Thursday, August 25, 2011

Harvest Week from the Country and the City

 Whew! Can you believe we've reached day 5
of Harvest Week already?!
Today I am extremely excited to introduce two special guest bloggers. 
That's right, you're getting two for the price of one today! 

As I prepare for our first chicks, continually expand our gardens and dream about raising my own meat and dairy supply, as I look for more interesting ways to prepare all those veggies we grow each year, I yearn for one more a thing. A mentor. Someone to show me what's a sucker on a tomato plant and what isn't. Someone to guide me as I figure out how to raise turkeys. Someone who will share eggplant recipes. I haven't found that mentor yet, but I've come pretty darn close. The Harvest Kitchen Sisters, one reporting from the country, the other the city, provide just such useful information and really, what more can a wannabe farmgirl ask for? Although, I have already warned Laura I may show up at her door one day, just so she can put me to work! 

So please, read what local means to Laura and Amelia and then pay them a visit at The Harvest Kitchen Sisters. You won't be disappointed.
From the Country…

Local is as fortunate for us as opening the front door. Where enduring an aching back and some brow sweat, we can harvest, eat and preserve our produce all in one day. Where in the early days of spring we forage the forest floor for wild edibles and eat greens by the bucket full. Where in the hot summer days we enjoy watermelon lunches, and cool cucumbers in vinegar. Where in fall, our skin is a glow with the richness of the squash harvest. And in the dead of winter we hunker down to rich meaty stews and storage vegetable soups with a quick trip to the pantry, freezers and cold storage.

Local is pining away for something all year and literally bathing in all its ripe glory the very day it comes into season. Local means late summer dinners with multiple vegetables cooked in the many, many ways that you can prepare them. It is a time of year when you can enjoy the most delicious meals of the season because everything is at its peak ripeness.
Local also means to us growing and harvesting our own meat and eggs. Baskets full of warm eggs are brought in for breakfast from our own hens and a turkey on our holiday table from our own brood of heritage turkeys, all grown sustainably and humanely, pastured on our lush acres. Local is enjoying deer meat in the fall, grass fed beef from our Amish neighbour, and pork from our own hogs.
Local is meeting fellow vendors at market and bartering for our fruit, cheeses, mushrooms, and artisanally prepared foods. Meeting other producers with which we have such mutual respect, and to be able to value the demanding work that it takes to grow, prepare, harvest, transport and sell their products.

Local is ingrained in my heart and in my soul. It ties me to the past, when local was the only option and where there was such joy when the harvest was in. Local to me is this very farm, where as a child summer days were spent playing in the fields with strawberry stains on my knees and face. Agriculture is not only a job for us but a tangible life style where family can be together. Where you can watch your children play, eat and learn while you are tending to the crops. 
In the fall I am often tired, bruised and in need of some hibernation time, but every winter, while flipping through the seed catalogues, I am once again recharged. I am once again electric with the vigor of growing, harvesting, bartering, eating, and preserving- all in the name of local.

From the City…

I have been lucky to grow up consistently surrounded by good locally grown food, from strawberry fields in my childhood to garden tours and farm dinners as a youth.  But as I am now embarking on my fifth year as a Torontonian, I am reflecting on my own relation to what I deem local here in the hustle and bustle of the big smoke.  
I live in a city that sustains roughly 28 successful farmer’s markets and over 40-community gardens.  Of these markets, I try to hit up at least two a week. I also have a balcony that has successfully grown an abundance of herbs, salad greens and tomatoes for my partner and I all summer long.  We support a small family run butcher shop that sells only locally sourced Mennonite raised meats and a cheese shop and bakery a mere 3 minutes from our house.  Every time we go to our butcher shop the father is yelling at his sons and cursing in Italian underneath his breath while the sons often take your order with a “Yeah, what do you want?” but we love it. It’s all part of the experience.
Five months ago we welcomed our son Theo and as we raise him here in Toronto, we are working hard to ensure that he understands the importance of local living.  But our local isn’t necessarily just supporting those who grow our food, we also believe in spending our money at good quality restaurants, supporting the arts, shops, festivals and community events that make Toronto the unique metropolitan place that it is.  

I'm Laura.  I blog from my family farm in the beautiful Kawartha Lakes in Ontario Canada, where I live with my hardworking partner Mark and our children.  When I'm not chasing flying heritage turkeys, collecting eggs, tooting along in my old tractor, tending to my crops and peddling my produce at a farmers market, you'll find me wrestling my brood into the bathtub, hanging copious amounts of laundry, cooking/eating all that the Kawartha's have to offer or stocking up for the winter months. 

I'm Amelia and I blog from Toronto Ontario where I work for a food based non profit. I live with my partner Simon, son Theodore and dog Ruby.  Our city life involves farmers markets, balcony gardens, amazing restaurants, live music and home cooked meals.  Our newest, and best adventure yet, is raising Theo, in the hustle and bustle of the big smoke as naturally as possible.  

 Amelia (L) and Laura
The Harvest Kitchen Sisters

Now it's your turn! Share with us what local means to you. 
Either with words or a photo or both. It's time to celebrate all the goodness
that is unique to all the different corners of the world!

Feel free to grab a button and spread the word.
Eating local shouldn't be a trend, it should be a way of life.



Elle Bee said...

I was just visiting the Harvest Kitchen Sisters when I got your comment on my blog! :o) This is a great series of posts you have here. I'm off to read more.

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

Wonderful post in such a great series! Eating local is SO important for not just health reasons and sustainability but also for preserving local agricultural history and cultural foodways. Thanks for sharing!

Buttons Thoughts said...

I have so enjoyed your posts this week. It is fascinating reading how other people in all parts of this North America live and what they truly believe, and their passions for this belief.
I do truly believe in supporting your local farmer (I am one)and sustaining ourselves. Our ancestors did it right and now we are finally starting to realize that. A great week of posts. I am sorry I have not a post to share but am looking forward to reading others.Thanks for the great week of really knowing. B

Lynne said...

Great posts on supporting local foods, markets as well as the arts and much more.

And it is wonderful to receive all this information about the North and East of me of which I am less familiar.

We will be paying a visit to "Harvest Time" some time soon.

The Naive Homesteader said...

Well done Laura and Amelia!

Megan said...

Inspirational post, and series. A good read. Thanks ladies.

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

Wonderful week! Thanks for the encouragement. I'd write more, but I'm very late to go milk!!! ;-0

Reena said...

Great post and pics. Always should support local and we try!

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

They are the sweetest, are they not?
But then, so are you!
Thank you for a lovely week of local!
xo, misha