Now that it’s November and the weather is cool, the garden is put to bed, and people are already thinking about Christmas, I’m thinking about eating locally throughout the winter.
I wasn’t as successful with preserving the harvest over the summer as I had wanted. I’ve got tons of excuses: tomato blight so I didn’t get enough tomatoes to can; taking a 3-week long intensive summer class; the first trimester making me tired and too hot to work in the garden or over a canner… My excuses go on. Although I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, we’re still in pretty good position to eat locally.
In the next few week, Ed’s family will be slaughtering the turkeys and pigs. Ed’s uncle will do the same with his cows and we’ll get our 1/4 in December. So, we’ll have local, humanely and organically raised turkey and pork, as well as grass-fed beef in our freezer. I can’t explain how wonderful it is to bypass the meat case in the grocery store, except for the occasional piece of salmon or chicken. Local milk and eggs are available year round, so that’s easy.
The pantry is pretty well stocked with jellies (strawberry’s almost gone already, but peach and apple-cider jelly are plentiful), applesauce, cranapplesauce, chutneys, and maple syrup. There are storage onions in a basket. There are also sugared and plain strawberries in the freezer, along with wild Maine blueberries, green beans, snap peas, carrots, tomato sauce, butternut squash, and chicken stock.
So what are we missing? Well, I didn’t freeze any corn this summer, which I regret. I wish we had canned tomatoes, but the blight took care of that. Canned peaches would be wonderful. Some storage potatoes and more onions would be nice. I’d love to have made saurkraut, but I don’t know how yet. (However, one of my uncles has offered to teach me. Unfortunately, we already had plans for when he’s making it this year.) More carrots and a winter garden would be good, but I missed the window for planting and it’s too late now. I had wanted to get cold frames up and running, but that never happened either.
I think instead of looking at the failures, we need to realize how lucky we are to be prepared. While our stores aren’t perfect, they’re good enough. At least we’ll be inspired to do more next year during the growing season. As the years go by and our berry patch and apples start to produce, as we add peach, plum, pear and cherry trees, get chickens and build a barn and greenhouse (that one will probably be 20 years!), our independence will grow. Besides, if we were perfectly independent now, what would I daydream about?
How do you eat locally out of season?