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Inventory (+ and giveaway)

March 18, 2011

Last fall I began writing a weekly online column about eating locally for edible San Juan Mountain Magazine. Writing about local food became this wonderful circular thing where the writing inspired the living which inspired the writing, which is how, by first snowfall, my pantry came to look like this:

And my freezer (one of 3) like this:

What started out as a big experiment and a lot of work—chopping, canning, freezing and stashing root vegetables underground like a family of squirrels—has become simply what feeds us.

This is not to say that there hasn’t been gallons of store-bought peanut butter matched to our local jams, or Atlantic-transported olive oil, or that I’m not munching on hippie m’n’m’s right now, but fantastically, between October and late February, we didn’t buy any produce other than limes, lemons, apples and avocados.

And we’ve eaten well.

Still life with dinner guests, coldframe spinach salad, grilled elk, and winter squash casserole topped with pesto, sundried tomatoes and roasted peppers. And local beer.

Insanely well.

Burger night with homemade ketchup, mustard, mayo, sauerkraut, pickles and sprouts. And a very foreign and festive pineapple.

In fact, preparing meals has been easier. What’s for dinner has become simply: what’s available. If the potatoes start to sprout (which they did), we make roasted spuds, potato soups, potato-chard casseroles. Our quickest, easiest meal is thawing a quart bag of roasted tomato sauce and boiling a pot of pasta, in a strange and gourmet remake of the concept “fast food.”

We started winter with potatoes, onions, garlic and winter squash in cold storage; cabbage, beets, sauerkraut and carrots in the fridge; chard and kale in the greenhouse, and sprouts growing on kitchen counters.

This experiment was never about zealotry or sacrifice; rather, it has been a celebration of the seasonal bounty of our local land, while answering the question: if we aren’t buying Mexico-grown lettuce in December, what might a winter salad look like?

Like this: cabbage and mung bean sprouts.

Or this: beets, carrots, chard.

It was a sad day in February when we ate our last Stone Free Farm carrot, and and even sadder day when I chomped into the California-shipped, orange-nothingness masquerading as a carrot at our local food co-op. And up until that moment, the reasons behind our eating local experiment read like a bland pamphlet of locovorism soundbytes: reduce packaging, decrease dependence on foreign oil, keep money in the community, connect our children to food, practice sustainability.

And all that rings loudly true, but not as true as the delicious crispness of a sweet, fresh (or freshly-stored) carrot.

I made a graph of the 2010 harvest season’s inventory, and as we pull another jar of salsa off the shelf, or package of green beans from the freezer, I mark an “x” in the appropriate box. This gives me an idea of how much winter squash we might need next year, or peach salsa, or pesto (because really, peach salsa is a “need” around here).

A closer look:

What I’ve learned:

– There are a lot of ways to enjoy cabbage and beets. And sometimes there’s a lot of cabbage and beets.

– Roasted zucchini holds up really well frozen.

– Finding the right storage conditions takes some finessing. Halfway through the winter I shuttled our sprouting potatoes, like refugees in hiding, from a friend’s basement to another friend’s garage. (Hoping to dig a root cellar this year).

– Homemade yogurt can stay good for over 3 weeks in the fridge.

– Onions need to stay cooler than garlic (we lost 25% of our onions to warm conditions)

– Not only did we save money growing our own and buying local produce in bulk, I went shopping way less.

– Cabbage harvested in October and stored in the fridge lasted perfectly through February.

– Even though our fresh, raw food was limited, there were always sprouts, carrots, sauerkraut, and chard (and for awhile beets and cabbage), which instead of becoming ho-hum, rose to great heights of status.

– The absurdity of shipping a delicate tomato seems suddenly way more outrageous than going 7 months without a fresh tomato.

– Even at 6512 feet where winter lasts almost five months, a large part of ones diet can be local. And delicious.

And now, a giveaway from the pantry:

1) 1 pint chokecherry syrup, our favorite Southwestern treat (read about chokecherries here).

2) Calendula-comfrey salve, the bomb of a balm for healing garden-worn skin or tender baby bottoms.

