Friday, 8 April 2011

Knowing Where Our Food Comes From

Supporting local farmers is very important to us as a family.  We prefer to eat naturally raised meats and as we don't have enough land to raise all our own animals for our family's consumption, we have chosen to find local farmers who can provide meat for us.

This morning, we took a short trip to visit a familiar local farm where we have some lamb and pork on order.   It is wonderful to see healthy and obviously happy animals, very carefully tended.   Knowing where our food comes from and supporting local producers are two ways we can help to encourage the kind of farming we feel is important not only for our own health but also for the health of the land.

Watching the peaceful, serene Jersey cows contently munching hay out in the sunshine was very reassuring.  Those cows looked so healthy and happy, and they willingly came over to lick our hands and visit with us.  The kids had lots of fun bottle feeding the new lambs, petting the goats and watching the pigs (one of whom is ready to give birth any day!).  Seeing that mama pig, nestled comfortably in a huge nest of fresh straw in a quiet corner of the barn made me feel really glad for her.  She was contentedly sighing and grunting, dozing off and on - apparently resting up for the big job of bringing new life into the world.

Also on the topic of locally grown food, last night we bought some freshly milled rye flour from John Schneider of Gold Forest Grains.  John has an organic grain farm just one range road over from us!  We stocked up on his Organic Hard Red Wheat a while back and we are using it exclusively with excellent results for all our bread making and baking.  It is absolutely delicious and it's really cool to know that this wheat was grown so close to our home.  We also bought some organic golden flax which is also really tasty!  I tried some today and plan to use it in my baking in the coming week.

Another recent local food purchase was Organic Canola Oil and Organic Flax Oil from Mighty Trio Organics.  All I can say is WOW!  The taste and colour difference in these oils compared to what I am used to buying in the store was shocking.  The rich colour, heady flavour, and velvety texture of these oils are incomparable to store bought oil.  Knowing also that the oils were freshly cold pressed right before I bought them, was amazing to me.  Another local find that we are really impressed with!

It's been just 3 days since I planted those seeds in Dixie cups and we are already seeing some tiny little sprouts popping up!  It's so encouraging to see those shoots boldly poking their little heads out.  I've got some flower seeds to starts as well, and I hope to tackle that later today. I'm so eager to get into my garden and plant, but that will have to wait as it's still under 2' of snow :)

This year, we chose to buy most of our seeds through Salt Spring Seeds (a familiar name to us being from BC).  We have chosen all heirloom, non genetically modified seed so that we can save our own seeds for use next year and more importantly, be a part of protecting these lovely old heritage varieties.   I am so excited to taste some of these veggies...

So all in all, we have many of our food requirements met by local producers.

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