Archive for January, 2012

Globally aware part 2

Hello friends,

Hopefully you all read part 1 of my series of articles for Simple Good and Tasty, the Twin Cities local food blog.  If not, please take a look.  I am in the midst of gorgeous Patagonia, on a bicycle trip with my family,  however I did  manage to write part two of  this series.  Please take a look, comment if you wish, and pass along!





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Strawberries in Patagonia

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We arrived in steamy Barriloche, Patagonia one week ago after a 16 hour bus ride from Mendoza.  From there we (Jon) re assembled the bikes and we loaded them up a rode out of the bus station.  They are heavy, long and wobbly.   It is exciting to be traveling this way, but a little nervewracking as well.  Our 13 Km ride to the campsite was along a curvy, hilly and very busy lakeside road with no shoulder.  It was a rude awakening to all of the factors that will play into our ability to tour this region of Argentina.   The load included 2 kilograms of brown rice since I was uncertain how available it would be here.   I realized that I could find it in any grocery store and decided to leave half of it behind-my contribution to the packing!

Of course, I have been very uncertain about what we would find for food in this area.  While it is a fertile region, similar to the Northwest United States,  full of forests and lakes and more green than anywhere near Mendoza, like  the rest of Argentina, meat, pizza and empanadas are still the popular fare, and vegetables remain secondary.

That said, there are grocery stores in all the cities and towns as well as local verdulerias, and the local raspberries and cherries are abundant around almost every corner.

Other factors have influenced our riding schedule, including a massive forest fire (sadly not accidental, but the result of a land dispute!) that has closed some major roads, and a general concern for our stability on some of the more rocky roads.

In the mean time, we are doing our first WWOFFing sting.  WWOFF stands for World Wide Organic Farming Federation and is a worlwide network which allows farms to utilize travelers for labor, in exchange for food and housing.  In our case, it is a small operation in a lovely spot.  They are not expert farmers nor do they have a strong sustainability philosophy, but the exchange has been lovely and the setting beautiful.  There are six other volunteers here representing France, Holland and the US and the camraderie and fun is overflowing.  The family includes a 6 year old girl, and usually her 9 year old friend, so our girls are heartily entertained, and romping around the farm playing in Spanish all day.  While we won´t stay for a long time, it has been a lovely opportunity to slow down, help out, meet some neat folks and have our fill (literally) of incredible Patagonian Strawberries!

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We have had a whirlwind of travel, life and food lately.  I continue to be thrilled about the organic farmer’s market where I can buy incredibly fresh and local dried fruits, nuts, vinegars, grains, fruits and vegetables.  We took a little trip to San Rafael south of Mendoza where there is a stunning river canyon, and lots of fresh cool air, where we happened upon a lovely little cafe serving locally cured meats, cheeses and home made salads with regional ingredients and creative twists like poppy and flax seeds, and we tried to keep cool at home with yogurt and fresh fruit.  We are beginning to find our rhythm here with food, as we get to know who to talk to, where to go and what to pick.  Now, as the heat shoots up into staggering highs, we are heading South to travel by bicycle in the cooler climates of Northern Patagonia, where lakes and forests meet the mountains of Argentina and Chile.

We will be traveling unplugged for two months!  I am looking forward to the solitude, the beauty, the time with family and of course, the food.  I will post when able, probably infrequently but hopefully with reports of interesting and creative new experiences in our continued family and  food journey.

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