locavores

Saving the World pt. 2

“What’s the simplest thing a person can do to make the world better?” I asked STW,
“Do one small thing each day” was her answer.

She went on to explain that a person needs to start small and go from there.
I’d agree- even just smiling at another person or saying “Good morning” may have a ripple effect.
The more you do little things like that, the more they’ll come naturally to you.

laughing gnome

happiness is contagious

Now I know many of you are already there- I don’t think you could be a pessimistic person and be reading these posts.
So I’d add that there’s another easy way to change the world by doing so right where you live-
and that’s to buy local whenever possible.

It really is easier than you might think-
start small by just looking at tags and boxes to see where what you buy is made.
After a while, it becomes a habit- and soon you’ll find that you know a lot of it already, especially when it comes to grocery products.

locally made honey

bringing home this little guy helps my neighbors

You might be wondering how buying flour or tea bags that are made closer to your home can help save the world.
The answer is that it helps by improving the economy in your part of the world, which improves the lives of your family and neighbors.

The reverse is also true-
when you buy cheap imported products your money leaves the country and so do jobs.
I know that’s oversimplifying things, but I said I was going to keep this easy to do.

Basically what I’m saying is that you can save the world if you start by living your life consciously- being aware that you can, with a few simple words, make someone’s day better; and by taking a few seconds to be aware of where what you consume comes from.

I have some specific ways you can help and I’ll be sharing those soon.
In the meantime- Have a Great Day! :-)

(see- don’t you feel a little happier?)
Laughter is Contagious
More on Buying Locally

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Categories: Keeping up with the Joneses, locavores, special posts

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Locavore Day #34 -CSA’s

local csa

a few of these

I had been hearing and reading a lot about CSA’s- Community Supported Agriculture.
The idea is that members buy into a farm, and share the harvest as it comes.
I love it- it kind of reminds me of the old days of communes and flower power- the 60′s and 70′s- just the good parts, that is.

I had the feeling that I’d see a VW Minibus pull in at any minute, most likely with flowers painted on it.

local csa

and a few of these

I was greatful to get to talk to Malaika, the supervisor of Journey’s End, a CSA not far from us.
She was very friendly and explained how everything works.

local csa

rows of freshness

For just $22/week- for the 22 week season, you can make a weekly pickup of whatever the farm is producing.
I asked about their members. She replied that many of them have their own gardens, but don’t have the time or space to produce as much as they’d like, so a CSA makes perfect sense.

spring peas

peas for the picking

I’ve also heard some talk that there are CSA’s out there that aren’t legit.
Before you join one- go see the farm, meet the farmer-be sure they are actually producing the veggies and not trucking them in.

zinnias and sunflowers

flower power

And just to be on the safe side, look for the minibus.

If You Don’t Know Your Farmer, You’re Not in a CSA
Journey’s End membership
Journey’s End blog (great recipes)

Categories: locavores, you are what you eat

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Locavore Day #24 Beer-Thirty

mcsorleys pale ale

a taste of Ireland

When I first told Mandolin I was going locavore for the next few months, his immediate response was “What about coffee?” followed very quickly by “And Beer-Thirty?”

If you’re not familiar with that expression, it refers to that part of day when it’s half past time to pop a cold one.

On an analog clock, it’s when the big hand points to the 6, and the small hand points to the fridge.

Mandolin says on a digital clock it’s when the last two numbers are 30, and the other numbers don’t matter.

beer thirty

yes, no, maybe

Now I knew there was no way to get a locally made coffee, so instead I went with an organic one.
For beer, Mandolin already likes McSorley’s, a delightful pale ale brewed in Utica, New York- but at $32/case it is for special occasions only.
The beer in the middle is Killian’s Irish Red, a little less expensive but not local.
The pilsner on the left was recommended to us by the local distributor. It is made in Wilkes Barre, Pa., not far from here.
Mandolin likes it, and at $13/ case, I like it too.

lions head beer

roar responsibly

“And what are you going to do when you want a martini?” Mandolin continued, laughing, “You’re not going to find any vodka made in Pennsylvania, that’s for sure.”

pennsylvania 1681

distilled and bottled in Philadelphia

The Urban Definition

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Locavore Day #14 Happy Animals

happy buffalo

happy buffalo

Today is Animal Rights Day on Facebook.
O course, the rights of animals should be looked after every day; but for today, many people are vowing to do something a little extra.

