Last week I had the delightful pleasure of speaking with the ladies from Baytown’s FBC Women’s Ministry. What a fun group of ladies!! We talked about all sorts of food related things, ideas and issues. We talked a lot! We laughed a lot! There was a lot to talk and laugh about, by golly! Some things we talked about were raw milk, menu planning, cows, God, chickens, plucking chickens, canning, documentaries, meringues, gardening, co-ops, grandma’s, cooking, kids, websites, cool people, on and on. We should’ve went in our pjs, brought some of the food we talked about and made it an all-nighter. That would’ve been cool-a foodie slumber party!
Throughout the evening there were lots of questions but most went in the direction of gardening, eating seasonally and growing as much of your own food as possible. After I shared with them, I thought others from the blogosphere may find some of the info/tips helpful. So here ya go:
1. Everyone can have a garden, large or small, there’s a type for everyone as long as there are no restrictions from HOA’s or some other type o nonsense. Consider containers and start with just 1 or 2 tomato plants and see how it goes. It doesn’t have to be 5 acres of corn. Take baby steps, breathe, and let the fun begin.
2. When buying seeds or seedlings, look for heirloom instead of hybrid for more flavor and nutrients. Open-air pollinated are best as well…they follow the natural order process and have not been manipulated by us good-intended humans. I like to buy my seeds from www.victoryseeds.com They have so many varieties and they are a family run seed farm. Cool.
3. Here chick, chick, chick. Get you some chickens. No salmonella recall needed. Collecting eggs everyday is so cool, especially if you get pale green or blue eggs. Love that! Having your own backyard egg supply is not only tasty, convenient and cool, it’s entertaining. Have you ever been around chickens…scratch scratch-look, hilarious! You can also get your green on by practicing sustainability for the food supply and you know exactly where the egg came from, who touched it and no mass-produced food recalls to worry about. Start with a 3 or 4 laying hens, buy/build/borrow a contraption to house them in at night and when you’re not home. They like to run around the yard in the afternoons looking for bugs. Portable dog kennel with a dog house, fenced in area with a nesting box, and hogwire panels wired together to create a coop area are just a few ideas. There are tons of much better ideas out there, so check around. You don’t have to live on 5 acres in the middle of nowhere to have backyard chickens. Even people in NYC have chickens in their “backyards”. Sites I like are www.cindilou6.com and www.backyardchickens.com.
4. Eat seasonally. Why? That’s the way God intended but let me break it down for you,
Freshness:Locally grown food is usually picked/harvested the same day as they are purchased. So how could a tomato shipped from Mexico be fresher than a tomato grown in your backyard or some other local backyard?
Taste: Fruits and vegetables picked at the height of their natural season have more flavor. In January, go to the grocery store, buy you a tomato and eat it. In June, go into your backyard or to a local farmers market, buy you a tomato and eat it. End of subject.
Nutrition: Fresh, fully ripened produce has more nutrients because it was left on the vine longer allowing the natural process to happen. Produce that has been shipped in from more than 100 miles has to be picked while still green in order for it to “look good and be ready” to put out on the supermarket shelves.
Variety: Farmers growing and selling locally are not limited to the few varieties (think Roma and Hot House) that are mass produced for long distance shipping, high yields and longer shelf life. Visit a farmers market and you will be amazed at the variety of cool and unusual foods! Ever seen a purple tomato?
Environment: I’m not what society would call a “tree-hugger” but I do care about how I impact my world. The impacts of growing and shipping produce, sometimes from halfway around the world, are enormous on our environment.
Local Health: Buying from and supporting local small scale food growers (backyard farmers) supports local economy and increases quality of life for everyone.
That’s all folks…till next time.
Okay, one more thing.
Go watch Food, Inc.
That’s all folks, (I mean it this time)…till next time.
Love and butter and backyard eggs,