Over the past few years, our family has worked to eat more local foods. Local foods are often grown/raised without chemicals or pesticides and animals are often treated much more humanely. Because local farms don’t have to travel far, food can be harvested much riper than food that has to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to get to the store. And it saves a lot of fuel if it doesn’t have to travel.
When I first started to learn about the locavore movement, I wasn’t sure how practical it would be in Abilene, TX. I mean I don’t have any recipes that use mesquite beans. However, after asking around, we discovered a farm where we can get beef, chicken, eggs, and pork from. And we discovered how fun the farmer’s market can be.
I’ll admit that at first it was a little daunting. I would walk through and see onions and potatoes, which I knew what to do with, but there were lots of other foods that I recognized, but had no idea how to cook or incorporate into recipes. After we joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) about 4 years ago, we were faced with kale, bok choy, eggplant, zucchini, and several other foods I couldn’t identify. Thanks to my dear friend, Susie, who had suggestions and links to help, I began to learn how to cook those things. We even discovered some recipes — fried rice with bok choy and carrots, for example — that we really loved. And others that we really didn’t.
Last summer’s extreme heat and drought ended our CSA, but it hasn’t ended our trips to the Farmer’s Market, or our experimentation with new recipes. We can buy honey, soap, or candles there, in addition to a lot of different vegetables. There’s a picture below of what’s sitting on my counter awaiting meals this week — tomatoes to be made into sauce, spaghetti squash, zucchini awaiting its fate as bread, and an eggplant.
Dinner reflected a good trip to the market — burgers from local beef, grilled onions, eggplant chips, roasted okra, and cantaloupe all from local farms. And Pringles. Because we are a normal family, and, frankly, how else am I going to get the girls to eat eggplant?