Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A Dedicated Do-It-Your-Selfer Dilemma
I have often wondered about the food I cook with. Where does it come from, how does it get to me, and how could I do it all myself? The milk for instance, I have seen documentaries on how it is produced commercially, and I have helped in small scale home production, so I get it. The same with flour. In fact, flour is easy to produce with some quality without any complex procedures or equipment.
The honey is a little harder, but with some research and space most people can become competent. The oil on the other hand seems like an incredible chore. I'm sure I could do it, but the task seems almost epic compared to the other foods I've mentioned. Even once I set up the press and other equipment, I would have a hard time getting enough raw plant material to make the effort worth while.
Wheat has the same problem with volume, but at least wheat can be obtained in bulk if I can't grow enough. Try buying a 50 lb. bag of flax or rape seed some time. I'm sure it is there, I am also sure I would have to look for it.
The point of this is that there are some things that are difficult to produce on a small scale. A dedicated do-it-your-selfer with visions of sustainability has to accept that he can't do everything. Especially if he lives on a city lot, or even worse, an apartment.
But, he can take the time he saved by retreating from one or more of the difficult tasks and use it to focus on mastery of what he can really make a difference with.
After all, would it be better to produce a couple of pints of oil a year or to produce enough honey for all your sweetening needs for the year, plus some to share with your friends and neighbors?
Think about it, then sit back and decide which tasks are most worth it. Then, who knows, maybe it will be creating artisan flax seed oil. If so, could I trade some early snow peas for a cup or two?