Perhaps you've seen the pictures on Instagram and read the cute captions. You follow us on Pinterest. You follow us on Twitter. You've taken a look at the website and now you've travelled further into its depths, to find this blog post. You're wondering, what is this Misty Green Living business all about?
For starters, I hope that it will introduce you to a new way of thinking about what you are eating, why you are eating it and where that food comes from. In a nutshell, that is it.
When we start thinking in these terms, we realise that the nutritional value of the food we are consuming may be compromised: by the distance it has travelled, by the time span from harvest to your plate and often by the methods of processing it has endured.
How Local is Your Food?
We are so lucky that we have such choice in today's society! In Ireland, our temperate climate is really not suited to growing some of the everyday foods we enjoy, but they are available to us whenever we want. Think of cutting into a juicy, ripe pineapple: there is nothing quite like the exquisite fragrance and sweetness of it. However, without some serious help, it is not possible to grow that pineapple here, so it has probably travelled from Africa, Asia or South America.
How Long has it Taken to get From Farm to Fork?
As the year and the seasons progress, from spring to summer and then autumn to winter, a great many conditions are created that prompt plants and animals to move through their own life cycles: spring causes the apple tree to grow new leaves, summer prompts her fruits to grow, autumn causes them to ripen and then in winter, her leaves shed, she enters a period of dormancy. The harvest season for different varieties of apples varies, but most the most common time is in Autumn. We can buy apples all year round, though to be honest, even when in season, they rarely come from local producers.
How Much Handling and Manipulation has it Undergone?
Raw foods undergo a range of different processes before you pick them up from the shelf in the supermarket, and for a variety of reasons. We know the obvious ones, like chicken nuggets and canned soup, but it is worth remembering that often even the 'fresh and healthy options' have gone through some processing too: be it washing, packaging or different types sprays in the case of imported produce with a short shelf life.
Though it is worth bearing these points in mind, I am not trying to imply that all processed or imported foods are bad or harmful. The past few weeks have delighted us here on the homestead as the garden has been steadily providing us with a bounty of produce: potatoes, onions, tomatoes and chillis to name a few. Of course we grew more than we could immediately eat, so our kitchen is alive with activity as I try to preserve by pickling, jam-making, dehydrating and freezing. All of the hard work we put in to the different crops early on is being rewarded, and the ultimate prize is a full pantry for the winter.
My day to day life is often hectic - managing a family, a home and a farm - and when I shoehorn in a grocery shopping expedition every second week or so, you better believe I fill up my basket just like everyone else. I don't always make the right choice: I buy vegetables that have journeyed around the globe, I buy fruits when they shouldn't be in season and I buy treats and time-savers that are laden down with salt and sugar. I am busy and I want to get the job done so that I can move on to the next one on my list.
But I want to be more conscious about what we consume as a family.
I believe that in today’s world, self-sufficiency and slower, more simplified living are the key to having a better relationship with our local environment.
As a farmer and homesteader, I have lots of skills that I am enthusiastic and excited to share with those wishing to take back control of the source of their food. Through ‘Misty Green Living’ I want to grow a community of followers who can join me on my journey as I strive to improve what I know and develop new skills. Gardening, preserving, cooking and basic animal husbandry are a great way to start into the homesteading lifestyle that I am passionate about. I know others will love it too. I will encourage positivity, personal growth and an appreciation of the simpler things and my followers, they’ll have pride in a job well done.