Monday, November 30, 2009
Number of real Christmas trees sold in the US in 2008 - 28.2 million
Number of artificial trees imported into the US in 2008 (mostly from China) - 8.9 million
Pounds of plastic (mostly PVC) contained in a typical artificial tree - 7.3
Number of years a person must reuse an artificial tree before it has a lower carbon footprint than a real tree (according to one study) - 20
Number of years an artificial tree is typically reused before being thrown into the landfill - 6 to 9
Most real Christmas trees come from farms, not forests. They are a crop that is designed to be harvested in "rounds" (each year as trees are cut, more are planted), and typically have little to no pesticides sprayed on them over their growing years.
And my favorite tidbit from my reading - "Artificial trees come in a cardboard box. Does that save a tree?" That one made me laugh!
We get a "cut your own" Christmas tree each year from Warren Farm in Barrington. Going out in the fields to choose a tree is one of my favorite Christmas activities - especially when there's snow on the ground and the fields are looking wintery and beautiful! When Christmas is over, we always lay the tree out in the woods in back of our house, and it becomes a hideout for critters like squirrels and birds. Many bigger towns offer Christmas tree pick-up, and turn the trees into compost or woodchips. All good!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
I hadn't had a chance to share the photo yet, but when I read the Colors of November post over at Life Looms Large, I thought this would be fun to add to the MckLinky that Sue has set up for folks from around the world to share their own pictures of colors in nature. Thanks Sue, for the fun post - I'm looking forward to seeing what photos people share!!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Today, in honor of the fabulous winter farmers' markets we went to yesterday, we had a stir-fry of broccoli, leeks, and garlic for dinner. I bought the broccoli yesterday from Heron Pond Farm, and I had bought the leeks and garlic at the Portsmouth market before the season ended. I think I have enough garlic stored right now to last until next summer... love garlic - can't be without it!! Leeks on the other hand, I need to pick up more of at the next market. They're on the list!
To go with the stir-fry, we had baked sweet potatoes from Ramsbotham's farm. Yum! No photos this week as my camera battery was charging - but next week I'll definitely include pictures...
Non-local ingredients for this meal were the oil and dark soy sauce - and everything else was straight from the farm!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We started our day at the Newmarket market at the Stone Church, as it's closer to our house than Rollinsford, and we knew Tuckaway Farm would be there (I love their veggies!). In Newmarket, we bought potatoes, Brussels sprouts, turnips, onions, and bok choy.
Then we headed up to Rollinsford. The Wentworth greenhouse is an awesome place for the market - there were tons of people shopping, but it didn't feel overcrowded or loud - it was just a "happy, bustling busy little place," as we heard one person say. In Rollinsford, we picked up ground pork, broccoli, rutabaga, and more potatoes and onions.
Not only are we set for Thanksgiving now, but we should have plenty of local food to last til the next market (in Rollinsford, December 5th)!
Speaking of the farmers' markets, I realized last night as I was making my shopping list for today that I think our Thanksgiving is just about all locally-sourced this year. Our turkey, squash, turnips, potatoes, onions, and garlic are all from local New Hampshire farms. The pumpkin and eggs for the pumpkin pie are from local farms too. The cranberries for the cranberry sauce are from Massachusetts. And our butter is from Cabot (a cooperative that includes farms from New England and upstate New York). I think the only non-local items we'll be using are the condensed milk for the pie, flour, salt/pepper/spices, and oil. Pretty nifty - the opportunity to access local foods even in the "dark" months is definitely something I'm thankful for this year!!
Monday, November 16, 2009
And what happened was... actual Brussels sprouts started to grow! What had been tiny little pea-sized sprouts got larger and larger, and finally today they were ready to harvest!
Our first ever bowl of homegrown Brussels sprouts - a very, very happy thing!!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
We also checked on the status of our Thanksgiving turkey, since the farmer who raised him was at the market today too. Our turkey is also coming from Madbury this year - and, as it turns out, is on his way to "the end" this very day (or as the farmer's mother said, "oh yep, he should be quite literally losing his head right now..." - gotta love a sense of humor!). Previous years we've bought our turkey from a farm in Deerfield, NH, but they're doing less farming (and no meat) this year - so we have a new turkey farm. Hard to believe Thanksgiving is really next week - where did 2009 go??
Hope you're having a great weekend!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Thought I'd share the recipe we used to make our own hot chocolate mix this week. After making our own, I can see now why so many people give pretty jars of homemade mix for Christmas presents - it's quick and simple to make, and (my opinion) it tastes much better than store-bought!
We found the basic recipe on foodnetwork.com, and modified a little (we omitted the cayenne pepper and the corn starch). It makes 5 1/2 cups dry hot chocolate mix -
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
Hot water (or warm milk)
1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly.
2. In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.
3. Fill your mug half full with the mixture and pour in hot water (or warm milk).
4. Stir to combine.
5. Seal the rest of the mix in an airtight container - keeps indefinitely in the pantry.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Food, Inc. is definitely worth seeing if you haven't yet - I, for one, can't get the images of the sad, sick cows in the feedlots and at the slaughter houses out of my head. I'm so happy there are so many folks here in New Hampshire who offer local, humane-raised meats. Thank you farmers!!