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Eating Local, Eating Well: Meals From A Northern Garden

2011/07/18

We woke up this morning to a hazy world, like many of the other communities in northwestern Ontario. Our corner of the province has 100 forest fires burning, and two First Nation communities north of us, Keewaywin and Sandy Lake, are being evacuated today. So far this year 178,514 hectares have been burned, compared to last year (a slow fire summer) in which 13,863 hectares were destroyed by fire. The average is 61,479 hectares, so we’re well over that this year, and it’s not even the end of July. A friend who lives in downtown Red Lake took this photo of this morning’s sunrise over Howey Bay:

The view of Howey Bay from downtown Red Lake this morning. Photo by Kathy Tetlock

Eating local is part of moving away from oil dependency to local resilience. The good news is, it’s also healthier and tastier than the pre-packaged fast food and junk food that makes up the average North American diet these days. As rates of diet-related disorders such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease soar, eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed food laced with sugar and/or salt becomes a way to live longer and happier, not just live more lightly on the planet.

Today is “Meatless Monday“, where people are encouraged to cut out meat as a way to eat healthier and combat climate change. In our household these days, every day is meatless because our two university-aged daughters are home for the summer, and they are both vegetarians. Luckily, they are both good cooks, too, so Mark and I haven’t missed eating meat. And both girls make an exception in their vegetarian diet for fresh,local fish, so that has been a delicious supplement to our mainly meatless diet.

Last night Emma, our youngest, took charge of making supper. The result was a delicious, mostly local meal of homemade pasta, fresh pesto made with basil from our garden, and a strawberry lettuce salad also made with garden-fresh ingredients. What a blast for the taste buds that was!

fresh pesto

Homemade fettucini with fresh pesto

Lettuce salad with strawberries

Here’s the link to the pesto recipe that Emma used (although she used 4 cups of basil, and decreased the olive oil to 1/2 cup): Basil Pesto Recipe.

As I was preparing to post this, I got another reminder, besides the smoke, that I live in northern Ontario. I heard our dog barking madly, and looked up to see a black bear in our backyard, not 10 feet from my office window. I would have loved to have snapped a picture, but our dog chased it off promptly. My oldest daughter arrived home on her bicycle five minutes later, taking in stride the fact that she had met up with the same black bear on the road!

More links and Resources:

Northern Ontario battles 92 Wildfires As More Loom

MNR Photos of Red Lake Fire #59

Climate change 2 : Forests soak up third of fossil fuel emissions : ‘Science’ study

Gardening In a Short Growing Season by Graham Saunders

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 2011/07/18 12:01 pm

    Still more pesto! it’s everywhere. Different quantities each time too. Mad 😛

  2. Christine permalink*
    2011/07/18 12:14 pm

    Is there such a thing as too much pesto? 🙂 Last week, I made dill pesto and a friend came over to use my food processor to make up a recipe of balsam fir pesto!

  3. 2011/07/18 12:16 pm

    I never said one could have too much pesto :P. It’s brilliant!

  4. 2011/07/18 11:01 pm

    Wow that pesto looks delish. I some basil plants… hmmm. What a wonderful meal!

    • Christine permalink*
      2011/07/19 8:34 am

      I’ve just found out, as I mentioned in my earlier comments, you can make pesto with almost anything – I made dill pesto the other day, and somebody else posted on our local foods FB page a recipe for spinach pesto. So don’t let a little thing like no basil keep you from enjoying some pesto on your pasta, Sherry!

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