Sunday, January 25, 2009
Posted by Kate at 8:53 AM
This was my breakfast this morning: yogurt and honey. What makes this simple meal so special to me is that both ingredients are local, sustainably produced, raw, and I bartered for them.
I bartered for a quart of the raw milk yogurt just a few days ago. The texture of the yogurt when I opened the container was slightly lumpy, and the creamy fat had risen to the top. The taste reminded me of the superb yogurt I'd bought at a farmer's market in Europe. It bears absolutely no resemblance to store-bought yogurt. I stirred up the yogurt until it was smooth again and served myself some.
Now I confess that "local" in this case is a bit of a stretch by my standards. This yogurt comes from a farm almost 80 miles (128 km) away. That's very local by US standards, but incredibly distant by average global standards. I don't know of any closer dairy that raises their cows on grass, sells raw-milk products, and avoids hormones and antibiotics. And I would know, because I'm well connected to the sustainable farming network in my area. For the moment, 80 miles is the best I can do for sustainable cow's milk dairy. I don't do the driving myself either. The yogurt arrived at my house by way of the farmer who uses my home as a customer pick-up site for pre-ordered, grass-fed meats, dairy, and eggs every other week. So the food is delivered to my home, and I can barter my bread for it. And yes, I do feel pretty smug about that, in case you were wondering.
The raw honey is produced much, much closer to home, and I know the beekeeper personally. This is the lightest of her three honeys from last year's harvest. I'm almost out of it, but it sure is good. Just eight miles (13 km) away, she has an apple and pear orchard that she sprays only with baking soda, and she keeps hens along with a few hives of bees. Again, I bartered some homemade baked goods for a jar of this pure, raw honey.
Breakfast was absolutely delicious in its own right. Knowing that the constituent parts were produced completely sustainably, and acquired reasonably sustainably, and that I bartered for them, and that they are really healthy for me only makes this simplest of meals that much more satisfying.
I don't manage to prepare many meals in this fashion. But when I do pull it off, I'm inspired to keep trying more and more to live my life this way.