Sunday, November 14, 2010

Key to sustainable living

Organically grown wheat berries which will someday be bread, brownies and more.

Cooking, I've discovered, is the key to sustainable living. You either cook, or hire a chef, or maybe ride your bike to work.  Thank goodness I love to cook as I can't afford a chef and my commute to work is five miles clogged with  irritable, half-asleep drivers--one of them being me. Plus, we have something called "winter" here.  I lower my waste and dependence on fossil feuls by buying organically grown hard red winter wheat berries and grinding them into flour.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get any locally grown--I went to Whole Foods. I purchased the Blend Tech flour mill becasue it was the only one made right here in the US and it was small enough to fit in my limited kitchen space. I love it.  It grinds coarse enough for corn meal.

I have yet to find a local source of wheat.  I've only started the "locavore-slow food" thing recently.  That's where you go to the farmer's market and seek out small farmers and patronize them.  I found a great source of local eggs, chicken, turkey, pork vegetables and fruits. These foods are more expensive since you end out paying the "true cost" of raising the food--especially the meat. Yes, it is counterintuitive to those who are trying to cutback and live more frugaly, but in the longrun, by doing my own sustainable style cooking, I will save money, even with paying twice as much for eggs and chicken. I will also have tastier food, which I believe will lead to a healthier me.

The farmer deserves to make a living too, and the truth is, you can't have small family farms without people willing to pay a fair price for the produce.  By being willing to pay more, the homesteader or small farmer gets to pay her mortgage.  And we need to be willing because the factory farms filling our grocery store shelves can do it all a lot cheaper than the small scale reflects it--the eggs I buy direct from the farm have four times the flavor as the cheapo megastore brand. This is important to all the people who dream of a more simple lifestyle on the land, because they won't be able to make a living without customers.

So, I am on my progressive soapbox, talking about supporting the little guy and protecting animals from the abuse of factory farming.  Oh dear.  I was meaning to talk about the joys of cooking and the single loaf of bread recipe I am working on.  It is coming along really well, but I forgot to photograph the finished product in its Bennington Pottery bread dish. Maybe next week after I picked up my locally grown heritage turkey for Thanksgiving .

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