Monday, July 21, 2008

Mid-July and the eatin' is good

Strange how my fervor for eating local has suddenly kicked into overdrive. I figured it was time to get serious...and not to mention more local produce is in season! I'll admit that there are times when I'm so ravenous and broke that I really can't discriminate between local and non-local, but as Liz pointed out I'm more conscious of what I eat now and where it comes from.Since last fall I have been waiting for berries to be in season so that I could participate in an activity that I had not in my 23 (and 11/12ths) years ever participated in: large scale strawberry picking. I say "large scale" because I have gathered berries from my community gardens little patch, but that was just a had full. Never before had I picked 8 pounds of strawberries! A friend of mine went with and with our two boxes lined up the backseat of the car looked simply delicious!
While picking the berries was fun, it doesn't compare how great it is to make tasty treats with them. The same night I made strawberry daiquiris with the fruits of my labor. I cut up about this much:
(Looks like about 2 cups)
I blended the fresh berries with 1-2 cups of lemonade, a certain amount of vodka, and a couple of cups of ice. You could of course make this virgin for all the kiddos or teetotalers out there.

Yesterday I thawed out some of the berries I froze (about 2 cups) and made a delicious local shake with Cedar Summit Farm's vanilla ice cream (1-2 cups) and milk (~3/4 cup). It made enough to fill two tall glasses with a delicious dairy beverage for two thirsty ladies.
I still have berries left but oh how that stash is dwindling. It hurts to see it disappear but I know the berries will be back next year (and their seasonality only serves to make them more scrumptious and desirable the next time around).

The past couple of weekends I've made it a mission to go down to the local farmer's market to scout out the haps on fresh produce. This weekend I hit the local produce jackpot.
I gobbled one tomato down all by itself and I relished for the first time this summer that delicious fresh picked tomato flavor which cannot be packaged or preserved. Then I took a bit (or most) of the other veggies and chopped them up; tossed them with olive oil (unfortunately not local, but you could use local butter as a substitute), salt, pepper, and thyme (wasn't local, but can be procured locally via my garden or the farmer's market). Then we spread them on a pan and baked them at 375 for 40 (or so) minutes.We had the veggies with fish but they could easily be paired with a local meat product, wild rice or on their own. Mmm!

That's all I have for now, but I plan to be bringing in more pictures and stories soon. My tomato plants have lovely tomatoes that are growing ever bigger by the day and as soon as they've turned red I'll post pictures of them (and perhaps me ravenously consuming them, with juice splattered all over my face and all!).


nano said...


As my garden-happy father used to sing, "There's only two things that money can't buy/& that's true love & homegrown tomatoes!"

Is it the St. Paul farmer's market that you are referring to? 'Cause I could really, really use some carrots... I'm losin' it!

Anyhoo, it's about time I took a trip down there.

Liz said...

I NEED a strawberry milkshake now! I've never done large scale berry picking, so I'm really jealous. I've gotta make it to the farmer's market soon...

Jess said...

Yep, I went to the St. Paul Farmer's Market. I actually like it better than the flashy (and huge) Minneapolis farmer's market.

Go get your carrots, Nano! And Liz, strawberry season is pretty much over but there's still raspberries and blueberrries!