Friday, June 13, 2008

Provisioning and Packing

A nice relaxing river cruise was exactly the way to spend time before our last day of trip preparation. Funny how all those little things that keep getting pushed off on the to-do list pile up. And, as the day goes on, how many things on the list get crossed off when you ask yourself "Do I really need this?"

One critical task, though, was a final trip to the Chicago Green City Market. This is a great market in Lincoln Park on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The farmers and producers that participate get a thorough screening before getting in to ensure that their farming practices are sustainable and that the ingredients used for any of the prepared food items are local and seasonal. Bernie started going to this market (and the other great markets around Chicago in the summer) because the items had much better flavor and there were more varieties of produce to learn about and experiment with (heirloom tomatoes, dozens of different strawberry varieties, a wide range of greens). Over time, though the safety aspect of the food has been playing a major role. She stocked the freezer with meat from the market last winter (lamb, pork, beef, chicken) and didn't have to run to the freezer to check everytime there was a meat recall announced on the news. She also froze several bags of different berries so we could have muffins, pies, and tarts all winter.

Knowing where your food is coming is in the news again because of the current "Tomato Issue". That was certainly a hot topic at the market on Wednesday -- almost everyone was talking about it. Bernie stocked up on Iron Creek Farm tomatoes, which not only are safe to eat but are also great tasting. She picked up some strawberries, bread, cheese, mushrooms, and various vegetables to get us started on the trip. We've got the schedule for the farmers markets in Michigan and plan to provision fruits and vegetables along the way.

Over the last few weeks, Bernie has been stocking up on chicken, lamb, pork, and beef from the Green City Market and tilapia from AquaRanch. She's made some tomato sauce, vegetable, chicken, and mushroom stock and froze it in plastic bags all in preparation for the trip.

Then it came time to pack our freezer on the boat. Everything was going well until she tried to put in that last package of Liberty Family Farms frozen chicken. Then a package of Heartland ground beef fell out. She got the ground beef back in when a package of Mint Creek Farms lamb chops fell out. Then a package of tilapia fell out followed by a container of her basil pesto. Phil thought this all to be amusing and took a picture.

He didn't think it was so amusing when the frozen chicken flew through the air and hit him in the stomach. "Maybe if you stopped taking pictures and went back to packing and loading the boat we'd be able to leave on Thursday!"

There's only one picture of the Provisioning and Packing process.

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