In preparation for next week’s 100-mile Diet (part of my Catamount Earth Institute EcoChallenge) I went to the Norwich Farmers Market this morning: I bought black beans from Cedar Circle; eggs from Fat Rooster; cheese from Jericho Hill; spinach, parsnips, and onions from Blue Ox; potatoes from Luna Bleu; black walnuts from Ark of Safety. The walnuts were such a nice surprise – and shelled and chopped! (I often use non-local toasted walnuts atop pasta dishes, pizza, and quesedillas, so I won’t feel deprived in the coming week.) The next stop was the Lebanon Co-op for VT Creamery butter and creme fraiche, Lake Champlain apples, Beidler Family Farm organic whole wheat flour, Green Mountain Flour Spelt pitas, Strafford Creamery organic milk, and local maple syrup. Added to supplies I already have (including frozen tomatoes, basil, chard, parsley, and chives from last summer’s garden) I am feeling that this coming week will not be one of deprivation, but instead, a tasty and enjoyable challenge. How lucky we are to have this bounty of local foods year-round!
Postnote: I was excited by the availability of local black walnuts . . . but I have to say I did not enjoy them. Knowing that they can have an astringent aftertaste, I soaked them overnight in water and then let them dry. They definitely had a chemical taste. Black walnut tree roots release a chemical called juglone that is toxic to many plants; perhaps that is the taste I found unpleasant. I have since read that one should soak them in brine . . . maybe that would do the trick?