Today was another one of those days in the beautiful Willamette Valley that made me appreciate what this fertile earth has to give. This winter will be a little bit easier because of the “Fill Your Pantry” event put on by the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition and hosted by Hummingbird Wholesale (two incredible businesses). Fill Your Pantry is an event that brings together local farmers (this year there were six-ish), mainly consisting of those involved in the Southern Willamette Bean and Grain Project and those with root cellar crops.
The Bean and Grain Project is a subgroup of the WFFC and focuses on bringing back staple foods to the Willamette Valley and trying to bring its residents’ diets closer to home. According to the Mud City Press blog, the Bean and Grain project is “a step by step strategy to rebuild the local food system by increasing the quantity and diversity of the food crops that are grown in the Willamette Valley. The Bean and Grain Project also seeks to evaluate deficiencies in the food system infrastructure, build buyer/seller relationships for locally grown food, and compile information on organic and sustainable agricultural practices specific to this region. As the name of the project implies, central to the task is stimulating the cultivation and local marketing of organically grown staple crops like beans and grains to provide a foundation for year-round food resources in the Willamette Valley.”
Fill Your Pantry supplied me with 10lbs of Flax seeds, 10lbs of Oat Groats, 10lbs Crimson Lentils from Camas Country Mill, 3lbs of heirloom beans, 1lb of heirloom black popcorn kernels, and 5lbs of Purple Viking Potatoes from Lonesome Whistle, also (very exciting) 3lbs of Red Sweet corn meal (that actually looks more purple/blue in the bag). This event went really well, was super easy and laid back, and was the perfect start to a long cold winter.
Speaking of Lonesome Whistle Farm… I am loving these people and this farm. The husband and wife duo have cultivated an organic farm of grains, beans, garlic, and potatoes, seemingly by themselves. They also have the bombest popcorn I have ever tried. But the coolest thing they have done is start an Heirloom Dry Bean and Grain CSA. This CSA consists of 4lbs of dried beans and 9lbs of grains a month for six months for $333. They are also willing to accept FoodStamps and payments. This is an amazing step in the right direction for the Willamette Valley folks.
I think I have completed my season of canning and finished my preservation list. Already I am seeing that there are areas I am lacking in. But, I still think with a little creativity I will make it through this season without having to supplement much from the grocery store.
Coming soon… my local thanksgiving day menu!