These potatoes with butter and herbs are not new. They are in fact old but they may change the world. A little bit.
These potatoes came in my CSA. Or maybe they came in last weeks share. I am not sure since we seem to get a few pounds of them every week. There is not much variety these days. Carrots, cabbage, potatoes, turnips. Thank goodness for the bag of sunflower shoots we’ve been getting to break up the starchy monotony.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really mind, I LIKE to eat seasonally. My body seems to want to eat this way on an intuitive level. And I also think it’s the right thing to do.
I try to not get too political here, since my main mission is to get healthy food onto the table. For you, for me, for my little rotters. But seeing that the word seasonal is in my url, I do feel like it is my obligation to some degree to let you know what my stance is when it comes to eating in season and locally.
As you may know, while I am devoted to eating in season, I am also a pragmatist when it comes to eating locally and seasonally. I am also a proponent of supporting ingredients with a Designation of Origin (hello Vermont Maple syrup!) But living in a cold climate like Vermont, I know it is not always possible to eat perfectly in season with food sourced from area farms. (I do love me some Meyer lemons!) I call it being a pragmatic locavore. It is a balance, and I try to use these special ingredients as a highlight to a meal not the base.
I know some of you come here in part because you know you’ll mostly find recipes with seasonal ingredients. Some of you have CSA shares that you’re already busily turning into dinner for your families. But sometimes budget and convenience make it hard to be too strict about being a true locavore and you’re just here to find a chicken recipe for goodness sake. Church!
I bring this up today because while I was driving to Pennsylvania and back, I listed to a lot of public radio. It kind of bummed me out hearing story after story about the drought in California. This isn’t news to me, but I am physically so far away from it, I honestly just don’t think about it that much. Somehow, sitting there in the car thinking about it made me bummed. And speculation about the water crisis and its impact on the future of farming in California made me think a lot about seasonality.
The water crisis, too much water elsewhere, too much cold where it isn’t supposed to be… everywhere… All of it more than usual right now, gets me thinking about the importance of eating locally. I know the whole situation is very complicated, and no one choice will impact the shift in our climate.
In addition to the reduction of use of fossil fuels to get the products around the country (and globe!) which contributes to green house gasses and furthers the progression of climate change, the choice to eat seasonally and locally keeps our food system safe. Supporting our own local food systems will protect us from a dangerously skewed over-dependence on ingredients from far away. Being a pragmatic locavore creates a buffer to the impact on the national economy and helps to offset a potential tailspin of higher and higher prices at the supermarket. Especially and even when an unexpected freeze in Florida occurs or the drought in California continues.
What I mean is that if we as a movement nurture our local food systems, support local farmers’ markets and CSAs, grow a garden, put food up, and generally make the decision to buy local when we shop, when the majority of the food on our plate is from home… that’s when we are supporting this sustainable system. If more of us continue to do that and it becomes the norm there will be a paradigm shift. This (in addition to getting food on the table) is my mission. Giving the tools to help make it easier to make the choice to eat locally and seasonally. Making that local and seasonal food healthy and delicious. That’s my goal.
So I have some old potatoes for you. They are not new potatoes. Our new potatoes in Vermont won’t be here for months. These are from my CSA share and they were dug last fall. They are not sexy, or particularly springy for that matter. No they won’t induce a flurry of tweets, but my hope is that they’ll tip the scale a little bit in that paradigm shift. Just a teensy weensy bit.
- 4 cups thin-skinned potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped herbs
- Freshly ground pepper to taste, preferably white
- Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add potatoes and cook, covered until tender when pierced with the tip of a pairing knife, 14 to 16 minutes. Carefully transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add butter, oil, yogurt, salt, herbs and pepper and toss to coat. Serve hot.