Friday, February 19, 2010

Food for Everyone

The Winter time is often a time to slow down, reflect, catch up, and do some of the things we don't have the time to do during the growing season. But one thing that doesn't stop or even slow down is eating. If anything, we here in the Northern cold climate find ourselves eating a little bit more. We like to think we're giving ourselves a little extra layer under our long underwear.

This Winter we had the opportunity to enjoy some late crop greens--turnip and spinach. They were planted in the Fall under cold frames and left until well after snowfall to grow. While clearing off the greenhouse from the weight of snow, we did the same for the cold frames. Curious to see how our greens were doing and nervous they might have died after several deep frosts and snow, we investigated. To our delight we were another success story of season extension. We brought spinach inside--enough for several omelets, and fresh eating for over a week.

We went through a warm spell in late January, and remembering a full 40-50 foot row of late crop turnips buried under a couple of feet of snow, I decided to see how they were doing. Finding them and digging them out of the snow and frozen soil proved to be a mini adventure, but they pulled up clean and fresh-looking. After a quick rinse I wanted to try these little experiments. They were sweet and tender, just like new turnips during the late Summer. There are still a few feet left in the ground; I'm curious to see how they last the rest of the Winter. Turnips and parnips fresh out of the ground in Spring will be a nice treat.

Here at D Acres we have plenty still in our storage: Fall turnips, carrots, and beets; plenty of potatoes, garlic, and squash; we managed to pickle, freeze and can quite an abundance as well (cukes, green beans, garlic scapes, horseradish, applesauce, tomato sauce, fruit preserves). So we're still working through our homegrown food and it feels good to eat with the season and the hard work of preservation.

We continue to think about food and the many ways it nourishes us throughout the year. Our connection and attention to how it is grown and "packaged" makes an impact on the health and well-being of our minds and bodies when we choose what to cook up for a meal. I like going upstairs to the bedroom closet and picking out which winter squash will best suit the soup I have planned to make.

In the area of Dorchester and Plymouth--The Pemi-Baker Region--so close to both the mountains, the lakes, and the valleys of New Hampshire, we have the great challenge of using the space we have to grow food. This Saturday (The Third Saturday Soup Night) we will be hosting some of the areas Farmers and Growers. It will be a time for visiting around bowls of soup, networking, and connecting about the season past and the season to come. The importance of supporting one another as we face these growing challenges and think more seriously about what it means to feed the local community. The evening begins at 6pm and all are welcome to attend.

For the fourth year in a row, D Acres will be publishing The Pemi-Baker Local Food Guide. This Guide is a resource for the region to find out WHO is growing WHAT, and WHERE they can purchase these goods.

My hope is that more and more people will find the value in this very simple concept: know your food and where it comes from. When you find yourself even just curious about what it takes to get the tomato to the grocery store in the middle of Winter, you may soon find yourself curious about the value of that tomato and whether it's more worth your dollar to wait until Summer for something better. NH doesn't grow tomatoes in December. I take that back. Some growers have found various ways through hydroponics and heated greenhouses to provide tomotes during other times of the season than just late July and August. But in this instance, you still have a face to that case of tomatoes--someone you can visit with, learn from, and pay a higher percentage of your spending dollar to.

D Acres is trying to bridge the gap between the consumer and the producer; we're trying to close the cycle where a consumer's dollar is split. By keeping more of the dollar within the local economy, everyone benefits.

On February 23rd, D Acres is co-sponsoring a screening of the film FRESH at The Flying Monkey, a newly reopened old movie theater in downtown Plymouth. We will be serving a local dinner at 5:30pm, showing the film at 7:00, and having a panel discussion after the viewing. Josh Trought, executive director of D Acres, Melissa Greewalt-Yelle from Local Foods Plymouth (an on-line local foods market) will be on the panel.

Events like this that spark enthusiasm for community growth and development through awareness and education are vital to our rural towns.

We're cooking up a storm these days--still from our stores and savings. We hope you will join us for any of these upcoming events to taste the value of locally made and produced.

With much warmth,

p.s. please check out our website for the most up to date events.

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