Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eat Your Veggies

In an effort to combat the onslaught of calories that have already begun to creep into my diet and thereafter inevitably onto my waistline, I'm making a vow to take a long walk every single day and eat more veggies.

It's hard to go wrong with carrots like these at the ready.  These were sweet, tender, crisp and thin skinned.  I gave them a good scrub and down they went with lunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.  Bugs would have been jealous.  I could dig another 20 bunches like this before we eat all that are in the garden.  In addition, I added a few large handfuls of fresh spinach and some side shoots of broccoli  to leftover pasta at lunch time and felt like my halo was tight.

Tonight we'll be having roasted peppers and shrimp over pasta and a green salad with radishes.  It's amazing that we are still eating fresh peppers though we are getting down to the dregs.  The plants finally took it on the chin before Thanksgiving, when the temperature dropped into the 20's, that was the death knoll.  We picked all that were of size and put them in a paper bag closed at the top.  Over the past 2 weeks they've slowly been ripening up.  We've lost a few, and some have gotten a little dried out and shriveled,  but overall they turn red and are still sweet and good to eat.  When we finally run out of those we'll have lots in the freezer, both fresh chopped and roasted and peeled, to get us through the cold months.  Today I cut down the plants and put them in the compost pile, pulled out their cages and put those away, raked up all the dead leaves and piled those in the bin to rot down and become more food for the garden next summer.

As long as I've been gardening in this climate it still floors me that on December 11th we can still be harvesting lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, collards, beets, carrots, kale, chard, bok choy and cilantro.  Very little has needed protection.  There is one gorgeous head of cauliflower growing out there, always a challenge for me, only a few of the plants survived and only one has a decent sized head at this point.  We've covered those plants for the 20 degree nights of this week and hope they will put on a bit more growth.

I've joined the 10% Campaign sponsored by the NC Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS).  Each Sunday I try to remember/estimate, how much money we spent on local food in the past week and how much money I saved by eating homegrown.  This is a bit of a challenge but also rather eye opening as to how much we are actually saving, or what it might cost us to buy all the stuff we grow if we were purchasing organic from the store or market.  For the 2 of us, it's working out to between $30-$40 a week and I think I actually tend to low ball.  I don't count all the fresh herbs for example.  So the goal is to eat/buy at least 10% locally each week, I think we are at about 40-50% because of the garden.

I feel sure that if we didn't have the garden, we would not be eating nearly as well as we are.  And on that note- I'm off to prepare another in a long line of excellent meals featuring loads of local food, including the shrimp.

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