For the Native Americans living here before European settlement, eating local was the only option. Perhaps that is why the full moon of February was sometimes called the ‘Hunger Moon.’ February was a tough month for these inhabitants of ‘flyover country’ to hunt, fish, and of course garden. To be certain they did store food for the winter, but in difficult winters these supplies could run out before the winter was over. Spring finally brought migrating birds, maple sap, and new plant growth to again ramp up the local food supply.
Eating local is still an exciting and fascinating endeavor. I am always excited as I prepare meals, even in the middle of winter, to find that I can eat well on foods right from our own land. Of course the modern conveniences of food preservation by canning and freezing are a significant help. A meal with vegetables from last summer’s garden and meat harvested on our own land last fall is still a delight. Top that meal off with a fine glass of wine, a gift from a neighbor who made it from local wild grapes, and eating local is far from a chore and much a delight.
The cooking is simple. Steam the frozen green beans. Cook the potatoes with garlic for mashing. The black beans are baked with onions and a hint of brown sugar. The venison is browned with onions and garlic and cooked with Roma tomatoes from the freezer. I like to cook slowly at about 250-300 degrees in the oven in a cast iron pan with Italian -style seasonings, salt, and pepper. The whole meal is from either field or garden except I haven’t achieved a local source of salt. The red wine from local wild grapes of course was compliments of friendly local folks. Our own wine production from our cultivated grapes has nearly reached the bottling stage. More on that as our wine experiment continues.