Thursday, January 22, 2009

Market to Table - January 22, 2009

Yesterday, I wrote a pretty heavy post about "being the change we want to see in the world." And although these "Market to Table" posts are lighter in nature, it's the same message. It's one thing to talk about changing food policy. It's another thing for each of us to take matters into our own hands, making mindful decisions about where our food comes from, how it was grown, and how it gets to our table. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Barbara Kingslover's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, "Eaters must understand, how we eat determines how the world is used." When we choose whole foods over processed; when we choose organic, local, and natural, over conventional and feed-lot; when we choose farmers markets, CSAs, and backyard gardens over big-box stores - We vote with our forks; we shape policy with our dollars spent; we become the change we want to see in the world. 

When it comes to food, I choose local. For me, that means a balance of our farmers market, our local natural food store, my backyard garden, and on occasion a few locally produced items carried by our big-box grocery. Of course, it's one thing to purchase local food and quite another to figure out what to do with it. Eating local means that the season determines our meal plans, not our recipe books. It means a little extra creativity and even a few experiments here and there. But it also means we eat the highest quality, most nutritious, tastiest food there is. 

That being said, here's what made it from market to my table this week...

I started out every morning with my homemade tea: Mint from the farmers market, mixed with sage from my indoor garden. Talk about making a statement - my tea, from fresh herbs, requires no chemicals, and since I use my own cloth reusable tea bag, there's never any waste. Of course I usually compliment it with a dish of local fruit and this time of the year, that means citrus. I have plenty of Texas oranges and grapefruits stocking the fridge to last until those berries start to ripen next month.

For noon and dinner time meals you'll just about always find me with a bowl of local rice or potatoes. The dish pictured here is one of my all-local lunches this week. Let's see. I started out with some chopped green onion (my backyard), spinach (my backyard), a chopped tomato (farmers market), black beans (DiIorio Farm and Market), and mushrooms (grocery but grown 40 miles from home), sauteed in olive oil (Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard). Then I added 1/2 cup of rice (Brazos Natural Foods), vegetable broth (from steaming veggies from the farmers market over the weekend), and some water. It simmered on the stove for about an hour, filled the house with a fabulous aroma, and was a real treat. Thankfully, I have another tomato and more black beans to make this dish again later this week.

Potatoes are my other local staple, something that you can always find at our farmers market. I'm afraid I've seen my last sweet potato for the season, but there are still plenty of red potatoes for the taking. The stir fry pictured here is about as easy at it gets. Some potatoes (farmers market), carrots (farmers market), green onion (my backyard), mushrooms (grocery, but grown 40 miles from home), and olive oil (Sandy Oak) made for quite a few quick dinners this week (oh, and the leftovers are great for breakfast if I'm hungry for more that fruit salad). 

Not pictured is the steamed broccoli and carrots (both from the farmers market) that we nibbled on all week; and Dave enjoyed scrambled eggs (farmers market) with my homemade toast and jelly as well as the local vanilla bean ice cream we picked up at Wateroak Farms on Saturday.

You know, becoming more mindful about our food choices can be difficult at first - finding local sources, eating with the seasons (a.k.a. not having year-round access to our favorite foods). But in a time when so much of our lives feels out of control (the economy, the war, the environment), we can make very clear, very deliberate choices about our food. We can change policy by voting with our forks. And THAT is change we can believe in, because we took part. 

Have a great day, everyone. And, as always, Happy (and mindful) eating!

10 comments:

littleecofootprints said...

Very inspirational post thanks. i am only just starting to be more active in my eating local. i have bought from the local organic food co-op once a week for almost 2 years...but still buy most of my food from the Supermarket...and still buy lots of no local treats such as coffee and chocolate. This is going to change. i think for starters i'll go totally local only one day a week and progress from there. Did you switch overnight or make the change gradually? I love the sound of your morning cup of tea. Think i'll head out in the morning to the garden for some mint and/or lemongrass. Cheers, Tricia

Seraphim said...

Sounds tasty like always! Your very lucky to have so much local produce around you and so many good stores. It's harder where I am, but luckily I get an organic veggie box delivered to more door once a week, so between that and the farmers market, it's not too bad :)

Heather @ SGF said...

littleecofootprints - One day a week would be a great start. Once you get going, you'll be amazed at how easy it is.

My changes weren't entirely made overnight. First I scoped out the farmers market to see what I could pick up there. We also have a bakery nearby where I could get breads. So I started with veggies, herbs, breads, eggs, etc. Then a few months into it, when I found local sources, I added dairy, meet, and went ahead and added fruits too.

Truly, the hardest part in finding sources, once you have your sources, it's a piece of cake.

Seraphim - I've always thought the CSA right-to-the-door service was great. We don't have that here, but it sure must make it super easy! I love the farmers market the best. I've made so many friends there. Sounds like you eat mostly local already!

SaraB said...

Have you tried FoodSupport? They partner with local grocery chains and offer $250 cards for groceries. You can find them at http://www.FoodSupport.org

Heather @ SGF said...

SaraB - I'm guessing this is an ad? Because the point is to get away from the supermarket and find local sources of food...

Beany said...

I got a book by Marion Nestle titled Food Politics. Its been on my list for awhile. I'm guess it touches on the same issues you've raised.

I'm going to try your recipe ideas this week with my CSA stuff.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - have fun with the recipes! I love reading Marion Nestle. Do you read her blog?

http://whattoeatbook.com/

Going Crunchy said...

Wonderful post......and I'm officially drooling. Shannon

Beany said...

I didn't know she had a blog. Thanks.

Heather @ SGF said...

Shannon - Drooling is the highest form of compliment as far as I'm concerned :)

Beany - She's pretty active on it too (publishes just about every day). Enjoy!