Friday, March 29, 2013

Bred ewes for sale

Bred ewes for sale, east Friesien, Texel and Navajo-churro breeds. Due to lamb late April-mid may. 200.00 each.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Organic roast pork, FRESH greens & rainbow heritage veggies

Cooking and eating locally today was easy!  One day down, 29 to go.

This morning (noonish really, since we don't really eat breakfast) we had gluten free breakfast sausage (Donegal Heritage Farm) and crepes made with our own eggs, Brum's milk and gluten free flour purchased at Grandma's Pantry in Killaloe. Topped it off with Tanglewood Honey and accompanied by a cup of Algonquin Tea company SweetFern Tonic tea.

Earlier in the morning we had a couple of cups of good strong freshly ground 'Freakin Good Coffee'; part of our food co-op order on Saturday and roasted by Equator Coffee in Almonte. It's also fair trade and organic.

Feeling completely virtuous and pleased with the project thus far, I started looking for the missing paperwork I need to apply for my CPP benefits. (turning 60 soon). Halfway through a major rummaging in my 'office', I realized I hadn't taken a roast out of the freezer to thaw. This should have been done last night but when I came home from work at the Granary at 9pm, I didn't think of it.

No problemo. Have slow oven, will cook. Frozen four pound pork roast into pan, oven set at 325, a bit of water in the bottom of the pan and a sprinkling of rosemary and black pepper on top. Oh yes, and a whole head of Rainbow Heritage Garlic added to the pan to roast in its papery skin. Oven turned on at 1 pm. I had planned to use the slow cooker and would have, if I had left home to go to Pembroke as  intended. Instead, paperwork not found, trip to Pembroke not necessary so oven a better choice. I know modern ovens have timers that turn them on and off but my stove is about thirty years old and i don't quite trust its timer functions. If you have a trustworthy hob or cooker, as they call them in England, you can set the timer and go your merry way.

Five pm and the kitchen smells lovely with rosemary and roasting pork. Insert digital meat thermometer and the reddish juices tell me immediately that the roast is far from done. Indeed, its cold frozen little heart is barely at 140 F. Now if it were a steak or even a prime rib beef roast, that would be a perfectly rare roast but pork needs a bit more doneness.  Cranked the oven to 375 and put pan back in.

We don't usually eat much before seven pm but since I am eating only local food, I haven't had any of my usual snacks such as bananas or apples from china or peanut butter on rice cakes so I am very hungry!
Time to prepare the side dishes. A search for the beautiful blue Peruvian potatoes we have from Rainbow Heritage is fruitless. Tom tells me we used them all up last week when we had a little dinner party after seeing Ian Tamblyn at The Terry McLeish Show at the Westside Tap and Grill in Pembroke. Who knew! as our Red Canoe Cafe cook Colleen Shulist was fond of saying.  I do have a vague recollection of peeling quite a lot of potatoes when I arrived home from the bar, but after two large glasses of wine on an empty afternoon stomache, it didn't register that they were the last of the potatoes.

No matter. Tom will have rice. ( He is not as deeply committed to eating only local food as he likes occassional junk food snacks and the odd not so local beer or wine) .  I peel and slice beautiful yellow and orange carrots from Rainbow Heritage, wash and quarter a large beet also from their root cellar, set beet in microwave for twelve minutes and make a  cider vinegar, honey and olive oil dressing for the fresh greens from les Serre de Paul Amyotte. They must have an amazing greenhouse!  Micro greens and a spring salad mix. The first fresh local greens I've seen since last November.

Six forty-five. Veggies done, salad tossed, pork nicely tender, garlic just meltingly toasted! On the plate, just before seven. Where is the camera so I can document this marvellously colourful dinner?  Tom is eating, but my meal is getting cold. The camera is not where I always keep it. (and I've had it for more than five years without losing it). Where used last time?  Ahhhh....a baby lamb photo shoot in the barn. A memory of setting it down on the edge of the feeder, thinking to myself, this is not a good place to put the camera. But only for a second while I put lambie back in with mum.  Hmmmmmm. I will look tomorrow, but I suspect it is well trodden into the bedding by now. You'll have to imagine the slices of rosemary topped pork, the ruby red beet, the sunny golden carrot slices, the dressing glistening on the dark greens. All this lovely food grown and produced within thirty miles of our farm. All of it available during winter through the Ottawa Valley Food Co-op or at the farm gates.

Total estimated cost of this dinner for two. Approx $10.  Actual prep and cooking time about 45 minutes not counting time looking for potatoes or camera. Actual time in oven (or slow cooker) six and half hours.
Left overs (4 lb roast @ 7.00 is 28.00) and enough left for a stir fry, some sandwiches and a lovely bone for some soup...three more meals at least). Also enough veg left for a side for tomorrow's dinner.  I love left much easier to cook enough for a couple of meals.

That's it for today. Tomorrow I plan a trip to Pembroke to stock up on some basics at Kasha Natural Foods and I must email Kylah and Zack at Rainbow Heritage Garden to order more potatoes, some kale, more garlic and some of their wonderful dried beans. And to buy a new camera!

