Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Seasonal Food by State

just thought i'd share this link as a corollary to the post from yesterday: Sustainable Table has a listing of the food that each state produces and shows when each item is in season. this way, you can tell if those groceries you are buying are actually fresh, and not shipped from halfway around the world. the site also has a summary of reasons why local and sustainable agriculture and meat farming is so important, as well as shopping guides to help you find these things in your own neighborhood or state. i haven't looked through the whole thing yet...maybe there are even more treasures there i don't know about!

additionally, this website gives an eye opening and thoroughly disenheartening list of grocery store brands that contain genetically modified ingredients. i had *no idea* how widespread this was.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Local Food

this has been an exciting month in the estoll household for food. as i mentioned before, we have made a commitment for our family to refrain from buying factory-produced meat, which for us has meant a vegetarian diet for the most part (grass fed or wild meat is out of our price range for now.) what i haven't talked much about, though, is our foray back into the world of csa membership.

for those of you who don't know, csa stands for "community supported agriculture." essentially, people buy a share in a farm in the early spring, providing the farmer with start up funds for planting. then, as the growing season progresses, each person receives a share of the harvest. the beauty of this system is that the small, local farmer has a stable source of income, rain or shine, and the shareholder gets not only fresher, more flavorful and varied produce, but also the chance to see first hand who it is growing the food they are eating. and, for my kids, a chance to chase chickens and play with the kid-sized tractor every week when we pick up the share.

this summer, we somehow stumbled into having 2 shares at 2 different farms. the first one we planned on--its the same farm we had a fruit share with 2 summers ago before the whole Greeley Debacle. this year, we wanted to get a veggie share in addition to the fruit, but it was sold we decided to go with just the fruit again. but then, my friend joanna, who had gotten a veggie share at a different farm, asked me if we wanted to split hers, because she was getting way more food than her family could eat. yeehaw! so, now we get to go on a field trip to the farm for the fruit share each week, plus every thursday i have an excuse to have a coffee date while we split up the goods from joanna's share.

it's also exciting because i have been learning how much of a negative impact eating food that has been trucked, flown, or otherwise shipped has on the environment, not to mention the quality of the food. eating produce grown by anne the farmer down the street allows me to not only support her business, thus keeping local economies thriving, but also blesses my family with healthier, tastier, and ultimately safer food. check out this link for 10 Reasons to Eat Local Food.

in case you were wondering, csa's are in just about every community across the nation, and many who don't will at least have a farmer's market nearby. for a look into how many farms and farmers markets are near you , check out happy eating!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Preschool is Over, and other summer adventures

nicholas' last day of preschool was last week, and summer has officially begun. i didn't really think about it much until the last day, but that also means that by the end of the summer, he will be A Kindergartener. that sounds really big. but, for now, it's summer vacation, and so far it's been great.

we also went berry picking last week with friends laura and hayden, and made jam with our haul. nicholas was very cute with his apron on, standing on a stool to stir the jam over the stove. jonathan did his best to eat all the strawberries in sight, and daniel was very concerned to know, 'is this one red? is this one red?' little did i know how worrisome it would be when i told him to make sure he only picked the red ones.

the wednesday night bible study that i have been a part of for the last few years is studying a book by larry crabb (The Pressure's Off), and while i'm not too crazy about the book itself, i feel like i am learning some lessons through what he's writing--the most important of which, that just because something is hard, painful, or suffering is coming as a result, doesn't mean that you are not following God's will. and, sometimes surrendering to the feeling of being out of control or suffering or discontent, and not trying to 'feel better' right away, creates enough space for God to do the work that the heart needs.

i feel like God has given me a reprieve from the distress i was feeling a few weeks ago. i feel so much more peace with where i am in life, and my role in my kids' lives. maybe i am just the kind who needs a 'nervous breakdown' to reset my internal priorities. whatever it is, i feel like God is honoring my decision to 'hang in there' with this season at home with my kids, and giving me an extra dose of precious, memory moments with my kids. thanks for that.

long live summer!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jonathan Turns One

today is jonathan's birthday--our baby is now one! it seems hard to believe that a year has passed already. jonathan is such a ray of sunshine in our family. he brightens up any room he comes in to with his huge smile and his outgoing personality. he knows no stranger, and makes everyone his friend. what a blessing he is to us!

for the celebration, we had grame, grandpa, and grandmom with us (grandad was in mexico for a mission trip.) we had popcorn and smoothies (some of jonathan's faves), and then baskin robbins clown cones for dessert. (anyone remember those when you were a kid?) what a big hit!

nicholas and daniel helped pick out presents for the birthday boy, and they were super excited to have him open them. i managed to finish a hoody towel just in the nick of time....alligator flavor, so now all the brothers have one.

brothers are great! happy birthday, brother #3!