Monday, May 06, 2013

Eating Like a Local, pt. 2

Let's see," he said, wiping his forehead and looking out behind the house. "You have got cabbage palm, mangoes, tomatoes, and if I'm not mistaken, some yams and peppers gone wild in that garden."
Amanda was impressed.
"For a sailor you know a great deal about the things growing here."
"When I'm on land, Mrs. Stephenson, I usually stay at my farm."
"You're a farmer?"
His silver eyes twinkled.
"Shocked you, have I? I enjoy growing things and bought some property on the St. Johns River years back to farm. Nothing grows on the ocean," he said softly, looking back out over the garden. "Some of the sailors on the Zephyr were farm boys who ran away to sea. And I wanted nothing more than to run away from the sea and spend my days on my farm, eating fresh food I grew myself."

--Captain Sinister's Lady

I'm on track with the Eat Local Challenge, where for the entire month I try to eat something locally grown, produced, or served at an eatery that's independent and uses local vendors. It's not at all hard when I'm home, but eating out takes a little planning.

Yesterday I was at a baby shower brunch, and each guest had a chocolate "lollipop" at her place. When I turned it over I smiled with relief. It was from a wonderful chocolatier about a mile from my house, which filled my lunchtime local requirement. Whew!

It has been interesting to think more about what I'm eating. I've been shopping at the farmers market for over 15 years, and I look forward to certain foods coming into their season and plan my recipes around them. Of course, as my husband points out, this means we may have roasted brussels sprouts for three months, and then not see them again until the following winter, but to me that's part of the charm.

Now we're into blueberry season and watermelons are on the horizon. This says "Summer cooking!" and a lot of my meals in the next months will feature these items, along with grilled veggies like summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes and more hot weather foods. I'm blessed with the opportunity to live in a place where I can get fresh produce all year round, and it seems a crime not to take advantage of that bounty.

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