Happy local eating!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day One: there's a cow in my dining room

Sunday. March 24. The entire house is a disaster area. The past seven days have been unusually hectic. As a result of all the great publicity from Feast of the Farm, we had a huge food co-op order which finalized last Sunday at 10 pm when the order cycle finishes. Monday morning I looked at the order summary and realized I had better start weighing and packing meat, if I was to have it  organized and ready for delivery Saturday. Tom was off to pick up feed in Berwick and to deliver meat orders in Ottawa so managed to do about two-thirds of the orders interspersed with bottle feeding the three lambs.

 Now, normally, even a large order wouldn't take all week to fill, but my father who has been in Pembroke Hospital for 78 days after a fall in early January, was due to be discharged on Wednesday morning. We have all been taking turns staying with him and Tuesday, his last hospitalized day, was my shift.; Tom had a OVFC meeting so he dropped me at the hospital at 11a.m and picked me up at 4:45. We were home just in time to resurrect the furnace so it would be warmish for the Bonnechere Valley Play rehearsal in the dining room at 6 pm. Part of the play centres around a dead cow floating downriver, thus the life size paper mache Holstein currently resting its mournful head on the dining room table.

 Wednesday would be consumed with the discharge, settling in at Fairfields Seniors Apartments with my mother and getting used to Dad's new limited mobility at home.Because I  'work' only on weekends at this time of year, I volunteered to stay overnight with my parents for the first two nights, sleeping on the couch in the tiny apartment, helping with meals and wheelchair transfers. Thursday morning I had an appointment for my annual physical and then came home to the farm and spent another two hours sorting and weighing meat and hunting unsuccessfully for our smoked hams. (We have seven chest freezers on the go) No hams to be found. On a hunch I phoned the abbatoir where our meat is processed and yes, we do have smoked hams, and yes, they are still in the smoker. Tom set off to get them after driving me back to Fairfields at 3pm for another night on the couch.

Friday morning, home at 11, am I packed more of the three largest orders and entered the final weights in the online ordering system and drove to Wilno for a meeting  at the Red Canoe Cafe. Home by suppertime and aside from finding and washing my black server outfit for the morrow I confess I did nothing but lie on the couch and search for quiet houses for sale in sunny Spain till bedtime.

Saturday morning, up at seven and directly to work, filling the final two orders. I could have finished them last night but that would mean trying to find space for two huge bags in the freezers. Easier to pack and send them directly to delivery day. Truck loaded and chores done by Tom and off we go as I have to be at the Granary by 9 and Tom has to be at the OVFC sorting depot in Pembroke by 9;30.
I finished work at 3 pm. Breakfast was moderately busy and lunch dead. Tips mediocre. We headed directly to Pembroke to see Catfish Willie at Terry McLeish's afternoon music series at the Westside Tap and Grill. I went to Value Village before joining Tom at the the bar. I drank tea. Home by six-thirty. Quiet evening.

and thus to Sunday morning with the disasterous house. It is now 1 pm and I have made some inroads into the chaos. I go back to work for four pm for the Sunday dinner shift at the Granary.

Let's Eat Locally; a thirty day challenge

I'm about to celebrate my 60th birthday and it seems like a good time for a new personal challenge. Declaring it to the world is one way to ensure that I will have to carry through. We are of course, organic farmers so the locavore movement is an increasingly important part of my daily life. We are members of our wonderful Ottawa Valley Food Co-op and we recently participated in the first annual OVFC Feast of Our Farms. Almost twenty farmers and gardeners prepared dishes ranging from rabbit stew to lamb empanadas to grass fed beef chili to gluten-free goat curry pizzas. Almost all the ingredients were sourced within 100 miles with much of it coming from a 50 mile radius. Eager diners were astounded that all this delicious creative cuisine was prepared with food readily available in early March in eastern Ontario!

Inspired by the success of that event, I have decided to document my own household efforts to eat mostly local foods. I cannot lie, I have some experience of this challenge. As a child growing up in rural Renfrew County, we ate mostly farm grown foods. My mother canned and preserved the garden bounty and our  beef and pork was farm-slaughtered and frozen in the commercial meat locker at Kuehl's Red and White Store in Killaloe.  Like many outlying farm families, we had no hydro and renting a freezer locker meant access to the convenience of frozen food. Without it, we would have had to preserve, salt, smoke or dry our meat as the original settlers of the Ottawa Valley did.

Here are the parameters of my planned culinary adventure. Coffee, spices, rice, quinoi,  and other such non-local staples are acceptable when purchased from a small local retailer. My favourite place to buy  basic items are at Grandma's Pantry in Killaloe. Kasha in Pembroke and Pura Vida in Renfrew also have excellent selections of organic and fair trade foods.

To compound my challenge, I have been gluten and dairy free for over two years  but I will include recipes for those who do eat breads and milk products. I also try to make healthy food for my elderly parents once in awhile. And I will try to include food costs as much as possible to give you an idea of what local food costs. And I can tell you right away, that if the prepared snack and junk foods stay out of your shopping cart, even with more 'expensive' local or organic ingredients, you will still be saving money on groceries.

Stay tuned to this blog for the adventure of eating locally in April in Ontario!