each week here at Chiot’s Run are root vegetables that have been stored in the cellar. There is always sauerkraut in the fridge as well. Even though I love carrots, celeriac, rutabaga and sweet potatoes, my stomach has moved on to freshly plucked produce.
peas 1
I still freeze a few small containers of peas for winter soups and I can some crushes tomatoes for sauces as well. Other than that, there is not much preservation going on in my kitchen any more. Each year our diet becomes more and more diverse thanks to our efforts to live seasonally.  Next year at this time, I will be harvesting chard and spinach from my greenhouse, which will fill the gap between winter and spring quite nicely and give us a little bit of a break from all those root vegetables!

If you could only choose one vegetable or fruit to preserve each year, which would it be?

Quote of the Day: Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd

February 19th, 2012

Part of the satisfaction of sugaring is of course the flavor of the maple syrup, which has no substitute and which cannot be convincingly reproduced synthetically (“imitation maple syrup” is an oxymoron). But another part is its connection to the past, it forms a continuous link back to the first settlers, and to the Native Americans before them from whom they learned the art.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

It’s been a busy week of sugaring. In fact, after spending the last 2 days gathering sap, straining it and boiling it down I was ready to settle in with a cup of tea and good book to relax until I realized I hadn’t written this blog post. Luckily, Friday night I spent some time outside documenting why we love sugaring so much. There’s definitely a calendar image in the lot for next year!




Sugaring really is about so much more than making your own syrup. When you buy a bottle of syrup at the store you miss out the entire process, the hope you feel when you tap the trees, the joy of the first drip of sap, the healthy movement from collecting gallons and gallons of sap and walking many miles, the relaxation provided by tending the fire, and the wonder that comes when you taste your first sweet reward.


One of the things we love most about sugaring is that it gets us out of the house during that time of year when we might not otherwise. It’s wonderful to bundle up and be outside during that magic hour when the sun sets. Sugaring is probably one of my favorite activities of the entire year, each year I eagerly anticipate it’s arrival and am very sad when it’s gone. Perhaps it comes at just the right time.

What activities are you especially appreciative of at this time?

If you want to read up on maple sugaring I’d highly recommend these books:

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About

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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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