A Year-Long Commitment To Eating Only Hand-Harvested Food

A Year-Long Commitment To Eating Only Hand-Harvested Food

  • posted on: March 6, 2017
  • posted by: 21 Acres
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We are pleased to welcome guest authors to post on our 21 Acres blog. Alexia Allen of Hawthorn Farm is new to 21 Acres as a culinary instructor this year.  The more we get to know her, the more inspired we are about her life experiences. Alexia is the featured guest at tomorrow night’s Permaculture Meetup at 21 Acres.  Read on and you too may get excited….

Snowflakes melt on my eyelashes.  The clink of glass jars accompanies my footsteps as I walk up my street, tote bag slung over my shoulder.  I’m going to fill the jars with sap from neighborhood maple trees.  The plastic jugs I tied to the trees are full; I empty them into the jars, then take a thirst-quenching swig of frosty maple sap myself.  Back home I go with my precious cargo.

In my kitchen, I fill a baking dish with sap and leave it in a warm oven with the door propped ajar.  By dinnertime it will have evaporated into sweet syrup.

Why bother hauling sap, when tasty syrup is right there on the grocery store shelves?  Because my beloved Daniel Kirchhof and I committed to eating only hand-harvested food for all of 2017.  If we want squash, we grow squash in our garden.  If we want eggs, we visit our chickens or ducks.  If we want butter, we make it from our cow’s cream.  If we want salt, we go to the ocean and evaporate sea water.  And if we want maple syrup (yes we do!), I had better tap the nearby maple trees.

Maple sap is the first wild harvest for us this year.  In winter we eat stored garden produce, munching our way through mountains of squash and sacks of potatoes.  Buckets of dried corn stand ready for when more perishable vegetables are done.  A freezer full of road-killed deer and crocks full of sauerkraut make sure we do not go hungry.  You’ll notice the lack of greens on the menu—we eagerly await the first nettle shoots and kale sprouts.

Our Food Challenge springs from our desire to eat as beautifully as possible.  We are lucky to have the time, passion, and land to take it as far as we do.  And if you’re looking for a motivating way to connect to your local food sources, I recommend visiting your neighborhood maples!

— Alexia Allen

We expect to hear more from Alexia as the year progresses.  Learn more about the class Alexia will be teaching in April, Foraging and Cooking with Nettles. Learn more about Hawthorn Farm.