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Transformation

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In one year. From a freezer full of grocery store items, and a pantry full of processed foods. It was one of my biggest resolutions last year. Start cooking real food. Use up the CSA. Support our local farmers and markets and small businesses as much as possible.

Now, the pantry has more staples and less packaged items. Most of it organic. The two freezers are full, with very few packaged items in them. Today I finally reached the point where the only meat in the freezer is locally sourced. All of it. From the local farms, and from grass fed and/or free range animals. It may cost a bit more, but we have learned to eat smaller portions and make the veggies on the plate more than half the plate.

birthday dinner 011

Dinners like my husband’s birthday meal featured small filets, lots of green and red veggies, and it was truly filling and good for us, as well. Portioning out the meat and fish is the way I do it now.

Yesterday I added this to the freezer. Took us a while to inventory and it definitely filled the freezer in the kitchen.

soup CSA and venison 107

Thirty seven pounds of venison. From the farm across the road. Our neighbor hunts over there, getting meat for us. We have the large garden, and supply them with tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. from our garden in the summer. He bow hunts to keep the doe population under control around here, for us and the other neighbors who farm and garden.

Today the crock pot has a lovely venison chili bubbling away in it. The only non local items in the pot are the organic black beans, the olive oil, spices and herbs. The tomatoes came from my garden. The onions, sweet peppers and jalapeno, all from the CSA.

venison black bean chili

venison black bean chili

I have two weeks left in the CSA, then a break for two and a half months. I will be using my foods from the freezer and hitting the Saturday and Sunday markets at the farms, and in Olney. I still need to get seafood and occasionally I will buy from Boarmans for cuts that I can’t get from the farmers, but I finally have decided to minimize my exposure to meats from animals given hormones and/or antibiotics.

Local farms that will have markets this winter.

Breezy Willow on Saturdays
TLV Tree Farm on Saturdays
Clarks Farm on Saturdays
England Acres on Saturday and Sunday

Olney will have an indoor market at the Sandy Spring Museum, beginning in January. Add them to the current year round markets, in Silver Spring, Tacoma Park and Dupont Circle. All of those are a drive from here, but an occasional visit to DC for Sunday brunch and some goodies is worth it.

I am keeping my local resources page up to date, as much as I can. We are so lucky here in Howard County to have fresh food, eggs, dairy, cheese, ice cream, meats, honey, and lots of local canned and frozen specialties, made by local farmers and local companies. Just because the markets have ended in Howard County doesn’t mean we can’t find sources for the winter.

hocofood@@@

About annierie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

2 responses »

  1. Looks delicious!!

    I was almost there with a local dinner. Beef roast in the crock pot (beef from Nick’s Organic farm in Potomac) with CSA veggies. But I put some California red wine in there, and some spices from Penzeys.

    Reply
    • When we do our local challenge dinners, we know the spices and oils are pretty much not local. As well as grains, beans and rice, at least around here, not local.

      Chocolate too. Citrus. We call them our exceptions.

      As for red wine, you used what you have. I have done the same. I consider it a local dinner if the proteins and veggies are all local.

      Getting ready to have an early dinner. My better half has a radio contest starting at seven pm. The chili smells wonderful.

      Reply

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