My significant other, The Perfect Man, designs and builds homes. His houses are not large, but he uses light and form to create a comfortable sense of spaciousness. A cupboard tucked here, a window seat there, a cozy set of bookshelves… and the result is a house that quietly comforts and nourishes the people who live within its walls. When it comes to square footage, substance beats size every time.
That’s how I feel about my kitchen pantry today. My groceries are all about substance: no frozen veggie burgers, no boxed snack crackers, just a few fresh local ingredients. At the close of the second day of the 2008 Eat Local Challenge, there isn’t much in there. But there’s enough.
Breakfast was three locally grown satsuma oranges and a cup of coffee. The satsuma, familiar to most people in the form of canned mandarin oranges, is coldhardy enough to grow here along the Gulf Coast. Late in the nineteenth century, sprawling groves of the sweet little citrus covered hundreds of acres just to our east, in Baldwin County — until brutal freezes in 1894 and 1895 brought a quick and icy end to large-scale Alabama orange cultivation. Since then, they have become a favorite of backyard grovesmen (The Perfect Man has several young trees) and small farmers. Tiny, leather-skinned and sweet as honey, they are scrumptious replacements for my usual morning glass of commercial orange juice.
I made the short trip to a family farm market across the bay in Daphne, scoring a few more provisions for the pantry shelf: Mississippi sweet potatoes; coarse grits and corn meal from a Louisiana town 20 miles inside my 200-mile limit; local peanuts still in their big, knobby shells. And wonder of wonders, on a rack near the cash register was one lone remaining loaf of walnut wheat bread just waiting for me to invite it home for lunch. (It was made by Jane Holland Smith, The Bread Lady, who works her bakery magic in a special kitchen she built next to her house. She’s always my first stop during our downtown farmer’s market season.)
Alas, the locally grown zucchini I bought never made it to the pantry at all. Atticus assumed that the green oblong was a strange new chew toy. Judging from the expression on his face, it was very tasty.
Your illustration of Atticus with the zucchini is priceless. It sounds like “the perfect man” builds “perfect” homes. Substance matters to me way more than space too. These humongous homes that get built today have none of that.
trish from "grow lettuce grow" said:
hang in there. fortunately here in greenville sc it is getting easier and easier to find local foods. we have even switched to local raw milk which we get directly from the dairy under 10 miles from our house. eggs are no problem here and some folks are even doing some fall produce. i think the farmers market in downtown keeps rockin till nov. 1st. there are a few booths in which the produce is not local, but many more where it is. also pork, beef, and chicken is easy to get here as well. just yesterday we drove up to the orchards and picked 1/2 a bushel of various types of apples. apple tart is on the menu today.
but even with all this you can’t hardly find local at the Fresh market here either. Whole Foods tries and bit and Earthfare does a fairly good job.
keep it up and good luck. look forward to reading more.
Your cupboard still looks delicious. Our local Wegman’s does a great job of pulling in local produce. The store entrance features a list of “just arrived” fresh pickin’s from area farms. I’m jealous of the Perfect Man’s cheese-making abilities. Although, we have a local sheep farm that produces yogurt and gourmet cheeses; they supply many area restaurants. A friend visiting from MI for the first time recently said, “So New Jersey isn’t all pavement and concrete!” We are still the Garden State…even if there isn’t one in my own backyard…
Atticusis verysmart! Loved his cute expression! Ste by step (seems like this is the general motto lately…) you’re managing to adapt yourself to this challenge, that’s great. Everything sounds and loooks so tasty and healthy, Val! That’s a way of getting to know farmers/producers that maybe otherwise you’d never meet.
Kisses from Nydia.
Sorry you didn’t get to eat your zuke! I’m sure it did look like a chew toy… I wish I could grow satsumas, they are the perfect fruit. I don’t like orange pith and they usually have so little of that, and I love how you take the whole peel off in one piece, it’s like opening a present every time. Feel like posting the PM’s yogurt recipe? I’d love to try it!
Here in Vermont we have plenty of apples, but absolutely no hope of a sweet potato (one of my very favorite foods)!