Saturday, November 6, 2010


Feeling like much of our food lately has been more local and self grown. This morning we jarred 4 jars of sauerkraut that had been fermenting on our counter for (6?) weeks.

Just now I came inside from planting garlic for next year :) We had bought our stock this year from seed savers but they ran out when we went to buy more a couple weeks ago. So we went to our beloved garlic farmers at the farmer's market and bought a few types there and I used some nicer bulbs from our own garden this year. Some of the cloves are smaller than ideal, but it's fun that it all our garlic planting came from West Bend this year.

When Mom & Dad were here a few weeks ago they bought us a Foley Food Mill (yay!) and Mom helped me make my first batch of tomato sauce with my own tomatoes ever. The smell of cooking down tomatoes, the splash of steaming sauce getting run through the mill and all the leftover seeds and skins brought back pleasant memories of many childhood summers. The 4.5 quarts of sauce we yielded was probably 1/10th of what we made back then with the Victorio strainer and Dad's 60 tomato plants. I went on to make sauce twice more (9 quarts one time and about 7 another) this season, and also took a couple dozen pounds of tomatoes for Chris's mom & grandma too. That doesn't count all the tomatoes we ate on their own either. Amazing what 11 tomato plants can yield. I've been quite proud of my garden this year, can you tell? Especially since all my italian tomato plants (4 san marzano, 1 roma) were from seed and did even better than some of the plants I bought. Definitely a success for my first garden at the house. And excited to make some improvements and try new things next year.

We will certainly miss the farmer's market over winter as a resource for all the fantastic produce we didn't grow ourselves. Last week was the market's last day until spring. But we have been stockpiling the red and fingerling potatoes we love, garlic, onions, and some squash in the basement. Going to try to avoid having to buy more from the grocery store for as long as possible. Store bought is just not the same when you get spoiled with talking to the people that grow your food or better yet, growing it yourself. I feel like we're going back to the roots of self sufficiency & food storage before supermarkets where you can buy (flavorless & mealy) strawberries 365 a year. It brings an appreciation for what grows seasonally in your own region and the effort put into cultivating the food we eat.

A few weeks ago I put in some snow peas, lettuce and salad mix, swiss chard, and radishes since I had the seeds lying around. I was curious to see if anything would yield despite the cold. All of it is definitely coming along nicely, though I've never done peas/beans before so I'm not sure if the plants will die before it's too cold. Still fun to watch it all. Thinking about having some of my little salad greens this weekend.

I should get back to clearing out the warm weather stuff with the daylight growing short- still have some dead pepper plants that need to be pulled and it would be good to rake and work in some compost. Thankfully it's not so cold in the sun. 47 right now. High of 56 tomorrow. After tomorrow's time change it'll be dark by 5pm. Yuck.

P.S. Chris used the food mill for mashed potatoes the other day and they turned out incredibly smooth. Think that thing will come in handy. Ooh, we can use it for cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.

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