If you’re skeptical that local-food activists can survive the winter on, well, local foods, swing on by this Sunday’s Skill Share and Harvest Dinner, organized by members of the Winter Cache Project. There, you can learn the secrets of seasonal suppers: root-cellaring, lacto-fermentation (that’s how pickles are made), and homemade mead, beer, and wine (side note: who would choose beer or wine when they could have mead?).
Launched in 2004, the Winter Cache Project is a collection of Mainers who grow food on their section of the Pleasant Valley Acres farm in Cumberland (they trade work for land), then store it for distribution during the winter. Rather than purchase out-of-season — and out-of-state — fruits and vegetables from supermarkets when the cold sets in, WCP members can enjoy canned tomatoes and salsas, potatoes, carrots, beets, and apples from the root cellar, sauerkraut and kimchi, and loads of other delicacies that are the result of just a little pre-planning. The group expects to distribute approximately 5000 pounds of food, twice a month, from mid-October through April.
“We’re creating a community model,” says WCP member Margot Fine. “It’s showing that we can create for ourselves and feed ourselves very locally.”
As if to prove just how far local food can take us, Saturday’s post-workshop group dinner (which people will have been preparing throughout the day) will feature foods only from Maine — right down to the salt and the flour.
The Skill Share and Harvest Dinner will take place from 10 am-6 pm on Saturday, October 20, at North Deering Grange Hall, 1408 Washington Ave, Portland. Workshops, which take place from 4-6 pm, will cover such topics as lacto-fermentation, herbs for winter health, tinctures, and root-cellar storage box making. Suggested donation of $10-20.