Ramblings

The wind has been howling out of the east and north all day.  Having lived on the prairie for about 17 years now, I know this portends an unpleasant turn of weather.  So far, we have been fairly lucky in this area with bouts of warmth and then cold again, which is helping keep the flooding below last year’s record levels.  It’s pretty raw out there, nonetheless.

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My mom reports that while grocery shopping with my dad last Sunday, she sent him back for the BPA-free canned beans.  While ranting about poison in food packaging and the need to ban such substances, she realized she was blocking the aisle and preventing a tall, thin gentleman from passing–Bill McKibben.

I’m sure she didn’t acknowledge that she knew who he was, though.  It’s not the Vermont way.  And that’s why notables and international celebrities such as Mr. McKibben, Alexander Solzenitchen, and Larry, Darryl & Darryl have sought refuge there.  The more famous you become, the less likely Vermonters will be to recognize you.  Who do you think you are, anyway?

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The Clinton grapevine reveals that at this week’s school board meeting, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley students requested the return of the cafeteria salad bar option.  While the option was tried a couple of years ago, the students now requesting the salad bar’s return are also those who have been involved in working on the CGB school gardens.  Coincidence?  Even so, I’d like to see that line stocked as much as possible with fresh and local ingredients!  Kudos to those students, who know very well what’s good for them.

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I’m settling in to the house in Clinton.  It’s a bit muddy in the sideyard, where the dog goes around to use the backyard bathroom “facilities.”  Eventually the snow will clear out enough to let her out the back garage door, which has been blocked by a four-foot (but ever-decreasing) drift.  My favorite thing about the new place besides the ample closets: a laundry chute.  Now, I hardly have to remind M to gather his dirties for the wash.

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Made a big batch of chicken stock with the carcass of that excellent local chicken from Big Stone Farms (they are for sale at The Granary Coop).  Not only did it help M feel better this weekend, but it’s helping keep me from coming down with the same sniffles.  Now, I’m satisfying another craving by making a loaf of bread.

I don’t buy “factory” bread any more than I buy “factory” meat.  Not all the same objections apply, of course, but after spending a couple of years on the Rosebud Reservation making all our family’s bread, I know how to integrate it into the daily routine, and I’ve gotten spoiled with the good preservative-free flavor of an artisan or simple homemade loaf.

Making bread is also a good way to use up a cup or two of leftover oatmeal or hot cereal or a half-drunk beer (if you happen to have that hanging around).

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Big Stone Lake Area Farmers Market producers have decided to take their “show on the road” on one of their two weekly market days this season.  Instead of having both markets in Ortonville this year, the Tuesday market is moving to Clinton.

We hope this benefits both producers (with better sales on that day), and the rural community (by increasing access to locally produced foods and other goods). Maybe it will also encourage some new producers and entrepreneurs to join us!

The weekend market will remain in Ortonville on Saturday mornings.  The Wilmot, SD market will continue its Wednesday evening schedule, and Twin Brooks, SD will remain on Thursdays. I hear Twin Brooks is working on being able to accept food stamps!

[As a side note, the farmers market in Huron, SD is also working on an EBT payment program.  I may be tooting my own horn a bit, but seeing SD markets starting to move forward on this is very exciting for me, being that I helped our Vermillion market be the first in the Dakotas to accept EBT, and have given presentations and advice on it for a couple of years now.]

I am looking for producers who sell at the Milbank market to talk about organizing there.  I’d love for them to be included in our joint regional advertising campaign.  I’d especially love if they’d consider taking a Friday night slot since they are the “big city” in the Big Stone Lake region.  But, “Milbank Monday” also has a nice ring to it… 😉

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To go with my loaf of bread, I’m roasting organic sweet potatoes from Pomme de Terre Coop and will combine that with some already-cooked-and-spiced black beans and chunks of leftover roast chicken into a hearty, warming stew for dinner.

Actually, the bread will probably not be ready when the stew is, but I’m hoping the oven warmth from roasting the sweet potatoes will help the bread  to rise.  If I can bake that loaf before bed tonight, I might get to have the warm crust spread with melting butter as my late-night snack!

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3 responses

  1. WOW – are we soon going to see Spring?
    The students of CGB are to be commended! I would like to be in on discussion of the salad bar due to the expansion of SHIP allowable fund use. do they have a refrigerated salad already? Your blog is making me hungry- do you have a favoring bread recipe you want to share? Seems like a good day for a loaf.

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