ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends


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The Canning Inventory, 2019

Friends, I have been way behind in relating some important news in the 2019 ReLocavore season.

First, I am sure many of you know, but if you don’t, ReLocavore and The Mister relocated. We are now back in our native turf, Southern Wisconsin. Back with quality farm land, quality farmers and quality markets. So, we re-re-located. You’ll see a definite shift in my work. First, I have lots of built-in helpers. Second, my new house has white composite marble countertops (goodbye beautiful New Hampshire granite).

Second, I have not been posting the canning inventory for 2019. Let me catch you up…

  • 37 pints Strawberry Jam (h/t Smother and The Mister)
  • 8 quarts frozen strawberry halves
  • 9 pints blueberry jam (h/t The Mister for getting them from Tree Ripe Fruit Co)
  • 10 quarts frozen blueberries (I think…?)
  • 6 quarts canned peach halves (ditto Tree Ripe)
  • 6 pints peach butter
  • 1 gallon cherry bounce (h/t Brennan’s Cellars)
  • 16 cherry hand pies
  • 2 quarts dried cherries
  • 7 half-pints cherry jam
  • 1 quart cherry pie filling (future pie #1)
  • 1 quart frozen cherries (future pie #2)
  • 2 quarts cucumber pickles
  • 6 quarts hot dilly green beans (h/t Smother)

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Strawberry Jam 2019

Sam and I picked strawberries at Carrandale Farm in Oregon, WI on a hot, humid July 5.We pulled in 39.8 lbs. Cost was $2/lb for $78.44. I also had to buy jars for this goaround.

We netted 35 jars of jam from 28 cups of crushed berries, 21.5lbs of sugar, and 7 pouches of Certo pectin. I also added about a half cup of lemon juice to the recipe because the berries were very sweet.


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Pig Tails, Part 4: The Roasts

I have 7 beautiful pork roasts, all 3 to 6 pounds, offers up a world of opportunities. However, I know myself, and I have to be smart today because I will inevitably be stupid later. I want to plan out the best way to cook each cut, and map that onto my most favorite recipes, to come up with a roadmap for how to eat this beautiful pig and give myself something to look forward to in the wintery months ahead.

The Cooks Illustrated Meat Book provided ample information on what to do with the roast, once I had mapped the Butcher’s labels onto pig anatomy. From this, I know that the loin is the tenderest meat that can be cooked rapidly on high heat, grilled, etc, but the shoulder will need more time and slower, lower cooking temperatures.

I also have a long, well-honed list of pork recipes that I love to cook and eat.

  • Char Siu is a Chinese-style pork roast with warm spices (star anise, cinnamon, clove) and soy. If I do it right, I can get that lovely red line around the outer edge of the meat. I love to make it, slice it very thin and freeze for recipes later. I can use slices of char siu in ramen noodles, made into a pâté with hoisin sauce to stuff pork buns, and add a little bit of meatyness to a stir fry.
  • Tonkatsu, or Japanese-style breaded pork cutlets. A Faerber family tradition, for some reason. The cutlets get deep fried, so Tonkatsu makes a giant mess of things in the kitchen and so only gets made on holidays. And, Panko are far superior bread crumbs. I’ll leave that one out there to debate with Nick Scheeler.
  • Arista – Tuscan style pork roast with ample black pepper, rosemary, garlic and olive oil rubbed into deep slashes in the meat.
  • Pulled pork, braised American style for BBQ sandwiches, or braised and grilled Mexican style for Carnitas. This is ideal with the pork butt roasts from the upper part of the pork shoulder.

Now to map on tasty dishes to roasts.


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Pig Tails, Part 3: The Baconing

The best part of getting a whole pig is getting all of the bacon. Most store-bought packages are the center of the belly with a mix of fat and meat. However, when you get the whole belly smoked, cured and sliced, some parts have more meat and less fat, and others are mainly fat with a little meat.

Both are wonderful. I have over 7 pounds. Of. Bacon. All from the same pig. If I had wanted, I could thaw each package and lovingly line it all back up into the primal belly.

On the first night having the pig at home, I had to cook some of the bacon. To stare into the eyes (belly?) of the beast and know my adversary, my friend, this porcine lover that I had brought to my chest freezer. (The pork barely fit. I had to say a prayer to the chest freezer fairy and put a weight on the lid to keep it all inside.)

The bacon is wonderful. Well cured and not over-smoked. The smokehouse did excellent work.


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Blueberry haul 2016

I headed to Noda Farm to pick blueberries. The bushes were laden with fruit and picking was easy. Noda Farm is a lovely place to pick berries because their bushes are large and well kept. Picking is easy because you don’t have to crouch down and the large bushes provide shade.  I was able to pick 8.5 lbs of berries in about 45 minutes. I would love to share pictures with you, but my phone was dead. 

Back home, the blueberries went into some blueberry jam (9 half-pints), and into a recipe for Blueberry Boy Bait from Cooks Illustrated. I also froze a bunch for pancakes and smoothies this winter. 

Blueberries and maple syrup are two New England food trends that I can really get behind. 


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35 Pints of Jam on the wall…

Sam and I took the day Thursday to go to Edgewater Farms and pick strawberries to make jam and other good things. We ended up picking 48 pounds at $2.50 per pound. The strawberries this year are the most flavorful, plump, beautifully ripe berries that I have ever picked. With berries this beautiful, it is easy to make fantastic jam.

However, that was not in the works. (/foreshadowing) I had to go to an important meeting and left Sam with a boiling pot of jam and 36 empty jars. Unfortunately, I think the berries were so sweet and wonderful, there wasn’t enough acid to setup the pectin. The jam didn’t set.

Rather than eat strawberry syrup on our toast, I opted to take the 4th holiday to reset the jam. Gigantic PITA. One unintended consequence – resetting the jam requires additional sugar, lemon juice and pectin. I had to add so much that I ended up with an extra jar of jam after resetting. So 35 pints of jam.

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