Eating Seasonally Locally
Here’s my story….well the short version of it.
I’m Minnesota born and raised. I grew up on a hobby farm in central MN with a large garden, goats (that’s a future post) horses and chickens. I was in 4-H and learned the importance of a good home cooked meal as a family.
My two grandmothers and my mom nourished my love for food. Grandma Paula made her own yogurt (before the Instapot) and grew her own sprouts (before there was hydroponic growing).
Grandma Dorothy was an entertainer, she had a subscription to Goodhouskeeping and I helped her host many “bridge” games with the latest jello dessert and ham salad tea sandwiches.
My mom taught me the basics, how to cook simply with what we had in the fridge. Times were tight, so we made do with a lot of garden produce and local meat, stews and soups were a staple.
After high school I went to Restaurant School at Stout and worked at a really great restaurant, The Creamery. Their motto was “simple food prepared with care,” another influence on my journey, thank you Thomas Family!
Along the way I had a great career in department store foodservice. Dayton’s, Marshall Field’s Target and finally Macy’s. Always in the food division and always surrounded by many great chefs and a great team.
I’m blessed with a great family; Hubby Brad, and kids Coleman and Marin. Once both of the kids left the nest, Hubby and I sold our house in Elk River and “bought the farm” in Princeton.
We’ve spent the last seven years making Alpha and Omega Farm our own. We are now an event center and pizza farm. We have a large garden and we raise our own livestock organically for our consumption.
During the shutdown of 2020, life changed significantly here in Princeton. I was placed on furlough for three months and during that time Furlough Farmer was born.
For the first time in a great while I had time to focus on quality, locally sourced food. I worked with local farmer, Carla Mertz, to contact local farmers who lost their revenue stream to find a way to help them sell to a local audience. Carla and I worked to bring to life the Market Pantry Truck. All things local to share within a 30-mile radius (the truck was old and unreliable).
During this time, I really began to think about how to prepare for the winter and eat “seasonally local.” That’s my plan for the remaining of 2020 and into 2021. Frankly, I’m a little scared. For instance, I’m nursing my last four cucumbers from my garden. The next time I will eat a fresh cucumber will be next summer! But I tell myself not to worry, I have an entire pantry stocked with jars and jars of fresh canned/pickled produce.
As I speak about this new way of eating for myself and family, I also share products that are on my ‘Mercantile List.’ This list contains the ingredients and items that aren’t available locally. Items can be adjusted as I learn more in this adventure. For me, this list includes spices, olive oil, sugar, flour, citrus and coffee. I teach that each individual needs to decide for themselves what their ‘Mercantile Essentials’ are. For example, I am still going to purchase local beers, but will choose to buy wine that isn’t local…you get to decide for yourself!
I am sure I will be sharing how I will fail… shrimp? Halibut? Hard to say if I can cut them out completely. Again, it’s all about moderation and keeping everything in perspective. As I think about my future ‘campaigns’ Thanksgiving comes to mind as my first real test. Local food only for Thanksgiving. That’s how Thanksgiving began, celebrating the harvest. That means no roasted pear salad, but Brussels sprouts for sure!
Part of our journey is about learning and sharing with each other. I will be blogging, doing newsletters with recipes and really trying to partner with local farmers and producers to tell their stories and showcase how to cook their products. I also plan to offer classes – cooking, canning, preserving and sourdough bread baking. I’m excited to take this challenge on and look forward to this next phase of eating with you.
It All Started With a Goat
And that is a story for a different day!
Events At The Farm
We currently host events at the farm including goat yoga on Sundays and beginning in 2021 we’ll be open on Friday night for pizza! Our on-site gazebos are available for rental.