Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 22: Farmers' Markets-going local

For many, many years I've been trying to eat good foods for cheap prices.  My definition of good foods has definitely changed over time, but watching my money hasn't (although, admittedly, I do better now than in the past).  I've always heard about farmers' markets and checked our local one out last summer and was unimpressed.  It was 5 vendors with sad looking, over priced veggies-many of which I could get at my grocery store (that advertised local) for cheaper.

It has since become more important to me to support our local economy and those farmers who are trying to make a living and not falling victim to big corporations.  I decided to give farmers' markets another chance, and I'm so glad I did.  I went to one that is in a larger town and had 40-50 vendors.  All of the prices were reasonable, the produce looked awesome and there was tons of variety.  The down-side of this venture is that it is 60 miles round trip from my house, so I don't know that I'll be able to swing it weekly as the cost of gas will eat up any savings that I might see.  Hopefully I can do it twice a month.  Maybe I'll check out our local one on the off weeks-maybe I just caught them on a bad week!

Saturday, I picked up...
3 bunches of lettuce (2 different types)
1 bunch of radishes
1 bunch of green onions
1 pint of gooseberries (the girls insisted my mother-in-law needed these)
1 pint of sugar snap peas
2 large slicing tomatoes
2 pounds raw honey
Total spent = $33.90 (most of that was the honey, we've been out for over a month)

My other news, which is related to this week's change is that I found a local farmer who sells milk.  I've been toying around the idea of raw milk for some time, but I didn't really have a way to get it, so it was put on the backburner.  I just happened to ask at the health foods store last week and they gave me a name of a local farmer.  I went to visit her farm on Saturday and I was/am very impressed.  She sells raw milk, butter, buttermilk and cream (if you need more than what's in your milk), whole chickens, eggs, pork, beef and produce as she has it.  Everything is very reasonably priced (only a few cents more than the grocery store's "regular" version).  She is not certified organic, but her practices are similar and I'm comfortable with them.  So, it seems that for the better part of the year now, I can buy much of what I need locally.  This is a change that I'm very excited about.

This week look for that whole chicken to be cooked (I hope, although it won't be local.  It was purchased pre-farm, LOL) and broth to be made.  I will also be featuring a couple of dairy free/gluten free recipes as we are doing that with our middle daughter to see if that could be the cause of her eczema.

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