A dream of mine is to grow a significant portion of my family's food. I really wanted to grow more of our food this fall/winter, but I really got a late start on that. I have some carrots and endive ready in a cold frame waiting for more sun and warmth to grow into early spring harvests, and we ate a lot of kale, celery, swiss chard from the garden this fall, but winter is tough. I am in the planning stages now to grow a lot of root crops that will get us through next winter and more diversity to make our growing and eating more enticing. So this month's one small change is really the next step and a big change (for us) to rely on our land and our hands to meet our family's food needs.
There was a time in our life that we would stop at the grocery store on our way home from work each day to buy whatever we needed. Slowly, over many years we have transitioned to relying on local sources for our food. But we are not perfect, this winter I have reluctantly bought conventionally grown produce in our grocery store to get us by. There is also the fact that neither one of us works outside of our home anymore. We have a limited budget, and it is hard to justify driving into town to get stuff. Often I have to weigh the choices of spending the money and time to drive to local markets that are 35-45 miles away, a large grocery store that has a decent selection of exotically grown organics 25 miles away, or our local grocery store that offers only organic carrots, celery, and broccoli which is 10 miles away. Even in the heart of the growing season, I still have to drive 20 miles to pick up my CSA order and visit a closer local grower's market. So it is time to step up and grow...our own food.
This month I've bought Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest, which I got through interlibrary loan this summer...too late to really get things going for this year...but oh so inspiring. I also ordered his latest book, Winter Harvest Handbook. Oddly enough, about 18 years ago, I read his book Organic Grower and was seriously interested in becoming one...seems I am finally coming full circle.
I also placed my seed order and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my seeds. This week we are getting started with some cold weather crops like kale, mache, and other greens...yes, greens! There is 2 feet of snow on the ground right now and another 6 inches on the way tonight...so we are still at the dreaming/planning phase. I've been gardening for years, so that part isn't new. It is just being more intentional about what and how much I grow and why I am growing it. So it is an intention more than an actual change. But that's what seeds are too...tiny intentions that can grow into big things.
Finally, to properly wrap up January's small change. We did a really good job exploring the idea of different cultured foods. The cultured veggies seemed to be the easiest to assimilate into our lives at this point. Although, I struggled to get Jude to eat much. Did anyone else have luck with their kiddos eating cultured veggies? Kombucha brewing was a dismal failure...I think our house is too cold this time of year. I'll try again in the summer. And I am going to get kefir grains soon to begin making our own kefir from raw milk that we get from Erma.
Finally to share what turned out to be my favorite winter salad creation...so far:
what you need:
1/2 head savoy cabbage
3 T of cultured beets
what you need to do:
1. slice the savoy cabbage into thin slices
2. grate the carrot and mix in
3. mix in the cultured beets
4. drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over and toss