Great Barbecues At The Lake

Lake life converges around the grill during the summer. And while it may be easy to get all your ingredients from a "super" market, consider going straight to the source. I'm talking about local farms and farm stands.

Buying from a farm stand is the best source for fresh produce, and you are supporting the local economy and the global ecology. Fresh farm foods are better for you and your children and, in addition to being better for the planet they make great barbecues more satisfying.

You will be pleasantly surprised by what you find at even the smallest farm stands. Home made jellies and preserves, Honey made by local bees with the help of bee keepers (an almost lost art) along with pies and other fruity deserts. You can also get fresh farm eggs (called, "yard eggs" in the south) which are exceedingly rich in flavor, making your baked goods ridiculously yummy.

The vegetables you find are destined to be grilled and the fresher the better. Squash, okra, peppers, potatoes of all varieties, zucchini, tomatoes, sweet corn, peppers, onions, collard greens and I could keep going. But you get the picture. You can also get some great grilling ideas straight from the growers.

Another way to stay "green" and be more self reliant is to supplement your diet with fish you harvested yourself from the waters surrounding your vacation home. Fish was meant to be grilled. Trout, smallmouth bass, walleye and catfish make great table fare. And all the sunfishes are fantastic eating but must be de-boned properly.

Be sure to find out if it is legal to fish your lake by contact your states DEP or even your homeowners association, if you have one. Keep in mind the legal requirements for which species and sizes you may keep and which you must throw back (many fish are protected during certain times of the year especially during the spawn). Another thing to note is that fish contain high levels of mercury in some parts of our country and you should consult your fish and game agency to find out about which species are safe and in what quantity.

Ad a taste of the country by serving sweetened sun tea. In keeping with supporting the local economy, if you live in a region where wine is made, pick up a bottle from one of the local vineyards.

It is very satisfying to feed yourself, your family and your guests this way. They will thank you for it.

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