Happy New Year

January can be a bummer of a food month in our household. Just for starters, after the solid Day-After-Thanksgiving-until-New-Year's-Eve food extravaganza, my husband and I are now two days into the 2nd Annual Sugar-Free January. We aren't legalistic about it--last night I had a soda and kettle corn in a nicotine-patch kind of approach to it--we just don't do candy, sweets, and dessert in January. Sigh.

On the plus side, we're back home from family visits and can keep an eye on our food sources and ingredients again. My brother-in-law received Kurt Eichenwald's THE INFORMANT, which recently got made into a Matt Damon movie, and before he could start it, I picked it up. It's a book with great appeal for urban farm junkies like myself, being all about the sinister goings-on at agroindustrial giant Archer Daniels Midland--take, for example, how they manipulated the sugar market to keep prices high and expand the demand for their own delightful high fructose corn syrup, or how they got the government so excited about ethanol. I didn't get to finish, but I'll keep you posted.

In other news, if you're looking for some possible sun, Nash's Organic Produce in Sequim will be the featured tour farm for PCC's Farmland Trust on Saturday, January 16. Please register ahead of time! The tour lasts from 11-4 and includes lunch.

And finally, if one of your New Year's resolutions includes pinching pennies foodwise, you may be interested in Siobhan Phillips' Salon article. After hearing about the sales declines in organic, sustainable food, she set out to see if eating frugally and eating thoughtfully were mutually exclusive. Probably few readers will want to go to the extremes of her experiment, but she does mention some good cookbooks and ideas for stretching ingredients without losing flavor. I did manage three meals out of my last Skagit River Ranch chicken, not including lunch leftovers, so I'm with Phillips there, but I'm not about to empty my spice rack. Giving up cinnamon or pepper or tea, to be honest, are never going to be on my to-do list.