nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘eating local

Small, small garden

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Arthritis means my days of the big garden are over. But I can still enjoy digging in the earth, planting seeds, pulling weeds and harvesting, just on a smaller scale.

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On our deck are two Veg Trugs (Lee Valley Tools used to sell them) and one bag of soil, slit open and supported on a metal frame. In the ‘gardens’ I have two snow pea plants, three yellow wax bean plants, three parsley plants and one cucumber plant.

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Each day for the last month, I sit on the deck and nibble on my ‘harvest for the day.’ Sometimes it’s one bean pod and a snow pea pod, sometimes two beans, sometimes a cucumber sandwich. Seems small, but I think I enjoy these little sessions more than the buckets of produce I once harvested from my garden.

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Written by jane tims

August 30, 2019 at 7:00 am

Blackberry picking

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On Monday we drove from our cabin down to the lake (on our newly-mowed road) and picked a bowl of wild blackberries. The brambles were brutal and we came away with several scratches between us. But we picked berries to the tremolo of the loon on the lake and will enjoy a ‘blackberry buckle’ later this week. Blackberry buckle is made by adding sugar and water to the berries and covering with spoonfuls of dumpling mix. The dumplings cook in the steam of the simmering berries.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

September 4, 2018 at 7:23 pm

How high can I climb?

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Not that high. But I will have to figure out how to get those beans. I planted what I thought were yellow-wax beans on my deck. And they turned out to be yellow pole beans. I threw a couple of weighted strings into the maple and of course the beans climbed.

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All my best, Jane

Written by jane tims

August 13, 2018 at 7:00 am

Indoor garden

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My harvest of romaine lettuce from my AeroGarden today. Poppy seed dressing and lunch is served!

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

August 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Growing and gathering – Spring salad

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I make a new batch of sprouts weekly. This week’s crop was something I haven’t tried to grow before … pea shoots. I sprouted the peas in my 8 X 10 Sproutmaster from Sprout People.

https://sproutpeople.org/sproutmaster-8×10-tray-sprouter/

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Pea shoots sprout sooner if they are soaked in water first. I let mine sprout with just the rinse water.

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For me, a twice daily water rinse and careful draining is key to growing the best sprouts. I know pea shoots can grow quite tall with a vermiculite base and some propping at the sides but I was content to just let them peak above the sides of my sprouter.

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To prepare the pea shoots, I washed them well and harvested them with scissors.

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Then I added a chopped onion, chopped celery, chives from the garden and a sprig of mint. Just plain mayonnaise for a dressing. Yum!

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My husband shook his head and said (as a joke) I would have to survive the Apocalypse all by myself.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

May 30, 2016 at 7:26 am

Buying Local

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The weekend before last, I attended WordsFall (a yearly event of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick) in Sackville, a town in eastern New Brunswick.  I read at the open mic session, enjoyed listening to the work of the other readers at the session, and attended two Saturday workshops.

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When I visit Sackville, I am always encouraged by the atmosphere of community that prevails. For a small town, they have a lot to offer. My favorite places are the campus of Mount Allison University, the Sackville Waterfowl Park especially its birdlife and boardwalks, the Cackling Goose Market with its delicious sandwiches and gluten-free products, and the landscape of the salt marsh.

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Brochure for the Town of Sackville, New Brunswick

Brochure for the Town of Sackville, New Brunswick

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While I was at the workshop, I picked up a brochure about Sackville. The painting on the front of the pamphlet is by Mary Scobie, ‘Sackville Market Day’ (Oil on canvas, 24″ by 48″) http://www.maryscobie.com . As our winter approaches, it is great to remember the fresh and local produce available in summer.

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The Sackville Farmers Market is one of the oldest in the province and operates year-round.

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Do you attend a farmers’ market and is it open during the winter months?

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Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 27, 2015 at 7:19 am

bringing nature into the town

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rows of trees

rows of trees and flowers along la Place de la Mairie in Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud (image from Street View)

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Day 12 1 map

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Day 12 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

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On my virtual bike trip on April 3, the images made me think about how we bring nature into our cities and towns (or allow it to stay!).  Sometimes, the only bit of nature is a stray weed, growing in a crack in the pavement…

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Day 12 u

streetscape in Grande Rue, Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud – actually, there is lots of greenery in other parts of the town (image from Street View)

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Sometimes, property owners try to leave trees, only to have them toppled – perhaps a wind storm blew through Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud …

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Day 12 l

toppled tree (image from Street View)

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Sometimes people bring the country into the town – all part of eating local …

