I do like BLTs!
Every since I saw Cookiecrumb's post on a BLT aka Not a Cheese Sandwich, I have been waiting for all the local planets to align, so that all the ingredients I need to make the ultimate locally made BLT would be fresh and available. This is very difficult because lettuce is a cool spring and fall crop, and too much heat and sun puts lettuce out to dry, and tomatoes are a summer fruit, and they are just now getting to market. Back in the day when people grew their own food, there would be a short spring overlap of lettuce and tomato havesting, but not some years, and an LT anything wasn't really going to happen in the spring. I also had to wait for my favorite local bacon maker, Mr. Scott (not to be confused with Mr. Scott or Scottie from Star Trek), to slaughter a few pigs, and salt cure and hickory smoke the pig belly to make bacon. Then, all the spring time BLT planets aligned and the local BLT was going to happen.
Last week, I saw tomatoes, granted they were hot house, from Clarksville, 50 miles from my home at the Produce Place. I love the Produce Place because they are a local and organic conscious market, and they label everything with its place of origin. I bought 2 tomatoes and used one for my BLT. The other one, it is still on my counter, ready to eat. Not one blemish because it has been handled gently by me, and it is local. Local food lasts longer.
The lettuce, I got on May 26, at the Franklin Farmer's Market from the Hungry Gnome Farms booth. Bert, one of the partner's in Hungry Gnome, told me that he cut the head of lettuce that morning, and that was the only whole head left. The rest they were selling as salad mix, pre-cut leaf lettuce. I took the head of lettuce, knowing very well I had some back to back personal and business trips out of town, and I would probably end up composting it. But, I always like having leafy greens to work with at all times, so I took it. When I got home, took a damp paper towel (not dripping, just damp) loosely wrapped the lettuce in it, loosely covered it with a plastic bag, and stuck it into my veggie bin in the fridge. This is how I store fresh herbs, and it seems to make herbs last longer. So, 3 weeks went on, I was home for day here and there to do laundry and get ready to the next destination, I started pulling leafs off for small salads. This is still the same lettuce, crisp and green and ready for me to eat on June 16, 3 weeks later. I finally finished off the head of lettuce on June 21, 26 days after Bert first cut the head of lettuce to sell. I am telling you, local lasts longer, and in the end, saves money and time.
The bacon from Scott Hams, is quite possibly the best bacon I have ever had. It is brownish in color because red dye is not pumped in. There is really hickory smoke aroma coming off the package because they really do use a lot of hickory wood to smoke the heck out of the bacon. The slices are thick, so you know exactly when you are eating a slice of bacon. I had to wait until the 2nd week of June, after the pig slaughter, salt cure and smoking of the bacon before I could buy another pound of the bacon. It has been 2 months since I first bought Scott's bacon, and it was worth the wait. I am not sure if I can eat any other industrial fake flavor inject bacon ever again.
The bread, I got from Provence Breads, the local bread baker in town. Terry, a transplant from the San Francisco Bay area (thank goodness, thank you Terry) owns and bakes the best bread in Nashville. Terry is a bit like the Harlan County Chinese food place, as Terry is the ONE and ONLY artisan bread maker in Nashville. Terry could have been one amongst many in the Northwest, but found a need and niche in Nashville. Granted the base ingredients are not from 100-miles of Nashville, but at least the bakery and Terry are local. I got 2 slices of the multi-grain wheat bread, toasted it up and used the slices for my bread.
The mayo situation, I just used the blue lid stuff. I contemplated making my own out of a local egg and bacon fat, but I was on a time crunch trying to eat lunch and get ready to attend a wedding. The mayo was not local... so what. I gotta draw the line somewhere.
Anyway, the BLT was the best I have ever had. I cannot have a local BLT again until the fall when lettuce is available again. Until then, I look fondly at my photo of my BLT that was SO GOOD! Autumn, hurry.
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Eat Local Challenge
Labels: Eat Locally