This is one of my favorite subjects, because food brings all of my interests together, from growing organic fruit and vegetables at home, to shopping for it, to cooking and getting together with friends and family and sharing it over a nice bottle of wine or maybe some mezcal.
Where to begin? Well first of all, I’ll share with you our efforts in producing our own food. We just started doing it two years ago when we moved to our house with a garden. Before that, we lived in a tiny apartment in Mexico City, where we gave hydroponics a try in our kitchen window. It was all my husband Matthew’s project, and even though he had a decent amount of beautiful tomatoes growing, the taste wasn’t all there, and real soil makes a huge difference.
Nowadays, we plant many things on raised beds. They were built out of the recycled wood planks used in the construction of the house, and they have an automatic drip irrigation system which makes it very easy to grow almost anything. Of course, the gorgeous Queretaro weather helps plenty!
This past Sunday was sowing day, and everyone at home got involved. The girls chose and planted what they wanted to eat, with the help of Ivan (our knowledgeable gardener). We mixed the soil with our homemade compost and started this season’s harvest.
In the Market
I do my shopping once a week at the main market, “Mercado de la Cruz,” where one can find great things from local producers like butter avocados, fresh pomegranate, zucchini blossoms, beets, miltomates (the smallest of the green tomatoes great for green salsa), and many different kinds of chiles.
But, I have to admit that making the right choices isn’t always easy. At this point I sort of know right from wrong when choosing food, and even though most of the ingredients we get are local, the trip to the store isn’t always “smart”.
There are raspberries to be eaten as well as yummy ice cream, same goes for those wonderful California nectarines, Italian prosciutto and that smoked Norwegian salmon…. You get the picture, we cannot get everything we like locally.
As for our efforts in diminishing our meat intake, well, I don’t think we will be turning vegan any time soon. But what we do practice are the famous “Meatless Mondays”. At first it started off just as a detox thing, for the overindulgent weekends, but now as I hear more and more things about the benefits of turning to greens more often than to meat, the idea is getting a little more attractive.
As long as we are talking about food, and our awareness of its source, a huge part of it has been because of SlowFood http://www.slowfood.org/ .
We joined a couple of years ago and it’s been one of our best experiences. This is a description that I borrowed from their web site that explains it better than I can:
“Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.”
We belong to the local chapter in this part of the Country (El Bajío) and because of this, we have been able to meet excellent producers of cheese, honey, amaranth, delicious fruit, local bread bakers and many other top quality ingredients and food.
Our friend and coordinator for this area, Ada Solana, organizes field trips where families and producers spend the day together, and our children get to know real people behind real food. For example, they now know that the milk, cheese and butter we eat come from a ranch and live animals, and not the local supermarket!