When I tell people I live in Vermont, Wisconsin, they are usually confused, which is a good thing, because it opens up a conversation about what it’s like here…
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In the adventure world, the Midwest often gets passed over, thought of as featureless farm land. On the rugged, unglaciated terrain that straddles the northern Mississippi, our steep ravines and craggy bluffs have provided ample ground to build me into a trail runner and our fertile valleys support my family’s farm. With over 20 miles of unrepeated trail just a mile up the road from home and our farm 5 miles down the valley, my world is self-contained.
My family owns a farm here in southwest Wisconsin that specializes in organic seed production. We grow 17 varieties of potatoes, including yellow, red, pink, purple and blue, producing over 200,000 pounds of potatoes each year that we store in a cooling system year round. In the wake of the pandemic, our wholesale and seed orders have continued to pour in. Not only does this mean that our local food coops are getting cleaned out of inventory on a regular basis, but farmers and home gardeners are seeing the value of investing more energy into growing this amazing crop and purchasing from an independent seed producer.
Filling in the gaps of what we don’t produce ourselves, the patchwork of small scale farms in our foodshed keep our pantry and freezers stocked. Within a 15 mile radius, I can bike to neighboring farms where I pick up locally milled flour, milk, and eggs. Spring is an exciting time in our valley as wild foods like watercress, ramps and morels begin to pop up. This focus on what we can source from our own micro-region makes me curious about what other parts of the country are producing for their communities. As we all turn inward, we should challenge ourselves to see how much we can sustain ourselves from our local food economy and other small business.
Like so many athletes, I have gaping holes where projects, races, and adventures had been scheduled. The possibility that so much of my 2020 calendar could continue to bottom out makes me feel a deep sense of loss. It also shines a light on how important it is to love where you live. Yesterday as I ran the 1000-some vertical feet up to my state park, I felt no urge to be anywhere else. The last five years have been built on the foundation of exploring farther and farther from home. But my personal ecosystem of trails and food give me a kindred sense that I have everything I need right here. I am sheltering in place with my potatoes and gnarly home trails and that will prepare me well for whatever adventures unfold in 2020.
Potato Carrot Soup
This recipe can be multiplied to share with family or neighbors. It can be frozen and stored for several months. I like to make a big pot of it and eat it all week, especially before runs.
1 pound of potatoes
4 large carrots
2 yellow onions
2 cups chicken/vegetable stock
4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter/olive oil
Salt and pepper
• Scrub carrots and potatoes (leave skin on for texture and color. Coarsely chop all vegetables.
• In a large stock pot, heat olive oil/butter over medium heat, then add chopped onions. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, 5-10 minutes.
• Add carrots, potatoes, stock, water, sea salt, and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally.
• When vegetables are easily pierced with a fork (about 30-45 minutes), turn off heat. Puree with immersion blender until smooth.
Serve with pesto, cheese, plain yogurt, or sour cream. I love to eat with homemade bread– see my no-knead bread recipe here (recipe in post comment).
Photos by ®Jonnah Perkins and ®Jesse Perkins
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonnah Perkins is a member of the La Sportiva Mountain Running Team.
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Originally posted 2020-04-24 08:37:13.