Tag Archives: local food

Apricot Jam

I was so excited to make a small batch of apricot jam for the first time. I used the recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, since I know it’s a safe source for recipes backed by tons of scientific testing. These jars are destined to fill some Christmas cookies this year! Maybe I’ll try these Finnish Stars, but I’ll probably just make our family favorite apricot cookies.

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture

CT Farm Fresh Express

CT Farm Fresh Express order (3/365)

The problem with being a mom and working full-time is that I just don’t have as much time to do things as I used to have.  Shopping is one of those things, and I’ve come to love grocery delivery.  However, ordering groceries didn’t allow me to choose locally produced foods in most cases, so it was a sacrifice I was making.  In Connecticut, it’s difficult to find locally produced foods in the winter, and although we do store large quantities of beef and pork and small quantities of chicken, turkey, fish and shellfish in our freezer, I didn’t do as much other food preservation as I had hoped this summer.  I had resigned myself to using conventional produce until late spring when my garden starts producing, strawberries are in season and the farmer’s markets re-open.

One day right before Christmas, I was searching for a friend on Local Harvest and stumbled upon CT Farm Fresh Express, a delivery service that supplies Connecticut residents with local food! I was so excited, and the picture above shows my first order.  (No, it doesn’t come in a sled… We were out enjoying Joshua’s new sled when we saw that the delivery had arrived, and I saw a photo-op!)

Now, of course it’s winter so there’s not a ton of produce available, but still there’s quite a bit! I got veggies like potatoes, carrots, shallots, winter squash, thyme and salad greens.  I also picked up some apples, delicious cheese, butter, eggs and a fresh baguette.  I would say the prices are comparable to shopping at a farmer’s market, and the convenience is great.  Unlike the big grocery store, I didn’t have to be at home to receive the delivery.  Instead, I joined their “cooler exchange” program and they left the groceries in a cooler on my front porch.  Next time, I’ll leave the cooler outside and they’ll pick it up and leave my new groceries in another cooler.  Easy!

I love shopping online and I’m willing to pay a little extra for quality local food.  This is a great solution for me for winter shopping!

Have you ever tried grocery delivery?


Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

Local Food in Winter

Here in New England, I’ve found it’s difficult to continue to support local agriculture in winter.  The majority of farm stands (including my family’s) and farmer’s markets shut down until spring.  I’m curious to learn how others eat locally during the off-season, if you’re not fortunate enough to live in a climate where’s there’s year-round food.  Please take the survey below!

You can vote more than once, so please do if more than one option applies!


Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living


Just in time for frost… My Heritage and Anne raspberries are finally producing!

What’s going strong in your garden?


Filed under Food, Gardening, Living from Scratch, Outside

Teaching my Kids Where Their Food Comes From

Today’s guest post comes from Amber of Strocel.com.

I live in suburban Vancouver my with husband and our kids – 5-year-old Hannah and 2-year-old Jacob. In my working life, I was an electrical engineer and I wrote computer programs. My husband works in television, making sure that the graphics on the local news look good. Most of our neighbors live similar lives, working in middle-class jobs that involve cubicles. If aliens were to observe our neighborhood they might deduce that food comes from the grocery store and/or the local fast food outlet. And before that, it comes from a big refrigerated truck.

It’s important to me that my children don’t think that food comes from the store. I mean, OK, a lot of my family’s food does come from the store in the end. But not in the beginning. There is a back story to every bite we take, and that back story matters. It impacts our health, the health of the people and animals involved in food production, and the health of the planet. I want my kids to know the back story, so that they can make informed choices.

Given the near-total lack of anything resembling agriculture in my community, how do I help my kids to get a window into food production? I do a few things:

Blueberries from our blueberry bush

1. We have a vegetable garden. It’s not the world’s most impressive vegetable garden, not by a long shot. But we can pick our own peas and carrots and tomatoes and blueberries. We watch the miraculous transformation from small seed to exuberant squash plant. And we taste the amazing flavors in fresh-picked produce.

2. We visit our local farmer’s market. Once a week nearby farmers truck into our suburban enclave with their produce. I take my children and they help me pick out our fruits and veggies and seafood and meat and cheese. We try new foods that we have never even seen before, like garlic scapes and blue hubbard squash. We talk to the people who grew or made the things they’re selling, and learn a little bit in the process.

Hannah says hello to some dairy cows

3. We pick wild berries. Not all food comes from a farm – some of it grows in our local park and along the roadside. Salmonberries, huckleberries and blackberries are our favorites. I have taught my kids to never eat any berries that I don’t give them, of course. But they’re learning that nature’s bounty is broader than anything a grocery store can conceive of.

4. We visit farms. Whenever we get the chance, we visit farms to see how they work first-hand. We meet the cows who make our milk and the chickens who lay our eggs. We see the fields where our grain is grown. Farms are fun places for kids, especially my suburban kids who find them especially novel. And, honestly, they’re pretty fun places for me, too.

Jacob gets up close and personal with some goats

5. We cook together. If you’re buying fresh, local produce, you need to know what to do with it. Cooking with kids isn’t always fun, I’ll admit it. But knowing how to cook from scratch is an important life skill, and so I’m willing to put up with a little inconvenience to equip my kids for the future. And even when they’re not ‘helping’ me make dinner, they’re usually in the kitchen watching, so I hope they’re seeing my example.

Like a lot of children, my kids ask me for all kinds of foods I don’t want to buy. Yogurt in tiny plastic tubs with licensed characters waving from the label. ‘Fruit’ snacks and pre-packaged pudding and cereal with marshmallows. It’s not always apparent to me that they understand the food lessons I’m trying to teach. But I have faith that if I keep at it, it will sink in. They will grow old enough to understand, and when they make choices for themselves they’ll consider the impact of the food they eat. At least, I really hope so.

Amber is an engineer-turned-at home mom to 5-year-old Hannah and 2-year-old Jacob. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband Jon, the kids and her ill-tempered cat. In her free time she gardens, crafts, and dreams about the life she will have when she grows up.You can catch up with Amber’s regular adventures, in food and beyond, on her blog at Strocel.com.


Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Outside, parenting, Sustainable Living

Blueberry Season

blueberry pie 004

July means blueberries! I’ve been thinking of all things blue lately, from stuffing my face with fresh berries to baking, baking, baking! We had blueberry bushes when I was growing up on the farm, and I hated them because they were so small and it took so long to pick over the bushels brought into the farm market and put them into pints for sale.  If I could have kept from eating the biggest and juciest, the pints would have filled much more quickly!

blueberry pie 007

Blueberry Glaze Pie

blueberry pie 003

Blueberry Pie

Fruit Salad (Just fruit, no sugar is needed when it’s in season! A dollop of sweetened whipped cream couldn’t hurt though…)

Next on my list of things to make with blueberries: Blueberry Crumb Bars.  Check them out, they look awesome! I’ve made them with blueberry jam, but never with fresh blueberries.  Here’s a shot of the Blueberry Jam Crumb Bars

blueberry jam crumb bars 001

I also love Blueberry Buckle, Blueberry Shortcake, Blueberry Ice Cream Sundaes, Blueberry Pancakes… What’s your favorite way to enjoy blueberries? Links to recipes welcome!


Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture