Friday, April 24, 2009

Soy estrogen, and Boys

A few people have asked me lately about soy estrogen and boys. A couple years back, the estrogen in soy was all the rage and it was said that boys were not really supposed to eat soy at all. This scare came right around the same time that they came out with the chickenless nugget, and the whole super-processed soy craze started. The truth is, yes, there is estrogen in soy. If your family eats obscene amounts of soy products and happen to have a little boy it could effect his growth and development. But frankly, if your family eats obscene amounts of anything it could effect a child's development.

When I was 9 months old, I decided (on my own) that I wanted to eat nothing but mashed carrots and sweet potatoes. My mom says she could occasionally push some oatmeal with molasses down me, but for the most part, I ate mashed sweet potatoes and carrots breakfast, lunch and dinner. About 3 weeks later, she noticed that I was a little bit yellow around my lips and nose. Then, she noticed it in my fingertips and eyelids. She was alarmed of course, because discoloration of that kind is a sure warning sign for Jaundice. So, she took me to the Dr. and after careful and close examination the Dr asked her, point blank, "What the hell are you feeding this kid?" When she explained my new found love of sweet potatoes and carrots it all came clear. I wasn't turning yellow... I was turning ORANGE.

Soy is just the same. If your diet consists of a large range of things, but you happen to have tofu 3 nights a week for dinner... this most likely will not effect your boys development. In fact, I will go so far as to say that it will be healthier than the hormone fed chicken or beef you could be giving him instead. On the other hand, if he has a big glass of soy milk in the morning, soy milk in his cereal, chickenless nuggets with french fries fried in soybean oil for lunch, and Boca burger on a white bread bun for dinner... well, yes. Your child may have a problem. You may flood his system with soy and it may start to effect his development. No one was made to eat one plant that much.

In our society, you can get anything you want... anything... made from corn or soy. In fact, your entire diet could be based on corn and soy and unless you are paying attention, you wouldn't even know it! Most fast food eaters do not understand that nearly everything they are eating is corn. Every bit of it. The corn fed beef and chicken, the french fries cooked in corn oil and made with modified corn starch to hold them together, the high fructose corn syrup that makes up more than three quarters of their 36 oz soft drink. All of it. Corn.

Our bodies were not meant to eat anything this way.

But back to soy. It is important to not demonise a food for the way people use it. Soy beans are legumes. They are a wonderful source of amino acids that make up proteins just as the average pinto bean or black bean is. Eaten with rice, they make a complex protein that is usually very important for the vegan or vegetarian diet. It isn't a food to ignore or avoid unless it has been tampered with beyond recognition by humans.

A moment for GMO's. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. They are flooding our food chains right now. To the GMO corn to feed the cattle (that, FYI, are not supposed to eat corn in the first place) to the GMO soybean oil to fry our potato chips and french fries in. I wish that I could say that they genetically modify these foods to make them more nutritious... to make them better for you... but they don't. They modify these foods to make them resistant to poison. So they can pour copious amounts of whatever poison they want on the fields in which our food is grown, killing everything else living and leave perfectly 'healthy' soy and corn plants behind. Scary? You bet! If this is something you would like to avoid, here is a handy shopping list to help you. *Shopping list*

When you are buying your soy foods, these three questions will help you determine if it is safe or not:
  1. Does it have label saying "no GMO's" or "Organic" (which by Federal law can not have GMO's)?
  2. Are you eating many other foods with your soy products that are not made from soy?
  3. Is it a food that is unique to soy, like miso or tofu? (Just a tip, soy beans do not have mammary glands).

If the answers are 'yes', 'yes', and 'yes', then honestly, you are probably fine to feed this to your family without fear or side effects.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Bunt Cake

Can I spend some time making your mouth water? This cake was SO good! I hadn't ever done it this way before... I adjusted the recipe for my own tastes. The first time I made it, I used a 9X13 cake pan, and I followed the recipe exactly (which included quite a bit of white flour), but this time I changed the recipe and it was (personally) SO much better! (The recipe called for a bunt pan, but I didn't have one until this week. :) ) The apples from around here are starting to get grainy and pithy. Don't buy from Argentina! Turn them into a cake!

Apple Cinnamon Bunt Cake

2 cups spelt flour
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tea baking powder
1 tea salt
1/2 tea baking soda

4 eggs
2 melted sticks of butter (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (buy the good stuff)

Toss in:
6 granny smith apples (or more if they are small)
Pealed and sliced.

