Redemption...Local Foods, Part 2

Yesterday, the heroes of our story failed their mission...to eat local foods, support local farmers, know the origin of every bite consumed, and reduce their carbon footprints in the process. After succumbing to the evil-but-tasty cheeseburgers of Fuddrucker’s, our heroes pledged to fight back today...to end their dependence on big, bad, agri-corporations and search out local alternatives.

And search I did. This morning, determined to find local fare to feed my family, I disregarded the No Impact Week challenge of using less energy and drove 25 minutes to Whole Foods, land of clean eating. I was thrilled--I had two hours until preschool pickup, so not only did I plan to stock up on organic, locally farmed produce and meat, I’d also have time for pansy shopping.

Ha.

Whole Foods is a sensory pleasure. From the gorgeous mums outside the store to the

artfully arranged produce to the funky wines and olives, I absolutely relish shopping at Whole Foods. Don’t get me wrong--I think the people at Publix are wonderful, and I’d rather shop at Farmer’s Market for all of our meal necessities...but since I missed FM on Saturday, I felt a trip to Greenville was mandatory. After all, we needed to replenish our local meats and produce so we could redeem ourselves today.

Not only did I miss pansy shopping, I almost missed picking up Michael.

I spent more than an hour and a half searching for locally raised food. I read labels, I scoured signs, I asked helpful salespeople...

And I spent \$187 for a couple half-full bags of “regional” food. The only local food I found was yellow squash, zucchini, and Carolina rice. The rest hailed from North Carolina or Georgia.

Yeesh.

I thought finding local produce and meats at Whole Foods would be a no-brainer. Yes, I found delicious, gorgeous organic food...but none that was grown within 100 miles of our home. So, I decided to at least support regional providers, including a North Carolina wine that I can’t wait to try.

Local eating was a bust again today...but I must say, our regional dinner was pretty scrumptious. Here’s what was on the menu:

  • Free-range, organic roast Poulet Rouge Fermier (a heritage breed chicken from Joyce Foods, North Carolina) with sea salt and rosemary.
  • Carolina Rice
  • Sauteed local zucchini and yellow squash, organic, with Parmesan melted on top
  • Homemade apple pie--apples from Niven’s Apple Farm, crust from Pillsbury...oops. Sorry, but Pillsbury just makes really good crust.

While I did stock up on some regionally produced meats today, I can’t wait to visit Hub City Farmers’ Market on Saturday. The Market provides a more financially reasonable alternative to Whole Foods.

You’ll find numerous vendors at the Market, but there are three farmers that I always visit. Parson’s Produce consistently provides gorgeous, seasonal, sustainably raised veggies--including many heirloom varieties, which means exceptional taste and interesting presentation. I buy produce from Daniel Parson as often as possible, and he always displays some funky veggie that he has to tell me how to cook. Plus, he often passes along gardening advice, which I really appreciate.

Native Meats is an excellent provider of locally raised meats that are drug free and sustainably raised. I wished I had stocked up at the last Farmers’ Market --we bought some yummy brats and chicken breasts to try, and we were really happy with the quality. Native Meats offers a fantastic service--they’ll deliver to your home. With many mixed-box options that can be ordered at a much more reasonable price than the meat I purchased at Whole Foods. I’ll definitely be visiting Native Meats on Saturday.

The third vendor that I always visit is Ed at Field and Flower. He’s the sweetest flower farmer with absolutely gorgeous and reasonably priced bouquets. I always pick up a bunch of sunflowers (\$6) that lasts almost two weeks. His mixed bouquets are casual but beautifully designed--he also provides flowers for weddings--and at \$7-\$10, I never feel too guilty buying myself a treat. He’s also so much fun to talk with, especially if you love gardening and flowers.

The Hub City Farmers’ Market is wrapping up on October 31 for the season. I’ll be there this Saturday, stocking up. Anyone want to join me? In the next few days, I’ll fill you in on other local sources besides the Farmers’ Market that can feed you through the winter...

Since today’s experiment involves reducing energy consumption, I’m going to turn off the computer now and open the bottle of our regional wine. I’m slipping into an organic food coma, I’m afraid...

Cheers!

tagged under: Growing Green, Growing locavores