Maybe they are becoming vegetarians, that’s a big step.
Perhaps they are donating to an animal rescue shelter, that’s an important thing to do.

I always adopt from shelters, and I eat very little meat.
So what I am doing extra today is to talk to y’all about Happy Animals.

Let me tell you a story-
A friend of ours had a Dairy Farm many years ago.
This gentleman also has a very distinctive (and loud) voice.

There was one day I was at the local fair, admiring the Livestock Exhibition, when all of a sudden one group of cows started Moooing- then I heard his voice.
Apparently, so did they.

Talking all the while he was walking, he approached each and every one of them and petted them and spoke to them.
Happy Animals.

happy chickens

happy chickens

There are many farms, both dairy and meat, that raise their animals that way.
They truly care for them, not just as a commodity.
These animals live happy lives.

Not all animals raised on farms do.

Now you might argue that if we didn’t raise animals for meat, they would live happy and free lives.
I’ve seen what nature- a fox once and a dog another time- can do to animals that are free.
Specifically, my ducks.
Nature isn’t always pretty.

But that’s not my point.
There are many animals on Factory Farms that are not happy.
When you buy that meat you are, unknowingly, supporting the mistreatment of animals.
This is most often the case with birds- chicken and turkey, but It’s also in some of the other meat we eat.

If you want to see for yourself, buy meat from a local farmer.
You can taste the difference.

We recently bought some beef burgers at the Farmers Market-

Comparative Cost:
Local Store preformed Burgers $4.69/lb
In store Frozen Bubba (brand) Burgers $6/lb
Local Farmer’s Burgers $6/lb.

Ok, we’re in.
Let me just say, the taste was incredible.

It made me think- why do people put so many things on their burgers-
Catsup, relish, mustard, onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese, steak sauce, bacon…?

These patties needed nothing.

Mandolin was amazed when he cooked them:
“There was like no fat at all, no shrinkage.”

eating local

buy it local

Why would these burgers taste and be so different?
Why would milk from the local dairy taste so much better?

Happy Animals.
Cared for, fed well, treated like animals should be treated.
Is that too much to ask from all of our farmers?

Well….maybe.
More on that subject tomorrow.
And I’ll warn you- that won’t be pretty either.

My 100 Days of eating locally.

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How to Make Feta Cheese

homemade feta cheese

all you need

I picked up some goat’s milk at the local Farm Market and set about making feta cheese.
I looked on the Internet for ‘how to’s’ and found two with very similar instructions.

homemade feta cheese

strain through cheesecloth

Sometimes I wonder if people just copy from each other without actually trying the directions out, because neither one of them were right.
Somewhat put-out that I had just spent over an hour with no cheese as a result, I got back on the Internet and looked for a video- to see for myself that someone used the directions they were giving.

homemade feta cheese

squeeze out excess moisture

I found the one linked below, and really making the cheese was as simple as the gentleman shows.
As per his instruction, I heated the milk to a boil, stirring constantly.
I added half vinegar and half lemon juice- a little different than what he suggests.
Heaven forbid I do exactly as I’m told.

homemade feta cheese

the taste was so fresh

I did see the milk curdle, as the video shows; and I strained through a cheesecloth lined colander.
I added the herbs first- dried basil and oregano, but just a little.
Then I went very light on the salt.

Just as anything homemade tastes better- this cheese was improved as well by the freshness of the goat’s milk.
I’d describe it as akin to the store tomato vs. the homegrown tomato.
Really.
Not only that, store feta cheese is $11.99/lb.- this was $5.00/lb.

