Changes are a coming. Yesterday, after a lovely 8 mile family run and a trip to Starbucks where I eternally screwed myself by introducing Kendall to the kid’s hot chocolate, we saw a sign at the entrance of a nearby outdoor mall. It was advertising LOCAL CHEESE, and FRESH BREAD. OMG! A Farmer’s Market! And not more than 5 miles from our house.
Sad thing is I’d seen these signs before. Hell, I’d even seen the booths set up outside before as I quickly walked past to get to Carters for their awesome sale on PJs. I never once put 2 and 2 together to figure out that this was EXACTLY the place we needed to be shopping. I never realized that I could get grass fed, locally grown, responsibly raised meat and eggs here. In fact, before we drove past the mall I was telling Scott that we needed to plan a trip out to a nearby farm this weekend to talk to them and try out some of their meat. Ha! Turns out we were able to do just that without the 1.5 hour round trip drive, just by swinging by the Four Seasons Market.
Granted, it didn’t have a huge selection. There wasn’t much produce to speak of, but, as advertised, there was local cheese and yogurt and bread. Better still, there were two farms represented, selling grass fed meat and eggs. We had a nice long chat with the couple who runs Sloans Creek Farm about how much we miss living in Virginia and how awesome Joel Salatin (of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Inc. fame) is. They told us he’d be speaking at Plano’s Live Green Expo in April, which thrilled us like they’d just told us Joel McHale was coming to town. They even invited us out to their farm for a celebration they happen to be throwing this year on Kendall’s second birthday. I think we just might take them up on it.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have any chicken or eggs, so we headed to the other booth occupied by a local farm, Truth Hill Farm. Turns out we arrived too late in the day to pick up any eggs from them, too, but we were able to snag the last whole chicken they had in the freezer. I was so excited I asked the kind man to pose for a picture. I blabbed something about my “parenting blog” and how our “life is changing” and “you know, Food Inc?”, and I’m positive it all sounded Greek to him, but he kindly obliged my request.
With that major purchase out of the way, I headed to the Lucky Layla Farm booth to pick up some cheese and drinkable yogurt for Kendall. (I gave him some of that today, and he liked it so much he chewed the nipple off his sippy cup to suck every last drop out of there. Perhaps I should look into a straw next time.) The man, wearing a very broken in OU hat, was the picture of jolly, and more than happy to answer the string of questions I had about how and where his products were produced.
I was tempted to pick up some yummy smelling spices from Kurry King, but considering I don’t know what the heck to do with them, I figured my money was better spent on some basic food for now. So I spent the last bit of my $40 on two loaves of bread, a whole wheat loaf from the charming family that runs Rosey Ridge Farm, and another rustic white loaf from a young, nice girl who bakes all the bread for her WeMe Bread micro-bakery in East Dallas on her own.
Notice how I can tell you a little bit about each of the producers I purchased from? How simply amazing is that?I have never come home from the grocery store with a bag full of food and a head full of stories all about where and how that food was produced. I’ve never been able to put a face to the name on the label of my bread. I’ve never been able to visualize the actual farm my chicken was raised on. Simply amazing, and yet amazingly simple. Farmer raises meat, brings meat to market, you meet farmer, farmer tells you about his farm.
Okay, I will admit that I didn’t bring home as much “food” for my $40 as I would with a trip to a traditional grocery store, but that’s only if you consider “food” to be anything edible. What I did do was bring home what I believe to be a bag full of nothing but REAL food, no fillers, no junk, which is incredibly hard to find at a grocery store.
Here’s a picture of my “haul” (I laugh as I type that because my friend Michelle just introduced me to these “haul” videos on YouTube, and I am COMPLETELY CONFUSED by them. These people are going on and on about their Walmart and drugstore purchase for some reason I’ve yet to figure out, and NONE of them can read a receipt. For a lobotomy, click here and see what I mean.)
Breakdown of cost:
4.25 lb chicken $16.94
San Pedro block of cheese $10
2 drinkable yogurts $3
1 loaf rustic white bread $4
1 loaf whole wheat bread $5
Next week I hope we get there early enough to get a couple dozen eggs ($4/dozen) and some freshly made whole wheat linguini ($6/lb).
I’m so happy we found this place! At least between now and getting a deep freeze/placing a bulk order for meat we can hit the market up weekly for our meat, egg and cheese purchases. Now, I just need to find a produce solution. I happened to grab a copy of Edible Dallas & Fort Worth while I was there, and lo and behold there is a whole article dedicated to CSAs and Co-ops (pg. 25, Winter 2009). Squeezepenny is highlighted, and was also recommended by a reader, so I think I’m going to start there.
So that’s where we stand as of now with our commitment to changing how we eat. What about you? Have you done anything? I have to say I am so excited and inspired to be hearing from so many of you about the changes you have been making and are starting to make. Thank you so much for sharing with me!
Kendall is about a week shy of 21 months old.