Nothing like the Dark Days Challenge to remind me to do what is best for me, my family, my health, the earth and the local economy. Yes it’s that time again. Time to face the cold and dark with delicious sustainable, local, organic and ethical (SOLE) food. As in past years I will again be joining with other local food enthusiasts to prepare at least one meal a week entirely prepared with foods grown, raised or created from ingredients available in my local food-shed. For me that is about 150 miles up and down the Potomac River, into the Lancaster region of PA and a little down the Blue Ridge Mountains except for salt, pepper, minimal amounts of oil, chocolate and mom’s home canned raspberry jam and tuna from CA (it is unthinkable to come home without a few jars of home preserved goodness in our family).
Got a quick look at my stored ingredients when I cleaned out the pantry before thanksgiving and even though I didn’t get much canning/preserving done this summer I think with a few trips to the farmers market I will have a good run at it. Still have canned potatoes, chicken stock, vegie stock, a salsa or two, peach butter, grape juice, and some other sauces. I’ll have to check the freezer but I know I have some oven-dried tomatoes, and some farmers market sausage. Also have some local wheat flour left Managed to get in a small crop of carrots, turnips, beets, celery, kale, cabbage, oriental greens and lettuces into the community garden plot at the end of July. The root vegies are all looking good and the greens are thriving under the row covers so I may even get to have some salads
Since I had originally planned to eat out for Thanksgiving until my daughter begged me to cook it, I didn’t end up with an entirely local meal like previous years but I made the best of it. I went to the Wednesday Reston Smart Market and stood out in the freezing cold (not quite but with the wind it was bitter) to purchase an 11 pound heritage breed turkey from Heritage Farm and Kitchen. It cooked up beautifully and went great with my 1/2 local mashed potatoes (the last of my self-harvested spuds from the Great Country Farms Potato Dig plus a Trader Joes assortment), pan gravy (pan drippings, local flour, my stock and a bottle of gifted non-local red wine) and cranberry mold (cranberries from whole foods that may have been right at the 150 mark, local honey, non-local orange/cranberry juice). Haven’t gone too fancy with the leftovers, mostly repeats and sandwiches. Local Saturday Farmers Markets were closed so hopefully I can get some more local food stuff or this weeks entry will be barebones (guess its time to make the turkey soup).