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Pickle Me This

July 27, 2007

Animal Vegetable Miracle Update

Just like one of my favourite bloggers, I found Animal Vegetable Miracle quite inspiring when I read it last week. And it was quite timely, I thought, that this book came my way right about the time the garden started exploding. The lettuce may have bolted, but we’ve got cucumbers and tomatoes at the mo, and red peppers and watermelon still ahead of that. (Please excuse my rubbish photo, but I forgot to get one while the sun was out). As well this was the June I finally got my act together, and made strawberry jam. Half of which I plan to save until the dead of winter, so we can pull it out and remember what fresh berries tasted like, and I’m going to freeze some sauce made out of our tomatoes so I can do a similar thing. (I do not know how to can yet, and I will wait until I no longer live in an apartment to do that).

And so riding the wave of my blooming garden, and the Kingsolver book, I’ve made a pledge to eat (more) locally. Thinking of small steps, as the book urges. We went to Dufferin Grove Farmer’s Market last week, and I got Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors from the library. We revelled in swiss chard, basil, zucchini and garlic with flavours we’d never given these veggies credit for. When we went shopping at the regular grocery store (which has to happen, unfortunately, as the farmer’s market is only around weekday afternoons and by the time we got there after work, all the treasures were gone) we resolved to only buy Ontario produce, and we got beets and greens, swiss chard again, kale, leeks and zucchini. The fruit, ashamedly, had to come from California. But we did pretty well, and it was fun to try food we’d never had before, and find new recipes instead of the ones we’ve used over and over.

But all of this is a bit lame– I’ve managed to bring my meals only moderately closer to home, and this at the peak of the season. I want to better. First, I want to learn what is in season, and when– the Kingsolver and Madison books are geared to more southern climes. How can I learn about Southern Ontario’s bounty? Are there markets more accessible (though St. Lawrence market is on Saturdays, and I could get down there once in a while)? What are we going to dinner come winter when the only Ontario produce is an icicle? And fruit fruit, we hardly knew you. What if I dare to eat a peach?

All of this and more will be grappled with in future updates, and any advice you could offer me, I would be happy to receive.

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