I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I wouldn’t list her as one of my top 10 favorite authors (I found her made-popular-by-Oprah’s-book-club selection of The Poisonwood Bible to be a laborious read at best), but the idea behind this book (non-fiction, memoir-ish) is what incited me to pick it up (plus, it was the third book in the buy 2, get 1 free selections my husband and I made last week at Barnes & Noble…added incentive.)
She and her family (husband and 2 daughters) endeavor to live a year feeding off the fruits of their labor. If it wasn’t grown or butchered in their own yard (a small farm in Appalachia,) it was purchase locally, and only after much consideration and confirmation. We’re talking everything from asparagus to pumpkins, with chickens and turkeys thrown in. She even attempted (successfully) to breed turkeys naturally (something rarely done in this day and age of industrialized food manufacturing…anyone looking for a job as a turkey sperm wrangler?)
There are definitely parts of the book that made me sigh in exasperation…Ms. Kingsolver can come across as a bit condescending (and that just makes me want to slap people,) and sometimes she’s just a bit much. But that is more then balanced by the inspiration I take away from this book. Despite the fact that I can (and have) eaten enough processed food to preserve my body to the next ice age, I find myself always desiring for something better, cleaner, more natural. Something sustainable.
Now, living in an apartment complex somewhere in the land of Joisey doesn’t really give way to having a full fledged garden growing in the back yard (my brother started growing a garden in his massive back yard last year, of which I am quite envious), and all the hulabaloo going on right now doesn’t lend itself to a full-fledged container garden on the little patio. But, I would like to see about trying to grow some herbs again this year. (My last year attempts at container gardening weren’t what I would call fabulous.) I have scouted out local farmers markets, and know of 2 organic farms that are just down the road a piece. Next year, the hubs and I are going to look into purchasing a share of a CSA (they’re all sold out right now, obviously.)
Add on top of all that my endeavor to go gluten-free, and you’ve got a girl that going to need to hone up some serious kitchen skills. Thankfully, the kitchen is almost completely unpacked (with an over abundance of spoons, according to the boy), and I’m going to make our first grocery list for next week’s meals tomorrow. Hooray for planning!
So, what about you? Do you try to eat locally? Do you have a garden? What do you grow?