Preheat oven to 350*

Mix dry together and wet together in seperate bowls. Pour wet into dry and mix well. Toss with sliced apples (which can be tossed with lemon juice beforehand, but is optional) and add the whole thing to a greased bunt pan.

Cook for 50 - 60 minutes or a stick comes out clean.

COOL COMPLETELY before taking out of the pan. Top with 2 cups powdered sugar, and 1 - 2 Tbs apple juice to make a frosting/glaze.

This is an AMAZING cake, and I didn't have a problem with the kids eating generous servings of it either. It's mostly apples... there are big chunks of apple throughout that practically melt in your mouth. YUM!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I am going to feed you friend dandelions for dinner!

Sounds like a threat doesn't it? lol! Well today, thanks to this post (I made up my own recipe), that threat came true!

Dandelion Batter

1 cup spelt flour
2 eggs
1 tea sea salt
1 1/2 tea Spike seasoning
2/3 cup of milk or enough to make the batter kind of runny.

Mix it all together in a large bowl.
Wash and spin dry the dandelion flowers.

Dip in the batter, and fry in hot oil (we used coconut oil)

Allow to cool on paper towels, and eat away.

The kids absolutely loved them! They didn't last until dinner. Weeds... who would've thunk?

Variety and the Seasonal Eater

Every nutritionist will tell you that variety is an important part of a healthy diet. You are born with an urge to try out new tastes. One of the first reflexes you have puts new things strait into your mouth. It seems from the outside that a healthy diet is harder if you are a local/seasonal eater in most places... and to a point, it's true. I don't have a whole lot of fresh fruits and veggies in February when around here, the ground is frozen solid. However, there are a few things I do to counter that February slump that have helped keep our diets optimal and our variety up.

Storage: The trick for me has always been storage. Eating what you have stored, however, is a acquired habit. It doesn't happen overnight. Nor does storing enough food for the entire season. Each part is a process.

This year we actually ran out of a few things! This last summer, the amount of food that we consume jumped much more than I assumed it would. At the start of the summer with my family (my kids then 16 mos, almost 7 yrs, and almost 12 yrs) I was feeding 2 adults, and 2 children. By the end of the summer I was feeding 3 fully adult sized portions, and 2 fully kid sized portions (because, of course, Logan didn't stay a baby forever). So my storage for this winter was off. It isn't an exact science... but if you calculate it out before you look for produce to buy in August or September, it will be much easier to adjust to what your family personally needs.

On page 10 of the Ball Blue Book it has a chart for planning how much food to grow and/or preserve for your family. It lists how many servings you would have per week, and then times that by 52, and you have how many quarts you need for the year. For example, we can peaches each year. This last year we ate 3 quarts of peaches each week until they were gone. (The year before that it was 1 or 2... that is how much it changed this last summer. Teenagers really throw the food prep for a loop!) So for this next year I am planning to can 70 quarts, or 5 boxes of peaches. I do the same calculation for green beans, blueberries, tomato sauce, beets, snow peas, dried herbs, etc.

The Ball Blue Book only lists the things you preserve by canning, but I have modified the planning to everything I need... freezing, drying, and canning. As the time gets closer, I will have more details about the food preservation, low sugar canning, and other tips for keeping your local harvest beautiful and yummy all through the winter. Basically planning ahead allows us to have variety in the winter months so we are not buying blueberries from Chili, or strawberries from Mexico in January.

Variety and how important it is... or not. The truth is, you don't have to eat a thousand different kinds of foods every day to stay healthy. For thousands of years our bodies were adjusted to eating what was around our local area. Our bodies crave things that are in season. When the sun is out, our bodies naturally want lighter, more sweet foods... and when the winter cold closes in, our bodies turn to heavy meals that usually have quite a bit of protein in them to keep us warm. It is important to keep those seasonal feelings alive in our bodies.

Even a hundred years ago, beef was rarely a summertime meal, and chicken was never found in January. Cows were slaughtered in the late fall to boost the winter months with a high protein source, and chickens were culled in the summer when people found out just how many roosters they had. Egg layers took the months of Dec -Feb off and started up again in March and a huge celebration took place to honor them. Cows had babies in the spring and by April had enough milk to feed the neighborhood, but were never over taxed and so therefore, to keep the cow healthy, no one had tons of milk in the winter when the cows were pregnant. Everything has a season. Even meats, milk, and eggs. A letter to Sally Fallon (the author of Nourishing Traditions) says:

"Traditional diets didn't rely on refrigeration or long distance transport. As advocates of Weston Price's work, we need to pay more attention to the seasonality of food; even milk, meat, and eggs.