Needless to say, it didn’t last long- I’m going back to the farm market today to get some more goat’s milk.

watch this video

I made another batch the next day that was part goat milk and part cow milk.
It came out much drier, perhaps I boiled it a little too long.
What was fun was that when I added the salt, it formed a kind of rind- makes it interesting.

Now I’m curious ro see if it will work with the flavored cow milk we got last weekend- hmm, what would a strawberry cheese taste like?

Categories: locavores, you are what you eat

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Locavore Day #4- Eating Consciously

home canned foods

eating in color

I remember once hearing Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon talk about eating habits-
Yes, I know I am dating myself.

Johnny said there are people who Live to Eat, and people who Eat to Live.
He was the latter and Ed was the former.

I’ve always been a person who considers eating merely a necessary thing to do, until I met my husband who thinks more like Ed did.
So when Mandolin is off from work, we Live to Eat, and when he’s not here for meals, I eat mostly to survive.

fresh eggs

fresh eggs from the Ladies

Now I’d say there are also people who eat Consciously, and those who eat Subconsciously; that is, not knowing how there food got to the point where they purchased it.
Again, I’ve been both to some extent.

I first became concerned about what was in food when my son was little, and ‘borderline hyperactive.’
I found that if I kept him away from artificial preservatives and colors, he was calmer.
That’s when I started gardening and canning.

I’ve become more conscious of what is in my food over the past year or so, after SaveTheWorld started sharing information on things such as Factory Farming and GMO’s, and I began looking further into it.
In part, this is what led me to these past first 4 days of eating locally, and more consciously.

home preserving

Raspberry Vinaigrette, Mixed Pepper Salsa, Spiced Red Cabbge

Now I know I have an advantage in this challenge, that’s why I decided to go for 100 days instead of the usual 30.

Here’s what I have on hand:
Eggs, Golden Nectar Juice and Garden Blend Tomato Juice, Applesauce, Victoria Rhubarb Sauce, Apple Butter, Spiced Cabbage, assorted Jams and syrups, pickled and honeyed onions, dry beans, veggie soup base, blueberries, pancake dry mix, Tomato-Basil Soup, Salsa, Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Currently from the garden:
Strawberries, Lettuce and Spinach, Peas, Raspberries, Herbs

Found at Farmer’s Markets or Farms so far:
Pork and Buffalo (chops, burgers, sausages, hot dogs), Maple Syrup, Honey, Milk and Butter, I made Cheese from the milk

Produced within (about) 100 miles:
Crowley’s Cottage Cheese, Dannon Yogurt, Wishbone Salad Dressing, Arnold’s Bakery Products, Entemann’s Pastries, Tetley Tea, Russell Farms Flour

homemade feta cheese

homemade feta cheese

I use MapQuest to determine how far away products are made. Many come up just under, like Tetley Tea at 98.8 miles, and some just over, like Russell Farms Flour at 106 miles. I figure they average out, and perhaps over the next few months I’ll find something closer.

So now, for example, Pancakes with Fresh Strawberry Syrup is a Locavore meal for me; or Pork Chops simmered in Applesauce with Mixed Greens Salad drizzled with Raspberry Vinaigrette.

raspberry

very local raspberry

Hmmm…sounds much more like Living to Eat, doesn’t it?

Categories: locavores, Recipes, you are what you eat

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Creamworks Dairy, Waymart Pa.

riverside farm waymart pa

visitor parking area

When I posted that I was going to eat local (at least) until October, my friend told me about this dairy farm.
They are only about 30 miles from my house and their products are sold in stores even closer to us.

riverside farm waymart pa

the main barn

It was a beautiful day and we were ahead somewhat in that direction, so we took the detour to visit the farm.
Everything was clean and neat and the family very friendly.

creamworks waymart pa

themed statuary

One of the owners, Amy, took the time from her chores to talk to us.
She mentioned that all of her kids were ‘out on the farm somewhere, working hard and not complaining. I did promise them a good hot meal and a dip in the pond afterwards.’

