There are a myriad of benefits to eating locally: increased health from eating whole ingredients, a strengthened food economy for local farmers and producers, less oil burned to transport our calories, a heightened connection with the seasons and the earth. But this time of year can feel challenging—what is available that is tasty and nourishing?
I’m starting this series, In the Farm Kitchen to highlight how we are using locally available, seasonal ingredients, and simple ways you can bring local, seasonal, healthy foods into your life (and in so doing create a quietly massive revolution in the food system).
One key piece of eating locally in winter is food storage. Root crops tend to be available all year (big thanks to local farmers, for growing and storing those for all us eaters!!), but it’s tough to get bright, fresh fruits in winter. To prep for winter, we always do an enormous berry harvest in summer and freeze at least a hundred pounds of fruit to eat through the winter. This morning my day started with a smoothie made from low bush blueberries grown in Heath. (That blueberry farm was amazing because it has been burned every three years [a practice that helps blueberries thrive] basically forever. For as long as people have been keeping track, that place has been a blueberry mountain. It's amazing.)
We also like to keep a jar of spouting seeds or beans on the windowsill behind our sink. We rinse these a handful or so of seeds every day and over the course of the week they grow to fill an entire mason jar. They keep us phytonutrient-fed even when the last of our kale is buried under four feet of snow outside.
Another key that unlocks the possibility of local eating for us are our chickens. (Our chickens are also super important for increasing the fertility on our farm. Our soil is really thin and depleted, and we take the chicken bedding filled with poo and spread it around areas where we want to be able to grow more food. Stack those functions.) Yesterday it was negative twenty in the night, and our chickens are still laying eggs galore for us. Thirteen just yesterday! We will be able to gobble all those eggs up no problem during Spiral, when we have fifteen young women living with us over the summer, but now it’s certainly a lot.
I’ve been making frittatas and frying eggs like crazy, and today a dear friend sent me a recipe for a Spanish tortilla, made with eggs and potatoes. This recipe is awesome because a) it’s easy, b) it’s delicious c) it’s gluten-free, and I’m building a recipe arsenal for this summer, since one of our Spiral participants is totally gluten-free, and finally because d) western mass in February can easily offer up all these ingredients.
I wish you could know how crazy good this smells. The recipe I used is from Food52, and the link is here. What are you cooking in your farm-fresh winter kitchens??