The first spring I lived in Nashville, I attended a talk about local farming and urban gardens. It was amazing, inspiring, and educational. I left the talk wanting to live in a house with a yard so I could have raised beds and chickens. I was determined to eat local!
Last summer, Gabe and I shared a CSA with another couple via Avalon Acres farm. It was a great learning experience and very interesting. Avalon Acres gets their food for the CSA from several Amish farms throughout Tennessee and southern Kentucky. Amish farmers don’t have irrigation systems (obviously), so in the extreme heat, the crops didn’t always get watered. This affected our food and is the risk you take. We learned a lot from last summer.
For the winter, we signed up with Delvin Farms and LOVED it. We decided to sign up for their summer share. Gabe just so happened upon a food for work trade program at Green Door Gourmet which has blessed us with large amounts of food. Their quality is AMAZING as well! We are so glad we tried a different farm and will likely never go back to Avalon Acres (even with their persistent emails requesting our business….).
We learned how to blanch and freeze stuff last year but this year we have fully embraced making our own vegetable broth. This is my favorite thing because truly NOTHING goes to waste. It is the most effective use of scraps and it makes me feel so good about eat local and being resourceful. We have tried this a few different ways, but we think we’ve perfected it!
We have a gallon size freezer bag that is always in our freezer. When we prepare vegetables for meals, we drop all the extras/scraps into this bag. Tops of tomatoes, roots of onions, skin of onions, tops of jalapeños, stalks of herbs, stalks of kale, peels and tops of carrots… literally EVERYTHING! Once the bag is full, we pick out a bunch of the stuff and put into a huge stockpot with ~6 cups of water. We bring it to a boil and boil about 5 minutes and then reduce to a simmer. It simmers for 60-90 minutes. We funnel into Mason jars and store in the fridge. You may also can it and save for later. We usually go through it fairly quickly.
The best broth always has carrots, onions, and tomatoes. Different vegetables give different flavors. Onions are a MUST. You can also create a bouquet garni out of cheesecloth and add more herbs. We have done that before. Just do NOT drop herbs down in there loose. You will regret that! 🙂
Try it and find a better way? Share! We are always looking to learn!