Keeping it Slow ... From the Heart

I’ve just spent the last 4/hours (in truth the last 4/months) “putting up” the bounty of the Hudson River Valley.  http://www.ediblecommunities.com/hudsonvalley/ Currently Apples are my obsession; although, now that Apples are waning, I’m also “putting up” Cranberries (Cranberry Lime Curd).  Oh mercy … there is no end to the simple pleasures that life offers. This article correlates to my previous post “It’s Expensive” and to a sign that a local farmer posted that “stopped me in my tracks” many years ago.  The farmer was selling organic produce and his sign read, “’Ya think it’s expensive”?  He then listed his year-long efforts (a full billboard’s worth) of his time, overhead, weather conditions, cost of seed and other numerous expenses that he incurred in order to produce “local food” @ $2.00 that consumers thought “it’s expensive”.   (A sure indication of how far removed we are from our food source). I keep this farmer’s “billboard” close to heart as I “put up” a ½ bushel of Apples that yields approximately 6 jars (after hours of chopping, straining, stewing, burbling (hours that don’t take into account my driving to farms in search of the best fruit / gas spent in driving / cost of my equipment / cost of fuel for having my stove fired up for hours to create “the blessing of the harvest”.  What price could I, or a farmer, possibly put on our bounty that a consumer (who doesn’t farm or “put up”) would understand and not think “it’s expensive”?  Fortunately, I don’t sell the preserves that I “put up” … I give them away to the people that I love.  I do this for numerous reasons; the most significant … when I give something that I’ve made by hand / from the heart, I think of my loved ones while “stirring the pot”.  I remember times gone by and times yet to come; I keep them close to heart and my heart is full.  (Do we receive this when we shop at Wal-Mart)? Carlo Petrini who founded “The Slow Food Movement” http://www.slowfood.com/international/2/our-philosophy (to “counter the rise of fast food and fast life; the disappearance of local food traditions; how our food choices affect the rest of the world”) is a hero of mineCarlo stood firm to protect the authenticity of his regional food and unbeknownst to him, he started an International movement. That’s the power we have … one person can change the world … if we look beyond what’s “cheap” and support the essence that surrounds us.  Carlo Petrini stood his ground against Corporate America and won. What do we stand for and what will our legacy be? You may be thinking “I don’t have time to do that / I’m busy / I work / I have kids.” Please know that I raised a child alone + I work + I maintain 15/acres and a creaky old farmhouse on my own + I too am overwhelmed at times.  My secret?  I don’t watch TV.  I manage my time well and choose to do what serves me, my loved ones, my local community, organic practices, farmlands, and “gone by” traditions (which I believe support the essence of life).  I don’t do Wal-Mart or Grocery stores for my food – I keep it local www.earthmarkets.net and I support my farmers and local Artisans who produce exquisite fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, etc.  (Does Wal-Mart work lovingly to bring you their best)?  If not, why settle for “less than” when you can have “the best”? Back to Apples: To educate myself, I searched through various “grocery stores” to see what they charge for Apple sauce / what kind of quality their price offered.   (Oh Lord have mercy … I’m blessed to “put up” my local harvest).  The “Apple sauce” that I researched looked like “watered down slop” (yes, they were all extremely inexpensive, as they should be).  I know enough about “high fructose corn syrup” to stay miles away from it, but I was perplexed why each jar held both “high fructose corn syrup” + “corn syrup”?  (My guess is they want us “talking in tongues” after we’ve had one serving)? Each jar also held an ingredient to “hold the color”.  Hold the color?  There was no color (I can’t imagine the color they were hoping to hide).  Me?  Well I’ve got some mighty fine Rosy Red Apple Sauce that holds it color just fine.  I know my farmer; I support local; I don’t do “high fructose” +  I see the trees that my Apples fell from … while observing the light and shadows that Autumn throws across distant fields.  In choosing regional (knowing where my food comes from) I understand that the blessings are mine.  If we continue to shop at Wal-Mart and the likes, we will no longer have regional farmlands or the beauty that comes from our home-lands.  If we want to pass on any semblance of a Natural world to our next generation, we need to support sustainable practices and keep our regional based economy strong (out of the hands of multi-national corporations). This much I know to be true … Perhaps you’re thinking “I live in the country shopping regional is easy for me”?  Please know that “the farmer’s sign” I referred to was posted in a major city / his produce was exquisite.  If you live in a city or suburb you have the ability, due to numerous farmers’ markets, to shop local and reap the benefits of your local bounty www.ediblecommunities.com Yes, it may take a few extra minutes but you will preserve a way of life; keep your local economy strong … and you will eat food that actually tastes like food with its nutritional content intact.  Imagine that … If you’re wondering where to begin, begin here www.earthmarkets.net or here http://guide.buylocalca.org  or here www.farmland.org or here www.localharvest.org  or here www.eatwild.com to find what’s local to you (there’s Edible South Florida, Hudson Valley, San Francisco, Philly, Seattle, Phoenix, Boston, Toronto, Manhattan, Los Angeles) etc., etc. For inspiration (and to see how other people have chosen “regional”) and how this serves our communities and the greater good … (A Thousand Gardens in Africa) http://www.slowfood.com/sloweb/eng/dettaglio.lasso?cod=C2744B881b0da1B2E4pnu2E5643B or here www.commongoodmarket.com

As always, the choice is ours

Elise Muller, Proprietor / Artisan www.mountain-spirit-botanicals.com

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