As we look toward a long season of harvesting I find myself excited about what we’ll be making. I wonder if we’ll have good crops and if I’ll be successful at storing food to eat throughout the winter months. The Real Food Challenge proved just how difficult it can be to commit to eating non-processed foods in late winter, especially if one is relying on regional or seasonal foods.
Today I had the opportunity to visit the Amish and Mennonite society not far from my home. They have a rather large community and a fabulous relationship with the rest of the outlying region. My daughter and I drove by all the farms, amazed at all of the produce and canned items they have to sell. Most households offered squash, cabbage, and broccoli, but a few already had some tomatoes to spare. Fresh eggs, fresh milk, homemade butter, roosters and pullets, sorghum and honey – so much to be had.
I found myself wondering how they get through the winter months without canned vegetable Blahs (they keep greenhouses and cellars and plan ahead!). I have nothing but admiration for their culture and I respect their relationship with the earth. I love that they have such a healthy relationship with food. They obviously adore food (which is apparent by the way they treat what they grow) but not one of them is overweight.
That’s seasonal eating for you. That’s a very, very limited access to processed foods. That’s working with the earth.
The Kid and I had the chance to go to the Amish auction. It was thrilling to see green peppers, tomatoes, and even blackberries. I purchased a half peck each of pickles and huge candy onions as well as a large bunch of carrots for only $11. I now have 2 gallons worth of refrigerator pickles working their magic, and we’ve already broken into the onions – onions so sweet you can eat them like an apple. And those carrots! Wow.
I know we’ll visit over and over again during the summer. Our diets will be supplemented by Amish wares. And if my garden doesn’t produce like I hope, well those Amish wares will be what we’ll eat during those late winter months. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this kind of culture, do so! I highly recommend visiting the homes or auction sites to purchase merchandise rather than going to a store that carries “Amish-made” items. Going directly to the site will not only cost you less, but it ensures that the families are getting 100% of the profit.
Do you have an Amish and/or Mennonite society nearby that offers merchandise to the public?
Jennifer can also be found over at Unearthing this Life where she blargs about living in rural Tennessee, raising a precocious yet sweet daughter, and growing her own food.