Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Local Makes the World Go Round

There is a lot being said in the US these days about buying local. In our area there are guides of where to  Buy Local produce put out every year by the Piedmont Environmental Council and the list of participating farmers is impressive.  So too, is the variety of what you can buy.  With such a long list I will admit I have not tried everything but each year we make a point to visit the farmers markets, sample the products and visit a few more farms.  At this stage in the game we have come up with a few family favorites.
The first on my list is Oak Shade Farms, in Rixeyville, Virgina.  They sell an impressive variety of vegetables, eggs, honey, and jams but moreover have the most incredible family of artisans.  Every Christmas they open their doors to the public and sell cut-your-own trees as well as provide a greenhouse filled to the brim with pottery, weaving, beeswax candles, knitted caps, blankets and scarves, greeting cards, jewelry....the list goes on and on, but get this.....it is all made by someone in their family!  They are truly an incredible group.  Jim Mello is a friend of mine and his intelligent, kind soul leaves no doubt why his farm is such an inspiration.  I want to be like him when I grow up.
Jim Mello of Oak Shade Farms
Another favorite is Pleasant Hill Farm (again in Rixeyville!) where the hogs lie on "the pleasant hill" like Kings on their royal....um, thrones.  I ache a little every time I consider the animal that gave its life for the food I eat but I would choose an animal that lived a humane lifestyle over one that did not anyday.  These pigs live in a pigsty worthy of being bedazzled.
A photo from Rhonda's blog, Pigs at Pleasant Hill
When I met Rhonda at our local Farmer's Market,  I was with Lola and DD and she invited us to come over and feed the baby pigs with a baby bottle.  The kids loved the idea and we made a trip out of it (although by the time we organized ourselves the babies had been weaned).  What we did see was a whole lot of happy pigs and a house that makes you think ole'Scarlett is just around the corner fidgeting with her skirt.  Happy pigs....and pork chops that were so juicy they put my Dad in hog-heaven (not literally!).
Photo from Local Harvest
Now, if you love local meat, produce, eggs, milk and so forth....you may also love cooking.  I know I do.  I love to cook but as a mother with a busy lifestyle I also love some healthy, delicious, kid-friendly meals that I can whip up in a flash.  I have found no better source for this than the incredible spices of Shenandoah Spice Company.

Shenandoah Spice...yet another great blend
These spices are exceptionally well blended and with just a dash you can transform a meal into a culinary-melt-in-your-mouth sensation.  A case in point was the beautiful organic, free range chicken I roasted for our visiting family a week ago.  There were ten sitting for dinner and I needed to be able to organize and focus in many places at once so fussing over pots on the stove would not suffice.  Instead, I popped my lovely bird in the oven with potatoes, onions, carrots, rutabaga and a sprinkling of Shenandoah Spice Company's Jerk Seasoning.  Not a lot....just a hint sprinkled neck to toe.  Deeeeee-licious and so enjoyed that I did not have even a morsel left over.  When my sister-in-law ask what I had used to make it so tasty I showed her the can and she couldn't believe it.  Best roasted chicken I've ever made.
I could go on and on about these spices but my top three are Jerk Chicken, Yellow Curry (this is the best curry I have tried since living in Nepal), and the Espresso BBQ Rub......oh, and the Carnitas......there are so many and they have saved my dinners more times than I should probably admit (thank you Josh and Megan Burrows!).  Oh and just in case, you can order these by mail and they make incredible gifts.

So that is my top three with more to come once the markets open.....what is happening in your "Buy Local" neck of the woods?
Thanks for stopping by!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...