Thursday, September 13, 2012

YKer Acres "Good FOOD or your SOUL 7 day challenge"

My Dad had this idea to only eat food from our farm for a entire week. My first reaction was "sweet, this means mom will cook more home made stuff and we can have home made bread and cheese!" Dad wanted the challenge to accomplish three things: for us to appreciate what we have availible to us on our farm, to force us to eat better, and to give us confidence that we could survive on our farm (and bartering) with planning.

After some discussing we decided on some rules for our challenge. We could eat anything grown on our farm like vegetables, chicken, pork, etc. We could barter for other foods, for instance we bartered pork for pastured beef from a local farmer. Finally, we would have 10 staple foods that we could buy.

These were:
Maple syrup/Maple sugar
Sea salt
Brown rice
Lemon juice
Raw milk from the local dairy farm
Rennet for making cheese
And training/racing energy food.

In 7days/21 meals we consumed:
10 lbs organic flour
4 lbs brown rice
4 lbs hamburger
1 chicken
2 pork loin roasts
8 gallons of milk (made cheese 2X and butter 2X)
1 pint maple syrup & 1 cup maple sugar

Lots of veggies-summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, Kohlrabi, beets, kale, collards, Swiss chard, basil, cilantro, crab apples, raspberries, sweet corn, Asian greens, and beet greens.

Planning, lots and lots of planning. Since all of the the basic staples like butter, bread, tortillas, yogurt, cheese and such had to be made from scratch you couldn't just open up the fridge and make some "convenience food". It was hard not being able to go into the fridge and make a sandwich or (and this was the hardest for me) make some granola and milk. At first this frustrated me. Especially, when I had to cook for myself.

As I continued through the challenge, I began to appreciate the full process of eating and preparing food. A lot of times when you go to make something to eat, you do not take the time to slow down and put effort into your food. It's a "find the easiest food in the fridge and get a move on it!". When you rush through preparing food, the quality and enjoyment of the food is always sacrificed. It also effects how healthy the meals you eat are. Typically if you are eating "convenience food", you don't have vegetables in it. Eating should be a priority, not just another chore.

Another thing I learned during this challenge was just plain old how to cook food. I enjoy cooking when I do it, but rarely do anything more complicated then a burrito or taco salad. I certainly never did anything like make bread, cheese, or butter. I will say one thing, the amount of milk it takes to make butter is insane. Now I use butter in cooking a lot and now that I know it takes 4 gallons of milk to make a stick of butter I can't look at butter the same.

Making cheese is quite fun!

 While making bread can be a pain, as long as you always have dough in the fridge it works out fine.

Doing this challenge help me learn a lot more about good food, and made me appreciate it even more then I already did. I am very lucky that I can eat so well and have access to such high quality food.

Here is a gallery of a few of the meals we made:
beet pancakes

Delicious burgers with homemade buns and cheese
Nothing beats burritos, especially homemade tortilla
Is there anything Mom DIDN'T put in this soup?

That's right...I cook, too! Pretty yumy!
WOW! I am SO hungry, now!

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