Archive for September, 2012

Local Pizza

September 16, 2012

Pizza ready to bake. The more local half is garlic, tomato, jalapeno, roasted sweet pepper and two kinds of cheese.

I’ve been looking for a new food challenge. My previous one – eating from the garden every month – pushed my gardening, freezing, canning, drying cold-cellaring and my thinking.

My new challenge: by Sept 2013, make a pizza with local ingredients. Bonus, make the pizza with commercial local ingredients. Why pizza? Its popular. It is mainstream. Its flexible with the seasons.

Aiming for using commercial ingredients will demonstrate that our food system is well enough developed to be able provide local pizza ingredients to anyone. It also opens the door for a local pizzeria to make local pizza.

Defining local will be fun — and will perhaps provide some insights. As a first cut, I’ll just track the distance the product travels on the last leg of its journey. But ultimately, the ingredient needs to be local from its origin through any manufacturing. And what is “local?” The real issue I think is more than “food miles” but I’m not sure how to put a handle on it yet.

Year Round Food

September 2, 2012

Shortly after we bought our place in Moscow I read an article about world agriculture that reported the average amount of arable land per person. It turned out that our 1.3 acres for 2 people was average.

Thinking about that fact made me begin to feel a responsibility to try to raise a portion of my food (since, on average, I had all the land needed). I’d gardened as far back as high school, raising a few veggies for summer eating. I decided I needed a goal to push my gardening — eat something from the garden in each of 12 months.

As I recall, Krista met that goal first with raspberry freezer jam. The people before us had quite a big row of raspberries started and freezer jam was a great way to preserve the harvest for 12 months. At that same time we also tried making several canned jellies, the best was red currant but we’ve never really gotten into canning.

Life has intervened, but I have inched my way toward the goal, learning to use the cold cellar to keep garlic and potatoes till March. We added a food dryer which allows us to manage more of our fruit and makes a favorite mid-winter Swedish Fruit Soup more affordable.

The “something from the garden each month” goal pushed a much more thoughtful approach to my gardening. But now we’re long past it.

Last fall/winter I experimented with winter gardening to have some greens and this weekend I will start a small fall  garden. This year we will have a big crop of pie pumpkin and butternut squash for the cellar. Those are the two squash the family will eat. Krista has been making/freezing apple sauce with fruit from the new orchard.

Last winter I started a recipe blog to track foods I’m cooking that could be made with local ingredients. It was an attempt to explore how rich and varied my diet could be — IF the ingredients were actually produced in our local food shed.

One thing the blog was intended to do was help identify missing local ingredients. One of them is cooking oil, so I was excited today at Farmer’s Market I saw a new booth selling oil. I couldn’t stop today but I will go back.

I’m musing about a new goal of one meal a month that could be local, or perhaps all three meals in one day per month. Or perhaps the meal needs one ingredient I grew, several that are local, and the rest that could be local. Of course, overlaid on picking this new goal is remembering what my family will actually eat so I need to tinker my way a goal where we can all succeed.