Are We Still a Local Family
Yes. The CSA Boxes Still Come
It helps to be a Local Family when your CSA provider, Tomato Mountain*, drops off their boxes all year. This came the other day: sugar-sweet carrots, summer-in-a-jar whole roasted tomatoes, local beets, and onions to add to a huge stockpile. We’ve been getting local food, but have we stayed a Local Family? It’s been ages since we’ve checked in with Beet readers.
Some time in the Spring of 2013, I was noodling around on how I could add a little more scratch to the Local Family coffers. My Dad had been teaching for about five years at DeVry University, and it seemed to provide him that little extra to keep the Sierra Trading account churning. What if I did a teaching gig. It seemed like something that could blend well into my other gigs (and also help keep my brain matter a little more plastic). I sent a resume. I did a sample lecture. I received favorable reviews. I heard nothing. Flash forward to the end of 2013. Work was very good. I struggled to keep up with the caseload. And DeVry called. Take a class?
Taking a class meant learning how to teach the 21st century way, with computers and blended learning. It also meant refreshing myself on many areas of Law not thought about since I took the Bar exam in 1990. I was Professor Gardner. I was Vital Information to my clients. I was also fully engaged in Project Remove My Gut through much time at Gym. Through all of that, I was kinda still part of a Local Family, but in the limits of 24 hours a day, I was not a Local Beet blogger.
I say kinda because something else that pretty much went by the wayside in late 2013 was fun days spent tamaring. No longer would I start a morning with a pot of salted boiling water and end with containers of proto-dishes; no bags of salads prepared, no pans of vegetables roasted, nothing boiled, sauteed or grilled in advance. Believe me, the lack of tamaring did put a crimp on local eating. We went out more. I’ve cheated on things like prepared deli salads. I’ve never stopped believing in local food, but I stopped believing in working so hard to have local food. Still, if we did not cook our vegetables enough, we ate them often raw. The Condiment Queen makes an awesome hummus, and with our supply of local carrots and radishes, made many a good meal. In our worst days, we remained a pretty good Local Family.
The intense weather helped and hindered our local eating. Helped by making it the easiest winter ever to keep a root cellar in the sky. I need to do an inventory, but off the top of my head I can tell you we have a lot in the attic, some heirloom apples, more squash than we’ll ever eat, a lot of onions too, but those will always be eaten; carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and cabbage, I know, are all there. In addition to that our CSA has provided us frozen raspberries, frozen squash puree, and jars of tomatoes. Our own seasonal preservation efforts put greens and a few other things away. Then, we have pickles and other stuff made my my mother–just opened some bread n’ butter summer squash this week as we finished up the pickled garlic scapes. We are not at a loss for local food to keep us a Local Family. We do not, however, have as regular supply of greens as we’re used too.
Polar vortexes keep Wisconsin farmers from nurturing frost-kissed spinach. At least it keeps our Wisconsin farmer from nurturing frost-kissed spinach. Rightly so (we agree), Tomato Mountain has not artificially heated their hoops to get a winter spinach crop. So, this year, it’s just been too cold. Normally, our winter CSA would be awash in green. There has been no spinach so far in our CSA boxes. At least it has forestalled the argument I will have with the now non-meat eating Cookbook Addict when I’m gonna want bacon on my spinach salad.
That’s exactly the happy tension that keeps us going as Local Family. Life may intrude. Our dedication may waver, but the CSA box comes. We will eat more carrots. The regular blogging should return.
*My wife works for Tomato Mountain