Arguments and Attempts to be an Awarenivore

Arguments and Attempts to be an Awarenivore

April 29, 2010

Cheaters and eaters

I can't resist alliteration.

I'm out of the raw milk I picked up last week from Family Cow Farmstand. It's too far to drive regularly, but they are planning on expanding their delivery to include a stop along Route 15 in Essex, and if so, I will definitely join their weekly milk CSA. $5 per half gallon, and yes, $10 per gallon. Not the cheapest I've seen, but delivery makes it possible, otherwise, I'd just pay that in gas getting somewhere.

This is the first raw milk I have had for years, maybe even since growing up drinking goat's milk. I love milk, for years it was my beverage of choice, but I am already ready to boycott the 'regular' stuff. Not because of taste, but because I feel as though I am being lied to, and cheated on. This has been a huge reason for my localvore quest lately - true, I certainly think this food is more healthy for us, and for the animals, community etc, but I am really just sick of filling my belly with falsities.

After bringing home the milk last week, in a big glass 1/2 gallon mason jar, I poured off most of the cream to have with our coffee (not big coffee drinkers but we have this stuff from Panama mmmmm), and simply drank most of the rest. Mmm. So when ran out of cream yesterday, I decided to run to the store because I was already looking forward to coffee for the next morning.

I think I spent at least 20 minutes deciding what to buy. First, I went right to the normal dairy section in Hannaford's, thinking I would get what I usually do, I mean, I'd bee drinking it for years and enjoying it. Well, not so much now. I have been reading a lot of milk literature. Not only about the benefits of raw milk, but about the dangers of mass-production, and even banality of pasteurization. (See this article for information regarding types of milk vs. types of cow...)

I picked up a half-gallon, not wholly satisfied. It was a 'Vermont' company, but I do not know how much I trust it, I do not believe it's really 'localvore' because it's never labeled that and always available in the huge chain grocery stores.

Then I walked towards the 'Organic' section to see what I might find. Thinking perhaps Organic Valley half and half would make me feel better, but here again is where my attempt to gain knowledge is turning me away. I know that though organic, this company is still owned by one of the huge companies promoting industrial agriculture. SO what's the next option? Soy. There are a few choices, even a soy 'creamer.' First though: what makes it 'creamy?' And why should I choose to support soy, another of our mutilated, industrialized crops? Well, at least it doesn't have (as many?) dying or sick animals involved. So, organic plan soy milk is what it is. Yummy, but I still left feeling like a fool.

How am I walking around in this land of plenty, and mistrusting everything I see? It's all going to fill my belly, but I want more than that. We seek truth in all other aspects of our lives, and we deserve to be able to nourish ourselves with it from the inside out.

April 18, 2010

Meat Share vs. Car Repair

In line at Hannaford’s, I’m looking down at the black belt where I’ve placed my carefully selected items, knowing it’s going to cost more than it looks like it should. A plastic stick divides my bounty from the woman’s in front of me. I try not to be assuming, but I look out of the corner of my eye to asses her situation. She must have at least 3 children at home, and this week’s dinner looks like tacos, hamburger helper and salad mix. She had chosen meat, baby skinless carrots, bags of salad mix and soda. Delicious and home-cooked no doubt (except for the soda), and it will fill their bellies.
I look at my measly produce, almond milk, eggs, tofu and pasta sauce,(etc) knowing that she’s feeding three times as many people, and not spending much more than I will. And – I didn’t even buy organic this time. Hannaford's doesn't have much of a selection, anyway, Their organic produce section consists of lettuce, cucumbers and celery, and it seems to be cleared out by 4 p.m. every day. As far as I know, the only local products they sell are Bove's pasta sauce ($6 per jar, but delish) and hydroponic tomatoes - Vermatoes. Haha.
I am not pointing this out to try to make a point that I am a 'better' shopper. I have no idea what I would be buying if I had to feed a large family. It would completely depend on our budget - which is what sucks about this food system right now. It's nearly impossible to buy idealistically when you're broke. Many times, I come to the end of the month and buy good groceries on my credit card because I believe we deserve to eat well. Now I am being good, and leaving the credit cards at home, lest I think I will ever be able to pay them off.
Well, one of the reasons and I am working on a particularly tight budget is because I needed a new starter in my truck this week. $250. I can't complain much - I was not even very upset. I have had this truck, which I paid $700 for, for a full year this month (in fact, I also paid to renew the registration, but this was an expected cost.) I have not had a repair in five months, so I had felt it was due - routine maintenence kind of thing.

Though, that $250 was going to be Jamie and I's meat CSA money for the summer. I had met a woman from Maple Wind Farm at the last Burlington Farmer's Market. The farm had a pick-up point in Richmond (very close) and this could work for us! I had finally gotten Jamie even more excited about eating local, good, clean food. Though truthfully, I believe we can go without meat if we were going to be totally hardcore, but we are choosing a different angle. I know we will both want to buy it every so often, and the last six months or so we have been only buying local. It's easy enough to get now that we realize that Sweet Clover Market is close by, but it gets quite pricey. $12 for some chicken every once in a while sometimes gets hard to spend too.