Leave a comment about what’s local in your pantry, freezer or dreams, to win.

Giveaway closed Thursday night 10pm mountain time, announced Friday morning.

60 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2011 8:21 am

    i’ve been making breakfast with peppers and kale that i froze last summer. (with some non-local broccoli thrown in too!) throw a couple of eggs (super-local – from our backyard) on top and it’s a delicious and really fast breakfast!

    i also still have a few frozen tomatoes, which love to jump into the crockpot with whatever is simmering in there.

    and of course there is always lots of delicious local, grass-fed meat worked into our meals!

    we didn’t make an effort to “do more” in terms of preserving local food last year. actually much the opposite since i was back to work for the first time in over 5 years it was really just about keeping our heads above water.

    but we still managed to do pretty well for ourselves. and have lots of plans in the works for this season…



  2. March 21, 2011 8:25 am

    I’m salivating at your pantry and trying to hide mine from your view. You don’t want to know what’s in there. :(

  3. March 21, 2011 8:41 am

    I canned for the first time ever last fall! Lots and lots of apple butter, and wonderful sauces made just from local, mostly organic, apples, pears, peaches, plums and blueberries. Since it was my first run, I stuck to fruit. And I loved it!!! The smell of the apple butter in the crockpot?! Oh SWOON!!
    Connor has eaten all but the last jar of applesauce, and I’m kinda hoarding the last pear-blueberry.

    Your pantry is absolutely beautiful! And oh how I love calendula-comfrey balm.

  4. March 21, 2011 9:01 am

    Rachel, your pantry/freezer is so inspiring! And your tips and methods for storing and eating through the winter are awesome. We live in Central Texas and have longer growing seasons here, but we just relocated last spring to a new home and only had time to do a little bit of fall planting (a whole new garden plot had to be carved out and cultivated in the spring!). We had plenty of herbs in pots though and headed into the winter with some frozen pesto and canned tomatoes. We do have several jars of assorted homemade jams from my sister in Washington in the pantry too!

    Spring is officially here in Texas now and we have already finished all of our planting. Here is to another successful growing season! May we be biting into fresh tomatoes soon :)

  5. March 21, 2011 9:10 am

    Still have some kale and beets from the summer’s experiment in first-time square-foot gardening. Excited to expand this year!

  6. mama meredith permalink
    March 21, 2011 9:50 am


    I am amazed at what you do! I am so far from it. I do dream, though. I dream of making my own salsas, pickling my own cucumbers and making hummus from garbanzos (Zev loves hummus.) And, wildly enough, I’m seriously considering planting a lavender plant in my front yard. But that might still be too much for a city girl… baby steps. I’m getting there- thanks to you- you are such an inspiration!

    love you!

  7. March 21, 2011 10:18 am

    What’s local in the fridge: carrots from down the street, eggs from another town over, some early spring greens from a nearby farm.

    What’s local in the pantry: bay leaves from our myrtlewood tree, dried oregano and thyme from our garden (and my son’s school’s), dehydrated celery from my friend’s.

    We also have local raw cow’s milk that a friend made into yogurt for us in exchange for my homemade granola. Yum!

    Not nearly as much as I would like though. I dream of growing more, learning to can, and buying only local in-season products to round things out…

  8. Ryan Brown permalink
    March 21, 2011 10:28 am

    Dang the family and friends exclusion clause which must exist in the fine print.

    I want something from your pantry because I miss you.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 21, 2011 11:18 am

      Ryan, no family/friends exclusion clause. Smooches, Rachel

  9. March 21, 2011 10:40 am

    I’m dreaming of my pantry in Romania, which I hope to fill with lots of locally grown delicious goodness. Does that count??

  10. Molly permalink
    March 21, 2011 10:54 am

    Eggs from a friend of a friend, lamb and beef in the freezer from Durango and Mancos respectively. I’m strong on summery localness and homemade stuff, weak on wintery localness. But I’m watching and learning.

  11. Nancy permalink
    March 21, 2011 11:02 am

    Reading you blog is like being immersed in a wonderful novel – and it never ends. Keep up the great work.

