Seasonal stealth

Posted by Anita on 10.23.07 1:37 PM

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reservedWhen I think about the bloggers participating in the Dark Days Challenge in places like Maine or Minnesota or Michigan — places where winter actually involves snow, frost, and farmers markets that close for the season — I feel like a fraud.

We still had tomatoes at our market this weekend — heirlooms and Early Girls and a rainbow of Sweet 100s — from a surprising number of farms. They sat there in their little cliques, cozying up to their buddies, red peppers and basil. You could almost imagine them standing in front of a mirror inspecting their own summery plumpness and silently mocking the homespun pumpkins and Brussels sprouts on the next table over.

Frankly, I’m over these cheeky girls of summer. I’m ready for the potatoes and the greens and the crisp new apples. It’s a little eerie to realize that I could eat today the same meals we made in June without even leaving the market. I even saw three different vendors who were still selling strawberries… they’ve been on the farm tables since the first week of April, for goodness sake. I’ll be sad when the pasture-raised chickens come to an end, but that’s really all I’m going to miss from summer. Autumn is my favorite eating season.

We started out our Dark Days Challenge last week with some of our favorite standbys. We make these dishes a lot, and we’re pretty dialed in on where to find their ingredients from local sources. And I suppose that’s one of the benefits of eating locally all the time: With the exception of farmers dropping out of your market, you pretty much know where to find your favorite things, after a while. You also know, eventually, what’s hard (or even impossible) to find; it makes you more alert when you spy something you haven’t found locally before.

Speaking of which, our friend Cookie turned me on to a local source for wheat flour and polenta. Although Full Belly Farms is about 100 miles away, they don’t come to my local market — they sell at weekday markets in places I can’t get to during the workday, plus one Saturday market down in Palo Alto, 30+ miles south of us. So now I get to make the choice about whether it’s better to drive an hour to buy the local option, or stick with my carb exemption. The other good news is that I found out (from Cookie, again) that the white rice we’ve been buying is harvested semi-locally… about 150 miles away.

Here’s what last week looked like:

Chicken & Dumplings
- Marin Sun Farms chicken; onions, carrot, celery from the market; garden herbs
- biscuit mix from Beth’s in San Rafael; Clover Organic milk

Chili Dogs (can’t watch the playoffs without ‘dogs!)
- Prather Ranch uncured hotdogs and Acme pain de mie buns
- Chili made with our own tomato sauce and homemade pork sausage, plus Prather chuck
- Eatwell Farms onions, and non-local (but organic) cheese

Oxtail Ragu and Pasta
- Marin Sun Farms oxtails braised with our own chicken stock and tomato sauce
- salad: red-leaf lettuce (Little), avocado (Will’s) and tomatoes (Everything Under the Sun)
- non-local dried orecchiete pasta

Pork & Potatoes
- Double-cut Prather Ranch pork loin chop on the grill
- Roasted Iacopi Farm brussels sprouts with Bariani olive oil
- Roasted ‘rose Finn apple’ potatoes from Mr. Little

Pasta (Not-Quite-)Bolognese
- meat sauce made with Prather beef and pork, Mariquita tomatoes, Eatwell onions
- garlic bread: Clover Organic butter, Acme rolls, local garlic
- non-local dried pasta

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved

farmers markets, locavore, other blogs
10 Comments »

 

10 Comments »

Comment by Mansi

Hey Anita,

stumbled here from zlamushka’s blog! nice space you have here:) And great to know you are in SF, CA…I’m in Fremont too:) I’m hosting AFAm-Peach/Nectarine event on my blog, and there are still some days to go. I’d be glad if you could send ina yummy peach entry as I can still see peaches in CA! check the AFAM-Peach logo on my blog for details…thanks!

Posted on 10.23.07 at 4:45PM

Comment by Bri

Anita, it’s so great that you are highlighting how lucky we are to have so much amazing produce. With semi-local olive oil, local butter and cheeses, meats and veggies, it’s so easy in California to be a locavore.

Posted on 10.23.07 at 5:01PM

Comment by Anita

Mansi: Oh, sounds fun. I don’t think I’ve seen peaches or nectarines at our market in a while, but I’ll keep my eyes open.

Bri: You’re so right. I really do feel like I’m cheating! It’s not just a cook-at-home phenomenon, either. We went out to dinner at Nopa last night and realized that their menu was largely local, too — I don’t know if they’re hitting the 90% mark, but they’re sure talking a good game. Tomorrow we’re going to Fish & Farm, where the chefs say that the majority of their raw ingredients come from within a 100-mile radius. Anyway, that’s another post… :)

Posted on 10.23.07 at 5:09PM

Comment by LaMar

Hi Anita,

This is a wonderful entry. As I read and came across the term “eating local” I mentioned it to my wife and to my surprise, she is very much aware to the term (Where I am not). This actually kicked off a good discussion between the two of us and we have you to thank.

can’t wait for the next entry.

Posted on 10.24.07 at 11:14PM

Comment by Chubbypanda

Darn tootin’! Bring on the squashes!

Posted on 10.25.07 at 1:41PM

Comment by Nicole

Most of our farmer’s markets here in PA are closing soon for the season, but it’s still really easy to eat local here – it just takes a bit of planning and work. I did a buttload of canning and freezing this Summer. Of course, I’m still jealous of you, though – you definitely have a wider variety of things!

Posted on 10.26.07 at 11:23AM

Pingback by Dark Days Challenge - Week #2 Recap « Urban Hennery

[...] Anita, at MarriedWithDinner, has been happily moving into fall menus, and enjoyed a full week of local goodness.  Her chili dogs would make any baseball fan happy while watching Boston in the playoffs (and is there another team playing – here in NH we are very firmly entrenched in Red Sox Nation!). [...]

Posted on 10.27.07 at 8:01AM

Comment by Kim

Looks great, Anita! You’re right about my small amount of jealousy when it comes to the things available to you year round. For crying out loud, enjoy it!

Posted on 10.27.07 at 8:02AM

Comment by Anita

LaMar: See, women know everything ;)
If you’re curious about eating locally, here are a few good resources:

http://www.locavores.com/ (scroll down to Why Eat Locally?)
http://www.eatlocalchallenge.com/

Panda: Well, maybe not the squashes, but pretty much everything else :D

Nicole: Yeah, next year we’ll preserve even more. But honestly, other that tomatoes, I am over it all. I found a bunch of summer fruit in the freezer and the thought of making a pie or even a cobbler with it was so unappealing; I’d rather have apple or pecan pie or pear crisp or… maybe I’ll feel differently later in the year?

Kim: Oh, we ARE enjoying it, but it’s still surreal to read everyone else’s posts. (ps: GO SOX!)

Posted on 10.27.07 at 8:15AM

Pingback by Dark Days Challenge - Week #2 Recap « Yankee Food

[...] Anita, at MarriedWithDinner, has been happily moving into fall menus, and enjoyed a full week of local goodness. Her chili dogs would make any baseball fan happy while watching Boston in the playoffs (and is there another team playing – here in NH we are very firmly entrenched in Red Sox Nation!). [...]

Posted on 10.27.07 at 9:55AM

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