Planning My Food Year

Spring is when I start planning my food year--slightly different than the calendar year. As the winter comes to an end the daydreams about what I will plant in the garden start to occupy more of my mind, I am jarred into finally allowing myself to eat all of the fruits and vegetables that I had frozen, and have been hoarding since last summer. It is also the time to get my order in for meat from the livestock farmers I know--this year I am getting a half a lamb, half a goat, and chickens. I’d love to find duck, but I may have to wait until I have my own farm for that.

Roasted tomatoes  and dried oregano from the summer 2014 garden

Roasted tomatoes  and dried oregano from the summer 2014 garden

The other thing that happens in the spring, of course, is that the chickens start laying like crazy again (more on that in my blog for The Land Connection), and if I happened to have any dairy animals it would be time for babies--and of course milk. I do, however, have friends with dairy animals on their farms, so I was able to make goat milk caramels and chevre (check out my blog for The Land Connection for a lot goat product recipes). The point is that even though we won’t be seeing a whole lot of veggies for a while, the local food season is in full swing.

Baby goat from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery

Baby goat from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery

I always have ambitious plans for my own little garden, and this year is no exception. I have been debating adding bees and laying ducks to the livestock side of things, but I am not sure it will happen in this limited space this year. My focus may have to be on things that grow out of the soil, which means adding more raised beds, and new this year--potato towers, garlic (that I actually remembered to plant las fall), and onions. I am realizing, living in the Midwest, that storage food is key to getting through the long winters.

Garden plan from 2012 when I only had one raised bed!

Garden plan from 2012 when I only had one raised bed!

And in addition to the actual food I will be growing, I plan on spending a lot of time making things for the kitchen out of wood. I did get out there over the winter, including some close to zero degree days, but that is rough on the creativity--it’s mostly about finishing something before your hands go numb.

The first spoon carved in the shop this season--spalted maple

The first spoon carved in the shop this season--spalted maple