On the Sixth day of Christmas

My true love gave to me… 

A portrait of a domesticated goose.

6 Geese A Laying

According to Hubpages.com, geese were the first animals to be domesticated by cavemen. They figured that they could capture the birds and pen them close to their living area and they had a continual supply of meat. So with that little nugget of information, it makes sense to address local foods and the local food movement. Now I don’t own any geese, (although I have been told I’m getting a “bird” for Christmas, that is “currently living” in our garage, which is a yearly “tale” to try to add suspense to my gift) and I don’t have a pen close to my house that I could house them. But  I should be able to find food sources locally that fit my dietary needs, that are in season and are not having to travel thousands of miles to get to my table.

For example, at Christmas we have a dish that we have served in consecutive years that has become a favorite of ours, but isn’t the traditional Christmas dinner of ham or turkey. We make a stuffed beef tenderloin that involves sausage and apples. Locally we have an old time butcher, Crabill’s meats, that takes in local farmer’s cattle and the hunter’s take animals there to be processed. So that is where I go to buy the tenderloin for the dish that I make. They also make a homemade sausage that goes into the stuffing of this dish. I should be able to also pick up the apples that I will need in their small market area at the front of the store. While I can’t guarantee that the beef that I purchase is going to be free of antibiotics, I can at least say that my food has not traveled more that 20 miles to get to my table. And I can say that I have added to the local economy by buying the meat and I have help to keep a business sustainable here in my area.

Because I live in Virginia, certain foods are not in season here that might be in season in Florida. Strawberries for example. When I * am planning my Christmas dinner, I* will try to serve foods that are in season for my area. Of course, with it being a holiday, we might break this rule for a special treat, a dessert, but I will try to keep all the foods local and in season.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

Recently I read a book by Joan Dye Gussow called “This Organic Life: Confession of a Suburban Homesteader” . It opened my eyes to how to start a journey of trying to feed yourself with seasonal foods. Joan has a house on the Hudson River with a lot that  isn’t much bigger than my own and she grows probably 80 percent of the foods that she consumes all year on about an acre of land. She grows sweet potatoes  and potatoes and has a room in her house that is cool enough that she can store her harvests to last the entire winter. Then I read the book by Eliot Coleman, The Winter Harvest Handbook and got the inspiration to grow winter salad crops in cold frames. I haven’t perfected either of their ideas or techniques yet but I certainly am trying and hope to augment our food purchases with food that is fresh from my own yard. We had a wonderful salad tonight, as a matter of fact.

 

Cover of "The Winter Harvest Handbook: Ye...

Cover via Amazon

On a fun note, Eliot Coleman keeps geese on his farm. They are good for keeping the pests down and their fertilizer is wonderful but I think he mainly enjoys their eggs, which are supposed to be wonderful, although I don’t think I have ever eaten one. He keeps his geese in a pen called “Duckingham Palace” and the ducks get names like Henry and Charles and Di.

 

So without lecturing, I just want to say that if we all made the effort to seek out local foods rather than just depending on the food that has been trucked into the grocery store we would be helping our neighbors and helping our local businesses as well as the global environment.

*As a footnote, I need to add that I don’t do any real grocery shopping. I have told my husband that if he dies first that I will starve because he lovingly cooks and grocery shops for all our food. He is an awesome cook and enjoys doing it. I don’t mind cleaning up the dishes and kitchen and growing the salad in a box in the backyard. This stuffed beef dish is, however my specialty for our holiday meal and I will be the one to go get the supplies for it at Crabill’s Meats here in Tom’s Brook.

So, when I welcome my “bird” that is living in the garage, I’ll let you know if it is a goose or a gander or a chicken or a talking parrot. I’ve been told that it talks, so I have someone to talk to besides myself. I’ll know in 20 more days.