Eating right has lots of challenges (who knows what is right, anyway - this just feels right and real right now) and budget is a big one. It makes me upset to know what I want, to know what is best, and to not be able to get it because we're trying to get enough to eat. I have certainly been the one to say 'Pay more, eat less' and I think I do follow this mantra.

But that unexpected $250 really threw off me off my golden path.


(PS, Jamie and I ended up finding a cheaper meat share from Applecheek Farm, which we will pick up on Thursday - wow!)

April 14, 2010

Ramps, rocket, redemption

It's only just hitting mid-April, but I found my first ever wild leeks (ramps). I feel like a Yankee, or Pocahontas, or something equally as idyllic and conjoined with nature.

It was a gift from our woods, the first one to come directly to me, unless maybe you would count the pussy willows I found a month ago, before anything had turned green at all. But well, I couldn't eat those.

I was actually heading downtown to go have lunch with a friend, but I just had these little things on my mind, and had to see if it was that easy to find them. I left the door open to my house, and the door open to my truck (not realizing this of course, until I came back to them both, and hoped that my battery was not dead) and struck out right then and there. Cell phone in my pocket, I was still texting Laura saying I was "leaving in 5" as I crossed the threshold from the yard to the forest. There were quite a bit of green things. Trilium (not blooming yet) as I had learned from one of the herbal talks I went to recently. Also, one other small, dark green-leafed crawling vine I recognized from the same talks, but could not name. Then ferns (not fiddleheads) and another single-leafed floor covering. I thought it may have been one of the leeks, they were just not fully grown yet. Perhaps I was looking too early in the season.

These little leaves were sticking up in patches everywhere, where any bit of sun ma have happened to pass between leaves and hit the forest floor. I had expected the leeks to be like this. These leaves, though, were not promising, almost menacing - a darker green, and dappled just as their mother.

We have a series of paths that begin beyond the large field behind our house. They would be perfect cross-country ski paths, or snowshoe paths, (we intended to do more snowshoeing, but did not do enough to get back there anyway - this year) wide enough for a tractor or something, which probably originally cleared them. Also, we hear, they go all the way to a neighbors house on the other side of the hill. We really need more than 5 minutes to explore, but that is another story.

I decided it seemed illogical to start out on the path - why would wild leeks be sitting nicely ready to be picked alongside a wide, once-tractor trodden path? So I started near and even crossed over into the bull's (Hercules') fenced in area, since he has kind of a little stream which I thought they might grown near.

They live in colonies. I saw quite a few pictures while I was dong some research, and they grow as in little families up out of the dead leaves. In the pictures I saw, there was not much else for green around. The trees are not green yet - we're lucky that there are even a few red nips of buds starting on some certain trees. It's going to happen so fast though - in less than two weeks, we'll have a neon backdrop. Just like in the fall, the hills are on fire for the same amount of time. It's even a fast change for us humans.

I walked through the woods, finding some old barbed wire fence (not Hercules') and tried not to catch my leggings on them. Dressed for yoga, cell phone still in my pocket. I felt so 17th century Yankee... I was only about 20 feet or so into the woods, walking parallel to my yard, up hill, the parallel to the field. Nothing but more of the same four types of greenery I mentioned before, but not what I wanted. I thought, "Why should I think it would be so easy?" Like wild animals, the leeks would know where humans were living, and wouldn't set up their homes so close by. They're wild things, they have the intuition. Perhaps I was giving plants way too much credit.

I kept thinking I saw them...those single-leafed beings were fooling me. Some larger than one another, and glowing in the bit of sunlight, looked like the lime-green feathers I was searching for. I almost turned around (mind you "leaving in 5" text was probably 20 minutes in the making) but I saw the path I had spoken about earlier starting in front of me. I had made my way to the top of our field.

There is a huge, ancient tree very close to the start of the path. This winter, and in other low-light times, this tree scares me - it's more like a dark being. It barely sprout leaves, and the few were so high up last summer, I could barely discern what kind it was (my guess is Maple.) The tree certainly has a presence, but I saw it and realized I had been building up it's size - for the winter, I had not wanted to face it alone, that's how intimidating it is...But well, I looked at it in the face, and asked gently "Tree, show me where the leeks are." In my head, not out loud, ya know, preserving some sanity. I turned my back to the tree, to head down the path towards the field and house, and BAM leeks right in front of me. Glowing green, the big bright floppy green rabbit's ears settled in their circle right under a different old maple.

Thank you.

April 12, 2010

Local recipes and perhaps a supper club

Hello all,

It's Spring and I am falling over myself deciding on a meat share, where to get my raw milk, and what I can find/harvest from my woods. I want to share my excitement (and bounty) with everyone!

I am going to start exploring and exposing recipes including all local ingredients, and maybe when we get it together, we can have monthly dinner parties.

Here's one from last night - a light dinner, but so good:

Sauteed zucchini and tomatoes w/shaved cheese on top of polenta, side of Vermont Cranberry beans. (The tomatoes and zucchini were not local last night, but could have been 100%!)

OK, enough for now....who's down for some dinner!?