Category: Local Food

Buying Club

Friday is now buying club day. I found myself looking forward to it like it was a holiday. This afternoon a group of moms teamed up in the nearby little park, to watch each other’s children and take turns “shopping.” Apple-Apple got to work at the treat table, but the other children stayed at the park and played. I’ve yet to get a really good photo from the club itself, or the loaded stroller. Maybe next time. This is an amazing weekly experience. We’re about to tuck into nitrate-free local hot dogs, a glorious-looking salad, and more steamed asparagus.


For those interested in knowing more about Nina’s buying club, click here to read a recent article in the local newspaper. 

More later about this mama’s weekend away with girlfriends, and how the family survived. Writing morning, and I’m working on One Last Story for this book (nope. the manuscript wasn’t quite done).

Now and Soon and Later

Spent yesterday baking, completing my to-do list. Apple-Apple is my new bread dough kneader. She’s amazing and strong and loves to do it All By Herself. Together, we’re turning out these gorgeous loaves (four at a time). Next, I mixed up oatmeal cookies in my Grandma King’s electric mixing bowl. Fooey arrived in time to place a few pats upon the tray, then decided it would be more fun to lick her hands. She also stirred the granola, to which we added a few surprise elements: maple syrup and ground pumpkin seeds. By this point, I was going a bit frantic from the pile of dirty dishes and the relentless call of the oven timer, and it was lunchtime. Somehow, Fooey managed to exist almost entirely on cookies yesterday, but Kev whipped up some omelettes for the rest of us. I started a lentil barley soup for supper, using one of the last jars of canned tomatoes. (That was a canning project worth the effort. Must remind myself when tomato season is once again upon us.) Lastly, I baked two loaves of a breakfast bread for my upcoming girls’ weekend away … and left out not one but TWO important ingredients. Seriously. Luckily butter wasn’t one of them, and the loaves turned out tasty enough to inflict on friends.

Nina’s buying club is up and running again, and I am trying to re-inspire myself to bake. And make. And it’s ever so slightly harder to find that inspiration; perhaps because I’m noticing that every act that moves us closer to the land, the local, the rituals of the past, the slow-life, also invents new snags and issues. It takes more time, for one thing. Baking bread, the smell of it rising, the sturdiness and nutritional value of homemade … it’s amazing. But it takes planning and effort, and commitment. I am trying to determine my commitment level on a number of fronts. There is only so much Me, and no matter how I might wish it were otherwise, I have only so much Focus and Energy. I cannot use myself to my full potential at every moment of the day. Daydreaming, newspaper browsing, snuggling, computer-screen-staring: these are not character flaws, these are mental-health necessities (that’s my theory, anyway).

So, we had some warty moments yesterday, which I attempted to record photographically. Guess what … kids don’t like being photographed while throwing temper tantrums. It removes them from a good hollering self-pity session, makes them feel silly. It also invades their privacy. And I get that. Would I like to be photographed dumping last night’s coffee grounds in the sink while yelling over my shoulder, “No yelling this early in the morning!”

The question is: where am I putting my energies? Now. And soon. And later. Now being the most important to determine, though Now leads to Soon and Later; that’s where planning comes in, and lists. Housework. Cooking. Baking. Laundry. Food-Gathering. Mothering. Reading. Writing. Doula’ing? Re-schooling?

My current summer plan involves slowing down and focussing almost entirely on the kids: swim lessons, picnics, park, bike rides, crafts, playing outside, developing a little week-long drama camp for my kids and a few friends, camping, canning. Eight weeks of Mother.

Green Things Good To Eat

That previous post was too long. Note to self: no drinking & blogging. Above, our first local food of the season … green onions grown in neighbour Nina’s garden!! Wow. Things this tall and edible are growing in gardens around us right now. I hadn’t realized how starved I was for fresh and green–woke bright and early to fantasize about market morning and to make a list–then sent my hobbling husband with two children. And here this post shall end, perhaps too soon; but it’s soccer in the park. Which means it must be raining. Or just about to.

Strawbarb Loaf & Last Tomatoes

Local food round-up … wow, that’s really fallen off this blog’s radar, and the truth is in the evidence: we really haven’t been eating very much local food. That’s because March and April may well be the worst months for local eating in our neck of the planetary woods. The root veggies are wilty, pitiful, diminished, the cans have dwindled, and ain’t nothing coming out of the earth; yet. Except now we”ve reached May, and I keep hearing rumours of fiddleheads! asparagus! baby greens! So this Saturday my list-to-accomplish will include to market, to market, to get us some fresh-picked edible spring greenery. Thankfully, Nina’s buying club starts up again May 29th.
That’s my last bag of frozen tomatoes, pictured above, cooking in a pot earlier this week, with tofu, onions, garlic, and spices (only the garlic is local, too). Last bag! We would have arrived here earlier had friends (thanks, friends!) not brought us meals during The Knee episode, now thankfully disappearing in our family’s rearview mirror. (Have I mentioned how much easier EVERYTHING seems with Kevin upright and bendable again? Everything. And I still take the recycling and trash out sometimes, just because I like how tidy it looks when I’m in charge of arranging the … good grief, perfectionism is a curse … please explain how I can possibly experience a thrill of satisfaction to glimpse through the front window the garbage can-recycling bin-recycling bin trio, taking pride in their well-ordered contents).

Now, that was an aside.
So. Er. Local food. Last tomatoes. Tomatoes, we knew you well, we ate you often, now you’re gone.
Strawberries and rhubarb, not so much. How few desserts did I make this winter starring strawberries and rhubarb, that loveable duo? Apparently fewer than anticipated. So here’s a link to a pleasant rhubarb muffin recipe, should any readers be in the same boat (you can add more rhubarb than the recipe suggests). I made them for playgroup. No photos. Shoot. Someday I’ll take pictures at playgroup and share the happy chaos, the muffin crumbs, the over-caffeinated adults.
Another rhubarb and strawberry recipe worth sharing (Fooey and I made this together earlier in the week) comes in loaf form. I’ll call it Strawbarb Loaf. Because I’m drinking a glass of red wine right now, that’s why.
Strawbarb Loaf (adapted from Simply in Season)
Mix together 2 cups flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour–or all whole wheat, if you wish–3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon–more if you like the flavour. Add 2 and 1/2 cups rhubarb and strawberries (combined total; frozen fine), 1 and 1/3 cups oil, and 4 eggs. Stir just until combined. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour at 350 or till done.
I’m guessing any fruit would be suitably substitutible. That’s so not a word. I’m not even going to spellcheck it.

Sunday Afternoon

This is what they did while Mama was at a baby shower yesterday afternoon: picnic, nap, play at little park, Mary Poppins after supper of canned tomato sauce (canned last September by me and a friend) and spaghetti–everyone’s favourite. I got home in time to do the dishes.
Oh, I still have a few items left in my stores, including several cans of tomatoes, a few bags of frozen beans, and loads of frozen rhubarb … oops!!! I guess I didn’t make many desserts this winter (as my kids could testify). Rhubarb muffins planned for this week.

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