Left to her own devices, a dairy cow will breed so that she calves in the spring. This way both she and the calf will have plenty of high quality feed to rebuild and grow with so they both will go into the following winter with plenty of vigor and stored nutrients with which to meet its harsh temperature and poorer quality feed. (Similarly, a hen will not lay eggs in the middle of winter unless subjected to artificial lighting.) Our modern eating habits push a farmer to breed her cows so they'll calve in the fall. When children go back to school, we expect milk for our breakfasts and milk sales go up. This is completely backwards!" ---Read the rest of the letter here.---

I am not saying, by any means, to stop eating chicken just because it is winter... but to be conscience of the natural cycles of the plants and animals from which we get our foods. And the cycles in which we have our cravings as well.

Cooking up a Story ~ Eric Schlosser

Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, has this 34 minute interview video that was posted last week on Cooking up a Story. I thought it was a wonderful illustration of how information can change our whole food system. Definitely worth watching.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Living Locally tip #2 ~ Menu Planning for Locavores

I have seen many menu plans, but none worked for my family. Most were very ridged and with Don's schedule being ever-changing, and the kids and I with alternative schedules due to homeschooling and electives and such... well, having a ridged menu schedule just never worked for us. We would stick with it for a week, and then get frustrated and give up. No matter how much time, effort, and planning I put into making it, or how good of an idea we thought it was, it just didn't ever work out.

I also am a local/seasonal eater as much as possible... It is hard to guess what will be ready for harvest week to week, much less month to month. So a rotating menu was out as well.

With all of these adjustments in mind, I set about to figure out how a locavore mama with a completely crazy schedule would be able to take some of the guesswork out of making dinner. And at the start of this year, I put together a plan. It has worked really great so far, so I thought I would share. Please forgive my handwriting and stuff... these pictures are our actual menu for this week and the list that goes along with it. It isn't beautiful like many other plans... but it is easy once you get the hang of it, and it is real.

Making a menu takes very little time at this point. One day a week I spend about half an hour going through my pantry, freezer, and fridge and setting up a tentative menu plan. My menu includes all three meals per day and a little room for snacks/dessert column on the side. My goal is to have it written by Monday.
My menu is made for a shopping list. Not for a schedule. It could just as easily be put into 7 different boxes with no dates on them, but I found this from Organized Home and I use it because they have made all the boxes for me... and it's cute.

When I have my menu made, I set up my shopping list. This means I need to know what is in each meal so I can make sure I have each and every thing I will need. When you add Roasted Root Veggies to the menu, there are the obvious ingredients (potatoes, beets, yams, etc) and then the not so obvious (olive oil, sea salt, etc). I have to make sure I have all the ingredients that we need, and when we don't, I have to add those into the shopping list. I have started to check these basic ingredients when I check the pantry and freezer and that has made it less time consuming. After all that, I can make an accurate list of what we need for the weeks meals.

Then comes the shopping. I go first to the local farm store in our area (first part of the list, top left). Terry's Berries. What a slice of heaven it is! This is where I get eggs and most of our produce. Finding a local farm store can be difficult... I found myself very lucky to have known people in this area that told me about Terry's. Finding a farmers market though, is usually easy. Local Harvest is a listing of the farmers markets in the US and an amazing resource for budding locavores. If I had not found Terry's, I would have gotten directions to the closest farmers market from there. Many of them run year round, and the ones that don't, usually start up in April, so right now is the perfect time to start looking for your own farmers market.

After the farm store is Trader Joe's (bottom left). Many of Trader Joe's products travel great distances before they reach their stores. If I can get it from the farm that grows everything locally, I will... if not, Trader Joe's has pretty high standards and I accept that the people in their chain of food growers and producers have a decent wage and decent working conditions. Trader Joe's is also the place where I get my convenience foods. For us, that means (all organic) one ingredient pasta, pasta sauce, boxed tomato soup, canned beans, and ready made breads. Those things that help you pull together a decent meal in 15 minutes on a busy night. I stock up on those when I get low in the pantry.

