Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

High: 74° F
Low: 52° F
Conditions: Mostly sunny and dry.
When I was growing up in the Midwest, we celebrated each Independence Day by checking the veracity of the “Corn Is Knee-High By the 4th of July” adage. It usually proved accurate. Here in Maine, our extended frost season means that corn barely reaches the knee of a caninaturalist, let alone a human this time of year. Nevertheless, we still see an important correlation between the summer holiday and our food.

For the second year in a row, July 4th signals the start of our “Food Independence” project with another year of local eating. The timing is deliberate, since this is the first week we have a real bounty of crops to pick from. Most notably, of course, are the first summer berries to ripen in Maine.
Yesterday, we picked just under 40 pounds of strawberries. A good number (almost 20 quarts, to be exact) went into our freezer so that we can make it until next July without buying fruit (we'll add blueberries, peaches, blackberries, raspberries, pears and apples by September). The rest went into a community jam making project I launched this season. Ari isn’t a big fan of strawberries for strawberry’s sake, but give her a spoon with some leftover jam on it, and you’ll have a friend for life.

There are plenty of other local eating opportunities to be had by an enterprising young dog. Ari loves blueberries and snowpeas; she’s also a big fan of steamed carrots and zucchini. As for the local poultry and salmon, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if she channels her desire into an all-out assault on a closed fridge sometime soon. (Her predecessor was a champ at pulling chicken off the grill without 1] us noticing or 2] managing to burn his tongue. I still don't know how he did that.)

We’ve also been experimenting with all-local biscuits recently. I managed to adapt a few biscuit recipes to our local ingredients, and a great new company in Maine called Barkwheats recently opened with a wonderful selection of Made-in-Maine cookies almost too pretty to eat. At the farmer’s market this week, they gave us this fabulous pin in recognition for our eating achievements:
We plan to wear it proudly.

We’d love to hear it if you have any secrets or best-practices for eating local (roadkill doesn't count, blogging doggers). In the meantime, happy independent eating!



The Army of Four said...

Woooo, I love strawberries! They're right up there with watermelon in my book. And chicken cooked with jalepenos. I'm hungry. Woo.

Southbay Girl said...

Happy 4th Ari and Katherine! My mom has been a bit of a blog slacker lately! her work gets in the way of me visiting my friends.

It's hard for me to eat local-mom doesn't have a garden and can't go pick berries-she got jealous hearing about the berries you guys have! I think it made her hungry! But we are a green household and try to buy local when we can!!

I hope you get lots of tasty yummies to celebrate the 4th!


jan said...

A large strawberry field near us was slated to be turned into a ticky tacky housing development. With the downturn in housing around here it will remain strawberries. Hurray for downturns.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the berries good this year? I'm eating a dish of homemade strawberry ice cream with strawberries --too much is never enough in this case!

Curious, where do you get peaches? I've got one nearby farm but am always on the lookout for more.

And BTW, I love the colander -- I have one just like it, it was my moms.

Happy Food Independence!

Tracey and Huffle said...

I don't know if I like strawberries. Mum never lets me eat any. *sigh* I'm so deprived.

Oh, and mum says she always buys local food if she can, if not from Melbourne then at least from Australia, instead of imported stuff.

Huffle Mawson, Honorary Husky and Explorer Cat

Lorenza said...

My grandpa buys local melons and watermelons. Those are the only local fruits because we live in a desertic zone.
Happy Independence Day!
Kisses and hugs

Khyra The Siberian Husky said...



How did woo do with the fireworks?


Rhea said...

Love the abundance of strawberries. Our corn in the north Texas area is taller than I am. Guess the growing seasons are different. I see fields and fields of it around here and even made my boys go into a field recently to take pictures.

Happy 4th of July!

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
The adventure of Grand Canyon is snake's meeting.
It is richly natural.
There might be a power plant in Nikolai Tesla's famous dam near here. His invention and wireless are interesting.
It is regrettable that everything has not been put to practical use still.

Congratulations at Independence Day.
And, I want to eat a lot of strawberries.
I cannot wait for the enjoyment eats with sweet milk syrup.
A wonderful weekend with the ingredient of local. :)

from loved ume tyan

Gunner said...

Those berries look beautiful!

Here in 'the lower mainland' of BC we have some of the richest farming soil around and there are lots of independent growers who provide their 'praduce' as the Canucks say it, to local stores and farmers markets.

It's always so incredible to eat the locally grown food cause it tastes so amazing.

Have a great 4th weekend!


Gus and Louie said...

The strawberries look really yummy. Not anything special in Texas. Not many gardens. When Mom was in wisconsin tough they couldn't wait until the sweet corn was ready now that was a real treat.. Corn on the grill along with beer brats.. Now that is tasty..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie, Callie

Sitka and Tia's BLAWG! said...

Oh my dog Ari... those strawberries look SO GOOD!!!!

Kapp pack said...

Seeing your strawberries made Mom sad....ours are all done for the year....

Reminds me thought that I need to do a garden pupdate!

Woo woo, Kelsey Ann

Holly said...

Oh, those strawberries look absolutely fabulous!!! Samuel and I loooooovvvveee bananananas!!!

Only stupid local stuff we get here is corn, and it is bad for us, so we don't get any.

Where in the midwest did you grow up?


Amici said...

Yum! Strawberries- and fresh ones are even better. :)

That strawberry jam sounds great.

Gary,Charity,Katie&Louis said...

Locally grown rules!!!!

The strawberries look scrumptious.

Eve said...

Well Kathryn...I've been feeding my guinea keets local ticks...does that count???

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

My mom got some strawberries last weekend and she gave me one. I thought they were so yummy. I begged for more, but nothing. Unfortunately she didn't drop any like she did with the watermelon.


The Daily Echo said...

Ohhh strawberries - glorious strawberries! They're right up there with blueberries and frozen peas. YUMMMM!