My local food month was a smashing success. I mean, it was August, how could it not be?? There was a little hitch in the raw milk department–the farm was getting hassled by the Food Police, but all in all it went better than I had hoped. Of course, it was August.
Our local markets are definitely light on the greens. Once I found kale and once or twice I got lettuce, but it wasn’t enough for my appetite for greens. My own kale has been a reluctant grower, and halfway through the month the groundhog mowed down my collards. &^%*^! So I had swiss chard, but that was it.
Aside from greens and milk, between our town’s market and the next town over’s market, I was well supplied with a variety of fruits and vegetables. I ate peaches til they were coming out of my ears, and stocked up the freezer as much as I could afford to.
The downside of trying to eat local food all year is putting the bulk of your food money down in the summer, which is a slow time for toy sales. Some weeks I come to the market with $20 and do the best I can, which is usually enough for the week. But when I have some extra dough, I like to buy as much as I can afford to.
I made tomato sauce twice, and I’ve made applesauce several times already. I’ve frozen lots of fruit for smoothies and green beans for stir fries and soups. The nice thing about frequenting the farmer’s markets as a real customer (and not as Joel Salatin says in his book This Ain’t Normal as a customer that only buys what can fit into the hand not holding Fifi leash in it as most people do) is that the farmers know you.
When you buy out a farmer’s strawberries every time they bring them to market, they know who you are. They give you discounts. They give you discards. They tell you how this crop or that is doing. You may not know each other’s first names, but you have a relationship. You aren’t picking through their boxes of berries demanding every one be flawless. You aren’t looking over everything carefully and buying one large perfect red tomato.
I would love to get to the point financially that I can plop down X amount of dollars and buy out somebody’s stock of tomatoes because I’m going to make sauce this week. Or freeze all the strawberries I need for the year in June. But for now, I just buy a little extra each week.
A peck box of potatoes here.
A half bushel of tomatoes there.
All your strawberries, well, just about any time I can get them.
Of course, ideally, I’d like to grow most of it myself, but that may be further off than I would like to admit given the size of my property. So for now, I’ll keep buying from my farmers.