Lately a great deal of my free time has been spent online learning about how different areas are approaching the challenges of building their local food moments. I was watching this video tonight and I liked a lot of the things he had to say.

Utah is in an interesting place right now regarding it's local food movement. I think this article written a few years ago makes some interesting points.  The local food movement is young here and behind in someways, at least compared to my experience living in the Northwest and Midwest. Some questions I keep asking myself are what does the local food movement need here? What would help Utah local/organic farmers? What would help the people connect with Utah local food? What needs to be done to build the local food movement beyond the stage of just having farmer's markets? 

My quest has been to get out and connect with people involved in the local food movement and talk about the state of Utah's local food movement and how we can continue to build it. There is so much potential here, but we need to build it more so that it will be strong enough to last. Otherwise farmers will continue get burned out and the people will just become complaisant with sub-optimal food choices.  

I think its good to look around and see what others are doing but in the end, Utah's local food movement will be all it's own and hopefully someday TED will come around here looking for "ideas worth spreading". It's lofty goal but weirder things have happened in Utah. 


Seeking out Local Food in Utah

After moving to Utah, I put my organic farming career on hold. From what I could tell, opportunities here seemed few and far between (at least compared to coming from the Northwest). I was bummed to leave farming, but I ended up landing a sweet job managing part of a wholesale nursery in the Salt Lake Valley. I love that I still get to work with plants and that I get to be outside all day.

Even though I've put my farming career on hold, its still really important for me to be involved with the local food system. It makes me happy and I can only choke down that so called "organic" produce at the supermarket for short spurts.  Having been deeply indoctrinated by Motown, I know that "there ain't nothing like the real thing baby" so I set out to get my hands on some fresh local veggies.

I had played with the idea of starting my own little backyard garden but it was a bit late in the season for getting started, I didn't have a space, and my summer work hours were long. For me, the best option was to find a small farm in the area and volunteer for a work share. I contacted a local farm and have been doing a few hours of weeding in exchange for fresh summer veg.

Peppers from the Farm
"So glad we got the real thing baby" 

I've been trying to piece together just what exactly is going on with the local food moment here in Utah. It exists, but seems to be a bit small and disjointed. I plan on making more contacts within the local food movement and farming community here so that I can get a better idea of what's going on and how I can help support it. I'll talk more about what I find in post to come. 


Fireflies in Utah County

I spent the evening on a hunt for the rare Utah fireflies.  It was magical and worth putting up with all the mosquitoe drama.  Fireflies were unheard of west of the Rocky Mountains until a few years ago when a few populations were discovered in Utah. From what I've read online, researchers are perplexed and excited as they are trying to learn more about these populations. 

I live for perfect summer evenings. To me a perfect summer evening is a simple thing. There are many things that help create the perfect summer evening, but for me it usually includes: a pleasant group people, a stunning sunset, warm air that is just starting to turn cool, and being in the middle of nowhere. Here is the last post I made about perfect summer evenings. It's been busy year and I didn't post much of them, but I'm happy to report I've had plenty, just no time to post about them. They are good for the soul. 

The photo below has a multiple choice caption: 

A) Raise your hands if you saw the fireflies tonight!
B) #SaguaroCactusImpressions
C) We trust our deodorant
D) We don't flipp'n care if our deodorant is working... Die mosquitoes!


Salt Creek Canyon- Canyonlands/Needles District

Memorial Day weekend I went on a 4 day backpacking trip in the Needles district of Canyonlands (Moab). I went with some family and friends. The hike covered nearly 40 miles and took you though a lot of the ruins left behind by the by Fremont Indians. We got rained on everyday, which is pretty unusual for a May in Utah but the water was much needed and we made the best of it. 

This is a video my sister and brother-in-law made for this trip

Day 1

Setting up the shuttle and getting ready to hit the trail.
We had sunny skies for the first part of our hike right as we got to camp a thunderstorm started up. We ate dinner under a rock shelter down the trail from our camp and by the time we were done the worst of the storm had passed.

With the worst of the storm gone, we wandered around camp a bit and took in the sunset

 Then we quickly scrambled down the rocks once we heard, saw and felt thunder and lightning strike down the canyon a bit. You could hear and feel it echo around the canyon. It was a couple miles a way but you don't just stick around on a high exposed slab of rock with that in proximity. 

Day 2

This was our lunch spot on day 2. My sister brought a cucumber to split and it was a nice treat. Funny how a small thing like a cucumber become so much more desirable when backpacking. 

I saw this plant only once on our hike. I didn't know what it was, so I shaped a photo and looked it up at home. It's called a Monument Plant (Frasera speciosa). According to the plant info it usually blooms in July-August so seems this plant is about a month or two early.

We found this really cool cave/crack in the rock. It was in the shape of a cross. 

We got rained on four a good amount of time during the afternoon. We had a nice little flash flood right as we got to the "all american man" rock art. Turned out to be a nice hideout though. 

After setting up camp, the sun broke (mostly) and we went off to find a water hole to purify some liquid refreshment. Every now and then a sun spot would come out and we would quickly lay out and warm up.  

 There were a lot of salamanders in the water hole too. We counted at least a dozen.

Attempts to get Some sunset photos. Not a spectacular colorful sunset but the views of the canyons were great

Day 3

Our trail followed Salt Creek Canyon for most of the time. This was one of my favorite days. The sun was out for most of the day. We still got rained on pretty good but the sun was out a lot more and dried us all out and that was nice for a change.

Angle Arch was a side hike we took after setting up camp. 

We found this really fun hole in the rock that we let our imaginations run with.  This is my to-to rock.

Cody's potty rock. 

Golden hour back at camp

Day 4

We got up the next morning and started our hike our to the cars. We stopped at what we called the the "Teva panel"

Approach to peekaboo rock. In case your were wondering what filter I used on the above photo let me share a quick trade secret. Just stick your phone down your shirt, making sure to put the lens toward your body. The sweet will quickly give that 70's soft filtered look that Instagram onlywishes it could replicate.

The trail goes through this little arch in the rock. So cool.

One of the lasts views on our way out. The trail keeps you up on the rim there for a while. About an hour later as we were about 2 miles from the car, the rain made it final appearance and it was a dumper. We contemplated finding shelter and waiting it out but decided to just bull through it. Flash floods in the desert are really cool I learned. 


Dash to Utah

Well it seems every few years I up and just move. This time I moved my little Muddy Puddle back to Utah. I went to college in Utah but I joke that I didn't really live there, I was just trying to survive. So now I have the a second chance to really explore all the glory of the outdoors in Utah. There were lots of reasons for me to move but it mainly boils down to wanting a change of scene, being closer to my sister, and the lower cost of living in Utah (Washington was just too pricey, but I still loved my time there). 
Me and my Sister playing around in St. George 
Big news! I got a dog! Introducing Dash! Some how I got it in my head that it was a good idea to I pick up a 4 month old puppy on my drive to Utah. He's a pure breed coated Xolo and just the sweetest little doofy dude. 

This was our little meet-cute. He had me smitten pretty quick.  

Within the first 20 mins of hitting the road he barfed, crop dusted the car and tried to ooze his way into the front seat. . . Not much changed for the next 10 hours following. All things considered he was a trooper. 
Dash's first car ride...10 hours was a bit much for him

Dash resting his head on the couch

This is Dash...

This is Dash on Drugs...

...any questions?