Friday, July 6, 2012

On the hunt for local food (1)

Super excited today! We made a quick jaunt to the Produce Place for milk and butter.  2 1/2 gallon jars of whole milk (JD Country milk) will become mozzarella cheese and whey for baking. I have a friend coming over on Sunday to make cheese. We're going to eat some whey pizza as well. Yum!
I also got a pint of milk to make into yogurt. I did forget to grab a starter, so I'm hoping to find some local yogurt to use so that my yogurt will also be local. We'll see, might have to compromise on that.

I did buy some raisins that were not local, but I have good news on that front. In searching local table I have come across a farm that advertises raisins and emailed them to find out when/if they might be available. Just the idea of a possible source is exciting.
I also found 2 farms that mention growing walnuts. I'm excited to have found a local nut at all! I've been searching for TN nuts since the beginning of June. I have also contacted them to find out when they might be available. As luck would have it, they also grow lots of heritage apples that are available in various varieties all summer long and into the fall. I'm excited at the prospect of some local apples and applesauce. I use applesauce as an oil substitute in baking, so having some really yummy, fresh, and local applesauce in my treats is a very exciting prospect.

Still on the hunt...
Wheat - we're considering getting a mill to grind our own wheat berries. We've heard the flavor and nutrition of fresh ground flour will far surpass store bought. However, we need to buy hard wheat and that doesn't appear to grow in TN. We've found a great source for soft wheat and will probably get a bag (50#) to use for pancakes, cakes, etc. We're not giving up yet on the hard wheat. We're also contemplating which aspect of the 100 mile diet we choose if we buy non-local wheat. There are places out of state that we can get it from directly and they would ship to our house. We can buy wheat that has been trucked and traveled from Montana in person at a number of feed stores where at least the store owner is in TN and would profit a little from our purchase. In the absence of a local option, what becomes the second best option? We don't have an answer to this yet, and as a result, we don't have wheat yet either. We're going to have to come to a consensus soon though as we have less than a loaf of bread's worth of flour left for cooking.

Oats - same dilemma as the wheat. I don't have a preference of rolled or steel cut anymore. I would be happy to find some local oats for oatmeal and granola. We have a big bag of rolled oats from Trader Joe's still to go though, so at least we've got a little more time to get a source for the oats.

I'm not naive. I knew the switch to local would mean we would have to put more thought into our food.  That was part of it's grand appeal actually. However, I definitely underestimated the amount of decision making necessary to really understand where your food comes from and how it's made. I also hadn't thought I would ever feel the need to justify a purchase of raisins.

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