Category Archives: putting by

Local Thanksgiving 2013

I love this holiday! Thank you to all my farmers who grow my food year ’round. I am continually impressed with your skills as soil whisperers.


The best part of appetizers is breaking into the goodies I “put by” in season.



Chicken Soup (recipe) with bowtie pasta and/or brown rice made from chicken from Stuarts Family Farm, carrots from Maple Bank Farm, parsnips from Fort Hill Farm, celeriac from Riverbank Farm, onions from George Hall Farm, my own parsley. Brown rice and pasta: not local.

 Main Course






We have much to be grateful for.

The Good Stuff is Worth It

At one of the sessions at the CT NOFA Winter Conference 2013, the topic of the high price of good food came up. It turns out that when people know what they are getting and why, they accept the premium on high-value foods. High-values foods are those that were raised and processed in a clean and sustainable manner, where nutrition and taste are the priorities.


Unhappy Cows

For over 50 years, Americans have been the lab rats in the great processed food and high-volume farming experiment. If you look at our health record in that same time, you’d have to conclude the experiment was a failure. We now have an unnatural relationship with food, know next to nothing about where it comes from, or even what qualifies as food. As it happens, animals raised in close confinement are bad for you and fat obtained from these animals is bad for you too. Animals slaughtered in facilities that process thousands of animals a day have a statistical probablility of introducing a food-borne pathogens into the line so they take remediation measures (such as washing the meat in ammonia) that may not be good for us either. When you factor in the health and environmental costs of cheap food, it’s significantly more expensive than the expensive food!

For over 50 years, we let corporate shills dressed as scientists tell us:

  • Fat is bad. Animal fats are especially bad and vegetable fats (like Canola oil) are better.
  • Cholesterol is bad.
  • Skim milk is good.
  • Light anything is good; Full-fat anything is bad.
  • Lard is bad. Crisco and margarine are good.

Happy Cows

People are starting to challenge these assumptions. Many are returning to the methods that sustained humankind for over 10,000 years. These methods contradict the current food and nutritional “wisdom.”

Little by little, we are finding our way back to the foods and food plans that nurtured us. People are putting by (canning, freezing, dehydrating) their own provisions from known sources. People are returning to bone broths and rendered animal fats. People are returning to foods they can make in their own homes. People are buying chickens from farmers whose practices they know so that they don’t have to do an anti-nuke anti-backterial lockdown afterwards. The home town butcher is returning! (Check out Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport, CT and Butchers Best Market in Newtown, CT.)

There’s so much to know and it can be daunting trying to figure out where to get started. Here are a few links to the front runners of traditional foods. These people and organizations advocate making bone broths, and rendering their own animal fats for use in cooking, and using the whole animal.

  • The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt nutrition education foundation. Of special note is this article, The Oiling of America.
  • Sally Fallon is the President of Weston Price Foundation. Her cookbook on traditional, nutrient-dense foods is worth a read, even if you don’t cook! She also made a video discussing the oiling of America.
  • Cheeseslave is an advocate of healthy traditional foods, full fat dairy, and against the anti-cholesterol hype. Her site has recipes, tips, and news for people who want to eat real food.

I believe it’s the modern pseudo-foods like margarine and soy milk and convenience foods full of additives, pesticides, and MSG that are making us sick. Full-fat dairy and other traditional foods have been sustaining humans for millennia. And that’s good enough for me.

  • Food Renegade is an advocate of healthy traditional foods. Her site has recipes, tips, and news for people who want to eat real food as well.

I am a rebel. I like to eat red meat. I think butter is good for me. I drink my milk raw. I avoid pre-packaged foods like the plague. I don’t believe the health claims on food labels. And, I like my food to be fresh, wholesome, and traditional.

This list is by no means exhaustive—it’s meant to be a starting point. Feel free to share other sources in the comment section.

Happy reading and happy eating!

Chocolate Chili

I really like this chili recipe! It’s a great winter meal and the flavors are incredible. I like that it’s so easily adaptable to local sources and it’s perfect for using up the foods I put by for the winter. (I really do need an upright freezer!) It’s also an easy and fun recipe to change up a bit each time, based on my mood and what’s on hand.

This time, I swapped out the jalapenos for a poblano pepper and added a bell pepper and swapped out the maple syrup for honey. I left out the beans. Last week, I got chipotle bacon at the farmer’s market and that worked out excellently in this dish.


I wasn’t in the mood to bake the corn bread, so I just had corn instead. I really do prefer having my corn in the winter! It seems like there’s so much of it and I take it for granted in the summer, but nothing brings back the bounty of summer like hot buttered corn in January!

This is not a “challenge meal.” For the first time since I became a locavore, I’m not participating in a Dark Days Eat Local Challenge. The regular challenge isn’t running this year (though there is a small group from another region doing their own thing). I will still be eating locally throughout the dark days but actually, finding local food in the winter no longer the challenge it once was. I am lucky to have many nearby farms and farmers markets that go through the winter. Meat and dairy are easy to come by in these parts. And I collected and put by enough veggies and those “ancillary items” you need to make soups, stews, one pot slow-and-low meals (like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and herbs). The challenge remains cooking from scratch while living and working in the 21st century!

I did come across the Pantry Challenge, which is about using what you have before you go out and buy more stuff. I like the idea of using up the things I put by and clearing out the freezer to make space for the new season. Truth be told, I still have a lot of food from last year in there. (Cut me some slack—it’s a chest freezer and I have to empty it out to find anything! It’s not like I haven’t been pining for an upright freezer for like forever.) Since I found this challenge a bit late and it isn’t exactly what I’m looking to achieve, I’ll be doing my own little “use up my stuff” challenge.

In fact, the corn, tomatoes, and poblano pepper I used in tonight’s chili are from my 2011 collection!