Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jumping back on to the (local) bandwagon

OK, fine, I admit it. I've fallen severely off the wagon and I'm not admitting just how much until I've climbed comfortably back on. Let's just say at least I dropped some 10 pounds over the summer, but I have some ways to go before I get back to where I was on a roll. I've decided to start writing again, on weight and body issues, mostly to keep myself going.

Right now, it's kind of easy to eat well. It's September in Wisconsin, and the farmer's markets are bursting with excellent fresh fruit and vegetables. I've even been able to pretty much eat ~80% local. I just made a wonderful potato leek soup with ingredients I got from the farmer's market, and even the chicken stock was made with carcasses I had from local chickens I roasted by putting them over cans of locally-brewed beer. We've had a lot of meals like this lately. Pizza on the grill made with fresh, not even cooked, tomato sauce, and topped with veggies I picked up at the market. Pasta covered with a pile of sauteed vegetables. Stir fries made with those same sauteed veggies, augmented with some locally-raised, grass fed beef, topped with a touch of shredded, local cheese. (There's this one cheesmaker that makes a wedge called Saxony that I've been all over lately.) Breakfast made with free-range chicken eggs, with uncured bacon on the side.

Just yesterday I picked up some fresh broccoli, and not in heads, either. The farmer had already picked off stalks, because it's the second picking and that main shoot that comes off a broccoli head just divides up into several smaller shoots that come later in the season. And she was right: this broccoli was actually sweet and -- get this -- juicy. We had it lightly steamed as a side dish for dinner last night. And I just snacked on these wonderful grape tomatoes that were incredibly flavorful -- almost salty without the added salt. I went to Woodman's for my weekly grocery run, and I pretty much skipped the produce section because I loaded up direct from the farmers the day before. And that's saying a lot, because Woodman's produce section rocks. I'm pretty much a Woodman's fan all around -- they *do* have a lot of fairly local brands, and lots of independent producers are there on weekends handing out free samples of their stuff. The only place that beats Woodman's is of course, our locally-owned and operated natural foods co-op, the Outpost. But like most of those natural foods co-ops, they can get pricey -- they don't have the economy of scale that a larger place such as Woodman's, enjoys.

But yes, it's easy to eat well and wonderful this time of year, which makes this a good time of year to get back on the wagon. It's a good time to develop a taste for fruits and veggies, when they're at their best, so that when winter kicks in and the tomatoes are once again tasteless and mealy and not quite ripe, you still find uses for them. (I found a recipe for oven roasted tomatoes in A New Way To Cook that really does make nasty, mealy greenhouse romas worthwhile -- just slow roast them in the oven for about 4 hours and use 'em in a soup.) Being a locavore means I'm eating a lot less crap, and crap is what really puts on the pounds, those pounds I'm not admitting  to quite yet. So that's my gocal for this month: really stick with being a locavore and developing a taste (and the time) to keep an eye out for making good food.

 Oh, and dropping another four or five pounds would be good, too.

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