LocalHarvest Newsletter, December 23, 2017
I Ain't Got No Dough, But I Got Fresh Bread

photo by Island Shire

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter, and Seasons Greetings to you all-

There are times in most people's lives when their bank accounts dwindle towards a painful void. The holidays often contribute towards that depletion (buy this, buy that, check off everyone on your list, travel, etc). Thankfully, my family doesn't expect much from me. I'm pretty good as setting the bar low ("wow, you sent us a card- thank you so much!"). It's OK- I have come to peace with the fact that my handwritten cards are the best gift I can give, along with plentiful hugs and "so good to see yous".

This winter, the funds depletion seems more acute than ever, but I won't bore you with the details why. Suffice it to say, I must get creative to feed my family through this winter. I am thankful for the opportunity to clear out my pantry of random bags of things from the bulk section and eat through as many jars that I put up over the summer. What are some other ways to stretch those food dollars through the wintertime?

To be clear- I do not spend all my time laboring in the kitchen, I have a busy life just like most of your. Secondly, I am not a gourmand or a very talented cook. My family gets fed, we eat healthy, and once in a while my food even tastes good! Thus, the following suggestions are only things that I am willing to do myself.

  • Buy a box of cabbages and make a huge vat of sauerkraut or kimchi.
  • Toss diced-up root vegetables (think potatoes, carrots, turnips) with some apples, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast them until slightly browned and fork tender.
  • Buy whole grains and dry beans from the bulk section (or order by the 25lb bag). Then once a week, cook a big pot of grains or beans with a pint or two of stock that you made for great flavor and boosted nutrition. I then have plentiful cooked beans that I can add to tacos, burritos, scrambled eggs, or throw into a pasta salad over several days. You can even save the bean cooking liquid and add it to soup. Leftover grains make a great "fried rice" with scrambled eggs, perfect for a hearty breakfast.
  • Pull that dusty bread machine out of the closet and start using it again. It costs me about .80¢ to make a loaf in my bread machine, while my favorite bread in the store costs around $4.99.
  • Buy bones or save the bones from meat you eat to make your own stock.
  • Save all your vegetable trimmings, keep them in the freezer until the time comes that you will be making stock. Use them to add flavor and minerals to your stock.
  • Render animal fats. Either buy bulk bags of fat, or cut if off of roasts/chops that maybe have too much on them for your liking. Save up the fat in the freezer until you have enough to render in a crockpot. Another way to use fat is to trim it off a piece of meat you are eating and instead dice it up and lightly render it to sauté some greens in.
  • Ground meat is cheaper than steaks, chops, bacon, etc. But it can get boring just making burgers all the time. Some ways that I mix it up include getting creative with the meatloaf (mixing different kinds of meat or adding lots of vegetables to it), making meatballs, sautéing with vegetables and serving over brown rice or quinoa, adding canned tomatoes, peppers, and onions for taco night, or making different variations of shepherd's pie. Instead of buying linked sausages (I'm not a big fan of the casings anyways), I buy ground meat and mix in my own spices to make bulk sausage. It's not only cheaper but helps me avoid things like preservatives, excess salt, and sugar that are sometimes added to sausage.
  • I really try to stay on top of food waste most of the time, but especially when my budget is lean. If the cauliflower is starting to brown, just trim off the brown bits. Pull off the wilted leaves of lettuce but eat the rest. If your broccoli has gotten floppy, use it in a cream of broccoli soup instead.
  • All leftovers get eaten, even if I am sick of them. If that pot of beans I made on Sunday evening is getting boring by Wednesday, I will put the rest into pint size containers and throw in the freezer for later use. Then when I am making a soup or taco night, I just thaw out a container of already cooked beans rather than having to resort to using more expensive canned beans. I still always keep a few cans of beans around for emergencies or exhausted weeknights.

According to Shannon Hayes, author of "Long Way on a Little", you can pinch pennies and still enjoy delicious and nutritious farm-fresh foods. Her book is full of recipes for using all parts of the animal, making stock from bones, rendering fats, creative re-use of leftovers, and more. This month's recipe, Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ground Pork, is courtesy of Shannon. It is simple to make, gluten-free, and looks gorgeous on the table. Use it for a fun weeknight meal or to bring to your next holiday supper and wow your friends.


From the LH Store

I always love citrus in the wintertime, not only because it is in season in North America, but because it evokes the color and brightness of summer. Even though I put my pajamas on yesterday at 5pm, I had a late afternoon snack of mandarins that made me, for a moment, feel like I was on a tropical beach somewhere soaking up the rays. Many of the citrus groves in California are being damaged by massive fires right now, but several farms were able to get the fruit off the tree before the fires started. Support California citrus farmers by buying their fruit. Lemons, tangerines, oranges, mandarins, kumquats, and more.

CSAware and CSA Manager

This time of year many CSA farmers are saying to themselves, "Next year we HAVE to figure out how to streamline membership management!" If that sounds familiar, this winter might be a great time to take a look at our CSA management software, CSAware or CSA Manager. If you would like to see how it works, and what it can offer your farm, let us know and we'll set you up for a free tour.

Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ground Pork

Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse the squash and pat dry. Place the whole squash on a baking sheet and roast just until the skin can be broken by the pressure of your fingernail, about 25 minutes. ... Recipe...