February 18, 2007

Minimizing Non-Local Buying for Winter

I minimized the non-local buying by developing my own version of root-cellaring this fall. I did a little interviewing of some Amish farmers at the Farmer's Market. They told me that their apples and Asian Pears would last 'til March 31st in a simple root cellar that was at ground level. I calculated 1 piece of fruit consumed every day (just to be conservative for my first storage year) 'til that day from the day I would be picking them up. So far, everything has lasted! When giving the Asian Pears the once-over so far, I found one moldy one that hadn't spread to the others yet. There is a trick to getting them to last. They must be kept both moist and cold (this poses him a problem with refrigeration). I carried them to my car in some large plastic bags that the orchardist had used. He told me to store them in the plastic bags, and I told him about my ideas to use insulated chests (like "Igloos" or similar) inside my unheated garage. He said that should work, and it's been good advice. He also worked with me to choose the longest-lasting ones (I'm going to make a note of what they are here when I see him again to ask him because I've forgotten the names.) We actually aren't eating them fast enough. It's so great to have the entire store all at once to just grab.

I also have some root veggies left over from the CSA...so far this year I've had to buy white potatoes at the supermarket, leafy greens, and onions. I bought my first bags of frozen veggies this past week. With a little work I can eliminate the storebought- and over-packaged items easily, and give my support to people I know and care about!