    Now for my pantry – well I don’t can (maybe some year I will) but I do freeze. We have 3 freezers – one devoted only to elk – the others are for veggies etc. I freeze large batches of chicken cacciatore (with garden tomatoes), marinara, elk stew & elk roast (with garden veggies), chili…. I also make ratatouille in big batches – with zucchini, summer squash, green peppers, onions – this freezes well and is a favorite side dish in the winter. mmmmm I also blanch and freeze green beans, peas, broccoli. I freeze green peppers and I also freeze basil leaves.

    I keep a chart on one freezer with all the numbered contents and keep count of use – tho’ it never remains quite accurate for some reason. :) We still have garden carrots in the fridge!!!

  12. Emily permalink
    March 21, 2011 11:23 am

    What I dreamt about as a child, living in the desert of AZ, is what ended up in my freezer: blueberries, peaches, and strawberries. Now as a mother, there are greens, squash, tomatoes, roasted peppers and pesto in the freezer. I’m going to try the whole canning thing this year I think.

  13. March 21, 2011 11:43 am

    your efforts are impressive and inspiring! the organizer in me LOVES your chart. go rachel! ;)

  14. coleen permalink
    March 21, 2011 12:10 pm

    Lets see, whats local in my freezer: string beans, peppers, cookies, tomato sauce and apple sauce. Count me in!

  15. March 21, 2011 12:11 pm

    1. Your kids are so adorable, it makes my chest ache. Rose’s eyes! Those eyes. Col’s smile! Oy. How you can parent without forever clutching your chest astounds me.

    2. I am so damned jealous of your food. Garden, storage, etc. Jell-us. Gah!

    3. Currently, in our stand-alone freezer we have about 4 cubic feet of frozen dead animals thanks to the hard work of local farmers. Grass fed, peoples! Chickens, lamb, pork and beef. I’m about to run out of the beef and pork, which is stressing me out. Gonna have to rent a car and coordinate another bulk purchase with folks from my meat buying co-op, which is a massive pain in the ass. Go, community!

    4. My community garden plot went bye bye. So, it’s a CSA delivery and the farmers market for fresh produce. But, this is SoCal, so it’s pretty much a crazy bounty all the time. You can actually get decent strawberries in freakin’ FEBRUARY here. Can you believe that? Granted, not as juicy as summer’s bounty, but still pretty sweet.

    5. My dream: Small hunk of land I can cultivate on my own. Living close to farmers for my meat. Chickens in the backyard. A real pantry instead of the makeshift madness I current have. Basically, a return to what I grew up in. Go figure.

    This is my really long winded way of saying that I would like to enter the give away (and I’m still jealous).

  16. nelliella permalink
    March 21, 2011 1:21 pm

    oooo how glad am I to find your blog! This is really inspiring… this is what i WISH I had to show for my efforts at the end of the year. Alas I just don’t manage to grow so efficiently!!! I made fruit leather for the first time last year using locally foraged cherr-plums, but it didn’t last very long ;) I really want to try making fruit cheeses and jams, and sauerkraut, and canning but I never seem to get around to it. And I always get put off with jams and canning when I start worrying about getting rid of the germs beforehand :( I’ll be keeping a close eye on your blog for inspiration for what to do with an excessive amount of beetroot! I wonder if chokeberries grow in the UK?

  17. March 21, 2011 1:34 pm

    Oh Rachel – inspiring as ever!
    In my dreams – I’m planning next year’s winter garden. I’ve just finished a local gardening class, and have learned how to overwinter a ton of crops. I know it’s possible because I did it accidentally one year…! SO – I’m looking forward to eating out of my garden all year next year! :)

  18. Katie B. permalink
    March 21, 2011 2:43 pm

    First off, you’re a goddess. Second, I’d love to hear your uses for cabbage and beets. I really need some yummy recipes for those in my repertoire because, I must confess, those are two of the very few veggies that I almost never use.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 24, 2011 3:28 pm

      Beets: borsch, roasted beet salad (with walnuts and feta), shredded beet salad with balsamic/olive oil, roasted roots (with carrots/potatoes) Cabbage: sauteed with sesame oil and tamari, cole slaw, potato and cabbage soup, sauerkraut!

