Despite the rumbling storms that have passed over Derry these past few days, the weather has been fabulous for taking early morning walks in the many Conservation Areas in Derry! I realize that not everyone is getting much needed rain, though. Farmer Phil explained to us, on our most recent Conservation Walk at J and F Farms, that he has been busy watering the crops while watching rain clouds hit every other part of Derry! We are aware that this is not only a local issue, but a large issue for our country as well. The large corn, soy, and wheat fields that span our Midwest are the main ingredients for most of our food products – from beef and milk (where the cows eat grass/hay but are largely fed corn and soybeans) to coffee whiteners, pie crusts, and mayonaise (soybean) to bread (wheat). These three main crops have more than just roles in our food, too. Corn is used as a sweetener (high fructose corn syrup) and a source of starch, but also for ethanol (added to gasoline) and corn-based biodegradable plastics. Refined soybean oil has its leg in the industrial sector in cosmetics, inks, and paints. Wheat is mainly used in the food industry (flour, breads, cereals) but wheat starch does have non-food uses as straw particle board in ready to assemble furniture and as an adhesive (stamps and brown paper bags).
So what does all this mean for us? No doubt you’ve heard how prices will change for many of our items. But instead of grumbling at the supermarket about the cost of bread, salad dressing and milk, maybe we can support our farmers who are struggling with this problem, too. Try a new seasonal food or recipe and buy it from our local farmers. This supports their hard work to keep the crops alive and the money is well spent!
Do you have a great recipe to share? Just last night I ate some Kale Chips – a great alternative to potato chips and much more healthier! My favorite lunch this summer has been grilled green and yellow zucchini that is marinated in olive oil and sprinkled with a greek seasoning and of course, GARLIC!!! These do not rely on the three main crops and I know I can get them from a local farmer. Why not find a new dish that puts less demand on the major crops AND our wallets? If you are looking for a new way to prepare those garden treasures, try the Sustainable Kitchen site which has a good source of recipes and ENJOY!