Monday, January 12, 2009

Local diet update - January 12, 2009

The mission before me looked easy on paper. In fact, it literally WAS on paper - a list of five items to buy at the farmers market; only five items. But the reality of the situation is that when I set foot inside the farmers market boundaries, I loose all self control. I see all those tables covered in local harvest and I lose my resolve, convincing myself that I need one of practically everything. 

But it was getting a little crazy at home. I have a garden out back from which I can harvest green onions, spinach, a few cabbage leaves, and snow peas. I have a pantry full of homemade all-local canned soups, tomatoes, pickles, jelly, rice, and black beans. The fridge is also well stocked with eggs, cornmeal, carrots, leftover fried sweet potatoes, the remaining black bean patties I made on Friday, a drawer full of Texas grapefruit, a fruit salad made with the last of my frozen blueberries and my last jar of canned peaches, and fresh mushrooms. Then there's the cheese that's been shredded and lying in wait in the freezer for our next pizza craving as well as the cornbread pancakes I made last week with about half of the local cornmeal I bought at the farmers market a week ago... All this wonderful all-local food just waiting at home and I need to start reducing their numbers before it gets anymore out of hand. 

Right. So I woke up on Saturday morning to weather in the 40's. Doable, other than the fact that we were also experiencing sustained winds at 15 mph and gusts up to 25 mph. Ok, scratch the bike, we're taking the car.  Canvas bags in hand and my shopping list tucked into my purse, Dave and I headed for the market. Just follow the list, Heather. Just follow the list. I suppose I could have (I don't know) skipped the market since we didn't need much, but that would be unthinkable. Hanging out for hours at the market constitutes my favorite morning of the week and I did want to pick up a few things: broccoli and red potatoes to steam with those leftover carrots for Dave; mint for my morning herbal teas; some fresh plump tomatoes and a bulb onion to make pizza sauce (yep, pizza is back on the menu this week).

As usual, the market was well underway when I arrived. The vendors (all bundled up in their heaviest winter gear) were set up and tending to customers at just about every one of the dozen booths. As we parked, I retrieved my list and silently prayed to the farmers market gods to help me keep my cool. Just follow the list, Heather. Just follow the list.

I took my time at each booth, speaking with each vendor, catching up on the weeks events, talking to a few people about the possibility of Brazos Locavore trips to their farms, and reminiscing about the warm weather we had experienced just the day before. I even ran into several friends. One of those friends was Tammy, who I actually met because of the blog. For the holidays, she had given handmade gift bags full of fruit to each of her loved ones. Well, she brought a gift in for me this weekend as well. In the photo is one of the bag sold at the farmers market (which is just GORGEOUS - I love it!) as well as a handmade bowl made by a local artist I met in December, and a variety of fresh fruit (organic Texas grapefruit and oranges; and organic apples). Thanks, Tammy! This is awesome! 

So how did I do with sticking to my list?  Well, as you can tell from the photo, I did end up with a COUPLE extra things I hadn't planned on. Let's see. I picked up 2 heads of broccoli (check), red potatoes (check), 1 bulb onion (check), 5 juicy tomatoes (check), purple cauliflower also know as "graffiti" cauliflower (wait, that wasn't on the list), and a large coffee cake (yeah, I'm sure that wasn't on the list...). Well, you win some, you loose some, right? And I'm not thinking I lost too much here. That purple cauliflower? Well, it was darn pretty and just had to be tried. And the coffee cake? I remembered late on Friday that I needed to bring "refreshments" to my book club on Saturday night and why not homemade coffee cake? Besides, it looked awesome and the woman who sold it to me said it had just been baked the night before. Mmmm!

The only thing I didn't pick up was mint for tea. And there's kind of a funny story behind this... Lois told me she didn't have any more mint because one of my readers admitted to buying the mint to try the homemade herbal tea I recommend, and she bought the last two bundles of mint. Wait! You mean you guys actually listen to me? That's awesome! Thankfully, I have plenty of tea herbs growing here at home in pots so all is well with the world. I also found out, in talking with John Flynn of our local "What's the Buzz Coffee Company" that just over 5% of his internet traffic is being referred from Simple-Green-Frugal! Woohoo! I'm so pleased that my resource pages are helpful. You guys rock!

Ok, so back to the farmers market. Here's a list of the amazing spread the market had to offer... olive oil, coffee, herbs, lots and lots of salad greens, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, kohlrabi, spinach, beets, red onions, yellow onions, green onions, carrots, cabbage, lemons, regular cauliflower, cheddar cauliflower, graffiti cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli, wheat flour, cornmeal, eggs, freshly baked breads and sweets, jams and jellies, dried fruits, honey, plants, fresh tamales, pickles, salsas, fire wood, a few handmade bird houses, and much more. Wow! If it weren't for the weather, I'd never have guessed that it's winter here in Texas. You just can't beat this harvest!

