The idea of eating locally being difficult this time of year makes me laugh, especially when I would really have to work to eat a mainly non-local diet. It's been pretty hot here so most of our meals have been of the non-cooked variety - like salads or sandwiches. We've had a lot of watermelon and feta salads, scads of BLTs, and I made mayonnaise with local eggs that was so good we made a meal of steamed vegetables just dipped in it. If you had ever told me that I would enjoy a meal that consisted mainly of mayo, I probably would have laughed at you. But homemade mayonnaise with a little garlic added is heaven.
When I do cook, I try to cook something that will last us for several meals. This week, I made a huge pork roast with meat from River Ridge Farms. I served it with tortillas made with homemade lard rendered from local pork fat and two types of salsa - both from my garden. We have a bumper crop of tomatillos this year so I made a roasted tomatillo salsa with local onions and garlic and added hot peppers and cilantro from our garden. The other salsa was a grilled tomato salsa with a bunch of heirloom tomatoes from our garden.
The only thing I haven't been able to escape from is canning. Nothing heats up an un-air conditioned kitchen quicker than canning. I don't really have a choice though because this is the time of year that everything is ripe. I made several pints of plum jam and took some frozen sour cherries and made black forest jam and cherry chutney. I made a deal with a local farmer and he gives me his "ugly" tomatoes and I can them and give him half. Cracked tomatoes won't keep so yesterday I spent several hours canning them in a 91 degree kitchen. I also got my hands of some elderberries and made some gorgeous elderberry jelly.
I'm not going to lie. There are times I wonder why the hell I do this stuff? When I'm standing over a boiling water canner, it seems so much easier to just buy canned tomatoes or jam. But come winter, there is such a feeling of satisfaction in knowing exactly where my food is coming from. I also like remembering the farmers I bought from in the summer during a time when it seems like winter will never end. Those little jars remind me that summer abundance will come again, no matter how dark or dreary the days seem.