Monday, February 9, 2009

Local diet update - February 9, 2009

It may still be wintertime here in Texas, but on the local diet front, it just keeps getting better. I have multiple sources to brag about this week, so let's get started:

Farmers Market - As always, Farmers' Market day is my favorite day of the week and it just got better. I now have my own booth (yep, that's me in the photo) as a representative of the market and head of the soon to be announced "Friends of the Brazos Valley Farmers' Market" Volunteer Group (more on this in a future post). Although I have plans to do much more, I spent Saturday morning handing out brochures on the benefits of eating locally, info on how to become a locavore, and a list of shopping tips for the market. I also signed up four new vendors.

Of course, I didn't let a little market business keep me away from all the goodies. I was there setting up with everyone else as the market opened, so I had first dibs on a beautiful February harvest which included. Let's see how much of it I can remember. We had red potatoes, white potatoes, purple onions, yellow onions, green onions, kohlrabi, mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, herbs, eggs, freshly baked yeast breads, quick breads, cookies, jams and jellies, a variety of salsas, pickles, canned veggies (like okra and pickled beets) relishes, tamales, roasted peanuts, locally-roasted coffees, olive oil, firewood, crafts, plants... and no doubt I'm missing a few things.

As for me, I came home with a head of broccoli, some mint for my herbal tea, lots of carrots, a bag of spinach, 3 red potatoes, and the satisfaction of a job well done (not only did we get 4 new vendors set up, but quite a few people are interested in the volunteer group). Sweet success!

Farm Patch - The Farm Patch is our permanent produce market. Not to be confused with the local Farmers' Market, not everything at the Farm Patch is locally produced so you have to ask. There are a few things, though, that I can get at the Farm Patch that I can't find elsewhere. First, I can always count on them carrying Monterrey Mushrooms which are grown less than 40 miles from home (and I do love my 'shrooms)!

Second, I'm always on the hunt for local fruit (and in the winter, that often means anything within the state of Texas). Typically, I can only purchase fruit at our Farmers' Market from May - August, so I also turn to the Farm Patch for fruit in the off months. Pictured are some gorgeous Texas grapefruit and two containers of strawberries from Alvin TX (about 130 miles from home). I've already dug in to those berries and they are SO good! Berry season is here. Bring it on!

Backyard Garden - If that wasn't exciting enough, check this out... THAT, my friends, is from my garden. Ain't it purdy? In addition to this absolutely wonderful fantabulous cabbage, I'm pulling green onions on a daily basis. Onions go with EVERYTHING!

Of course, that's just what I've purchased or picked this weekend. Don't forget all the local goodies I have in stock in the pantry, fridge and freezer - like mozzarella from the dairy; sweet potatoes and eggs from the previous Farmers' Market; cans of local homemade soups and tomatoes lining the pantry; and lots of Texas rice. 

Well, it looks like it's going to be a tasty week. Stay tuned for Thursday's "Market to Table" post to find out what became of all the local goodies. In the meantime, go discover what's local in your neck of the woods. And as always, Happy (and mindful) eating!

13 comments:

JAM said...

Good for you for getting more involved in the market! I am treasurer of our local market, which runs from mid-June through Oct., and we just had a meeting about starting to get vendors signed up again. We have a few farmers who would like to sell but don't have anyone that they can spare to go to the market, I have to say I was really tempted to go into business as a vendor, and buy local dried beans, honey, and other goodies wholesale from the farmers and then sell them at the market. But then I remembered my promise to my family not to get involved in any more projects, and kept my mouth shut! It would be interesting to do the math and see how much I'd need to sell to recoup the space fee and startup costs though...

Jena said...

Congrats on both big accomplishments - your new boot and picking food from your own garden. That is just great!

Chile said...

I agree, onions do go with everything! That's a beautiful cabbage from your garden.

Our springlike weather will be gone tomorrow. We've got predictions of snow! Better put up a note to remember to cover our chard...