On the way out, I always end with Lois and Garlin Vaughn just as I always start each market with them. By this time, Joe (one of the egg sellers) was handing out doughnuts to anyone who wanted one. Dave, cold but hungry, snagged a doughnut and brought it back to the Vaughn's  booth and began to toast it in front of their space heater. The idea soon caught on and the next thing I knew both the Vaughns and Dave were huddled around me and the heater each with their own doughnut to toast. We must have truly been a sight to see. Lois commented we must have looked like hobos with our sweats and hooded jackets hovering over the heater trying to make sure the jelly didn't get too hot and spill out of the gooey pastry. Of course I forgot to bring my camera! More silly memories made at the market for sure before we hugged and headed for home. Hmm. I still giggle to myself when I think of how ridiculous we must have looked. And I'm pretty sure I've never huddled in front of a heater toasting doughnuts with any of the big-box grocery store employees. Man, I love the farmers market!

So that's what's new at this week's Bryan-College Station farmers market. With so much wonderful food to be shared, there's just no reason not to buy local.  I picked a couple extras I hadn't planned on, but you can bet I'm going to enjoy every bite. Mission accomplished!

Have a great week, everyone. And as always, Happy (and mindful) eating!


ttammylynn said...

You did good, lady. I didn't need much either maybe some salsa and coffee, but I took home salsa, coffeecake, tamales, eggs, coffee, tomatoes, three kinds of cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, dried apples, apricot nut bread, carrots and spinach. In the garden, I have snow peas, tiny broccoli, small spinach, baby lettuce, rainbow carrots(white, purple, yellow and orange), green onions, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, kumquats, and one ripe tomato in the greenhouse...yikes, I better get eating.

Michelle said...

I guess if you have to overshop, that is a great place to do it!

Green Resolutions said...

This sounds like so much fun! I'm still so overwhelmed when I go to the market that I barely talk to anyone :)

Lisa Sharp said...

I'm so jealous, our farmers market isn't even open right now. When it is I will be sure to take pictures so people see how said it is.

sharli said...

It was great to be able to make it to the market this weekend, although it was so cold, I didn't buy nearly enough!

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - That colored cauliflower was gorgeous wasn't it? Thanks for suggesting it! How were the tamales?

Michelle - No doubt! All that good food :)

Green Resolutions - Oh, that's the best part. I love talking to everyone. I've learned a lot too. Everyone is always helpful if I have questions about my own garden.

Lisa - I'd love to see photos! I think exploring other farmers markets is fun - comparing while still cherishing to wonder of the one back home. Photos are the next best thing.

Sharli - What all did you get? It was pretty nippy, but it was fun and really good to see you. Just think... Spring is coming and we'll be canning up a storm before long!

ttammylynn said...

Oh, they are pork tamales...the kids can eat them. I really don't like to eat pork. I can vouch for everything else besides the coffeecake and dried apples, though.
I don't know if I ever told you this, but that coffee is really good. I ran out this week and bought some organic stuff at the store, it was dissappointing. I almost called John to buy some because he missed market the Saturday before. His coffee has all the natural oils on the beans and I grind the beans and brew them in natural unbleached filters with reverse osmosis purified water. It almost makes me happy to wake up at 2:30 in the morning, lol, coffee and raw milk, yum. And, of course, the grounds and paper is compostable. I read once that the greatest source of antioxidants in the American diet is coffee(probably because it is the most often consumed semi-healthy food people eat/drink).

Heather @ SGF said...

Tammy - John has his shop open now in College Station. If you ever miss him at the market, you know you can run by there.

Holli said...

hehe... Sorry about the mint, Heather. :)

BTW, I tried Truman Chocolates (the local chocolate shop whose name I gave you the other day.) They're very unconventional... various colors and with flavors like mojito and mimosa.

Heather @ SGF said...

Holli - No worries about the mint. I thought it was awesome someone liked one of my ideas, not to mention hilarious when Lois mentioned that that's why she was out. And then you emailed me later in the day to tell me about it.

I'll have to check out Truman Chocolates one of these days. I'll bet they make nice local gifts!

kylie said...

it may be an emotional day for me or something, but reading this blog brought me to tears. it is just so beautiful what we have and the way you describe it! we can really provide our selves with what we need right here, and create love for each other in the process!

Heather @ SGF said...

Kylie - You know, in my posts about our California holiday, I talked a lot about how awesome food is there. But honestly, I love what we have here. Not the town, or the university, or my house per se. We have real community here.

For example, a couple weeks ago at the farmers market, I had one of my "episodes" again where I go white as a sheet, get dizzy, and extremely nauseous. I had to sit on the asphalt for about 20 minutes with my head between my knees before I could stand.

The response? Just about every vendor there came over to me, gave me a big hug, offered me a ride home, worried and fretted over me... Not that I'd like a repeat performance, but these people care about me as much as I do about them. It's like all the sudden I realized I have this huge "family" at the farmers market.

Community is beautiful. It's the way we were meant to live.