Monday, October 27, 2008

Bailey's Buying Club Oct 31

Hi Folks,

I'm sorry to report that this is the last Bailey's Buying Club until
Spring. I can't run the buying club while finding a new location and
shifting to a not-for-profit structure. It is going to take a lot of
work to find a new location and figure out a good system. So we'll
all have to scrounge on our own for local foods this Winter. I was
looking forward to celebrating how much local food there was available
all Winter but that will have to wait until next year.

The good news is that we're going to have a humdinger of a selection
of local foods this Friday. This is your chance to stock up on food
for the next few weeks and months. I'm trying to decide just how much
cheese I can cram into my fridge. Enough for two months at least. If I
shred and freeze five pounds that will help increase the local cheese
stocks at our house. We'll have cheese from Millbank again which you
need to order by Tuesday at 9PM. They are having a hard time packing
and delivering it for us so quickly so they need that extra day. The
other items on the order form are still available to order until Wed
at 9PM.

This Friday you can buy all-local pasta (and organic) that Rosa at
Vincenzos made for us from Oak Manor flour! They made a 50/50 whole
wheat and unbleached wheat blend for us. I haven't had a chance to try
it yet. I'm just assuming it is as good as the other pasta they make.

The dried bean farmer did not return my phone or email messages. I
hope he and his family are okay. That means no local beans for us this
year. But we do have local nuts!! After much searching, and with the
transportation help of a kind father-in-law of Marnie, we have
hazelnuts, heartnuts and chestnuts to offer. They were grown near
Niagara by the Grimo father and daughter team (Ernie and Linda) who
not only tend a nut orchard, they are leaders in promoting nut tree
planting and cultivation in Ontario. They have helped develop
varieties of nuts that do well in our climate. You can google Grimo
Nursery to read more about them or join SONG the Society of Ontario
Nut Growers. Even if you don't have room to plant a tree, you can
support others by joining. What I want to know is how do they keep
the squirrels away from the ripe nuts? One nut farmer I talked to said
this was his biggest problem. These nuts I have from Grimos are
beautiful. Heartnuts are really heart-shaped. Not just sort of. They
crack best with a hammer tapped on the edge with the seam and then
open like a locket to reveal an even more heart-shaped nut meat
inside. The taste of heartnuts is like a very mild English walnut.
Yum. I want to try toasting them but I just keep eating them as fast
as I can crack them.

This is your last chance to stock up on potatoes from our farmers.
Even without a root cellar, most families can use 25lbs of potatoes
before they get too soft. We also have sweet potatoes! These store
even longer than potatoes. The farmer (Selema Martin but not the same
Selema Martin we've been buying many other things from) says that if
you wrap each sweet potato in newspaper and put them in a cool dry
place, they'll keep until March. She puts hers in an upstairs bedroom
- but she does not have central heat. I think I'll get a half bushel
to keep in my pantry and use in two months (no wrapping needed) and
another half bushel that I'll wrap and put in a closet with an
exterior wall that stays cool in Winter. Selema says that the orange
ones keep better than the white ones.

Apples. Naamon (married to Selema) has got low-spray Empire and Ida
Reds for us. By low spray he means that he sprayed twice instead of
the usual 12 times. The last spray was right after the trees bloomed
(over 120 days ago). He says they have scabs on them but the scabs do
not effect the keeping abilities or the taste. They are just an
aesthetic blemish. These same apples are used to make the low-spray
cider offered this week. It is unpasturized and comes in 2 litre
plastic jugs. If you pour two inches out you can easily freeze the
cider in the jug.

Are you thinking about Christmas yet? Local food makes a great gift.
It doesn't end up in the landfill. Whether you get it from this
buying club or somewhere else imagine the simple beauty of giving a
jar of honey or maple syrup, peaches in a jar, garlic, popcorn,
sparkling cider... Or how about a theme to it: A basket of sweet
potatoes, garlic, onions and apples with a recipe for a creamy soup
that combines all of those. I love giving food. It makes me feel
happy. It feels especially good to be able to include a note (verbal
or written) about where the foods are from.

What else do we have this week? Frozen squash puree. Yes. Naamon and
Selema's family makes this in his cider press facility by steaming the
squash and then putting it through the ricer. It comes in convenient
2 cup containers. This same family canned peach slices, pear slices,
pear sauce and pear apple sauce for us. I was going to offer it slowly
all Winter but now you have one day to buy enough to last you the
Winter months. Unfortunately, I don't have enough for all of you to
stock up. It's first come, first serve on these things. When they're
gone, they're gone. I've not found any other sources of local fruits
preserved in jars. AND these are all unsprayed fruits (all except the
apples in the sauce)!! Before this Fall I don't think I've ever eaten
canned peaches that were not heavily sprayed. The peaches are the
same peaches you were enjoying fresh this summer from Eva and Rene's
farm near Niagara-on-the-Lake - the Red Haven. A Winter staple at our
house is eating pear/apple sauce on our cold cereal for breakfast (and
on yogourt). I highly recommend it.

