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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Buying Local in Winter

The farmers' market yesterday was great. The weather cooperated, no rain/snow, the winds died down and the sun came out the last hour of the market. We were missing 2 of 3 bakers. Lyman Peck was there with his clay oven baked bread but sold out in the first hour.

I was pleased to see quite a few greens at the market. In a normal year we would have spring mix, kale and chard in hoophouses but not this year due to having to set up new beds before setting up hoophouses over the beds. No one had those particular greens but there was Harv Roehling's lettuce (I bought two kinds, he usually has between 7 and 16 varieties of heirloom lettuces). Harv has become the Lettuce Guy around these parts because he has figured out how to raise lettuce virtually 12 months of the year using a combination of raised beds and greenhouses. The Suzie and Brent Marcum of Salem Road farm had a lot of mustardy things, several choys, baby lettuce and cilantro for sale.

The meat purveyors were there I bought myself a cow share so beginning in Feb. I will be able to buy raw cow's milk. This is a huge step towards my being able to buy 100% of my food locally. I still do not buy grains and flour locally which I could but they are pricey and not the quality of King Arthur Flour.

I also bought 5 dozen eggs from Karen Baldwin of Tapaahsia Farm (Tapaahsia is the Miami word for Canada Geese). Her family raises some darned fine eggs and she makes really wonderful soap and other skin products by hand using pure ingredients.

Along with buying local foods for our own use we sold a lot of local products ourselves. the carrots and beets are done for the year. I think this is the first time we have managed to sell out of the carrots before they started to really lose quality (generally in march or April). We sold all the parsnips we brought to market but still have more in storage. We sold a lot of garlic but came no where close to selling out.

It was good to see people. We get pretty isolated from Oxford in the winter and having social interaction with people we know is always a good thing. Several of our loyal customers brought us their plastic bags so we can reuse them in our sales. It would be nice if everyone brought their own bags and we did not have to even think about using plastic "Thank You Bags" (this is what they are know as in the industry) but the reality is most do not bring their own bags to market. So we must supply bags for our customers and the most painless way we have found to do this is to reuse bags (something we were prohibited from doing when we were certified organic. Certified organic farms must use new bags only. Not a sustainable rule). And this recycling of bags allows our customers to become involved with us on a slightly deeper level (it's not the level that can be achieved by joining our CSA but it is a small step closer).

I love the farmers' market!

1 comment:

Blue Turtle said...


It's great to see more farmers entering the mix of conversation and dispelling stereotypes.

I hope more organic markets are able to sprout and flourish in small towns and communities in the US.