Wednesday, September 3, 2008

4th Wedding Anniversery in Wisconsin

This year, for our 4th wedding anniversery, Chris and I returned to the site of the deed...Door County, Wisconsin. Jen's family cottage is there and is one of her favorite summer locations, full of memories of growing up.
Jen & Chris at the site of their wedding ceremony, 4 year anniversery. Sister Bay, Wisconsin.
The crew in front of the family cottage (from left to right): Laura & Ty, Kelly, Dad Burger, Aunt Barb and Uncle Dave, Mom Burger, Chris & JenDoor Couty Wine-Tasting: Jen, Laura, and KellyJen on the Lake Michigan coastJen at Cave Point, Lake Michigan coastPontoon Boat Fishing: Dad, Mom with Shorty, and ChrisChris and a Monster BassBack in Anchorage: Jen made a pie with Door County cherries and Chris cooked Wisconsin Bass.

Fishing, Hunting, and Gathering: Reflections on Local Food

One of our favorite aspects of Alaskan life is the ability to gather one's own food. Lately, I've been reading many books about "local food" (Check out "Omnivore's Dilemma" by Pollan or "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Kingsolver). I have enjoyed finding all that the Alaskan land offers up for our sustenance. We wanted to live in a place that could feed us, and Alaska is such a state. Being in touch with where one's food comes from is immensely gratifying - and one doesn't get much more "free-range, organic" than a moose or wild salmon! Alaska has a genuine food culture, where there is an affinity between people and the land that feeds them.
First, there is fishing. Alaskan summers are all about fishing, whether it be for salmon (reds, kings, silvers) or halibut. We spent many weekends on the famous Kenai River. No Kings for us this year (keeps us humble about how special catching a Kenai King Salmon really is), but many reds and some silvers.

Jen & Chris with a Red Salmon on the Kenai River.

Jen dip-netting. This is a VERY posed picture. The day was miserable rainy and Jen only lasted about 15 minutes of this. No fish were caught.

Chris fishing in Humpy Cove from our sailboat, outside of Seward.

Next, there is hunting. As I write this, Chris and his dad (along with some of their friends: Nate, Steve, and Brian) are out moose hunting along the Swanson River, where they canoed to a potential moose hunting site. One moose can feed a few families for the winter. They are also hoping to go deer hunting on Kodiak Island.

Then, there is gathering. This last weekend, while Chris was hunting, my friend Leah and I thought it only appropriate to "gather." We went to nearby Girdwood to pick high bush blueberries. This was my first experience with high bush blueberries and we gobbled them up while we picked (2 in the bucket, 1 in my mouth). However, back home, as I prepared the berries I noticed a little friend looking at me...a blueberry worm! After much research on the topic, I discovered that our blueberries were packed with PROTEIN. They are now soaking in cold saltwater and the worms are making an exodus to the surface. I will be making cordial with the berries, along with a blueberry crisp.

Jen with her blueberries.

Leah with Anna on her back, berry-picking together.

This next year, we will be planting a garden in our backyard (we set up the beds this year) and will be exploring other Alaskan edibles, from fungi to seaweed! We also have raspberries all along the side of our house.


  • Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our food as our cars. We're consuming 400 gallons of oil a year per citizen (about 17% of our nation's energy use) for agriculture, a close 2nd to our vehicle use. But getting the crop from seed to harvest takes only 1/5 of the total oil used for our food. The lion's share is consumed during the trip from the farm to your plate. Each food item in a typical US meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles. If every US citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels.

  • Local, fresh foods TASTE better! Food is the rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure! Eating home-cooked meals from whole, in-season ingredients obtained from the most local source available is eating well, in every sense. Good for the habitat, good for the body.

  • Find your nearest farmers' markets and local producers: Also, check out and and

Now, back to eating...