Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Eating Locally

Eating locally produced foods is a popular topic these days and for good reason. Most American’s foods travel 1500 to 2500 miles before reaching the table. That’s a huge waste of resources not to mention a pretty risky situation. All it takes is a natural disaster, terrorist incident or any number of other issues to create a disruption in food distribution. And nothing probably creates more chaos than a lack of food.

Locavores, those who prefer to eat locally grown/produced foods, point to additional benefits of eating locally including knowing who grows your food and how your food is produced, supporting small farmers and ranchers, consuming fresher foods, to name a few.

In colder climates eating locally in the winter can be a bit challenging unless you’re willing to be bored out of your mind or you are lucky enough to have some summer garden produce stored, a freezer full of grass-fed beef from the pasture and a friend with a greenhouse full of fresh greens. That’s us!

Here are a couple of recent dinners:
Chile marinated beef, roasted potatoes and fresh greens

Don made a spicy Chile Colorado (red chile sauce from Artisan Farming ) which he used to marinate a sirloin tip roast overnight. The next day the beef, in the red chile and some beef stock and dried onions, was slow cooked all day on the woodstove until it was fork tender. We oven roasted some of the Yukon Gold and All Blue potatoes from last summer’s garden that have been stored in the old cabin and added a simple green salad of the fresh greens with oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. 

Traditional green chile stew
Again using the recipe from Artisan Farming (with a few additions), Don browned pork cubes (from a local 4-H piggy), added our potatoes, dried onions, and garlic, tossed in a big heap of roasted and chopped green chiles (from the famous chile fields of Pueblo), plus some chicken stock and spices and let it cook all afternoon on the woodstove. With a plate of warm tortillas, it was a great way to watch the snow and temperature falling.

Summer squash soup
Using cubed and roasted summer squash (from bags in the freezer), Don adds dried onions and garlic, veggie stock and spices to make a wonderful and hearty soup. He cooks all the ingredients together for about an hour then runs everything through the blender and puts it back on the woodstove. Just before serving, he adds a spoonful of sour cream and serves with fresh, warm whole wheat biscuits. The whole wheat used for all our baking needs comes from Gosar Ranch located in the San Luis Valley only 30 miles away as the crow flies.

Today was “baking day”. Four fresh loaves of whole wheat bread! What better way to spend a cold, snowy day?

Don't have any local foods hanging around - no problem! A search of the internet can help you find producers with great local foods even now. Start with Local Harvest which you can find tune to your location and need.

Now get cooking!