Erma Martin (who grew our lovely herbs all summer) preserved a variety
of relishes and pickles for us including salsa. Again, I don't know
of anywhere else you can get all-local salsa, BBQ relish, pickled
beets, cucumber pickles, dilly beans and etc... I asked her to use
recipes with less sugar than she was used to. She cranked the BBQ
relish and salsa through a food grinder (by hand). Everything she
canned is from Selema's no-spray garden except for the cucumbers and
green beans which are from the Elmira Produce Auction and so she
doesn't know if they were sprayed or not. Her kitchen was built to
certification standards but she has not been inspected yet. Each jar
is labeled with a handwritten list of ingredients from Erma. If you
only like hot salsa, add hot sauce to the salsa. At our house Matthew
likes hot, I like medium and the kids like mild. So we make/buy mild
and squirt in the hot sauce as needed.

So if you buy strategically this Friday, you can still be eating some
of these foods at Christmas. Here is what will keep and can be part of
your Christmas meals:

Mashed potatoes and roasted chicken
Scalloped sweet potatoes
A light soup made with turkey broth, garlic and miso.
Chili with celariac, carrots (store both of these in your fridge),
potatoes, garlic, onions and turkey sausage
Pasta with a sharp cheddar sauce
Grilled sundried tomato and garlic cheddar cheese sandwiches with a
selection of pickles from Erma
Bubbling peach cobbler
Grated carrot salad with toasted heartnuts
Breakfast guests can be exposed to their first experience of pearsauce
on cereal. (This is going to become our new regional food that we're
famous for, I just know it.)
Roasted and mashed turnip with butter
Roasted chestnuts
Stemmler sausages with Erma's Chili Sauce, BBQ relish and Dill Cuke
Pickles and a coleslaw on the side (Easiest meal in the world.)
Roasted root vegetables (parsnip, celariac, potatoes, sweet potatoes,
beets, garlic)
Pumpkin Pie (actually banana squash pie)
Upside Down Chocolate Pear Cake
A bowl of hazelnuts and heartnuts as an edible centerpiece
Carrot cake with peanut butter icing

Do you get the picture of how you can be eating like Local Queens and
Kings for many weeks if you stock up now? You may have to curse once
in awhile because your fridge is so full but it will be worth it.
Maybe you could temporarily bump the beer out of the beer fridge : )
I pull one of the big drawers out of the bottom and fill it as full as
possible with carrots. If you have an unheated porch, that will work
decently for storing some of these root crops as long as you make sure
they don't get frozen.
Speaking of turkey sausage. We've committed to buy sausage from Miriam
for next week. Is someone who lives near me (maybe on Norman?) willing
to have a few coolers of frozen sausage near their backdoor next
Thursday for an informal pick up? Say 7-8PM...

If you're getting pasture-raised turkey sausage next week (those of
you lucky enough to have preordered before it was all spoken for)
consider getting as many packages of meaty turkey bones (order this
week) as you can fit into your freezer. Think of them as a big frozen
bullion cube. You just need to think ahead and simmer the heck out of
it (crock pot?) for half a day. It makes the most delicious broth (add
a bay leaf and celery leaves or whatever is lying around...) that
makes any soup you make tastier and more nutritious. It is also the
best homegrown medicine for colds and flu. Turkey broth with garlic
and ginger has healing powers. I'll swear on it. If you're lucky,
you'll make more broth then your family can eat that day and you can
freeze a container or two for a few days later when you need a good
broth stock to start a soup or sauce.

Have you discovered celariac yet? It is a lovely root vegetable that
can be used wherever potatoes are used. It has a bit of a celery
flavour. We add it to soups, stews, chilli, casseroles... I find it
milder than turnip.
Let's hope we have a sunny day for Friday and we can savour our last
Buying Club of 2008. Trick or treaters are welcome. If I get my act
together I'll have little bags of popcorn to hand out. If not, it
will be potatoes.

I'll send occasional emails this Winter to update you on how it is
going finding another location and with occasional calls for help for
things like:

We're changing this business to a not-for-profit and looking for local
food lovers to be on the board of directors.
If you have any ideas of a business (store, restaurant?) that would
like to have a buying club like this set up at their location once a
week, let me know.
If you get a chance to talk to a City Councillor, tell them how
important local food is to you and to the City and tell them how
Waterloo needs to create ways of WELCOMING local food initiatives
rather than squashing them.
Does anyone have a connection with Knox Presb. on Erb St. that you can
help us explore that building as a possible location?

I'll miss you this Winter.
Long live local food!

PS Order form coming in a few hours (have to make supper first)

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