Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Eating Locally

For the last six days our house has been abuzz with hunters.  Deer season, statewide holiday in North Dakota, is always family and friend reunion time at our house.  Its the time when our usually quiet home fills with the laughter and smiles of friends and relatives who come to hunt and spend time together in North Dakota.

For me, it means rising early to make the sandwiches for the lunch box and be sure that everyone has all they need for a day outdoors.  It also means large meals around a big table with hungry hunters.  After the group leaves in the pre-dawn hours, I usually crawl back into bed to do a little reading, my quiet time.  Currently, I'm reading a book about local food infrastructure and regulation.  I won't name the book as I'm not sure I totally agree with or even like the author, but I'm reading it anyway.  This morning it got me thinking about what I have been feeding my hungry crew and I was pleased to realize that every meal contained at least a portion of local foods.  For me, more than for your enjoyment, I want to list my menu here:
  • Thursday - steak from a local butcher.  Although I have no way of knowing where the beef originated, I feel better knowing I supported a small local business rather than a large chain store.
  • Friday - Venison french dip sandwiches and baked potatoes with pie for desert.  The venison, shot during last years hunt and still hanging around in the freezer needed to be eaten.  The French dip was prepared with local garlic and home made Au jus.  The potatoes were from our garden and the pie - well it was home made pecan pie with pecans one of the hunters brought with him from down south.  Not really local, but grown by a small farmer which makes me feel better about the whole thing.
  • Saturday - home made pizza on home made crust using ND flour, cheese we picked up at a farmers market in Wisconsin on a recent trip, onions from the Bottineau gardens and pepperoni that one of the hunters had made himself with venison from last year and pork sausage also purchased at the farmers market.
  • Sunday  - Chili made with venison - you guessed it -from last year - still trying to empty out that freezer! And more  pecan pie.
  • Monday - Walleye caught on Devils Lake this summer, grilled and served with wild rice purchased at the Town Square farmers market  in Grand Forks, carrot sticks from our garden carrots - and of course more pecan pie.
  • Today, Tuesday - I'll use the leftover venison from the french dip and turn it into venison barley soup with our home grown carrots, onions from Bottineau and some barley I picked up at a farmers market this summer.  Maybe for desert tonight I'll surprise the guys with an apple pie made in our own kitchen from apples on the trees outside.
So you see, even without breaking a sweat, its pretty easy to eat local, even in North Dakota, even in November.  All it takes is a little forethought and a freezer full of venison!