  19. Nana Judy permalink
    March 21, 2011 3:10 pm

    Very impressed, Rachel, with all your growing, preserving, graphing! Wonderful photos of those beautiful kids ‘n’veggies – not to mention those meals. Love those gourmet fast foods – yay!

  20. mama meredith permalink
    March 21, 2011 3:57 pm

    One more thing- I LOVE your graph! How hilarious! Too funny for words! Just laughing out loud…

  21. March 21, 2011 5:39 pm

    Local in our freezer: elk, moose, mule deer. And, because we tend to hunt & gather while on vacation too, razor clams and ramps.

    Local dried in jars: fava beans (an absolute MUST for any high-altitude/ short-season gardner), summer squash, carrots, morel mushrooms.

    Local canned: peaches, turnips (I know), beets, carrots, pickled carrots and sauerkraut.

    P.S. Next year: would love to see more winter salad ideas.

  22. March 21, 2011 5:54 pm

    Your pantry looks fabulously full and I am dreaming of a cold frame for next winter now! I can hardly imagine having some greens harvested on our farm in the middle of winter. I will definitely have to look into that for next year! The chard looks to die for.

    Our pantry held 17 quarts of tomatoes that we canned from a bushel we bought from our CSA farmers last summer. We finished our last quart about a month ago so we’re definitely going to try and at least double that amount for this summer.

    We were still in the city then so didn’t have a garden at the time. I did stock the freezer with lots of grated zucchini and peaches from the farmer’s market and a ton of strawberries that we picked locally. All that’s left is a few berries!

    Great idea about the chart – I will definitely do that next time. We are planning a big garden this year so hopefully will have more to save!

  23. March 21, 2011 7:06 pm

    It’s so fun to see your photos of your pantry (never thought I’d say something like that!) I have a few jars of crushed tomatoes left in the pantry, and a bunch of peach and apricot jam. Wishing I’d put up more peach halves and less jam, and more of some other kind of jam. We used up all our applesauce, so I definitely need more of that next year. We ate all the dill pickles, but we have sweet pickles left for sandwiches. I only did one box of pickles. I have some relish left from that box, as well.

    I’m pretty amazed at what I managed to put away last year, since we moved twice last summer. I didn’t have a garden, but bought some food for canning at a local market and a farmer’s market. This was the first year I really did any canning, and though it was so much work in the summer time, I truly appreciate being able to shop in my own pantry.

    I want to have a big garden this year. I know we can grow some food through the winter here with cold frames or cloches. I find the details and work of physically making the garden to be a sticking point right now. But I’m trying to find ways of working, step by step, through the challenging parts. Thanks for the inspiration to keep me going!

  24. March 21, 2011 9:29 pm


    ok. i scraped bottom last week with my clean out the pantry mission. What’s left? pesto, tomatoes, dried and in oil, and that’s just about it! eggs, honey, milk and meat are always local. and the seeds are going in this weekend. thanx for the inspiration!

  25. March 21, 2011 9:31 pm

    oh yes, one other thing, the dressing on the sprouts and cabbage looks yummy…what is it?

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 24, 2011 3:34 pm

      Some miso something or other.

  26. Rachel (as well!) permalink
    March 21, 2011 9:34 pm

    First of all, I want to tell you that your blog is great! I love reading about your wonderful lifestyle while appreciating your down to earth (literally) sense of humor. Reading your latest post is so inspiring. I planted my first garden last spring, but with my first baby very newly born I didn’t save much (enough tomatoes to get us until January…not enough!) This year I’m growing a lot more and appreciate the tips on how various things hold up frozen/in the fridge since I don’t have a pressure canner and would like to store many more veggies. I have my kale, broccoli and peas sprouting, chamomile sunning itself in my window…leeks and eggplant seedlings get started tomorrow and arugula goes in the ground! Thinking about asking for some cold frame building help for mother’s day…hopefully my daughter will have lots of fresh food this spring, summer, fall and winter! Thanks again for the inspiration and the laughs!

