Sep11

{a local adventure} Musings on beginning

A Local Adventure Summer 2012

Hello Lovely Adventurer,

How have you been?  I have been so busy over the last little while, researching this Local Adventure, and finishing up some crafts that have been on my to-do list for FAR TOO LONG!

Two fridays ago we visited Seven Springs Farm and became official CSA members… I know it’s official, because I had to sign a contract.  I’ve never had the opportunity to say this about a contract before, but I loved this part:

It sounds pretty good, right?!  It was super-dooper exciting visiting the farm.  Talking to Shane and Ben and seeing the farm in action made things seem so real – and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those veges!

Shane picked a couple of carrots (yellow and white ones!) out of the garden, washed them in a watering can and gave them to the girls – you couldn’t get fresher – ah bliss.

A few thoughts about our guidelines…

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking very carefully about the rules that will guide us from November 1st, 2011 until May 1st, 2012 on this local eating adventure.  I still have some time to narrow it all down, but here a few of my initial thoughts:

  • Once a week we will eat out at a local restaurant.  We won’t quiz the wait staff about locally-sourced food, but we will be choosing eateries that are close to home and owned/operated locally – i.e. no franchises or large chain restaurants.
  • During the summer we will be hosting/attending barbecues and picnics that involve shared food, so on these occasions we will ensure that the food we contribute adheres to our rules, but we will participate in these communal meals.
  • Birthdays are exempt.
  • I am thinking that perhaps we will each be able to nominate an item outside of our catchment area.  I know that Barry already has his eye on coffee as his ‘free’ item.
  • Similarly, I am thinking of allowing salt and pepper for seasoning and maybe a few other spices to enhance flavours.  I can source sea salt that is produced in Marlborough, but pepper is not grown in New Zealand… sometimes you just need salt and pepper though, you know?!
  • If I can’t use baking powder/soda, how do I bake??
Hmmm… I’m sure there’s more… I hope to be able to post a clear set of guidelines by the beginning of October.  I’d be really keen to hear what you think about what I’ve outlined already, and anything else that may have occurred to you.
Today we went to our local Farmers’ Market, and I was most inspired… there was plenty of fresh produce, seedlings, meat producers, local honey and bakers.
We attended the very first Farmers’ Market at Hobsonville Point earlier this year, and it was not quite what I expected   But today, despite the atrocious weather, it was thriving… and I think that we are going to be well supplied during the coming months.
Here are a few of the producers who frequent the various Markets across Auckland.

A dilemma…

Here’s the thing.  I live in the land of milk and honey.  Yes, I can find meat, seafood, dairy products, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.

The one thing I can’t find is the one thing that you really need when you’ve got littlies: FLOUR.

I don’t even need regular flour.  Just flour of some description so that I can bake.  I’m not sure if it’s kiddies world wide, but pretty much every parent I’ve ever spoken to, has confirmed that if the little ones reject everything else you try to feed them, they will eat a sandwich.

I asked a man at the market today, and he told me it’s just too humid to grown wheat in Auckland.  The bakers at the market all source their flour from Australia.  During my search I did manage to find a producer of organic wheat flour in the South Island… so not quite as far as Oz, but still not close enough.

Over the past two weeks I have hunted far and wide for flour, and these are my options as far as I can tell:

  • Macnuts Farm, located just north of Helensville, sells Macadamia Meal.  This sounds really lovely and I would like to give it a go for some special baking, but for daily bread and other baking at $18 for 500g, it’s a little too pricey.
  • Similarly, Chestnut Traders, also north of Helensville, sells Chestnut Flour.  Barry is pretty keen to just buy the chestnuts and then make the flour ourselves (after a quick google search this involves: peeling, roasting, chopping, drying and then pulverising into flour – not a quick process!)… I do believe that this will be a pricey option also – and if we decided to make the flour ourselves, it would also be unbelievably time consuming – can you tell I’m not that keen?!
  • Finally, I have managed to find a company that grows organic maize/corn and produces corn flour, corn meal and polenta.  Perfect, right?!  Well, yes… except they are based in Tolaga Bay, which is 220 miles away from Auckland.  Sigh.

What do you think?  Would you make an exception for the corn meal… or, do you know of a handy alternative that I may not know about?

Alright, I better stop.  This post is already far longer than I had intended… I didn’t realise I had so much to share with you!

I have quite a lot more research to do, and a few more decisions to make.  We’ll also need to get a small vege patch ready, as we’ll be trying to keep ourselves in a steady supply of lettuce, spinach and herbs over the summer (lettuces are currently $4 at the supermarket so we really can’t get started too quickly!)

If you have any handy tips or ideas, I’d love for you to let me know.  I’m hoping to catch you up with a few of my crafty adventures sometime soon, but until then I do hope you have a lovely week… full of happy adventures!!

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