One of my challenges to start:
For 2 weeks, I was excited about making the Eat Locally Challenge work for my household. I have relied heavily on a TN Dept of Agriculture website called www.PickTNProducts.org
for years now to find local and organic products. Wouldn't you know it, the domain name expired on 26 April 2007 and the website went down, just as I was making my final push for planning. The website came back just 2 days ago, too late for me to really use it for my game plan. All week, I had to rely on the old fashioned way - it was relying on myself and my memory (good luck! oiy), and talking to friends to find out which farms they buy from, and what they may know about the growing season.
The Game plan:
Get up early (for me) and goto the Frankin Farmer's Market
first, and then the Nashville Farmer's Market
second. The goal, buy fruit, meat, veggies, and herbs. After blogging about about my cat
, I started out at 8:30 am to the Franklin Farmer's market down Franklin Rd, 15 miles.
9 am on a Saturday, some vendors have sold out, and were ready to pack up. Oh crap, how early do I have to get up to make eating locally happen in my house? Everyone who knows us, we are late to rise, late to bed, and we ain't catching no worms. Luckily, there were quite a few vendors and I was able to get quite a few fresh veggies, and the meat for the week. My worry over not finding veggies were put to rest, but here is what challenge cropped up: NO BERRIES! I was thinking that I would be seeing quart after quart of berries, but because of the deep freeze we had a few weeks ago, there were no berries to be had at the Franklin Farmer's Market. I filled my cloth sacks full of veggies, and then jumped into the car to get to the Nashville Farmer's Market. When I got there, I saw 3 small containers of strawberries, and found out they were grown only 20 miles from Nashville. I wheeled and dealed with Smiley, and I have 2 pint containers of berries for the week. These were the only local fruits I could find. I may venture out mid-week to look for more, but I don't think I will find any because of that deep freeze pushing berry crops down the calendar for 2 weeks.
photo of Hungry Gnome Farms display at the Franklin Farmer's Market
Just a side note. I am drinking one of my exempt beverages, coffee, with the local farm fresh milk in it. The milk is not homogenized, so I have a high milk fat content to start off the bottle. The rich buttery flavor of the cream on top is warming my soul. The milk is as sweet as winter hay fed cows, and I suspect the milk will get sweeter as the cows go out to pasture. I remember the sweet and buttery flavor of milk when I was a kid, and I am pleased to have this flavor again. You can't get milk that tastes like this from industrial cows who are fed only cow-chow, and with cow-chow that my have melamine in it.
The rundown from the Frankin Farmer's Market:
1 whole chicken 3.47 lbs - $14.24 - Three Meadows Farm LLC, Columbia
, TN 35 miles
4 big pork chops 2.6 lbs - $16.83 - Three Meadows Farm LLC, Columbia, TN 35 miles
2 sprigs tarragon - $1. - Crabtree Family Farm, Woodbury, TN 50 miles
aspargus 1 lb - $6 - Jones Mill Farms, Lavergne, TN 10 miles
red Russian kale - $2 - Hungry Gnome Farm, Whites Creek, TN 10 miles
Mizuno greens - $2 - Hungry Gnome Farm, Whites Creek, TN 10 miles
turnip greens - $1 - Hungry Gnome Farm, Whites Creek, TN 10 miles
mustard greens - $0 Free! - Hungry Gnome Farm, Whites Creek TN 10 miles
7 shitake - $4.64 - Delvin Farms
, College Grove, TN 20 miles
large scallions - $1.25 - Delvin Farms, College Grove, TN 20 miles
2 baby bok choy - $2.25 - Eaton Creek
, Joelton, TN 15 miles
The rundown from the Nashville Farmer's Market:
First off, there are a few local farmers in Nashville, but quite a few are after market sellers, and consumers need to be aware. At least when I asked where the food came from, the vendors answered honestly. The stalls that are local were Freddie and his organic chickens, a local Amish group, Smiley's Farm, and 2 other farms. The rest look like a bad day at the chain grocery store.
What did I get?
2 large pints strawberries - $2.50 - Smiley's, Ridgetop, TN 20 miles
fist size country ham - $1 - Smiley's, Ridgetop, TN 2o miles
2 large scallion bundles - $1 - Richard's Farm, Bordeaux region of Nashville, TN 0 miles
2 garlic bulbs - $0.60 - Gardens of Babylon, Nashville, TN 0 miles
Our 1 grain exempt item:
We decided brown rice was it. It is the most versatile, and we can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other ideas were oats, barley, and wheat flour. Barley would be ok, but since it not a weekly dish for us, we moved on. Whole wheat flour is too much work for me to create breads and tortillas everyday, NEXT! Rice, we eat weekly, and it is easy to make, BINGO! I went to the Turnip Truck Store and bought about 3.5 lbs of bulk brown rice, or about 0.5 lbs rice per day for 7 days at the cost of $4.60.
semi-total for local food purchased on Saturday at the farmer's markets: $56.31
semi - total with the exempt item rice: $60.91
overall total: $95.05 = $88.05 food and $7 wine
I got a lot of food, can we eat it all? Will we have a rebate by the end of the week? Probably, as I will most likely not use all the honey, and possibly the pork too. I still think that $152 per week for 2 people for in-house food is a bit much. I think people may exaggerated during the poll for the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate, and people down played their alcohol consumption to $10. Let's see, it costs about $7-8 to make a bottle of wine on a small scale, and that leaves $3 for perhaps 2 bottles of micro-brew beer. Now tell me, Washington D.C., aren't there movers and shakers going out to talk about business over a drink a couple of days wer week after work? Say $5/day for 2 days, that is $10. What about the wine or beer with dinner for the rest of the week, or the nightcap? Something is fishy about the BLS stats.
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