Responsibility in eating locally

July24

This may sound like it’s going to be some kind of speech about the necessity of eating local foods and how it’s bad to eat things that aren’t produced locally, but it’s not. I’m more than happy to eat my bananas from who knows where. But Katie wrote an interesting piece on the Oakhill Organics blog about how it is the responsibility of both the producers and the consumers to work together to make the “local thing” work. It was actually a very interesting post for me and made me much more proud of Chris’ little “mini farm” that she has going.

I grew up in northern California (really northern, not SF) right next to Arcata, CA, which is known for it’s radical take on living responsibly (“hippieness” at it’s extreme, though it seems to have calmed down when I last visited). And I’ve been a computer programming bachelor in this modern era of microwavable meals. So while I may not have seen everything, I’ve experienced a lot of the spectrum. And since I’ve pretty much always been in an international scene (I went to and worked at an international boarding school, and the computer work that I do can be done from anywhere in the world), I’ve never really thought much about the local food scene.

But I must admit that over the last few months as Chris has really taken off on her “projects”, as we call them, it’s become a lot more real to me. And I must admit that it’s nice. The food we eat tastes much better. And knowing the people that produced it is actually pretty cool. It adds a bit of camaraderie to the picture. Your not just eating lettuce from the store, but you are eating lettuce from so and so’s farm with some dressing that Chris made out of milk from her goat and some spices.

So I guess to sum up, while I don’t shun all exterior foods and I appreciate the ability to interact with and get products to and from all parts of the world, there’s an added bonus to partaking of your local environment and community.

Milking Quantities

July15

After the goat harvest last Monday, my milking quantities shot through the roof.  The boys had been weaned a few weeks before the harvest, but they still must have been sneaking milk because I was only getting about one quart every 24 hours.  The quantities were really inconsistent too, which was frustrating.

Things have really started to turn around now.  Milky Way is giving me about a half gallon every 24 hours.  I actually get a little bit more than that some days.  I have also been milking Scott’s other goat, Raven, as well, and she gives about a half gallon as well.  It feels good to bring home a gallon of milk every day.  I’ve been making cheese and yogurt up a storm.  I’ve also just got plans to freeze the milk so that I have some milk during the 3 months that my goat is dry (while she is pregnant).  With my new freezer, project milk freezing should go off without a hitch (as long as I can find containers to freeze in)!  I plan to freeze about 2 gallons per week, which is only about 24 gallons.  That should be enough to make a soft cheese every week as well as have a gallon to drink and cook with.  A high goal, for sure.  If I saved all the milk every other day for a month, I would be there!

Today, I proudly came home with more than a gallon of milk, which is sitting on my counter turning into Chevre.  I didn’t even need to reheat it.  It was still warm from the goat when I put the culture in.  It’s the easiest cheese ever.

Freezer Restoration

July13

It is becoming abundantly clear in our lives that one freezer is not enough. When I haul meat over here from Eastern Oregon, I never have enough space, and it is always a big headache to try to attempt to fit it in my freezer. I also just slaughtered two goats, which means that my freezer is packed to the gills. Jared and I talked about buying a new one, but it is not in the cards right now considering they cost a few hundred dollars new.

Out of chance, I posted an ad on the Mcminnville Freecycle saying that I wanted a freezer in working order. I got a response from someone in Carlton. I have to be honest, when we went to look at the freezer, I almost did not want to get it. It was rusted on the outside, and I would have turned my back on it then and there had it not been for the fact that it was pristine inside.

We moved it in to the garage. I spent part of the morning cleaning it out really good and scrubbing the outside. Tonight, Jared and I went to Walmart, and we ended up getting some appliance paint. The paint is made to refinish appliances, specifically in this kind of a situation. After 2 coats, I must admit that the freezer looks brand new. The finish on it is perfect. Despite the fact that I am not the best painter in the world (there are some drip marks), the freezer could sell in almost new condition very easily. And so, for an investment of $25 I have the freezer for extra meat and maybe even some blueberries later in the season.

The moral of the story, don’t give up on a gimpy looking freezer, restore it–oh… and Freecycle while you are at it.

Welcome! Getting started.

June17

Welcome to the OregonNaturalFoods.com. We are working to get this site up and running so that it can a resource for all like minded people looking for more natural foods in and around Oregon. My wife is the real force behind getting this site up and running. She’s taken our small city lot and figured out how to raise chickens so we can have home-grown eggs and meat, board a goat so we can get fresh goat’s milk every day and grow a serious herb and vegetable garden. All while finding out about more ways to do things naturally and connecting with more and more sources to find healthy things that we can’t produce ourselves.

We hope one day to have a small farm and be able to support ourselves and sell the excess, so one day this site might offer things we have to sell. But for now, it’s just a place to share what we (that’s the marital “we”, meaning my wife has done most of the research) have learned so that more and more people who are leaning towards living more healthfully and naturally are able to so more easily.

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