Wednesday, June 24, 2015

simple food - meet the farmers!

strawberry rhubarb leather, strawberries and rhubarb
If you're reading this on Wednesday morning when it goes live, I'm likely in a field picking berries or rhubarb or possibly in a cherry tree stuffing myself. =)

I've been making more effort to simplify my life. This summer, I'm really focusing on simplifying my food. What could be simpler than harvesting it myself? I'm blessed to have a wonderful farming community just half an hour from my home and my plan is to spend my mid-week day off each week harvesting some of whatever is available! If you aren't into the fun of picking the food yourself (or are short on time), check out your local Farmers' Markets!

dehydrated rhubarb
I was lucky to find a great deal on a secondhand box-style dehydrator a couple weeks ago. Last week, I picked five pounds of strawberries and four pounds of rhubarb then proceeded to chop and slice and blend and let my new-to-me dehydrator earn its keep! I now have dried strawberries and rhubarb along with strawberry rhubarb fruit leather - seriously good stuff! I also froze strawberries for smoothies, made a batch of strawberry rhubarb cobbler (yum!) and of course left some to eat fresh. Hopefully, this week's harvest is even more fruitful! Cherries, anyone?!

strawberry rhubarb cobbler - yum!
Buying local and eating foods in season (or harvesting in season and preserving for later) greatly decreases our negative environmental impact. Our food won't need to be picked before it has had a chance to ripen and then be shipped across the country or in some cases, across the world. This saves a ton of energy, not to mention the increased quality/flavor and decreased waste of the food itself! And should we discuss the underpaid workers doing the harvesting?? As a teen, I once went with a friend's family and picked tomatoes. I remember being horrified at the piddly amount I earned for such hard work!

The money we spend at local farms will go directly to the farmers without large portions being taken by the grocery chain, the shippers, the packers, etc. and the money stays in our own communities, supporting our friends and neighbors. =)

You won't even necessarily have to give up buying organic produce when you shop locally! In a perfect world, all farms would all use organic practices, but we don't live in a perfect world. Darn it. There are many smaller farms that use organic processes but aren't certified organic however so their produce won't be labeled as organic. Don't be afraid to ask! You might be very pleasantly surprised.

We vote with our dollars every time we make a purchase. How are you voting?


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