Heather @ SGF said...

JAM - Ooh. That would be tempting. I'd love to be the point person for some of our farmers - selling their hard work to faithful customers.

Jena - Thanks! It's been hard work so far, but I'm having a blast!

Chile - I ate a little of the cabbage today for lunch and realized just how much of it there is. Yikes! It would take me close to two weeks to eat all of this (and I have 4 more just like it growing in the garden). Needless to say, I'm canning cabbage soup today :)

Chile said...

If you like sauerkraut, now's the time to make it!

ttammylynn said...

I bought a lot at the market, a dozen jars of salsa, broccoli, cabbage, onion, potatoes, three bags of coffee, a jar of blueberry jam, several tomatoes, some cookies, a loaf of banana nut bread, some dinner rolls, oh, and a grassfed cow. My market bill was a bit higher than usual. I will be able to feed my family for several months with the meat, especially since we eat more poultry than beef anyway, we eat fish occasionally, too. The two cats and two dogs will get some treats also, bones and the organs that we do not like, at the very least. I think it is best to not waste anything, so we try to keep it down to a minimum.
Oh, I didn't tell you, Cathy got a new animal--it is a three day old pig, Charlotte. I have pictures on my phone, I'll show you when I see you.

ttammylynn said...

Oh, strawberry season starts tomorrow at King's orchard...it'll be great.

Heather @ SGF said...

Chile - Ew! Not in my house :)

Tammy - you're not kidding - 12 jars of salsa and a cow? I'm looking forward to berries. We'll have to take a trip soon.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

What an abundance for February!

That is really cool that you are getting involved in the farmer's market. It is so nice to see that even if you aren't a farmer, you can still do things to encourage local eating and get people in contact with those farmers. Weren't you nervous though? I would have been so nervous, hoping nobody would come up to me, but that would defeat the point of manning an information table. Hence why I don't do that....maybe someday. Anywho, I'm really proud of you and can't wait to hear more about your activist adventures.

You must be so proud of your garden!! And that is a mighty big head of cabbage. Keep up with awesome work in the garden!

ttammylynn said...

After picking up some fresh lettuces from Vicki(I got beets, a cabbage to rivel yours, some greens, broccoli and cilantro,too)...I wanted a salad, so a small cuke(from the store), a bunch of the lettuce and a couple of white and marroon carrots from my garden made my dinner tonight...yummy veggies. Salads rock.
Yes, soon, Saturday is a potato planting party at Vicki's but King's is open for strawberries, yeah.

Heather @ SGF said...

Jennifer - Actually, as shy and reclusive as I normally am, I have no fears when I'm talking about local food. It's like I completely come out of my shell and eagerly talk to any and everyone. I was pretty exhausted after 4 hours at the market, but I had a chair with me to sit back in when I needed (because of my illness I can't stand for long periods of time).

Plus I get a lot of reinforcement from the farmers. Everyone is really excited about what I'm doing and I already 2 of them have already volunteered to sit with me (one each) at two festivals coming up in April. Another vendor is bringing me a table each week. Another offered to bring a decorative cloth to cover it with. One of them even gave me that big bag of spinach as a thanks for what I'm doing. It's so awesome!

Tammy - I was glad to hear Vicki started back up again. I don't belong to the CSA, but I buy her spaghetti squash anytime she has one available. You know what I haven't seen this year? Brussels sprouts. I wonder why...

Beany said...

This is so exciting on both counts! I'm so glad that this is happening. You must have have some very rich soil.

I had my husband make a rice dish like you do for dinner last night (and today for lunch). So yum! I normally have everything dripping in soy sauce or some sort of spicey curry, but this tasted really good. Tonight I've asked for him to add more greens to the mix.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - I'm so glad you like the stir-fry. I eat one just about every day with whatever I happen to have in the fridge. I find with all I need is a little olive oil and salt and it always tastes divine!