The Return of Inventory or Of Course We’re Not Gonna Stop Eating Local
With actual cold out there, it’s really time to discuss eating local in the cold. We will remain a Local Family in the cold. This posts covers our main source for local food forthcoming: our Tomato Mountain CSA and our inventory of stored food. I’ll talk a little more in another post about how we store food in suburbia, and I’ll also cover in another post, other winter CSA options out there besides Tomato Mountain .
That was dinner this week. An oven baked medley of eggplants, red peppers, onions and tomatoes commonly known as ratatouille. The Local Family enjoyed this dish two days after snow covered the front lawn of the Bungalow. Speaking just for me, not the rest of the Local Family, I can say, I am not the least bit tired of eggplants, red peppers and tomatoes. And luckily, believe or not, we actually have enough eggplants, red peppers and tomatoes around the Bungalow to make another ratatouille. Except I still want to take a stab at the Armenian eggplant-pepper dish served at Siunik called hamov, which is like ratatouille but a little more intense (turns out hamov just means delicious and is not an actual dish). I want to roast a bunch more peppers to have them around, swathed in oil for protection. See, the bounty of summer will run out pretty soon.
We will not stop eating local. For, I think, like the tenth time, we will continue to eat local as the weather turns awful. Our approach to food in February will not be that much different to our approach in August. Local. As long as we’ve been doing it, we’ve been giving the same answer to how: a mix or stored food and food purchased over the course of the winter. Although that formula has stayed the same each year–it has to–the mix of stored and bought food has changed. More importantly, how we do the buying has changed a lot. In some of the earliest years of cold weather eating, we got some quasi-CSA food in the winter. That is, a local farmer did ad hoc deliveries in the winter based on what she had. After that, we had to do our buying at irregular winter markets. Often, we made road trips for local food. Madison, Wisconsin can always supply. This is the second year that we’re getting a CSA box all winter.
Tomato Mountain Organic Farm, which employs the more vivacious part of the Local Family parentage, deliveries a CSA, or community supported agriculture, box all four seasons. In the summer and into the fall, it’s plenty of tomatoes. In the winter there’s tomatoes too and plenty of frost kissed spinach. The boxes mix stored roots, tubers and squashes, with hoop house grown greens, and sweetens the deal with a few goodies preserved in the Tomato Mountain kitchens. It gives us a real strong stake to plant our cold weather locavore needs.
We cannot fully eat all winter just from the CSA. For one thing, it only comes every other week; for another it does not have everything we want for the dark days. We know we have to build a bit of inventory of stored food to supplement the winter boxes. Still, the bulk of what we have set aside for the winter is surplus produce from our fall Tomato Mountain CSA boxes. This is what we have now in the Bungalow, to help us eat local all the time. (All weights are estimates.)
Attic – “Root Cellar in the Sky”
- Apples – Heirloom varieties including Northern Spy and Mutsu; we get our local eating apples from places like Caputo’s, but we want these for baking – 20 lbs
- Potatoes – A mix of mostly red “norland” as well as a few other varities – 30 lbs
- Onions – Red, yellow – 3o lbs
- Dried peppers
- Hot peppers
Mud Room (an unheated room off our kitchen)
- Acorn squash – Many
- Eggplant – 3 globe
- Red peppers
- Red peppers
Basement “Canning Room”
- Onions – a 3 tier basket’s worth
- More carrots
As in previous years, I will try to update our inventory as we work through it.