Wednesday, 3 June 2015 | 24 comments

Strawberry sorbet is easier to make than a grocery store

I’m on the board of directors of a local start-up food co-op. We live in a small, rural, not-very-densely populated community. We have no grocery store.

Despite some recent efforts on our town to lure in commercial activity, the big chain stores just won’t come here. When they plug our income and population numbers into their algorithm, they don’t project that our area could make them the profit that they need. We’re not talking fancy, high-end grocery stores here: my town can’t even seal the deal on a Kroger.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014 | 32 comments

Tomatoes. Notes.

Summer conjures images of lazy days, hammocks, beaches, bare feet, lemonade…all that good stuff. Let’s pretend for a moment that that’s why I’ve been so absent here.

That was nice.

The real reason is that I’m in a season of lots of work, work travel, and more wedding weekends than a person should be able to attend and still come out sane on the other side (we’ve had to turn the experience into a Bingo-style game to survive). Combine this with the fact that I coordinate our summer farm market, a few black bear incidents, the death of one friend, the birth of another friend’s baby…I’m a little spent.

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Thursday, 29 August 2013 | 59 comments

How we fill our days

Age is a funny thing. Women, especially, spend a lot of time benchmarking themselves against age: you’re a failure if you’re 16 and you’ve never been kissed; your “biological clock” has been ticking for awhile by the time you’re 30; and you’re considered pretty damaged goods by the time you turn 50 (or so L’oreal would have me believe). On Monday I had an annual performance review at work. I was presented with anonymous comments solicited from colleagues: “shows depth of understanding beyond her position”, “far-sighted and pragmatic for her age”, “excellent judgment—beyond her years”. It’s meant to be flattering, but I left disconcerted.

People tell me I am an old soul, but if that’s true, I’m not a particularly wise one. Kind of like the next-door neighbor curmudgeon who is a little bitter and has very particular opinions about things that don’t really matter.

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013 | 8 comments

Zucchini crumble

We talked about summer bumper crops of tomatoes last week (among other things!), but I’m dropping in with a quick post today to tip you off to a recipe for another one of those summer fruits that we always scramble to use up in time: zucchini. The wonderful Food52 folks asked me to write about an “heirloom recipe”, and this quirky, sweet recipe came to mind immediately.

You can get the recipe and the story over at Food52.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013 | 53 comments

Foibles of local eating (& tomatoes, many ways)

Things seem pretty good for seasonal, local food, if you take a look at my dining room table. I don’t have a ton of disposable income, but I chose to spend a lot of it on tomatoes last week. And from the numbers, you might believe this reflects national consensus. Back in 2011, the USDA projected that local food would bring in $7 billion in sales.

A lot of you who read this site would probably consider yourself “locavores”. It’s a group with which I also identify, but uneasily. The movement is one under which people with very different priorities gather, united by a single objective: buy food grown or produced nearby.

Locavorism alternately emphasizes that local food takes fewer fossil fuels to produce and transport, supports the local economy, promotes biodiversity, preserves rurality, mitigates environmental damage, is grown more naturally and seasonally, and is generally healthier. It seems so simple, really. How can buying local agricultural products be panacea for so many of society’s ills?

The short answer is that it cannot.

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