Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dry Spell

March falls smack dab in between the winter and summer CSAs. We mashed our last potato, chopped our last onion, and peeled our last head of garlic from the January box weeks ago, entering the long local food dry spell that is February through May.

Unfortunately this has also become a long stretch where I'm not cooking very much. While Chicago still offers local food in the long winter months in the form of the Green City Market one Saturday morning a month, I must admit that I like nothing better than to sleep in on Saturdays, make coffee, and settle in to read the news. Even the lure of fresh vegetables won't rouse me out of the house. So I've been buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, lamenting how much better the carrots and the onions taste when they come straight from a Wisconsin farm and into my dinner in less than a week.

So what to do when there isn't much local food to eat? Why travel, of course. I usually take a few long weekends during this time, which is nice because I don't have to worry about spoiling food. It's also inspiring to sample the local delicacies of the places that I go, and even bring them home. During a short trip to Santa Fe, I alternated between red chili and green chili, and Ryan picked up a bag of pinon pancake mix. Pinon nuts come from small trees that grow in New Mexico. We've made two batches so far, including this morning. Although I set off the smoke detector, they were tasty with maple syrup. We ate them too fast for me to take pictures.

Another weekend, I went skiing with Ali and Becca in Montana. Ali had given me a bag of Evening in Missoula tea when she last visited Chicago. I'm not much of a tea drinker (coffee, hello), but I love the taste of this tea. It's so not Celestial Seasonings. Although I am still working my way through the first bag, I bought another to bring home.

Speaking of eating local food, I heard from Lauren in Singapore this morning, who was excited to report that she and Mo and their new precious little girl Samara are now getting a box of locally grown organic produce delivered to their doorstep. Apparently in Singapore that means kiwi from Italy, she writes. When I told Ryan, he said they must subscribe to a GSA - globally supported agriculture. But maybe that is as local as it gets in Singapore. Not everyone lives near a farm or has access to food grown nearby. I feel lucky that I do even though it's not year round. Maybe this will inspire me to freeze or can more during the summer. More likely, it will make me want to travel more.


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