Sunday, 14 October 2012 13:16
This week we are answering a question that came from students. The question is “what do we eat and how do we get our food?” People sometimes assume that we forage for our food. We have been able to gather and catch some of our food along our route, but not a lot. Dave has caught fish and when berries are in season, we gather blueberries, raspberries and cranberries. Really, we eat a lot of the same foods you would at home and we buy most of our food from grocery stores and farmer's markets. We have given ourselves an extra challenge while we travel: we are trying to eat as much locally grown food as possible.
Finding locally grown food in New York City may sound difficult. Even though there are so many buildings, food can be grown in unlikely places. We recently visited a rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn, where all sorts of delicious leafy greens are being grown organically and without soil. Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO of Gotham Greens showed us how they grow a variety of lettuces and basil hydroponically right in the middle of the city.
Gotham Greens is one of many farms we have visited along our route. Before this stage of the North American Odyssey began, we visited Breslin Farms in Illinois, near the Wilderness Classroom headquarters. Molly Breslin provided us with organically grown beans, flour, garlic, basil and other herbs. When we visited Vermont, we participated in a farm tour with Vermont Farm Tours. Chris Howell took us to several farms. We sampled goat's milk, cow's milk and several different kinds of cheese. We picked our own blueberries. We even learned how to make mozzarella cheese at Bread and Butter Farm. Chris also did the grocery shopping for our resupply, making sure that most of our food for the next two weeks came from local sources.
By now, you are probably wondering what our meals are like. A typical breakfast is oatmeal or granola with powdered milk. If we are taking the day off from paddling, we break out the flour and make pancakes or bannock with real maple syrup (when it is available). While we are paddling we carry an energy bar or two in our pockets, to snack on when we get hungry. The bars we like best are MacroBars, Clif Bars and LaraBars. Lunch is usually peanut butter and jelly or cheese or sausage on tortillas. We usually eat trail mix. Since apples have been in season lately, we often will eat apples with lunch too. Dinner is usually spaghetti or rice and beans. We try to included some fresh vegetables when we can.
We cook on a small, portable stove. The fuel that we use is white gas. We just have one pot and a small frying pan with us, so our cooking is pretty basic. We eat out of bowls and just use spoons. We are traveling light and don't have the luxury of many cooking utensils or appliances. We carry about four days worth of food with us, because we pass by towns so frequently now. Earlier in the North American Odyssey, we had a few parts of the route where we had to carry a month's worth of food! Our food planning and packing is much easier now and we can splurge on fresh fruits and vegetables.
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