  27. March 22, 2011 10:06 am

    Oh Rachel, what an insane bounty. And to get through winter without buying anything more than limes, lemons, avocados and apples, holy (unintended) ecowarrior! Plus that chart (which is quite logical but never occurred to me before)…

    I’m perhaps most envious of your winter greenhouse…props!

    What’s local in my pantry:
    – an absurd variety of jams and jellies, which I realize I have to start giving away more.
    – plum chutneys
    – fruit syrups
    – fruit liqueurs
    – candied violets
    – honey
    – goat cheese
    – yogurt
    – wild boar (we’re talking a small-scale quantity)
    – eggs (our own chickens, yay!)
    – canned, roasted tomatoes
    – onions
    – potatoes (I also have issues with sprouting)
    – kiwi (really!)

    I have a real lack of freezer space (3 small drawers, Euro style) which means I can’t put away as much as I’d like to. Must work on that.

    P.S. I’m sure I’m ineligible for the contest, but I just wanted to think through what’s actually local here at home, and thank you for showing what’s in yours…

    P.P.S. Any chance you’d ever share your ricotta cheese recipe (hint hint)?

  28. March 22, 2011 11:35 am

    The inventory it a GREAT idea. I know for myself that it’s hard to see what I have in the pantry sometimes! : )

  29. March 22, 2011 12:59 pm

    Don’t need the give away, so if I come up, choose another name (still have some chokecherry jam – grin). Your inventory sheet is inspiring. So simple, yet so perfect. Brilliant! Keep in mind that onions don’t like potatoes, when it comes to storage. If they are together, the onions will make the potatoes sprout – so I’ve been told anyway. I’m working my way through lots of frozen strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and peaches now that it is warming up enough that I can eat yogurt and fruit or a smoothie for breakfast. SO good when you are anxiously awaiting the buds to break on the lilac bushes. Hugs.

  30. March 22, 2011 1:13 pm

    You have been blessed! and are a blessing in more ways than one.
    That picture of Rosie should be enlarged and saved for future days, she looks absolutely adorable and would pass any Calander Girl Contest. Give her a kiss,and a hug from me. Everything in my pantry is from my garden or my local Farmers Market. I wish I had neighbors into gardening like we are, then we could trade..

  31. Emily permalink
    March 22, 2011 2:14 pm

    Rachel I am so inspired that you went all winter without buying produce, no greens! You all are doing it right, you’re staying home to be family anyways, might as well use that to your greatest advantage. I love the picture of Rosie worker stuffed on her fifth humongous carrot while Col worker admires their bounty. I tell you, seeing all of your yummies and hearing your stories, (and eating your local goodies!) makes me want to stay home all year! Yes, our freezer is stuffed with local goat, elk, deer, peaches, cherries (from two years ago : )

    “I think those guys, out of everyone, I respect the most. I know a lot of people are out there doing great things, but they’re… I respect them so much”
    (interjection, I pretended to listen to Jojo while really I just let his words flow through me to the keypad. and ditto)

    …apricots, buffalo, chicken, corn, tomatoes, salsa, pesto, chimichiri (!), pears, plums, (we have durian, we dream it was local), elderberries, serviceberries, peas, saag, a couple deer skins, lots of wild meat dog food, cooked Navajo beans, Hatch green chilies, Navajo lake salmon, we have canned tomatoes, dried pears peaches apricots and apples. We’re teetering on the end of our potatoes and garlic in a nearby friend’s root cellar (we want one of those too!), along with apples and onions that were still edible a week ago?

