It’s again Wednesday, and time for another challenge from Small Footprints at Reduce Footprints. This weeks challenge is a little difficult for me but I will explain in a bit why. For now, here’s this week’s challenge:
This week preserve local produce. This could be large scale (eg canning fruits and vegetables)…or simply freezing some herbs. You might want to dehydrate fruits for healthy snacks, make a small batch of freezer jam or shell some peas for the freezer. Canning, freezing, dehydrating, curing, pickling, etc…the choice is yours. The goal is to preserve local produce, perhaps from your own garden, for use in the winter.
If you are experiencing winter instead of summer and don’t have fresh produce to preserve, please prepare at least one meal this week using local foods. This might include items preserved from last summer’s harvest, canned goods sold by local farmers, etc.
We are currently, as I’ve whined about recently, experiencing colder temperatures now. Everything in the garden seems to be at a standstill. We still have a few carrots, onions and lettuce we can pick from but it’s not enough to put up. The farmer’s market’s fares show me it’s not just our gardens here at the apartment complex, it’s everywhere locally.
The whole objective of this week’s challenge is to continue with all the ways we have reduced our carbon footprint. By buying locally we get fresher food yes, but we are saving the countless miles our food would be in transit by boat or truck getting to us.
I had hoped to find food from the larger surrounding areas, it isn’t as local as I like to buy and usually isn’t free of pesticides. I visited the local grocery store that carries local farmer’s produce when in season. We usually can find several areas filled with local produce this time of year here, but not today. I was only able to find a total of 7 foods locally grown. SEVEN!! This is sad.
What I like about the grocery store this time of year is that each local food sold will have the name of the farm and the location of the farm listed on the signs below the food. You can see there was very little available. A very few green bell peppers, several heads of cabbage, then onions, tomatoes and corn. There were a handful of squash and zucchini on the shelf above.
This is very little compared to what they usually carry. Sections this size would normally be filled with each of these vegetables and an even wider variety would be available.
Since produce wasn’t available locally, there were a few other things I needed to replenish to hold me over during the winter months. I stocked up on quinoa, beans/legumes, oatmeal, and barley. These I will use to make plenty of soups through the long cold months ahead.
I recently planted another bed of carrots to be able to put up for winter, and have started my lettuce in the windowsill that will give me fresh salads to go with my soups. I have various greens like spinach and a few more varieties of greens. I will be trying to grow radishes in the window as well. The window gets pretty cold during the winter so the spinach should do better than it did this summer there.
I will be installing shelving in the window that will allow me to expand the number of planters I can place in the window.
I know I didn’t meet the challenge this week, as the produce just isn’t ready this week. And while the challenge was to put up local foods, I did fill my pantry with wholesome foods, yes they were trucked in, but I firmly believe the dried beans/legumes are healthier for me than canned, and use fewer resources to deliver to the store.
I will be very busy putting up food in a couple of weeks. I still may not have a stove, but with my slow cooker and the offer to borrow a couple from neighbors my kitchen will be filled with wonderful smells very soon.