Friday, October 14, 2016

Seasonal Eating

Shasta looking longing outside at her territory. 
She was house bound for two weeks recently
as she healed from her bladder surgery.
Grappling with altering Shasta’s homemade stew to minimize the reoccurrence of struvite bladder stones that were surgically removed recently, I have revisited from whom we buy our food. Wanting organic and nonGMO verified plant and animal ingredients to prepare her meals has motivated me talk with the local vendors about their farming practices. The Sebastopol Farmers Market has some stellar farmers, both male and female, who are more than willing to discuss how their vegetables and/or meat are raised. Those farms, like Green Star Farm, almost our next door neighbor, and Bodega Pastures, from whom we buy lambs for our freezer each year, raise their animals on ancestral diets; for example goats and lambs eat grass in the pasture, not in feedlots where the animals are fattened up with grain. Cows, goats, sheep for example cannot digest grain which ferments in their digestive tract thus creating large amounts of methane which adds to the increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere now resulting in unprecedented violent weather worldwide.

Buying local food allows us to know the source of our food and one can often visit those farms, which is not only instructive, but can be a fun Sunday outing as well. It is amazing to me how forthright farmers are about their practices especially when they are beneficial to both Mother Earth and all BEIngs who call her home.

Both purchasing locally and eating seasonally maximize nutrition. During storage and transportation of especially plant based food, both vital nutrients and life force energy aka qi are lost. With globalization of the market place it is commonplace during our Winter months to see blueberries from the Southern hemisphere for sale in our markets as well as apples from Australia. Eating seasonally would focus on consuming citrus as well as root vegetables during this time. Of course, this requires each of us to look at our food planning and preparation, but with forethought and adjusting our habits we reap the benefits of varied local foods with their maximum nutrition.

Organs like liver, heart, kidneys, gizzards do not routinely appear in the grocery stores catering to the average United States citizen. For Shasta to have a fully nutritious diet a variety animal organs is essential . I was so pleasantly surprised at the response from Mindful Meats administration office when I emailed them about getting beef hearts and liver. Oliver's Markets (I shop the flagship market in Cotati each Wednesday) are the only markets in Sonoma County that presently carry Mindful Meats. With some negotiations between Mindful Meats administration and Oliver's meat department managers, Oliver's Markets are now receiving organs as part of their weekly order. And the butchers at the Cotati Oliver's are ever so kind to grind the exact amount needed to complete a beef recipe for Shasta.

Those of us living in Northern California who buy our food from local farms often remark how lucky we are to live in a place where organic, fresh, high nutrient density fresh food is so readily available year round. The choices are remarkably diverse over the course of an entire year. 

Eating seasonally is simple for a person shopping at their local Farmers Market: one buys what the vendors have harvested from their fields, whether plant or animal. Shasta's vegetable and fruit mix is made with whatever is in season and available from MuRefuge's garden and/or vendors at the Sebastopol Farm Market.

In the foreground are Crane Melons
hybridized right here on the Santa Rosa Plain.
They are juicy, sweet and luscious.
With a cup of plain, organic, nonGMO verified low fat Greek yogurt scooped into the center, a half of a Crane Melon is a quick pick me up at any time of the day.

Some of us preserve the abundance of Summer to enjoy during the Winter when root veggies are predominate. Slow roasted heirloom tomatoes, unthawed from the freezer, make a tasty meal warmed and served over mashed potatoes with canned peaches for dessert.

Huckleberry Gold potatoes which this vendor tried for the first
time this season. He bought the entire 50# bag of seed potatoes 
because the "seed" potatoes were just the right size. 
He planted only this variety of potatoes this year without ever having tasted them.
He, along with all his customers, have discovered that these potatoes are awesomely delicious!
A variety of heirloom tomatoes displayed for sale recently
by The Patch, located on 5 acres near the town of Sonoma.
The sign says it all! For four consecutive Sundays I bought a box of these peaches.
Jars of jam, butter and canned in a light maple sugar syrup 
now sit in our pantry for Winter consumption.
These peaches come from Yolo County and the huge organic
orchard, on the off season, was purchased by a young man and woman
to carry on the tradition of bringing the best ever peaches to the
Sunday Sebastopol Farmers Market.
Pickled peppers (I prefer pimento peppers from MuRefuge's vegetable garden) atop 7 Sprouted Grain toasted English Muffins make for a light evening meal.
What a beautiful display by The Patch's of their many different kinds of peppers.
In large part due to the "roller coastal" weather this growing season, pears are not their usual stellar juicy deliciousness. A number of farmers brought their harvest and we tried all of them. Dwight is the pear connoisseur and no vendor's pears met with his stamp of approval.
Red Pears from Stone Horse Farm located on Occidental Road near Sebastopol.
As each one of us grapple with our individual and/or family's nutrition and where our food actually is raised, may each of us

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