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There’s security in growing or buying local

Wild about food?

Who’s not – but is some of your food wild, organic, local, national, international, processed or homemade? We all need variety in our diets. But I’m not sure the list above is the desired variety. Not too long ago at a Small Farm Expo, I saw a poster that said, “Homeland Security (with a beautiful picture of fresh produce). Buy Local. It Matters.” And it does.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to John Jay in 1785, “The cultivators of the earth were the surest guarantee of a free society because a citizenry whose livelihood was independent of distant markets was free to vote their minds instead of their pocketbooks.” Pretty though provoking!

People want to not only eat better, but safer. The spinach or tomato scares were a good learning example for all of us. Organic doesn’t even equate with safe food either. So what is the regular consumer to do?

Start a small garden or even a couple of pots of herbs, tomatoes or some salad greens. Buy local, where you can go and see where your produce are grown. There are all kinds of options to buy fresh: attend farmers markets; look for signs in your produce departments and ask the produce manager what’s locally grown; or get involved with “consumer sustained agriculture” where, for a fee, you share what the farmer produces.

For our family, I try to prepare wholesome and healthy foods for most of our eating. But there are times when some ice cream from the store sounds good (I read the labels and buy the one with the least ingredients in it) or when we’ve been working too hard in the gardens without preparing ahead for a crock-pot meal and the take-and-bake pizza place provides dinner for us. We are so blessed to have so many choices.

Many years ago a dear friend, midwife and nurse shared with me her family’s diet philosophy. “Party food (junk and fast food, etc.) is for parties and not for every day.”

I have some teenagers who would love to have a “party” every day. But they can’t help eating fresh warm bread, pasta dishes, tasty salads, meatloaf, homemade pickles and home-canned peaches.

So what’s on your table for dinner?

Here’s a recipe for a family springtime favorite, Nettle Soup.

You can substitute spinach if you like.

1 chopped onion

4 or more cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil

3 cubed potatoes

5 sliced carrots

2 quarts water or poultry broth

Colander of nettle tops

Salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream

In a four-quart saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add potatoes, carrots and water or broth. Simmer, covered, on medium heat until vegetables are tender. Add nettles and cover, cook until wilted. Take soup off heat, and puree the vegetables half at a time in blender or food processor. Place back into pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowl and garnish with sour cream.

*Picking nettles can be a “stinging” experience. It is best to use garden or rubber gloves and a pair of scissors. I like to place a bucket or bag next to the plant and cut, bend and place them into the container. Nettles less than 12 inches high are the most tender. They really do taste like spinach. Yum! Please know your wild plants before eating them.

Kristine Farley lives in Bonney Lake on a mini-farm with her family. Her Web site is www.kristinef.com.

her at kristinef@clearwire.net or visit her blog at http://herbalmommasda.blogspot.com.

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