Sunday, June 15, 2008

Local diet update - June 15, 2008

Over the course of the spring, I have to admit that I've been disappointed with the lack of fruit at the farmers market. Where are the piles of cantaloupes, peaches, plums, watermelon and blueberries? We had plums but just that one week; peaches, but again just one week. Blackberries have been the only fruit that has lasted (6 weeks maybe). It's been easy to rely on the market for my fresh veggies, eggs, herbs, and honey - year round even. But although I can get fruit from time to time at the farmers market, I think I'll have to rely on a greater variety of sources to get the supply of fruits that I'm used to enjoying. It's all still local. I just need to put a little more effort into the collection. 

One option is the grocery (4 blocks from my house). I picked up another Texas watermelon from the grocery this week, but honestly, the grocery melons are just not that good. The blueberries on the other hand, on sale this week, were delicious. I nibbled on a few then froze the rest for winter.

A second option is the pick-your-own farms like I visited a couple weeks ago. Next year, I'll know to start earlier (strawberries season starts here in February) and will pick a LOT more berries. And of course, there's always visiting a local resident who just happens to have acreage covered in berries that they are willing to let you pick for free - my dad for one. Also, a friend of mine has been busy picking blackberries for jam and was really sweet to keep my stocked in berries for my morning yogurt this week (she passed some more to me on Friday). Yum!

The third option is the Farm Patch. It's a permanent fruit and vegetable market here in town. Not everything is local, so you have to ask, but they'll have a far greater variety than the Saturday farmers market.  Not wanting to do any more driving than I have to will make it tricky, but I'll try biking there one day and just see how it goes. The worst case scenario is I drop by on Fridays when I have the car anyway for the dairy pickup.

That being said, Lois' peaches hit the farmers market this week. It seems her last 5 trees are ready for picking so hopefully we're in for a few weeks of peaches. She had to pick them a little early (to save them from those pesky squirrels), but I'm letting them ripen in the kitchen as we speak and they look just delicious! 

Monopolizing the market, however, were tomatoes. EVERYONE had tomatoes - big, juicy tomatoes! I was just about to pick out a few when my cell phone rang. It was my dad calling to tell me that not only had he hit the mother-load on peaches (I was to expect a bushel), but he had locally grown tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes!  So I only picked up a few things at Saturday's farmers market. I got some peaches from Lois (I couldn't help it, I'd been waiting for them for so long), some sage for my mint-sage herbal tea, 2 small spaghetti squash, some banana peppers, a green pepper, a dozen eggs and some carrots (sorry to anyone behind me in line - I bought the last of them. But to my credit, at least I waited until the lady in front of me decided she didn't want them all. Then I grabbed the rest with my grubby little hands. They're mine!). Of course that doesn't even begin to tell you what all was there - the squash, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, onions, jellies and jams, tomatoes, honey, beef, plants, crafts, and (what I am forgetting? Oh yeah) tomatoes! 

To sweeten the pot, waiting for me at home were some tomatoes (hmm, common theme here) and a cucumber that my boss had brought to me from her home garden, a few jars of vegetable-n-sausage soup I made on Thursday, milk and gouda that we picked up from the dairy, those yummy blackberries from Sharli, and of course, the anticipation of the goodies my Dad would bring over.

My dad arrived in the early afternoon with my niece tagging along as his helper. He wasn't kidding. That's the bushel of peaches there in the photo. At first glance, I thought, "I can handle this." It was only after I actually started working with them that I realized just how many peaches were there, but more about that later in the week. He also brought tomatoes, some of them big and juicy; others tiny but gorgeous cherry tomatoes (I started nibbling on those immediately). There's just nothing like a summer tomato - right, I know, it's still technically Spring, but it is Texas after all. 

So, yeah. I think we're good here. I should be able to feed a small third world country with those peaches alone. So here's the plan...

  • Peaches, blackberries and watermelon
  • Homemade yogurt
  • Whole wheat pancakes (I made them last week with my new local whole wheat flour)
  • Eggs (fried, omelet, scrambled, whatever...)
  • Homemade bagels with homemade blackberry or strawberry jam
  • Sausage-n-veggie soup (onion, mushroom, and potato sauteed in olive oil, added squash, corn cut off the cob, polish sausage slices, and salt and pepper to taste). Oh yeah! This stuff is goooood!
  • Homemade rye dinner rolls with blackberry or strawberry jam
  • Sliced cucumber or peppers
  • Spaghetti squash (instead of pasta) topped with homemade vegetable sauce (tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots)
  • Tomato sammies (homemade sandwich rolls toasted with thick slices of gouda cheese and topped with even thicker tomato slices)
  • Sliced cucumber or peppers
  • Steamed carrots
  • Fruit - watermelon, peaches
Let's see. Everything listed is local except for the breads that I make from scratch, the sugar I used to make the jam, and the olive oil, salt and pepper I use in cooking. Enough talk. It's time to dig in!

Happy (and mindful) eating!

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