Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Early/Mid- June – Ramping Up

I have been haunting the area farmers’ markets for over a month now, trying to acquaint myself with the farmers and their wares. I’ve been buying what I can there and have happily seen the addition of new items each week. Of course, you have to be careful and ask the right questions because I can tell that a number of the farmers have merely purchased for resale the items on their tables (sorry, without a greenhouse you aren’t harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers in late May).

I was excited to have put up the ten pounds of asparagus last week but I was even more pleased with my chicken experience the week before.

Until a year ago, I had never roasted a chicken. I love to cook and have a fair amount of experience but I had just never done that before (turkey and goose, yes, just not chicken). So, when I went to Open Range Products to collect the three chickens I had ordered directly from the farm, I wondered how it would work out for me. Kathy told me that free-range fowl should be cooked slow and long so I kept that in mind as I planned a meal for my family and my parents.

I roasted the chicken and served it with fresh asparagus, and choi salad. When we sat down to eat, Kevin asked if any of the meal was local. I was happy to announce that all but the wine and the onion and garlic I had roasted the chicken with was local. After the meal I needed to do something so the rest of the chicken wouldn’t go to waste.

I pulled the meat off the bone and stored that in the fridge for a future meal. I deglazed the roasting pan with red wine (non-local and a non-traditional choice for chicken, I know!) and saved the result for a gravy later in the week. I then cooked down the carcass and onion/garlic that it had roasted with in water to make broth. I chilled the broth in the fridge for a day and then I even skimmed the fat and froze it in small cubes (1/2 ice cubes) for later use for sautéing and such then I poured the broth into freezer containers and froze it. I was very pleased to think that I had use that bird as fully as I could think of. I even used some of the meat I pulled off for baby food for Kai (blended up, of course!).

So we’ve been ramping up slowly, having nearly local meals followed by not very local meals. We’ve now eaten out with friends for the last time for a year (Thai food) and have ordered our last pizza. In a few more days we will try our hardest to not bring any more non-local food into our house for year.


UU Jerri said...

Thank you very much for your story. I think you were just fine asking for a quantity discount. Seems he didn't get rid of everything the previous week anyway. I suspect the resturants get a quantity discount so why not he establish a discount table so that all is fair in both private and public dining places, yes? The attitude he displayed says much as well.

BTW. There's a great stand at Wed. market from a gal who has a CSA in Dakota, IL.

Lenae said...

In response to uu jerri:
Yes, I've met Donna (I think that's her name) and she has great organic produce!
Be careful though, there is another stand from Dakota (with the brown and white van) that is at all the local markets who buys most of their stuff - this week the peaches (from Georgia) had UPC stickers on them!

Technically, that's not allowed. I just walk on by.