Monday, December 12, 2011

Dark Days Challenge, Week 3

Lentil Vegetable Soup
Almost all local


Bacon grease - saved from the bacon from the Tamworth Hog I got last year
Onion - farmer's market
Carrots - farmer's market

Parsnips - my garden

Kale - farmer's market
Garlic - my garden
Canned tomatoes - my garden, preserved this summer.

Delicious Soup

Lentils - not local.  In fact, where do lentils come from?  This had me thinking. I have never seen lentils in any of my seed catalogs - where are they grown?

I spent some time while I was at the reference desk today researching lentils.  They are in fact grown in the United States but primarily in Western Washington, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota.  Apparently, the US exports about 70% of their crop.  To whom?  And where do we get our lentils then?

The US government is a wealth of information.  The biggest importer of US lentils is India.  The biggest exporter to the US and in fact, to anywhere in the world is Canada.  We get our lentils from Canada and Turkey as well as several other countries.

There is a US Dry Pea, Lentil and Chickpea Council.  Who knew?

There is also a Northern Crops Institute.   What's interesting is that California has lost all of its lentil growers in the past 20 years, Washington and Idaho have also lost 1/2 of their growers while North Dakota has created a lentil industry.  So did the farmers all move to ND?  Why the change in locale over the years?

I went to the grocery store today and picked up a bag of store brand brown lentils.  There was no information on where they were grown, only that they were distributed by a company in NH.  I'm almost tempted to get the contact information of the distributor to ask where the lentils are grown.  I'm fascinated by this lentil story.

1 comment:

  1. A few years back, I was thinking about how much I've loved lentils my whole life but had no idea where they came from or what they looked like growing. I never saw them in a seed catalog either, but I'm really not a great gardener, so they could have been available in one of the other catalogs I don't get! Anyway, I get mine from the natural foods store out of the bulk bin, so I planted some of those to see what these things look like growing. The "crop" failed, but I did find a picture online (I don't know where it went now) and they are supposed to be like other beans, with a few beans in a pod.

    I do wish more folks would grow dry beans in my region but I get that real estate prices in the northeast make it somewhat cost prohibitive.