In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eating locally

I love the idea of the hundred mile diet but sometimes I think we are aiming for something a bit more local -- the (mostly) three mile diet, maybe. Or the (maybe) three mile diet, mostly. But with bananas and chocolate and coffee from somewhere far far away -- farther even than Ontario. We aren't very rigorous about it. Instead of setting rules for ourselves, we have just tried to discover the edible opportunities in our new situation. And so, gradually, over the last three years, everything changed for us.
And for dinner the other night: our first-ever asparagus! Yes, it was a tiny amount, but so pretty and good. This is the only harvest we'll allow ourselves this season. It's supposed to keep growing its root system so that in a couple more years it will be a strong perennial crop and we'll be able to harvest asparagus for several weeks. And to go with our teeny tiny asparagus helpings -- lobster from right here in the the cove, thanks to Dylan and Dylan's dad.

We are coming to the end of all the food we put away in the freezer last fall: island lamb and mutton and mutton sausage; mackerel from the cove; cranberry sauce and chanterelles from island foraging; and from the garden, grape leaves, beans, chard, snap peas, beets, cabbage soup, squash soup, zucchini soup, and pesto of all sorts -- marjoram, sage, parsley, and carrot top. Even with our garden losses last fall, we did pretty well with vegetables thanks to Mary and Leroy's gifts. We still have fresh apple cider in the freezer and hard cider in bottles in the cellar. The home-made beer is -- alas -- all gone.

It was amazing to realize how much of what we ate this year was food we had grown, caught, found, bartered for or been given. And just how close to home most of it was. It has been easier than I ever would have thought to shed the habitual behaviours of a life time and do it all differently.

I planted peas and lettuce last Saturday and with luck we'll be eating a bit of home grown salad by the end of June. In the meantime, the Shelburne Farmers' Market begins its second year soon. That's pretty local, too.


Janet said...

I'm trying to adhere to the 100 mile - actually 10 mile - rule and will be adding a chest freezer to my house this week or next. This is a much more realistic and wholesome way to eat and has the added attraction of supporting sustainable local rural development. That's all good!

Neil and Susan Brown said...

The asparagus is harvested already? The tips are just showing in our garden! It is so satisfying eating food that we grow and prepare. It sounds like you have a perfect setting to grow all you need.

Karen said...

All your "local" foods sound delicious!..I am chomping at the bit to start a garden at This Old house...