A Winter Local Foods Menu

Farmer Marty recently got into an online discussion with local food writer Guy Hand.  I’ll let Marty elaborate on that discussion, but the result was that we ended up inviting said writer over for dinner, along with some of our friends who are active in the local foods movement, including mushroom connoisseur Alex Hartman, urban farmer and expert canner/brewer/winemaker Casey O’Leary of Earthly Delights FarmEarthworm Envy blogger Brandon Follett, and Flying M Pastry Chef Laura Shoemaker.

Marty often says that local farmers would have a much easier time making a living if we could just figure out how to get rid of winter.  During the summer months, it’s easy to buy mostly local food in Idaho, and relatively easy for restaurants and stores to source local things directly from farmers.  However, I like to joke that it’s winter in Idaho for 8 months out of the year (the number of months in which we saw, last year, at least one snowfall).  So, eating local during these months requires some food storage, canning, freezing, and pickling.  We did all of these things in the late summer and early fall of last year, so unless your pantry and freezer have similar stores, and unless your boyfriend also harvested a deer last fall, this winter menu might not be that useful to you.  But should give you some food for thought to think ahead for next year!

Here’s what we had:

  • Venison Chili  (from Marty’s deer).
  • Pierogies (a traditional Polish pastry that my granny used to make, made from our storage potatoes).
  • Homemade chutneys to top pierogies: Chili Sauce, Green Tomato and Apple Chutney, Pepper Relish, and Tomato Chutney.  These chutneys are featured in so many of our meals.  Boy, was that time well spent!
  • Mexican stuffed peppers made from frozen Anaheims from the garden.
  • Marinated Jerusalem Artichokes.
  • Locally harvested mushrooms prepared by Alex.
  • Dilly beans prepared by Casey.
  • Pickled eggs, prepared by Casey’s neighbor with Casey’s chickens’ eggs.
  • Boston Creme Pie prepared by Laura.
  • Lots of local wines, mostly from Hell’s Canyon Winery, owned by a friend of Alex.
  • Several interesting home brews prepared by Casey.

I’m not sure whether Guy Hand got any questions answered by Farmer Marty and the rest of this crew, but we did have a good time and a delicious meal.  It was the most interesting, authentic, and lovingly prepared of the many “locavore” meals I’ve attended.   There’s nothing better than being nourished by our own garden, freezer, hunting trip, or canning project, even in the middle of winter.

Recipes to follow!



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