She went on to touch on topics such as government regulation of milk prices, and how they are glad to be
free of that roller coaster ride.
She also mentioned the importance she places on a college education for all her kids, and how they love the farm and want to stay a part of it.

creamworks

fresh butter and milk

Their roadside stand is open ‘sunup to sundown, seven days a week’ and we enjoyed picking out some fresh made milks and even butter.

creamworks

colorful flavorful

The flavored milks came as a delightful surprise.
Although I’m partial to Chocolate, the Mocha flavor tasted like Irish Cream- imagine that in your coffee.

And just check out these prices:

creamworks waymart pa

seriously inexpensive

Really, not long ago I paid $4. 69 for a half gallon of ‘organic’ milk at the local grocery.
Here, I got to see the pretty cows that gave the milk- and it wasn’t transported 100′s or 1000′s of miles.

Many farm markets sell milk and the prices are similar to this- check it out in you area:
USA map of Farm Markets
Creamworks Dairy on Facebook
Where’s Waymart, Pa.?

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Man-Man Makes Buffalo-Buffalo Burgers

free range buffalo

I know where my food is coming from.

The first meat we ever ate that was locally produced was buffalo from this small farm.
The animals are beautiful, I must say; and it makes eating them difficult for me.
It does help to know they were raised happy, healthy, clean, and truly cared for.

free to roam buffalo

free to run and play

For my husband, it means more that he knows the food is a safe source of protein.
After the research I’ve been doing on factory farming, even Mandolin (who’d eat almost anything) is thinking twice.

happy animals

happy animals

Buffalo meat needs to be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time than beef.
It does have a different taste, but I don’t think it is too ‘gamey.’

SaveTheWorld’s boyfriend, who hunts (isn’t that ironic!) liked the buffalo breakfast sausage a lot, though Mandolin did think that it needed a little something (that’s the Chef in him.)

For Day #1 of Eating Locally, Mandolin made these for dinner:

Buffalo-Buffalo Burgers
2 Buffalo Burgers
Homemade Hot Sauce or Buffalo Sauce
Bleu Cheese Dressing
Bleu Cheese Crumbles
Celery
Rolls

Mandolin marinated the burgers in Buffalo Sauce the night before, and cooked them slowly on the grill.add thin slices of bleu cheese

buffalo burgers

start with dressing and chopped celery

The garnish is 3 homegrown spiced cherry tomatoes from a jar given to us by Mr. and Mrs. Jones.

buffalo burgers

top with burger and garnish

And a little more bleu cheese completes the effect. 
The dressing I picked was Wishbone brand, 108 miles from home -the closest I’ve found, so far.
The Bleu Cheese was manufactured by boar’s Head in NY,NY -about 100 miles.
Arnold’s Bakery made the buns, they’re in Horsham, Pa -99.8 miles away.
Celery from our garden.

Everything else I ate yesterday was local, but not nearly as exciting as dinner was!

…and why exactly is he called “Man-Man?”

Categories: locavores, Recipes

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Eating Green

shop local

so many ways to do it

Tomorrow begins the first of my 100 days of eating locally.
Although I’ll be posting throughout that time, I wanted to share with you some more of the reasons why this is a good idea for anyone who can give it a go.

Eating locally- that is, as much food as possible than is grown or manufactured within 100 miles of your home, does 3 things:

1. It helps your local economy.
When you hand $5 of your hard-earned cash over to a local farmer, he in turn (hopefully) spends this money in the same area. Perhaps he buys from the area hardware store- who then takes that money and hires your neighbor’s kid for the summer.
Your neighbor’s kid then spends his money at a yard sale…and so on.
Instead of giving your money to a ‘big box’ store who hires kids in other nations to manufacture goods or foreign farmers to grow food that most likely has lower standards that your area farmer does, you helped keep your money working for your local neighborhood.
Eventually, if you work locally, that money comes back to you.

