I have to say, I’m pretty damned proud of myself. I haven’t been all talk lately, but following all the practices that I claim to believe in so strongly.
This week I signed us up for a farm share with Root Connection. For about $30/week (payable in monthly installments from June through October), you get a box of local, fresh, in season produce from the farm. They say it’s enough to feed from 2-6 people, depending on eating habits, etc. Well, I’m sure that will be plenty for us.
I’ve been on a mission to do a couple of things. One, to save money, of course. We aren’t hurting, but our big trip in October will cost a bit, plus the more money I can save us on food, the more I can put into doing other things. And then there’s salmon. I love salmon. The salmon up here is to die for. I’d eat it every day until I got sick of it, but fresh salmon ain’t cheap. So, I’d settle for once or twice a week. Well, if I spend $30/week on produce, then I can certainly afford to buy fresh salmon a couple times a week! (PS If anyone in the Seattle area has a tip on finding affordable, fresh, Wild Alaskan salmon or the like, oh, please won’t you let me know?)
The other thing has been simply to eat a bigger variety and add new things to my cooking repertoire. I’ve been going to the store, weekly, and buying loads of random produce, then coming home and finding ways to use it. However, I find that I keep going back to the same produce & recipes.
With this farm share, you get different produce in your box each week. The first week, for example, says it will include bok choy. I’m not a fan of bok choy. Most likely, I’m not a fan because I’ve never tried to do anything with it and haven’t eaten it other than when it’s in Chinese food delivery. And kohlrabi? Have I ever seen this stuff?
Plus, part of the share is “U Pick Greens and herbs”. If you go to the farm to pick up your box each week, as I will (it’s 8 miles away), you also get to pick green and herbs, for free. Well, “free” – part of your share, but you’re not limited and can grab what you want. Chards, mizuna, different types of kale. THIS matters to me a lot because I’ve been trying to incorporate more greens into our diet and thus far have only been doing kale every couple weeks. Not because we don’t like it, but because it’s not habit. Herbs are great, too, because while I’m waiting for the few herb plants I have to be bigger, and waiting until I get more herbs, I hate spending money on a bunch of herbs for one recipe, then watching the rest go to waste.
Green beans, summer squash, pounds and pounds of tomatoes, corn, cucumbers… Doubtful we’ll eat it all each week, so I plan on pulling out that big book of canning & the canning equipment I had gotten last year.
I’ve also wanted to cut back on buying from grocery stores – A) I’d rather give my support to farmers themselves B) ensure that Nugget sees where his food comes from and start developing a relationship between him and what he eats C) I’m tired of stores that are supposed to be farmer & food friendly making decisions for me about what’s available to me – as in the great raw milk debacle.
So we’ll be getting our produce FROM the farm, AT the farm, weekly. Along with our trips to pick up his raw milk, trips for OUR raw milk and then I’m also on the search for a farm to buy our meat from. Thundering Hooves looks nice, but it’s too far away. Butchers aren’t enough, I want a farm that makes their own sausage, ground beef, etc. I’ve found a few prospects on localharvest.org that I hope to check out soon. AND, I also found a hardcore bee farm nearby that sells pure, raw honey in many forms so guess where WE’LL be going this weekend?
If you look in my cupboards, you’ll find only jars of oils & vinegars, cans of tomatoes, mountains of dried beans and gluten-free baking materials (brown rice flour, etc.) Right now there’s a huge pot of chicken stock sitting on the stove that needs to be stored – along with a chicken carcass that needs to be torn apart and sorted.
There’s a chocolate factory right here in Seattle that we plan on going on a tour of . Theo Chocolate – “The ONLY organic, fair trade bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the United States.”
There were THREE Top Chef Masters contestants from Seattle – one of whom we’ve already visited, the other two… just give us a couple weeks.
If you’ll pardon my language, it’s fucking awesome. This place is foodie heaven. I can’t believe the thought of RAIN would keep so many people away, but thank god it does. If you can’t put up with a little rain, you don’t deserve to live here. Oh, and by the way, the rain? Spring has blasted it’s way through and we’ve had DAYS of glorious sunshine & overall weather. I honestly don’t feel like it rains that much, but quite frankly, after a few days of gray & drizzle, days like today and the past couple days are so greatly appreciated. Not like Los Angeles, where it was, “Oh look, another day of goddamn sunshine.”
Sidenote – I was listening to Bill Maher the other day and one of his “new rules” was “If Los Angeles only looks like that one day out of the year, you can’t put it on a postcard.” He was referring to postcard images of LA where the sky was blue and CLEAR and you could see the mountains in the distance. Seriously. Do you know how often you can see anything in the distance, through the smog & pollution of LA? We were always shocked every time we could see anything. Here, you can see for miles & miles.
Anyway. I’m getting off track. It’s true, I love it here. Almost enough to cast off our notions of going back east, to Boston, later down the line.
So that’s what I’m doing here. Practicing as I preach and getting crunchier and crunchier by the minute. The only time we use disposable diapers is when we’re going on road trips or all the cloth ones are in the wash. (Even Mr Nikki finally got on board with this and likes them. That alone saves about $100/month. PS There’s a brand up here – “Earth’s Best.” Best “eco friendly” disposable I’ve found. Those 7th Generation ones were utter crap, in my opinion.)
I’ve started tearing up our yard – there are so many freakin’ bricks, and none of them look good. We’re going to the Japanese Garden this weekend, for inspiration. I want Japanese boxwood out front, to create a natural fence along the front yard. I want a Japanese maple. A cherry tree… I want the back yard to be Japanese inspired, but with lots and lots of room for Nugget to roam. Ok, that has nothing to do with being a hippy, but I was just looking out the window & thinking about it.
Speaking of Japanese, I’ve been taking Japanese lessons and really, for a Japan-ophile living in the US, Seattle is the place to be. For anyone who loves a lot of things, living in the US, Seattle is the place to be, really. But don’t tell everyone. It needs to stay a well-kept secret.