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Day 12 r

this is the first time I have seen chickens in a yard in a town on my virtual bike tour (image from Street View)

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Of course, I have seen a lot of vegetable gardens in France, planted in every available corner …

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vegetable garden

vegetable garden in Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud (image from Street View)

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Best View: a small yard overflowing with greenery in Saint-Hilaire-la Palud…

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'green garden'

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

growing and gathering – a sense of place

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The theme of eating local foods has its essence in the idea of ‘place’.  The book ‘The 100 Mile Diet – A Year of Local Eating’ by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon (2007), introduced many to the idea of eating foods grown within a certain radius of home.  Eating local is also place-based in terms of the settings we associate with local foods – the woods, the blueberry field, the home garden, the local farm, the roadside stand, and, of course, the farmers market are all places associated with obtaining food from local sources.

‘Place’ is a complex topic.  Most of my poems about ‘growing and gathering’ include at least a little information about the ‘place’ where foods are found.  Some poems, however, are specifically about ‘place’, and I want to group these together in my manuscript.

The poems I will include under the theme of ‘place’ will be focused on habitat, landscape, local food traditions, and the people-based concept of ‘home’.

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1.  the ‘place’ where plants grow

Plants, of course, depend on their habitat to live.  The ideal ‘place’ for a plant is determined by the availability of moisture, light and nutrients.  These factors are, in part, the result of climate, soil type, slope, exposure, and interactions with other plants and animals.  In my collection, I have poems about the habitat of seaside plants, the need for water in landscapes where water is scarce, and why woodland plants often bloom in the early spring, when light is most available.

2.  plants shape their surroundings and their landscape

Plants create habitat, modifying the regimes of moisture, light and nutrients in a local space.  Plants also help to create the broader landscape.  I have poems about how ripening apples change the space under an apple tree, how large and small-scale characteristics affect the value of a property, and how plants contribute to the way landscape appears.

3.  ‘place-based’ food traditions

As a result of the interaction between wild life and the landscape, people have access to different kinds of foods and develop area-specific wild food traditions.  In New Brunswick, fiddleheads of the Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia Struthiopteris (L.) Todaro) are abundant in the spring, along the banks of rivers and wetlands, and many New Brunswickers consider a feed of cooked fiddleheads to be a rite of spring.  In Newfoundland, a relative of the blackberry, the Bakeapple (Rubus Chamaemorus L.), is common in the bogs and barrens.  Children often stand beside the road, their arms out-stretched, to sell their bottles of yellow Bakeapples packed in water.  I have poems about these two local foods as well as others about traditional local foods.

4.  ‘place’ as a metaphor for home

Plants and their ‘place’ can be a metaphor for the relationships between humans and the spaces where they are raised, or where they live.  ‘Place’ may imply ‘home’ and ideas of belonging or familiarity.  Several of my poems are about this aspect of ‘place’.

As I am working on the theme of ‘place’, a song by the 1990’s band Toad the Wet Sprocket is going around in my head:

‘…show me your home
Not the place where you live
But the place where you belong…’

Toad the Wet Sprocket, ‘Something to Say’, Fear, 1991

Exploring the theme of ‘place’ with you has helped me to organise my poems, to revise them, and to understand that I still have a few poems to write toward my manuscript.  I am so grateful for this blog and for all my readers!

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landscape

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a veil draped across bones of the earth

pointed tents supported by forest

settles in pockets, lichens and moss

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beneath the cloth is texture, the way

I know life on the land, fast or slow,

near or far, through clear eyes or through tears

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to know form follows function –  practice

repeated, detailed observation

see the sweep of a field of brambles

also the berries, also the thorns

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Published as ‘landscape’ on www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com September 3, 2011

Revised

©  Jane Tims  2012

growing and gathering – learning

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When I embarked on my project to write poetry about ‘growing and gathering’, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the subject.  It is not surprising, then, to find I have written quite a few poems on the theme of ‘learning’.

Some of these poems are in the spirit of ‘how to’.  I have poems about collecting maple syrup, making jelly, harvesting and preparing wild sarsaparilla, stringing peas in the garden, gathering eggs and picking fiddleheads, among others.  As poems can be a little obtuse, sometimes these directions are not very helpful in a practical way.  However, I try to capture the essence of the growing and gathering of local foods.

I have also written poems about learning itself.  I have a poem about my childhood experience of running free on the prairie, picking thorny cactus berries and bottles of scorpions (yes, scorpions… they were interesting and pretty, and I didn’t know they were dangerous!).  I also have a poem to remind busy young mothers to learn from the rhythms of nature – the calm conspiring of bees and clovers to make honey, or the way a bird collects the makings of a nest, a little at a time.  Another poem is about learning how to negotiate the traditions of the farmers market (if you buy fresh carrots, keep the green tops for your compost bin!!!).