    We dream of sweet potatoes, oranges, bananas, lemon and lime, avocados, more durian, can we have jack fruit, ranbutan and coconut? how about fresh pineapples, papayas and guavas? Jackfruit. star apple …
    okra eggplant bittermelon

    I’m going to stop writing while Jojo goes on dreaming.

    dream dream dream
    dream dream dream : )

  32. Jojo permalink
    March 22, 2011 2:15 pm

    …seriguelas, lansones, bayabas… baguo~~~n

  33. Jojo permalink
    March 22, 2011 2:18 pm

    …bayabas, siriguelas, talong … at baguo~~~~ng…

    • March 23, 2011 8:33 am

      Jojo, I married a filipino and one of his favorite snacks is baguong smeared atop fresh green mangos :)

      Here in Central Texas we have patio citrus, but yes, to have jackfruit would be nice…

  34. ike permalink
    March 22, 2011 4:01 pm

    Wow, beautiful produce and mouth watering photos!
    Here in berkeley with three farmer’s markets every week it is easy to be spoiled and just go buy the fresh produce. But I know you get such satisfaction from growing your own and the kids learn so much about their food.

  35. Melissa permalink
    March 22, 2011 11:06 pm

    okay, i’ve already won something here and was just gifted some summer bounty plum jam but man, that salve looks awesome. how about you post a how-to?

    I always love reading and learning here about food and how to grow/make it. The West Berkeley Bowl and I are seeing way too much of each other; sadly, the rain (and my own fear) has kept me away from the garden, but my mom’s bffs were here and I learned that in addition to kale, I have arugula and parsley (!), as well as olive trees. So awesome! I am like a stranger in a strange land, hopefully only temporarily!

    I look forward to growing food for my family and *finally* learning to make yogurt!

    PS. that summer photo of Rose is like a different girl–she looks so much younger there!

  36. March 23, 2011 1:02 am

    So inspiring! You have such a lovely, accessible and charming life. I hear ya on the tomato shipping and the last carrot. Cabbage never grows well for us…this year! AND my inner dork is in love with your chart! In love.


    ps I’m out for the giveaway! Going to smear some lavender lip balm on my lips right now…

  37. March 23, 2011 1:26 am

    You’re amazing and I love you. So inspired to get out in the garden as soon as the rain stops!!!


  38. March 23, 2011 9:28 am

    You know I’d LOVE to win :) So my tomatoes are up & sprouting their second leaves in the recycled greenhouse. Everything is deep green thanks to the chicken poop & compost I threw into the soil. I think the zucchini are going to be evicted soon, however, they are starting to get a little shmoozie with their fellow seedlings! Love, love, love the graph…. some day when I get the growing part down, perhaps I will need one of those. Here’s to hoping (and not giving up, even when I grow the worlds smallest potatoes).

    Local digs now are eggs, beets, oranges & tons of leafy green stuff. Siberian kale is fantastic! We found a local farm that will sell us stuff on Fridays after homeschool co-op when we are right down the road from them because they are all prepped to hit the Farmer’s Market Saturday Morning (an hour and a half from our house!) How is that for incredibly awesome. Produce, eggs, chicken & goat cheese. “Just swing by, no problem” they told me. I am totally swooning over the whole thing!!

  39. March 23, 2011 12:09 pm

    keeping track = brilliant. so impressed.

  40. March 23, 2011 12:29 pm

    you are an inspiration………… dream pantry……..YOURS!!!!!

  41. March 23, 2011 12:30 pm

    you are an inspiration……….my dream pantry…..YOURS!!!!!

  42. March 23, 2011 12:32 pm

    first i have to say that cabbage salad…looks….delicious. i am inspired to grow more of that this year because i love salad of any kind and especially in the winter when i can’t have it:) we have four gallons of freshly canned maple syrup!! pickles. a few straggling jars of jam. one jar of canned peaches (the kids zipped through these). one jar of sauerkraut. two canned tomatoes…and that is all. i need to put up more, obviously…and especially with a family of 1 husband and 3 sons! i may have to borrow your list idea! i love it. happy garden planning!!

  43. March 23, 2011 1:48 pm

    I would love to win your giveway, but what I want more is permission to re-print that sweet, sweet photo of Rose. My stairwell hallway has framed prints of different photos that move me – my mother pregnant with my brother, my friend pregnant standing a top a rock overlooking the Puget Sound, profile of Christina Aguilera sitting backwards on a chair – and I would really really love if I could add this one. It took my breath away!

