Our kitchen is always open for members, visitors, and guests. Dinner is served daily by East Winders who volunteer to cook for all of community once per week. A community brunch is often cooked on Sunday morning, and occasionally lunch is served during the week. The meals cooked cater to many different tastes and dietary restrictions; meat-free, dairy-free, and wheat-free options are often included, but not always. Individuals are welcome to help themselves to a snack or cook themselves a meal at anytime. Usually, members make their own meals for breakfast and lunch, and we all enjoy community dinner together.
Our central building, Rock Bottom (RB), houses our main kitchen and dining facilities. RB encompasses two ovens, eight stove burners, four fridges (one for leftovers from community meals, one for cooking ingredients, and one for personal items; as well as a large outdoor walk-in fridge amply stocked with produce and dairy), a wide range of cooking appliances and kitchenware, four sinks, an ice machine, and a microwave. RB is also home to most of our community message boards and a popular hangout spot; it is very likely the most frequented building in community. There are two other kitchens in community— one is our food processing area which we call Foopin, and the other is located in one of our residential buildings, Anarres. We also have a small walk-in building for dry purchased goods, and a root cellar for homemade canned goods.
During the warmer months, we grow much of our own organic produce including potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, squash, beets, eggplant, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, green beans, okra, greens (lettuces, spinach, kale, chard, arugala, bok choy, cabbage, etc.), watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. We are able to can, dehydrate, and freeze some of our homegrown produce to last into the winter. Recently, we have made and canned our own pickles, jams, salsa, tomato sauce, ketchup, kim chi, pickled okra, pickled eggs, pickled beets, pickled peppers, and pepper relish.
Almost all of our meat comes from animals raised and slaughtered at East Wind. The ranch program currently includes cattle (used for meat, though two cows will be used for dairy next year), chickens (for meat and eggs), pigs (for meat), and goats (for milk and meat). Meat is usually served with dinner a few times per week. We also make our own cheese and yogurt. Though we are striving to become more self-sustaining and grow more and more of our own food, the bulk of our food is still purchased. We try to purchase local and organic as much as is financially feasible. We tend to buy unprocessed ingredients in bulk and avoid very processed foods completely. We keep an abundant supply of many kitchen staples including a variety of dried beans, lentils, rice, flour, oats, quinoa, grits, popcorn, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, garlic, onions, orange and apple juice concentrate, tortillas, cereal, crackers, jam, sugar, apples, bananas, etc. And there’s always nut butter (peanut, cashew, almond, and tahini), of course. Our kitchen is amply stocked with a wide variety of culinary spices, including some grown organically in our herb gardens.
Some East Winders are interested in permaculture principles, and we hope to be able to cultivate more food from our land in the future. There are a number of cultivated apple, pear, peach, jujube, goumi, meollar, and fig trees as well as planted nut-bearing trees (chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.), in addition to wild fruit and nut trees (persimmons, paw paws, autumn olives, hickories, black walnuts, etc). Many orchard trees have been planted recently and will start producing over the next few years. We have recently started inoculating logs and growing an abundance of edible shitake mushrooms, and hope to grow a wider variety of gourmet mushrooms in the future. We also make our own kombucha and sometimes natural root beer.