2. It uses less gas.
Shipping food 1500 miles to a supermarket uses a lot of gas- with the current US prices for gas rising, the cost of food rises as well.
Not only does this contribute negatively to the environment, the need for this fuel keeps the cost high- lower the need and the price comes down.
Not to mention where a lot of our gas comes from (remember to buy American gas).
Again, you keep more of your own money.

3. You’ll eat better and be healthier.
Your local farmer does not grow tomatoes so they can be picked green, fit neatly in 5 x 6 rows and travel that 1500 miles to your store without over-ripening or bruising.
Nor does he need to grow veggies that can stand up to heavy pesticide use, or food such as melons that grow larger than normal so they can command a better price.
They grow food that taste good, that is adapted to the local climate, and that will be consumed soon enough after harvest.

Many people know the difference in taste from a store bought and a homegrown tomato- many do not know the same holds true for every vegetable and fruit -at least, it does for every one I’ve ever planted- and that’s a lot.

I personally believe that people that eat fresher and more natural foods live healthier (I’m sure there are many studies to back this up)- meaning, you spend less money on Doctor visits and medications.
Again, your money stays with you.

Not to mention the fact that locally grown is often less expensive- I will be comparing prices for you over the next few months.

So why doesn’t everyone do this, or more specifically- why haven”t I?
Well, to some extent I do- I have my Ladies’ eggs and grow/preserve much of what we eat.

That’s why I’ve decided to challenge myself to 100 days, instead of the usual 30.

But mostly, I just never looked to see where the rest of the food, and other things we use, were coming from.
How about you?

In the meantime, and in case you want to join me-
here is a Map Site from About.com that you can click on your state or enter your zip code to find Farmers Markets near you.

I’m also gathering particular links on my web site and I’ll let you know when that’s ready.

Funny thing, it’s a habit for me to turn a food package over to read the nutrition information- now I look for the address too.

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Locavore & So Much More

I know where these buffalo roam

I don’t usually rant and I never talk politics but I’m ticked off and I’m going to do something about it.

I’ve been slowly changing my eating habits, and now even my meat-loving chef husband is too- since I’ve learned so much about how our food is farmed in this country.

For example, last year we brought home “The Ladies” and now we only eat eggs they produce.
Over the past year I have learned so much, including information on GMO’s and pesticide use, slave-chocolate and so on, and my desire to see things change has deepened.

It was this short video trailer that put me over the top:

Farmageddon Trailer

Q: Why is it, that in this wonderful country of America, we over-regulate small farmers to the point where they go out of business, or have to fight to keep going…
and at the same time allow the use of GMO’s and heavy pesticides in our food crops, and won’t even be open enough about it to label those items?

A: Money.

Money talks and politicians listen.
Decisions are based on profits and elections.

But that’s okay- I have some money and my vote counts as much as any other.
That is one of the things that makes this country great.

locally made honey

So here’s what I’m going to do:
I’m going to look into local foods, what’s available and where, and come July 1st. I’m going to pledge 100 days and 100 miles.
I will do my best to eat only foods produced within 100 miles of my home, for 100 days.

I will also gather info on what’s available around where you live and help you to go local as much as possible.

-This will help my family and I eat healthier.
-This will keep our hard earned cash in our own neighborhood.
-And if enough of us do it, the big companies will suffer- and when they start to lose money, they quickly find another way.

maple syrup from trees I can see

If everyone who reads this does just 2 things, we can cause change to happen.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhi

1.
If you already eat locally, please post in the comments section here what you do. It can help inspire others.
If you don’t yet, please look into even one way you can start. I will help by finding sources for different items and post a list on my website.
2.
Pass it on. Get the word out- share with at least one person, but better yet- Tweet it, Facebook it, Stumble it- let as many people know as you can.

Starting July 1st. I’ll let you know what I’ve done daily to move in this direction.
I’ll take the first step- Let’s make the journey together.

The Original Locavore Movement
Locavore on Wikipedia

Categories: locavores, you are what you eat

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