Back in early January when I posted the rules I thought point #3, barter, would only be of minor importance. I expected to swap a little bit of stuff here or there, but not much. I even considered not allowing it in order to be even stricter in the application of the homegrown aspect of the challenge. Oh how the times have changed, and I am deeply thankful that I included a bartering clause.
Last fall I bartered some beef for maple syrup from Brian Ryther of Mill Hollow Maple. I thought a gallon would last me at least 8 months to a year. It turns out my gallon is going to be gone at around the 3 month mark, and Garth is on a similar depletion schedule with his quota. Mill Hollow's syrup is fantastic. I've never had much of a sweet tooth, but being restricted in my food options pressed my snacking options over to things like frozen blueberries, which taste even better with a bit of syrup poured on top. Garth's sabayon requires syrup in moderate amount... it just seems to make life a bit sweeter to have it on hand. So Brian, if you're reading this, I hope we can swap some more stuff for syrup sometime this month...
The other exchange I recently engaged in was with Andrew Crowe of Inverness Farm in Canajoharie. He grows a variety of grains and soybeans of top quality. I swapped a bag of beets and a kabocha squash for a 50 pound sack of oats. I threw a rutabega into the mix for good measure and he gave me a partial bag of soybeans. I think I got the better end of that deal. I have a lot of beets and a lot of squash sitting around here, but I had no grains. I ate so little grain before 2015 I did not think I would miss baked goods. How wrong I was. I mentioned in some other posts how I now crave starch. I attribute this to several factors -
1. Less fat in my diet since my primary fat right now is tallow, and it is really rough trying to eat much of that in a sitting.
2. Most carbohydrate I eat comes with A LOT of water in it. Root vegetables and squash are full of water, which makes it difficult to consume large amounts of calories from them. Most (except potatoes) have around 200 calories per lb of root. If I need somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 calories per day (it may be even more), it strains my stomach to try to eat 6 or more pounds of roots in a day. I know 6 x 200 does not equal 3000. I eat other stuff too.
3. It's been darn cold here this winter. I spend a reasonable amount of time outside every day and work actively. Fighting off the cold and physical activity both require energy.
So thanks to Brian and Andy. You've made my life a little easier this year. Proof that these are quality and tasty ingredients, my kids ate all of their own pancakes and 1/2 of my share.