Friday, October 16, 2015

Local and Minimally Processed

Last night we ate salmon burgers, with fresh tomato slices and dill pickle spears, and a side of green beans and garlic.

I realized that the only thing at the table that came from a store was the salmon patty itself and the ketchup.

Of course, the burger buns had ingredients in them (butter, a portion of all-purpose flour, etc.) that had come from a store, but their out-of-home processing wasn't largely significant, in my eyes. They hadn't come out of a package, in fact, they had come out of my grain mill (in terms of the whole wheat flour portion of them) just hours earlier.

It's been an exciting season for local food at our house. I'd say it's been a good three months or more that we've had at least one dinner ingredient, even if a very small one, from our own backyard or from the farm where I work. I do credit a lot of it to luck, as we've had a small but varied harvest in our own garden, but it is also a side effect of very intentional habits -- a choice not to keep many processed convenience foods around, to only have raw ingredients to work with. There have been a few nights when I've cursed the fact that I had nothing to fall back on, but there have been uncountably many nights that I've sat down to the table with my family and just felt immensely grateful for the good, real food that farmers have grown and I have committed to prepare.

(I also enjoy the fact that I can answer the question "Do you know your farmer?" with these facts: the actual farmer that I work with is a former professional chef and ongoing gym rat; has a pair of bumper stickers that respectively read "No Farms, No Food" and "Yes Farms, Yes Food"; a snazzy Swatch watch and flamingo-print Vans shoes; and a big ol' tattoo on his shoulder that proclaims "Vegetables".)

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