Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fermented Veggie Headstart

Preserved foodImage via Wikipedia

I'm getting all my ducks in a row. I am hoping to get started on the GAPS diet after Saturday so I am getting ready as much as I can. I made two quarts of lacto-fermented vegetable mixes on Monday. I can't wait until I can try them. I didn't measure or follow a recipe but they are coming along great. I have been reading about lacto-fermentation enough that I felt comfortable with my process. I just shredded carrots, ginger, garlic, and onion in the food processor and mushed (technical term) it with my hands with added Celtic sea salt. I then packed into my quart mason jar and put the lid on tight. The other jar consists of cabbage, radish, turnip and tiny bit of carrot mixture and salt. It worked out great and is fermenting away in my office covered with a folded sheet.

I knew I would need lacto-fermented veggies for the GAPS diet so I wanted to get those going ahead of time. I think they will make a lot of juice which is what we want in the beginning. I think I will make some other mixes after Saturday. I keep saying Saturday because I will be driving the two hours to Whole Foods (the closest source of organic produce and butter) and also picking up my order of pastured meat and eggs at the farmer's market. (The irony of which you can't possibly appreciate unless you could see how many pastures full of cows and farms I pass in that two hour drive.)

Speaking of irony, I am currently paying for 20 acres of pine trees out in the country. We originally bought this land to have some room out in the country to do whatever we wished. Now that I am pushing to do what I always wanted (raise chickens and goats and cows and vegetables, you know, farm) I find out my husband has no intention of being a farmer (or farmer's husband). I never hid my intentions from him (in fact, I was very excited about it from the very beginning) so I don't know why he never shared his ideas about what we would do with the land. Apparently, he now wants to spend the next 5 - 10 years watching pine trees grow so we will get a "good price" for them when we cut them. We may be approaching an impasse.

His idea is to buy pastured beef, chicken, eggs, and organic veggies from other farms. Forever. My idea is to start small by trying to raise enough to feed our family at first. Once we get the hang of it we can expand our operation to raise enough to sell. I don't know if it will ever make me rich, but I do know that I want to guarantee my family access to quality foods. If you read the news, you can probably see the wisdom of trying to secure these foods for our family. Not to mention that the farm that I want to buy eggs from said that she won't have enough to meet demand. We have wonderful climate here in Alabama and a shortage of family truck farms (especially organic). Alabama farmers bought the whole "better farming through chemicals" method the county agents sold in a big way.

This GAPS diet is going to be more complicated than it looks on paper (and not because of the cooking). The pastured eggs, beef, pork, and organic vegetables are going to become too expensive. I can already feel the pressure, but I don't cave to pressure so well since I became ill. I have two teenagers that I fully intend to get well so that they can start their adult lives without the burden of ill health hanging over them.

Personal Heroes:
  1. Sandor Ellix Katz is a fearless citizen of this earth sharing knowledge about the link between fermented foods and health. His book, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods started me on the path toward GAPS.
  2. Joel Salatin is a farmer for the future of food in this country. He is spreading the word about sustainable organic farming as a profitable business. Check out his book,You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise if you have any inclination toward growing your own food.
  3. Eliot Coleman has inspired me to try my hand at growing food throughout the year. After all, if he can do it in Maine under a blanket of snow, I should be able to manage something in Alabama (it probably won't even freeze but maybe twice all winter here). His book, Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long, is very informative even for a backyard gardener. He has a new book, The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses, that I can't wait to read.

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  1. You are now part of my 'Toolbar' I can click on your icon and you are there!! Thank you for the truth!! I will check back often!! Kelley

  2. (Haha. I don't mean to respond to every post. I'm just chatty this morning, apparently.)

    Last year, we moved to 17 acres of mostly woods. We're in a singlewide at the bottom of our land, surrounded by an acre or so of yard, and our plan is to (eventually, paying as we go) build a cabin at the top of the land, move up there, and neverever move again. :) Our land is zoned agricultural, unlike where we moved from (a yuppy neighborhood in a fast-growing small city), so my first excited thought was "FINALLY I CAN HAS CHICKINS!!!"

    My husband was semi/sort of okay with the idea of a few chickens for eggs, someday, in the future. He was, however, NOT comfortable with the idea of eating the chickens themselves, not if he'd seen them running around and being all chickenlike, and he definitely wasn't going to be killing or plucking them himself.

    But, he told, he had no interest in being a farmer. "That's okay," I said. "I'm not asking you to be."

    My husband hates the singlewide. I mean, he's good with living in it--it stays warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry all year round--but the tin palace is ugly as sin, and one day we're going to move out of it. I suggested that when we do move out, we should rent it out--income is never a bad thing. But the idea of having to drive past the place whenever he comes and goes...he started scrambling for alternative income possibilities.

    You know what he came up with after a month or two of mulling it over? I love this.

    "Let's sell the trailer--give it away, if we have to--fence in the land down here, turn it into pasture, and raise goats."

    We don't have goats or chickens yet, but we ~are~ getting ready to fence some of this land in, and that's the first step. I'm so excited.

    Maybe you'll happen upon the incentive that makes food farming more attractive than pine tree farming to your husband--or maybe you can talk him into giving over just an acre of that 20 for you and the kids to farm. Good luck!

  3. Since writing this post my kids and I have rented a place with a garden plot, agri zoning, large backyard and only 10 minutes from Kroger. Obviously, an impasse was reached. Maybe more than one....anyway, we are excited about growing things this spring and getting some chickens and bees.

  4. Sweet! (Well, not the impasse, but the rest certainly.)

  5. Just curious as to whether or not you've tried making pickled produce with apple cider vinegar? My child doesnt react to that type of vinegar and the end product is delicious!

  6. I adore Bragg's ACV, but the only fridge pickles I made with it gave me a headache after a couple of days. Granted, I am somewhat sensitive to glutamic acid so I am thinking that is my problem with it. I don't understand why cucumbers in ACV aged for two days will give me a headache and homemade ketchup made with ACV doesn't even bother me after weeks in the fridge. It is weird.

    I am so obsessed with fermented veggies because they have helped our digestion so much. I love that they taste like pickles, but honestly, we would eat them even if they didn't taste so delicious for the health benefits alone.