One Family's Quest to Eat Local Ingredients

Archive for the ‘Local Shopping Trips’ Category

The Wonderful and Amazing Things You Can Do With STRAWBERRIES!!

In Local Shopping Trips on June 8, 2011 at 3:03 am

This post is linked with Read Food Wednesday!

So Juicy!

Well, the strawberry patch that we pick finally opened.  With all the rain we had in our region it slowed things down a bit.  However, the result were tasty, juicy berries that were worth the wait! I’m thankful to the large strawberry farms far far away from my home when I need a fix of strawberries in the dead of winter, but NOTHING compares to how they taste fresh picked from a local farm.   We went to a small strawberry farm that we found from   pickyourown.org.

 

(sorry about the computer glitch, I can’t figure out why we went to dotted underline and italics, but it won’t go away!) 🙂

An older couple ran the farm with help from their kids and grandkids!  They use minimal spraying before the fruit appears on the plant.   There were lots of people picking their berries and looking at the license plates they came from distances hours away.   The picking experience was fantastic!  I could sit down and just fill and fill my box with fantastic looking berries!  My husband and kids helped and in about 20-30 minutes we had 35 pounds…..yes 35 pounds of strawberries!

35 lbs. of berries!

 
We paid our $35 and went home! I learned that picking your own is not only a good way to help a farmer, but I chose the size and quality of the berry that went into my box, and I saved a ton of money.  In our area the little green quarts you see on the left would cost me $3.50.  I paid  $1.75.  Okay so now I need a plan.  That’s a lot of berries!

I plan on making…(check back for recipes)

freezer jelly

Jelly omlets

Fresh Strawberry pancakes

Waffles with Strawberry maple syrup

Strawberry Muffins

Chocolate Strawberry Smoothies

Mixed Green Salad with Strawberries (and other goodies!)

 

UPDATE:

Okay, my family of 5 ate all 35 pounds of berries.  Yes, all 35 pounds!!!  They were that GOOD!  We had to go back last night  and pick 18 more pounds to make the above listed things. Don’t forget to check back for these great recipes!

FARMERS MARKET VISIT 6-6 & TIPS FOR SHOPPING

In Local Shopping Trips on June 7, 2011 at 2:11 am

We went the the farmer’s market that is really close to our house to see what she had in stock.  Keep in mind the produce she grows and is completely organic and the farms she gets the other produce from can be conventional.  There a few things that she is getting from suppliers.  I always ask and she is always willing to tell me where the food came from!

SIDEBAR:

It’s always a good thing to talk to the farmer.  Ask them questions like where did you grow this?  What are your growing practices/beliefs?  Do you spray with pesticides etc.  This will give you an idea of how your food is grown and whether or not this farmer actually grew your food.  I have a good relationship with this particular market and my kids have actually picked produce!  With the rise in popularity of farmer’s markets, I have read many reports where people obtain their produce from suppliers (gasp….even the grocery store) and resell it to you at the farmer’s market.  You think you are getting farm fresh produce when really it could have been grown in California or you could have obtained it from the grocery yourself.  It’s imortant to ask.

Anyway, because this particular market starts a lot in greenhouses there was a lot available!

I got

1 dz. ears of sweet corn (organic and first of the season…so excited!!)

5 small peaches (obtained from a farm in the south)

Quart of Cherry Tomatoes (organic)

Several large tomatoes (organic)

2 large bags of mixed greens a.k.a. salad mix (this season is going to be short with all the heat we’ve been having!)

*plus she let the boys sample several cherry tomatoes.

Total cost $19

I KNOW if  I had been in the grocery store, I would have picked up a lot more misc. items here and there (especially because I had the kids with me) and spend a lot more!  That’s the nice thing about farmer’s markets/produce stands that I have discovered, your impulse buys are so different and less!!!

I hope to hit the mennonite farmers market today before we go swimming!  I will remember to take a photo!

 

Local Shopping Trip Update

In Local Shopping Trips on May 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I’ve been trying to do a pantry challenge and use up what is in my cabinets and deep freezer.  But, it is finally warm and glorious and I did need a few things from the store so I stopped at the farm stand that is near my home.  She had set up the produce stand now and said she has been crazy busy!  I didn’t get any photos (I have to get better about remembering).  She was out of lettuce (bummer!) but said she would pick later in the week and save me 2 bags.  I did get some zucchini, yellow squash and cucumber—all organic and all grown in their greemhouse!  I also bought 1 four pack of eggplants and 1 more cucumber plant for our garden (more on that later).  Both plants were grown from organic seed and in organic soil.  My kids have enjoyed growing their own veggie plants from seed, but this weather has been so cold, wet and rainy that the sprouts have not done well and we had to rely some on our friends this farm stand to help us with some strong plants started in a greenhouse.

I’m going back Thursday to see what else she has.

Strawberries should be coming soon!

Chicken Pick Up #1 The May Issue

In Local Shopping Trips on May 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I’ve had a very busy week and it has pulled me from blogging…..

Once a month we go to a local farm and pick up our chickens for the month.  This runs from May to October and then in November we can pick up Turkeys.  We order in advance for the season.  These birds eat little feed (which is organic which also means non GMO) and spend their days munching bugs and other critters as it was intended.  The have free range of their space and are not confined to a poultry house for 3 weeks before they are slaughtered under stressful conditions (that is if they make it).  These birds free range for 6 weeks with a very low stress lifestyle and the result is a wonderful juicy bird.  They are killed in the early morning and we pick them up fresh that evening.

I do have to pay 2.85 a pound for these birds.  However, I can usually get 3-4 meals per bird plus chicken stock.  So I believe it evens out, plus I’m getting organic meat and stock!

This month we got 3 chickens. (Sorry, forgot photo and now they are resting nicely in my deep freezer).

They also typically have 2 organic meat farmers there for pick up day.  I didn’t get to go to pick ups this time, but my husband brought me home a card from a farmer who is now attending pick up day.  They are advertising organic cheeses!  Mark that off my list of things I can’t find locally!  YUM!

This month due to our busy schedule we froze all 3 whole.  Typically we process each bird differently and make stock the next day.  I’m thinking up some new recipies for my new birds!

1st Local Shopping Trip

In Local Shopping Trips on May 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

On my way home today, I decided to stop by a small local flower/farm market store.  The owners have several greenhouses and start organically grown produce when there is still snow on the ground. They also own a farm and grow their produce and bring it to their flower store.   It is located close to my home, which makes it very convenient.    They haven’t officially opened their farm market stand yet, but I thought maybe….just maybe….I would get lucky and they would have something delicious!  I’m craving anything at this point! 

This is what I found…..

My Lucky Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I asked the store owner if she had any lettuce.  She said she did and some green beans (these were amazingly long and looked awesome, but I still have some in the deep freezer I need to use first) and “only a couple zucchini and a cucumber.”  I was so excited!  It has been so long since I had a farm fresh cucumber.  I know it sounds silly, but if you haven’t had vegetables fresh from the farm its a totally different experience.  I really didn’t like vegetables until I learned what they REALLY taste like!  Off season vegetables grown hundreds of miles away from where you purchase them just doesn’t taste like much of anything! 

Okay, off my soap box now.

I was able to purchase ….

1 organic zucchini squash (will post recipe for what I did with this and the yellow one) $1

1 organic yellow squash $1

1 organic cucumber $1

1 large pkg. of organic salad mix $2.99 (Large enough we all ate it for dinner and have plenty more)

Total purchase $5.99

When I got home, my family thought it was Christmas (okay  my husband more than the kids), maybe they will like our local lifestyle after all?