    As usual, I soak up your every written word like it’s candy. Or maybe tomato sauce. ;-)

  44. Heather permalink
    March 23, 2011 2:29 pm

    Local on the windowsill: basil

    Local in the fridge and freezer: breastmilk!

    Plans to plant more herbs this year, along with pumpkins, if I can find the seeds I dried and stored in a “safe place.”

  45. Jessica permalink
    March 23, 2011 4:24 pm

    I am in awe of your pantry/freezer bounty. Simply gorgeous.

    Trying to be local in the freezer: citrus zest from our own trees!

    My husband only drinks water with lemon, and he drinks a lot of water! I asked him if he wouldn’t mind if I zested the lemons before he slices them. It’s so great in recipes. So, that’s my experiment – frozen lemon zest. We have young citrus trees in the yard, but the harvest has been… well, not so good. We think some critter is eating the blooms, but we can’t figure out what.

  46. March 23, 2011 7:21 pm

    hmm – we’re still sprinkling chili powder from our massive “muchonacho”pepper harvest last year. does that count? xoxo

  47. March 23, 2011 8:14 pm

    My daughter looked over my shoulder at the top of the post, with the pantry and the freezer & said “Mommy, that looks like ours”.

  48. Amy Mayfield permalink
    March 23, 2011 10:37 pm

    Wow, this post is so inspiring! We picked and froze lots of berries last summer but ran out in DECEMBER! So more next year for sure. We moved to a new home on a 1/2 acre lot over the summer and are just getting our first garden bed ready. I made lots of roasted pear chutney from our pear trees and we’ve been loving that this winter. I love your chart, very good idea!

  49. March 24, 2011 4:34 pm

    Ohh, yes. Chokecherries! My Montana roots miss their fine, tangy syrup all the way our here on the coast. And, my babe has a tender bottom, maybe too much kiwi these days or too much last-of-last-summer’s frozen blackberry smoothies.

  50. Dana Stokes permalink
    March 24, 2011 10:01 pm


    I love your blog entries. They’ve inspired me to grow more and differing vegies and, as a fellow writer, to write more whimsically. Hopefully this fall, we will can some of our home grown produce!

    I hope we will be able to meet you and your lovely family this summer when we visit our eldest daughter Naima (your tenant)!


  51. March 25, 2011 3:15 pm

    The color of your food is a feast for me. I want to be inspired. I’m also intimidated. Canning is just way, way hard for me. I’m a great freezer. Olathe corn grows right here. That was a party. The meat my boys got? Great stuff. My apple tree is bountiful. Actually, just this is enough for me to be proud, but there is more I stored. And this summer I will watch you with a slowness and ease. I want to do what feels good not what I think I should. Food can tell when it’s cared for, don’t ya think?

  52. April 1, 2011 4:55 pm

    i’m glad you did not close the comments on this even though the giveaway is long gone. :) (bummer i missed out on it but actually i never end up winning lol.) but i wanted to jump on here and shout “yes yes yes yes!” because everything you wrote has also been my ongoing experiment for the past two plus years. “fantastically, between October and late February, we didn’t buy any produce other than limes, lemons, apples and avocados.” our list is something like apples, oranges and avocados, but still. i too see the absurdity of the “fresh” february tomato. and the delightfulness of the february chard/kale/potato/onion/carrot. i say we have bought apples, but truth be told, we haven’t liked the ones we’ve bought. we’re still leaning towards the canned applesauce and peaches from local last season produce, and we’re opting to get our vitamins from the sprout jars on the windowsill instead for the time being. i’ve already run out of salsa but still have a stockpile of other tomato saucey things. looks like i’m gonna have to be stocking up on peach salsa this year too so i can make it longer next year. ;) OH and thank you for the grid idea!!! that is super duper. i have a mess of scribbles on a 2010 calendar, but a chart is going to really help me out in the busy canning season this year, so i am going to get started reformatting that now, quickly, before we are overwhelmed with local produce again. :)

  53. Diane H permalink
    April 2, 2011 10:10 pm

    I found a container of basil from last summer in my freezer and thought I hit the jackpot! Chopped it up in a pasta sauce.


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