My third stop is Fred Meyers (right side of list). I shop almost exclusively in their bulk and natural foods section. They carry Organic Valley brands and also Tillamook products. These are two companies that are large scale and mainstream... but are also local, and have no hormones in their dairy products. Fred Meyers is where I buy my cheese, milk, and also dry bulk goods. I have gallon jars I fill with the dry bulk goods when ever they get low. Because they are in the pantry, I can tell which ones are low at a glance... and it is easy to add them to the shopping list.

Implementing the menu at this point is pretty easy. But I had to get the whole family on board. In the beginning, I had explained it to the kids, but not to my husband (who is gone at dinnertime at least 4 days a week). He would use an item for a lunch to take to work, and I wouldn't have it the next day for a dinner I had planned and shopped for. Now that the kinks are worked out though, it runs pretty smoothly. But I did have to post the menu in a VERY obvious place to get everyone in the family to check it regularly. (On the fridge.)

One thing about our menu implementing is how our menu is used. Notice that two things are already crossed off the list? Those are the things we ate today before I decided to write this. Once the menu is made and up on the fridge, who ever is cooking can pick whatever is on the menu for that meal and make it... then they cross it off the list. If we have tomato soup set on the menu for Thursday and the kids want it on Monday, we cross it off the list and make it on Monday. Because I always know the ingredients for the meal are available, I don't have to worry about making the meal on a specific day. It doesn't always work that way... there are perishables that have to be taken into account and so of course, when you have potatoes that are starting to get eyes, or celery that is going limp, you will want to use that. And others take planning... like pinto beans have to soak and you cook them all day in a crock pot... so you do have to plan a little bit. But with a plan like this, it gives you a lot more control of the days when you spend an hour in the kitchen, and the days you come home to a hot meal in the crock pot.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

King Corn

For a movie that started out silly and fun, this was packed full of useful information. Another documentary that passes the good information without the drama.

Basically, it is the story of an acre of corn. These two men find that they have similar backgrounds in their family tree, and decide to go back to the place where their grandfathers lived and plant an acre of corn in Iowa. It follows them through 9 months of growing, harvesting, selling, processing and finding out where the products go. They even make High Fructose Corn Syrup... and then taste it. Blech!

Inspired by Michael Pollan's work, The Omnivores Dilemma, they are armed with all the right questions and the answers will make you laugh and cry at the way food is used in this country. Definitely gets my thumbs up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An extract from the book Seasonal Food by Paul Waddington


Life in Britain was once intimately entwined with the seasons. Our survival depended on a wealth of skills we developed to take advantage of the growing seasons and to deal with the barren winter. We learned when to plant and harvest to ensure fresh food was available for as long as possible. We knew exactly when wild foods were ready for the taking. And we learned to dry, salt, smoke, preserve and store food to keep us going through the lean times, or to take advantage of abundance. Our year turned to a cycle that was driven by the seasons, with the last autumn harvests heralding the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.

For many of us today, technology has reduced the seasons to little more than an aesthetic distraction. Heating and air-conditioning keep us comfortable all year round. Refrigeration, high-technology storage and a globalized food market mean that we can eat whatever we want, whenever we want. The year follows very different rhythms: the school year, the tax year, the financial year.

As a result, what awareness we have of food's seasons is diminishing rapidly. It has arguably been on the wane for hundreds of years, since a series of land enclosures starting in the 1500s began to reduce the amount of common land on which small farmers and labourers could grow food and raise livestock for themselves. By the late eighteenth century, when enclosures accelerated, many were forced off the land and into towns and cities, where, according to food historian Colin Spencer: "...under the slavery of long hours and pittance wages, their diet declined to bread, jam, tea and sugar." While we might think that junk food, far removed from nature's cycles, is a relatively recent phenomenon, it has in fact been a part of British life for hundreds of years.

As the first people to industrialize, Britons were the first to lose our connection with the land and the seasons. We regained it -- albeit briefly, and under duress -- in the Second World War, when the 'dig for victory' campaign had the whole nation growing its own food and in better health than at any other time in the twentieth century. After the war, though, the combination of agricultural subsidy and chemical farming severed this connection anew, and brought us to where we are today: a world of cheap, year-round abundance.

So should we care about the relationship between food and the seasons when it is no longer a matter of life and death; when we (in Britain at least) can eat what we want, when we want?

I believe we should. For a start, there's the simple fact that food tastes better in season. From spring lamb to asparagus, from apples to wild salmon, fresh, local produce is better to eat than food that has been raised artificially, or that has travelled halfway around the world in a controlled-atmosphere container. There are straightforward reasons for this. Take tomatoes. They like to grow in rich, well-composted soil and need good strong sun to ripen properly. The flavour of a good tomato is a result of the subtle interplay between nutritious soil and sunlight. So it should come as no surprise that 'fresh' tomatoes, planted in an artificial substrate and grown out of season in an air-conditioned greenhouse, taste of nothing much at all. Or take intensively farmed salmon, also available all year round. Fooled into growing by artificial light, drenched in chemicals, drugged up to the eyeballs and crammed into pens at densities of up to 20 kg per cubic metre, they are not in good shape when they reach the supermarket. Wild fish, on the other hand, caught in season, have reached a prime condition that results from a natural life cycle and are an infinitely superior product.

Of course we can get many foods all year round. But it's a treat and a privilege to eat them in season, because for much of the year, many foods are far from being at their best.

Then there's the question of how sustainable our approach to food production and consumption is. Our 'year-round abundance' has carried a heavy price. The problems of industrial agriculture -- from unhappy salmon to battery hens to pesticide-soaked vegetables -- are well documented and have provoked a surge in the sales of organic produce. This is to the good, because apart from giving us foods free from agrochemicals whose deleterious effects are thought to range from poorer child health to male infertility, organic production has many benefits. It promotes biodiversity and soil quality; it reduces the pollution of waterways and land. And most of the time it gives us food that is healthier, richer in nutrients and tastier.

But adherence to organic standards alone is not necessarily a sustainable way for us to consume food; nor does it guarantee a superior product. Flying in organic spring onions from Mexico and collecting them by car from a supermarket create 300 times more CO2 emissions than if they were grown locally and delivered by an organic box scheme. And they don't taste as good, either.
In a world where man-made climate change is becoming an urgent issue, what we eat is more than just a matter of taste. Buying in season encourages us to buy locally, whether from the farmers' market in town or the specialist sheep farmer who sells direct. Supermarkets may pride themselves on an ever-growing range of organic produce, but if a kilo of apples has made the flight from New Zealand in March, are they really going to taste as good as a well-stored late British variety? And if you accept that human activity contributes to climate change, is this worth the kilo of CO2 they will produce, compared to the 50g if the same kilo were bought locally? Despite the fact that we can grow perhaps the best apples in the world, Britain has lost 60 per cent of its apple orchards since 1970, thanks in part to bureaucratic madness that paid growers to dig them up. Buying locally and in season encourages local producers, who are building a more sustainable food industry, contributing to a renaissance in British produce and cuisine and creating a better environment.

Most of all, though, eating with the seasons brings a rich variety into our lives. Where's the fun in eating the same things all year round? By being closely aware of what's in season, you get twelve months' worth of gastronomic treats, and satisfying answers to the perpetual question of what to buy and cook for yourself, family and friends. Today, the nearest thing to a seasonal gastronomic event in Britain is the annual consumption of an oversized fowl, accompanied by miniature cabbages, about both of whose qualities many have, at best, ambivalent feelings.

The seasons have much more to offer than this. British produce gives us a huge range of reasons to celebrate throughout the year. From the autumnal abundance of fruit, game and vegetables to the spring treats of lamb, fresh greens and mackerel, there is (almost) always something good, fresh and locally produced for us to enjoy

However, unless we are enthusiasts, farmers, or live close to rural tradition, many of us have only a vestigial awareness of what's in season when. Regaining this knowledge is not easy. Chefs and food professionals tend to keep it to themselves, occasionally giving away tempting titbits in their recipes: 'And now, of course, is the perfect time to eat lobster!' Why? How do they know this? How do we get to know this?

The purpose of this book is to put comprehensive knowledge of food's seasons back in the hands of people who buy food. It's not a recipe book -- there are plenty of those already. Seasonal Food is a guidebook to what's in season when and why in Britain so you can eat produce at its best, contribute to a renaissance in local production, and simply revel in the variety of the seasons.

-------- © Paul Waddington 2004

For his book and a bit more about it, his website is here.

Tofu Red Curry with Mixed Braising Greens

The roasted root veggie toss was super simple. I just cut up a bunch of root veggies (in this case rutabaga, garnet yam, white baby potatoes, and chioggia beets) tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, covered them in a glass baking dish and baked at 350* for an hour.