I also have two poems about imitating nature.  In the 1960s, my Mom used to make a few substitutions in her cooking to make up for a lack of ingredients.  You have probably seen these recipes before: Apple Pie, No Apples and Mock Cherry Pie.

One of the reasons Mom made these recipes was to have some fun and make us laugh. But fake food is no laughing matter.  My goal, in part, has been to show that we are now a little distanced from our food and its sources.  By considering what wild foods might still be available, I have tried to get others to think about the source of our food and the greater simplicity of eating local.

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Apple Pie, No Apples

Prepare pastry for a double pie

Break 15 salted soda crackers into wedge-shaped pieces and place in the unbaked pie shell

Bring to a boil:

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups white sugar
4 tbsp. margarine
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp lemon flavoring

Pour mixture over crackers

Cover with pastry

Bake as for apple pie

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Mock Cherry Pie

Prepare pastry for a double pie

Fill pie shell with:

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cover with a lattice of pastry.

Bake as for cherry pie

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Mock Cherry Pie

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I am not easy to fool –

embellished covers, empty pages

‘baby’ carrots, shapened like pencils

knock-off purses, no money inside

diet soda and servings of fries

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who else would look

under the lattice crust

to discover cranberries and raisins?

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cherries in the orchard

never picked

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©  Jane Tims  2012

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Warning: 
1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.

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Written by jane tims

August 6, 2012 at 7:13 am

growing and gathering – picking berries with friends

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As I am deciding how to organise my poetry manuscript on ‘growing and gathering’ local foods, I am considering the themes of the various poems.  I think these themes will become the sections in my manuscript.

One of the first themes to emerge, perhaps the easiest to examine, is about ‘relationships’.

Although I have often picked berries alone, my best memories are of picking berries with members of my family.  Both my Mom and Dad loved to pick berries.  My Dad was a fast picker and I was always in silent competition with him to pick the most berries… I never won.  My Mom picked berries quickly, but took the time to enjoy the fresh air, the blue sky and the expanse of the berry field.  When I think of picking berries with her, I feel calm and a little lazy.  My relationship with my mother-in-law was also shaped by our many berry-picking experiences; when I pick raspberries, I hear her quiet laughter in the breeze.

As I write poetry for my ‘growing and gathering’ manuscript, I have explored my relationships with the various people in my life.

Some of these are based on real experiences I have had picking berries or gathering greens.   Examples include poems about trying to find an old berry field, now grown over, or how changes in a relationship can be observed over the years in the annual picking of berries.  Although most of the poems are about plants, I have included production of other local foods – so a poem about beekeeping, for example, explores how two people interact during a small emergency.

In other cases, the gathering of local foods is a metaphor for some aspect of a relationship, whether good and bad.  At least some of these metaphors are related to the characteristics of plants or animals – for example, the serrated edges of leaves, the slipperiness of a trout, the gentle feel and fragrance of Bedstraw, or the bitterness of taste common to so many ‘salad’ greens.

Some of the metaphor is based on the place where plants grow.  Examples include the seclusion of many berry-picking spots, or the physical spaces created by rows of corn plants.

As I look over the Table of Contents for my manuscript, I realise some poems will be stronger if placed within another theme.  So I have moved, for example, a poem about picking berries over a three-week period from the theme on ‘relationships’ to a theme about ‘change’.

This consideration of the themes in my poetry has given me a good start to organising the poems, and identifying gaps I have to fill.  I know now there are lots of gaps, and many poems yet to write!

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Bitter Blue

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of all the silvery summer days we spent none so warm sun on

granite boulders round blue berry field miles across hazy miles

away from hearing anything but bees

and berries

plopping in the pail

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beside you I draped my lazy bones on bushes crushed berries and

thick red leaves over moss dark animal trails nudged between rocks

baking berries brown musk rising to meet blue heat

or the still fleet scent

of a waxy berry bell

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melting in my mouth crammed with fruit sometimes pulled from

laden stems more often scooped from your pail full ripe blue pulp

and the bitter shock of a hard green berry never ripe

or a shield bug

with frantic legs

and an edge to her shell

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Published as: ‘Bitter Blue’, Summer 1993, The Amethyst Review 1 (2)

Published on www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com on July 31, 2011

© Jane Tims 2012

Warning:
1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
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