Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Post About 2010

Some of my dearly beloved fellow bloggers are looking forward philosophically to 2011 already. They already have their 2010 "house cleaned" and their bags packed for the new year. Oy. In my true procrastinator's fashion, I am still deeply and hopelessly entrenched in 2010. Today's post concerns a topic that is only vaguely related to the dogs and sheep (but still related -- you'll see!!), however, still important.  When I moved to California in 1996, I kept hearing, "it's all about the food". I didn't get it. I came from Illinois, the midwest, the breadbasket, the food machine of the nation, if not the world. We grew corn and soy, and raised hogs and cows. We went to the Hoopeston Sweet Corn Festival as kids and got free steaming hot ears of sweet corn that were cooked in a railroad steam engine boiler. I worked at one of the Land Grant Universities for years, where there were corn plants in a test plot visible out my window and a livestock pavilion next door to the office. The vet school was down the street and I made friends with the university shepherd. My friends worked at the university dairy barn. What else could people be talking about? Little did I know that California had a whole 'nother story to tell.

In 2010 I did something I had been wanting to do for years, and that was to start participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program for a weekly box of veggies and fruits. I signed up in June for a weekly box from Valley End Farm. Every Tuesday I go and pick up my box. Clint eagerly shows me what's inside the box for this week and often makes suggestions on how things can be cooked. They also offer free-range eggs. For a while this summer, we were treated to weekly locally-raised and grass-fed meat offerings (lamb, beef, pork and chicken) from the Victorian Farmstead (Sebastopol) as well.

So this year I have not only enjoyed eating locally grown veggies and fruits that are sold by a farm only a couple of miles from my house, but I have learned to cook and eat the following veggies, some of which I had never touched before!

Arugula, chard (both yellow and red), kale, turnips, beets, mustard greens, butternut squash and eggplant! (to name a few)...

On a regular basis we also get locally grown and mostly organic potatoes, several types of radishes, sweet potatoes, celery, lovely carrots with the tops on, gourmet mushrooms, oranges, avocadoes, tangerines, tomatoes, plums, pears, apples, butter lettuce, leaf lettuce. Herbs are a bonus at times, such as rosemary, spearmint, and all kinds of basil.

And yes, we did get sweet corn. That is the only California product that disappoints me to this day. It's just not the same as Hoopeston. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

Whatever I don't get eaten in a week, can become part of the dogs' food. They love it! We are all eating better and I feel great helping to support local ag.  So whatever else happened in 2010, I feel good about this one thing.


livin life said...

Hey you....some of us take longer to pack our bags so to speak. Mine are not quite completely is going to take a few more weeks to chew the cud of 2010! Love your food box....I wonder if they have something like that up here! Okay...maybe we will actually see each other again in 2011......until then...thanks for letting us share life with each other by reading!


Billy said...

Thank you! I have some time off work starting NOW and I have a long list of things to do to get ready for 2011. Yes I hope we end up in the same zip code at some point!Until then...