High: 74° FWhen 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.
Low: 52° F
Conditions: Mostly sunny and dry.
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!