Story posted October 04, 2010
Though it has been autumn officially for 2 weeks, it only began to feel like it yesterday. We still have not had a frost here in Brunswick (the lowest night time temperatures have been 42-43F), but day time highs aren’t topping mid-50’s.
Some things are slowing down – tomatoes and eggplants are done after a long and productive season, but beans, peppers, chard and all the usual suspects are still chuggin’ along! The workload has only slightly subsided, and it is still daunting to look at the hundreds of pounds of parsnips, rutabagas, leeks, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbages, broccoli and winter squashes that still need to make it to the kitchens.
In response to the abundance of fresh produce at this time of year in our region, and to correspond with students returning to campus and reconnecting with their locale, I’ve decided to embark on a month long Maine-only diet. This means NO peanuts, avocados, raisins, coffee, chocolate, rice as we’re used to…But it does mean plenty of new food items to try, farmers and artisans to meet, and a little bit more money spent locally.
The impetus for this challenge began as a question I asked as a senior in college: Can Maine Feed Itself? Many folks are working on the answer, and I worked on it too in my senior thesis, but I at least do not have an answer yet. There are many variables that could make it possible or impossible, but there are two main hurdles the way I see it: 1) getting people to change their eating habits (i.e. eating seasonally, excluding coffee and chocolate) and 2) getting enough farmers to grow the right crops and keep them in the state.
Personally, I’m having a great time eating this way; I’m being more creative with my meals, making connections within the community, and keeping 100% of my food dollars in the local economy. Here are some recent meals I’ve created:
Toasted Wheat Berries with Dried Shitakes and Parsley
Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh with Pan-Fried Corn and Scallions
Spinach and Carrot Salad with Dried Blueberries, Sunflower Seeds, and Cider Vineagrette
Oatmeal with Honey and Applesauce
Homemade Whole Wheat/Spelt Bread with Sunflower Butter and Blueberry Jam
Cornmeal Flatbreads with Broiled Eggplant and Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic