Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dark Days Challenge: Week 1 - A Whole Darn Local Foods Day

This is the first week of the Dark Days Local Food Challenge, in which we are supposed to prepare, eat and blog about one local foods meal a week throughout the short days of winter.  I signed on to this challenge thinking it would be easy since we grow most of our own food, but it will definitely be a bit more challenging during the Minnesota winter when, deprived of fresh garden produce, we often succumb to exotic produce temptations like avocados, oranges and mangos.

We launched the Dark Days challenge with a local foods breakfast. Our dear friend Vera joined us for breakfast and the menu was multigrain pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese and scallions, and bacon.  The eggs came fresh from our own sweet chickens (0 miles).  Ordinarily I make pancalkes from scratch, but I wanted to try the pancake mix from the Whole Grain Milling Co in Welcome, MN (135 miles) because it has received rave reviews.   The bacon was from the Good Food Store co-op - labeled "local" despite being from LeMars, Iowa (264 miles). Normally we purchase bacon at the Farmers Market from a nearby farmer but we missed the previous market day because our cow hoof trimmer was here:
(Our milk cow LaFonda getting her hooves trimmed last weekend- see last year's Hoof Trimming post for complete details.)
It was a classic farm breakfast--not very original, but very delicious! We scrambled the eggs with cheddar cheese curds from Kaplan Farm in Chatfield, MN (30 miles),  scallions from our high tunnel greenhouse and dried tomatoes from our garden last summer (0 miles).   The butter  for the pancakes was from Organic Valley (SE MN farms) and the honey and  maple syrup (0 miles) were from our own farm. It was my first crop of honey form my own bees this fall.  The maple syrup is from the silver maple trees in our yard collected last March --it takes 60 gallons of silver maple sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!

Although Rog and I drank  non-local coffee (not grown locally, but sold by City Kid Java, which benefits urban kids in Minneapolis, MN  - 85 miles) and Vera drank tea made from dried mint and wild nettles gathered on our farm.  Stinging nettles are not a very fun plant to weed out of the gardenbut they are delicious and nutritious to consume, both as cooked greens and dried for tea.
When you combine  breakfast and lunch into brunch, you only need two meals a day! Our evening meal was mostly comprised of farm ingredients: 
 A green salad made from fresh chard (biondi di lyon and rainbow) and beauty heart radishes from our high tunnel greenhouse (0 miles), tossed in a salad with roasted pepitas (? miles), crimini mushrooms grown by Forest Mushrooms in St Joseph, MN (156 miles)  and homemade honey-mustard dressing (honey from our bees - 0 miles).

We roasted beets from our garden (0 miles) and tossed them with  ground pepper and a bit of  balsamic vinegar (Italy--many miles).
The T-bone steak came from one of our own grass-fed steers harvested last summer (0 miles).  I slathered it with spicy ground mustard and broiled it.   Even though it is incredibly delicious beef, I have to admit I wept as I ate the first few meals from this beast we had raised from infancy.

The steak was served with the roasted beets and roasted baby onions grown in our garden, baked acorn squash drizzled with melted butter and farm honey, and accompanied by a delectable bottle of GoGo Red wine from Cannon River Winery  (45 miles).

A simple, local feast fit for kings -- or farmers!


Fred said...

What a great way to start of the challenge! Looks great!

Marie said...

I'm drooling....

Maggie said...

Everything looks wonderful! I live learning about hoof trimming too.

gz said...

Sometimes it is surprising how far away some things are that are considered local!
A good idea, that more should follow

verification word....exces !! just missing the last 's' !!!