As is normal this time of year, I am completely head over heels in love with local food. My garden is coming along nicely and I have tiny cauliflower, tomatoes, and sugar snap peas already. My city’s farmer’s market starts this Thursday and my organic delivery box is ripe with farm fresh produce and pastured eggs. It is about this time that I like to re-read my fave local food memoirs like This Organic Life, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
So of course when I saw a local foodie book at my library this morning I had to scoop it up. The book is The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week). The title is mouthful but the book is quite an awesome read. It is a personal journey mixed with stories of family, neighbors, and food. It also has lots of recipes for all the delicious dishes the author mentions in the book. I think I will end up buying it for the recipes… some of them I just need to have on hand!
Mather, the author, picked up and moved from a big city to a small town in Michigan and a small lakeside cabin. She has a very modest food budget of $40 a week so she buys up food when it is in season and cans and preserves it for the cold weather months. She doesn’t have much of garden space but she does have chickens and the rest of her food comes from local sources. I loved reading her story month by month and sometimes week by week as new food items come into season and she buys up extra to preserve them each and every week until she has enough to last the winter. When she buys them up she also makes her weekly meals with them too so there are lots of great seasonal recipes and preservation recipes in there.
I loved going along with the author as she would go to the farmer’s market and score the first beets of the season and chat up the farmer’s about this or that. I also loved the stories from her childhood meals she would tell, mixed in with the daily grind of feeding her chickens or making batches of raspberry preserves. Since she had/has a limited budget she made all her meals from scratch and she bartered for things… trading her preserves for fresh greens and potatoes from her neighbor. She also didn’t need to sacrifice quality on that $40 a week. She had local lamb, beef, and chicken regularly as well as her favored but pricey milk. It just goes to show you that you can feed a family of 4-5 with organic, fresh, pastured, nourishing foods for only $150ish a week, without growing your own.
Anyway, I read this book in just a few hours and can’t seem to keep my mind from wandering to all the goodies I will find at my own farmer’s market this week. Can’t wait!
Here is a photo I took this week of what we are eating at the moment… yum!