Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dark Days of Winter/First Day of Spring

It feels weird to write "Dark Days of Winter" when the days aren't dark anymore and it has felt like spring since February. Actually, today, on the official first day of spring, it feels like summer here. We've had temperatures in the mid-high 70s since last week. 

I'm in the last two weeks of the Dark Days of Winter Eat Local Challenge. This week's meal was chicken baked with local apples and sage with spinach and potatoes from the farmers' market on the side. Everything except the olive oil and salt came either from my garden or local farmers:

chicken breasts - EcoFriendly Foods, VA
apples - farmers' market
sage - my garden
spinach - farmers' market
potatoes - farmers' market
butter - Blue Ridge Dairy, VA 

I've been trying to think of ways to use up the local apples without making desserts and having to think about local sources of sugar, flour, etc. We were having baked chicken last night, so my husband sliced an apple and placed the slices on top of the chicken breasts. We also stuffed the breast with sage from my garden. I bought the spinach at the farmers' market in December and froze it, and the taste was still so pure and fresh that it didn't need any seasoning. The potatoes were also local (from a farm in WV, I think) and we baked them as well, and topped them with only butter from a farm in VA.

The apple-sage baked chicken was so good. It felt like such a light, healthy meal, which was very welcome on a warm evening. The farmers' market near my office is opening this Thursday, two weeks earlier than normal. I wonder if the unseasonably warm temperatures have prompted crops to ripen faster. I'm glad that's opening, I won't have to trek all the way to Dupont Circle on Sundays now. That market gets insanely crowded.

Just two more weeks left in the challenge! I still have beef, spinach, peppers, and broccoli in the freezer, and I'm excited to see what other goodies I can find at the farmers' market on Thursday to round out the last few meals.


  1. That meal looks scrumptious! Your 'challenge' is very inspiring.

  2. Dear Angela, As I said before, I so admire you for sticking with the Eat Local Challenge. I don't think I have your self control. And I eat larger portions than that, too. Oh, dear ...
    But you inspire me to do better. P. x

  3. I am so impressed that you have farmers markets that stay open in December! And one opening up in March! You even have fresh butter! You have done very well on this challenge. It's encouraging and inspiring. I may give it a try next year.

  4. This is an interesting challenge you have undertaken. In the summer, I go to the farmer's market, but that ends in mid-October. Then eating local gets really tough. Very little if any food available at the local grocery store is local (which is sad really). I like the idea of baking chicken with apples and sage. It sounds delicious!

  5. I'm going to try Sage & apple chicken - sounds great. i use apples with beetroot in a relish I often serve with meat. Essentially it is grated apple and grated beetroot cooked up with a bit of vinegar and sugar - works well.

  6. I switched to a different farm for all my beef. It's called Over the Grass Farm in The Plains, VA, which is in Loudoun county. The flavor is incredible! Your chicken sounds wonderful. :o)

  7. Your meal looks wonderful. I can almost taste your chicken stuffed with sage with apples on top. What a great way to use up those apples.


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