Thursday, December 10, 2009

Foraging For Butter

I included the picture of Harleen staring out the window looking quite forlorn so that you non-locavores would have something to look at. She usually takes up this position whenever Kerry leaves the house and doesn't take her with him.

Anyway, foraging for butter...what the heck is she thinking. Well, when we first listened to Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" we didn't realize how it would change our lives. Now I find myself searching out local, organic ingredients that aren't always easy to find, like butter.

For the most part, my early foraging days included trips to farmers' markets and buying some canned organic food at the grocery store. I felt really proud when we joined the meat club and started getting regular supplies of meat from local ranches. I learned not to eat asparagus when it wasn't in season here in northern California. The asparagus during the winter that came from South America did not tempt me.

But I was still eating meat in restaurants. I stopped doing that at the end of last year. Every once in a while an In And Out burger makes it to my plate, but it's pretty rare. All I have to do is read more e-coli stories; I can easily stay away from meat whose origins I don't know. I do feel sorry for those animals who are treated so badly during their short lives.

As I look back, I realize that finding meats, fruits and vegetables were the easy ones. I know I will never find locally grown sugar, but I do have access to local honey. It's from a grove of mandarin trees a couple of miles away.

We also listened to Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food." Basic message: if you eat healthy, clean foods you don't need vitamins and supplements. He pretty much does a number on the whole field of nutrition. I threw away my vitamin pills that I took religiously every day. No problems arose. Kerry's diabetes is under control.

But back to my foraging for butter story. I thought that Crystal Dairy in Auburn was going to fill the bill at least from the local stand point but then I found out that Foster Farms bought them. Yuck! So I started my Google search and bingo...Straus Family Creamery. Cows and creamery are in Marshall, CA, which is near Tomales Bay/Point Reyes. Milk, half and half and whipping cream come in bottles. That brought back memories of a birthday game I played as a kid: Drop the Clothes Pin in the Bottle. The bottle was a milk bottle. I want to visit the cows.

Anyway, I digress. I went to two local grocery stores (Raley's and Nugget) and found Straus products. I had just never looked in the right places. I saw half and half, whipping cream, butter (both salted and unsalted), plain yogurt and eggnog.

Recently I found organic flour from a company in S. San Francisco. A fellow blogger in San Francisco had written about it. I know there are some farmers in northern California who grow organic wheat for flour, but they sell to bakeries not individuals.

Along the way we've met many interesting people. It may be a bit more work to eat this way but I think we are healthier for it. Who knows what I will forage for next.
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1 comment:

Rondi said...

I’m confused. Foster Farms is from Modesto – not Mpls or Milwaukee. But even if it was in a distant state, Crystal Farms is a local biz. Aren’t you supposed to be concerned about the source of food products – not the location of their finance dept.

By rejecting the Crystal Farms products, you are forcing them to sell to people farther away, which would seem to be contrary to the whole locavore mission.