The Season of Plenty

It almost seems a crime not to eat local in the early fall.  There is so much bounty at every turn.  Take for instance, this sweet potato:

Sweet Potato

Yes, that is one single sweet potato.  After admiring it for several days, I peeled and boiled it, and mashed it with butter, cream and spices, beat in a few eggs, and poured it into a pie shell for the following masterpiece:

Sweet Potato Pie

The pecans were an afterthought, because I tried blind-baking the crust only to have the edges slump down over themselves.  Storebought pie crusts are awful.  I only buy them because the ones I make myself are even worse.  I always end up cursing the dough, which is either too sticky or too crumbly.  It's no use giving me advice, either.  I swear, I have tried every. single. method out there!

I know it's trendy, but I really wish I were better and more consistent at preserving local foods in season.  I can a little, I freeze a little, but for the most part I just eat what's available, and we're coming up on a long stretch when that will be next to nothing.  I've wanted for several years now to have a winter garden, but that means planting in midsummer, and I never seem to get it together.  It makes me just sick to buy produce from halfway around the world -- the fossil fuels are the main reason, but the cardboard flavor doesn't help.

If I think about this sort of thing for too long, it makes me really depressed.  I try to remember that I'm doing the best I can with what I have.  Last night, what I had was sweet cream, freshly churned butter, and smooth speckled brown eggs from the farm.  "Local" spices.*  Blackstrap molasses from our Thanksgiving trip to Smithfield, Virginia last year.  A daddy-sized sweet potato.  And yes, a pie crust made from hydrogenated vegetable oil and refined flour.  It was still delicious.

*They were local when I bought them on the island of St. Lucia last summer.  I can't really live without nutmeg and vanilla, so I figured it was better to support the local industries there than McCormick & Co. back home. And have you ever seen nutmeg growing on a tree?  It's unreal!