window farming

In Process

Consider the meal I just served up: Skagit River Ranch breakfast sausage, Skagit River Ranch eggs (scrambled), organic (storebought) applesauce, and toast (made out of organic, storebought, HFCS- and soybean-oil-free bread). Other than frying up the sausage and scrambling the eggs and hitting "toast," I really didn't do a thing for this meal. When my husband gets home, he can scramble himself some more Skagit eggs and throw in some Whole Foods spinach. So, effectively, we ate a semi-typical American meal, in that a high percentage of it was processed. In other respects it was entirely different, being free of green-guilt and curious additives.

The New York Times recently ran this interesting graphic, comparing American eating habits with others' worldwide, and--surprise!--we win again. This time the medal is for Highest Consumption of Processed Foods. Our family is doing its part--breakfast cereal like it's going out of style, dairy products, salad dressing and condiments, dried pasta, bread, canned vegetables (BPA, or no BPA). And we're a household that actually cooks six days a week, tonight's meal notwithstanding. If you're like me (i.e., lazy), you'll just think, "Dang it!" and, after stifling that twinge of guilt, keep on with your processed ways.

But for those of you who have already purged your pantries and churned your own butter and wonder if there are any mountains left to climb, you may want to check out this NPR article on window farming. Seriously. These people set up hydroponic systems in their apartment windows made out of bottles and such and swap tips online with each other and grow everything from herbs to peppers(!!!).

Let me know if any of you out there give this a try. We'd be happy to drop in for dinner and help you eat some of your harvest. I'll even bring the bottle of balsamic vinaigrette.