Tofu Red Curry with Mixed Braised Greens

1 lg onion

1 Tbs grated ginger

1 pkg Extra- firm Tofu

6 oz braising greens (this was a mix from my local farm)

10 oz jar of red curry sauce from Trader Joe's

half a can of coconut milk

olive oil

salt and pepper

First, I sliced the tofu to the size that I wanted it. Then I pressed the tofu to get all the water out. It is best to do this for about 20 minutes, but in a pinch, you can do it for less. You take two layers of paper towels or cloth napkins and put the tofu on the towels on a baking sheet. Then place another layer of towels over the top and place another baking sheet on top... then weigh it down with whatever you have on hand. I used my blender. lol...

Get the oil nice and hot in your biggest saute pan. Place the pressed tofu in there and turn down to med heat. This will spatter because of the water in the tofu. You will want a spatter guard if you have it. Cook for about 5 minutes on either side. This makes the tofu nice and crisp, but chewy in the middle.

Take the tofu out of the pan and place it on a paper towel on a plate to drain the oil off.

Add the onion and ginger to the pan with the oil still in it from the tofu. When the onion starts to go clear, add in the braising greens. Spinach works well too, but will take a shorter time to cook so if you are using a mix, put the spinach in last. When all greens are limp, add in the whole jar of red curry sauce and the coconut milk.

Bring to a boil, and add back in the drained tofu. Mix until sauce covers all and is hot and yummy.

Option: If you want to spice it up, add a teaspoon of crushed red peppers in with the onions.

Local Living Tip #1

I am not claiming to be perfect at this... but I do have a few tips up my sleeve. :) In April, I have to say, it is close to the hardest time of year to live locally. Around here right now, the apples and pears are grainy and hard to eat when not cooked, the root veggies are starting to be questionable, and all other foods haven't quite grown to harvestable yet. We ARE getting some great salad mixes and braising mixes from the local farms, but for the most part, everything we are eating is from last year... or from far away.

The amazing thing about this time of year though is how fast things start coming to market. One week someone will have braising mix of really tough kale, tiny spinach, and mustard greens... and then the next week they have fresh salad mix, fresh herbs, and snow peas. The trick is to be there when that happens.

My routine is to go to the family farm store first. I actually go on Tuesday, when my menu is made and I have a fresh shopping list in my hand for the week. Before I go, I 'shop' from my own freezer and get the best of last years harvest into our meals as much as possible. Then comes the farm. I get everything I can from them. Currently, I am getting onions, shallots, red, white and even russet potatoes, apples, pears, leeks, yams, mixed braising greens, rutabaga, parsnips, beets, and fresh eggs. Last week they added cilantro, salad greens, and spinach. This added some great stuff to the menu! When I pay attention, I can make most of my meals from what they have, with a few exceptions for varieties sake, just by knowing what they have and what is coming into season. This gets even easier as the year goes on... but it isn't hard now. It just takes planning.

My next stop is Trader Joe's. Something akin to Whole Foods Market. Decent food, with decent ethics, sold by people who are paid a decent wage. Not all of it is organic... but I stick to the organics... and the sauces. This time of year, a good sauce can mean the difference between a bland and boring menu, and a culinary delight that your kids ask for over and over. This is also where I currently get my meat. I have lost the last of my contacts for local meats when we moved. Trader Joe's has 'no feedlot' beef and organic, free range chicken. They are large scale, which I would love to do without... but for now, I feel good about the meat we eat coming from there.

The last stop on my trip is Fred Meyers. I can, of course, drive to the co-op if I am feeling especially green... but even then, I think that the cost of the 30 miles of petrol probably off-sets whatever I am burning buying through a chain store. So Fred Meyers it is (it is about a mile from my house). It is surprising how much local produce is sold through chain stores. But because I get my local stuff through the farm, the main reason I go to Freddies is for organic dry goods. They have brown rice, organic whole wheat and spelt flours, unsulfered apricots and raisins, and many other things that I buy in bulk and fill my gallon jars when they need it.

The strategy of living locally first is one that I think would save a lot of our environmental grief. I don't personally believe that trade between states or countries is bad. I mean really, we have been trading grains for centuries. The spice trade dates back thousands of years. We were not damaging our planet by trading... what is damaging our planet is that many of us are unknowingly buying foods from 2000 miles away... foods that we could get from our own backyards.

For tonight's menu...

Roasted rutabaga, garnet yam, white baby potatoes, and chioggia beets (pic above)
fried tofu over braised winter greens and onions
slathered all over with red curry sauce and coconut milk