We found a farmer’s market!

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

Total= $38.94

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.

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  1. Too bad you don’t live in SC or close to it- I’m the director of Marketing for the new SC State Farmers Market (www.scstatefarmersmarket.com), and it is going to be AMAZING! I am most looking forward to the fact that my office will be on site when we open in June. I will never make it home with a full paycheck, again!

    I absolutely love farmers markets and knowing where my food comes from. The peace of mind is priceless, and hey, the food isn’t so bad, either! Glad you found a good one close to you.

  2. Yay for farmer’s markets! We had every intention of hitting up a farmer’s market this Saturday before my Mom came to town for a visit, but fell short of our goal. We’ve only been to that market once before, on a very cold and rainy Saturday when only about 1/3 of the vendors actually showed but we had a great experience! We’re eager to go back on a “normal” Saturday and see how much better it can get.

    All was not lost however, we managed to get our act together today and hit up a different farmer’s market this morning in another nearby suburblet. We scored some homemade granola, some cheese, local eggs, some gourmet pasta (at the time I thought local, turns out not and shame on me for not asking good questions), some locally made pickled pears and strawberry rhubarb jam (strawberries from our area, everything else not) a ton of produce, most of it not remotely local (another reason I prefer the saturday market) and uh… a bottle of water.

    We actually have a date with the IL’s to hit up the cooler Saturday market next weekend and hopefully can get a better handle on our options for other local sources. Crossing my fingers for some local meat options! Woo Hoo!

  3. Have y’all looked into ordinances in your area regarding keeping chickens as pets?

    My nephews were each given a chicken by a neighbor and my SIL originally thought “WTF are we going to do with CHICKENS?” But, the boys were attached and she started her research and found that they were incredibly low-maintenance. Now they have four chickens and they get four eggs a day. If it’s not against your city’s laws, it might be worth looking into as you venture into the world of healthier living. And I’d bet Kendall would LOVE having a pet chicken!

    • You know, I”m not that opposed to the idea, but we live in an HOA neighborhood, and considering the strict guidelines they have for flower beds and the color of your trim paint, I’m pretty sure pet chickens are out of the question. Plus, our yard is really, really tiny. Not out of the realm of possibility for future homes, though!

      • I think that right around the time my nephews were given their chickens there was a big stink in their city (which is kind of hoity-toity) because so many people were keeping chickens in their yards! But, the chicken-owners won provided they don’t have more than, I think, 10 chickens in their yard at any one time.

        It was seriously one of the most bizarre news stories to come out of that city since a man retired and built himself a castle with garden gnomes standing watch at the gates. (I wish I were joking.)

        But, it is something to think about for the future because they are actually really, really easy to care for. And you can feed them your compost/scraps so they cost very little, too!

        • My family raised chickens in our backyard when I was a kid. Of course we lived on an acre lot in the country. They were pretty easy to take care of and the only time there was trouble was when the rooster attacked my then 2 year old sister. We ate him for dinner, after some difficulty with my brother (who was very attached to the rooster and wouldn’t hold him still on the chopping block for my dad).

  4. Jill, that’s wonderful that you found a local market! We visited our farmer’s market today as well! Luckily we are pretty blessed to have a great variety in our market year round. Anyway, I also started planning out a vegetable garden plot, we’ll see how that goes 🙂 Maybe you could start a small container garden too!

    • That’s great! Yeah, considering Kendall’s love for all “wowers”, I think he’d really love to have some sort of garden. Thinking maybe starting small with herbs and a tomato plant.

  5. very jealous you have one by your house and it already being open!! ours are not year round here but I subscribe to a CSA that is able to get most of the stuff I need! Just got my parents ready to buy local eggs so that made me happy:) love seeing others become passionate about food and how they eat!

  6. So I’ve been a lurker on your blog for a while, and I loved your post today and wanted to comment about how my husband and I just wanted Food, Inc., and even though we’re pretty green and buy organic and local yada, yada, yada that movie totally shook me up and all I can picture is the fork lift ramming the cow and the pigs screaming. It was traumatic.

    I also wanted to tell you that we’ve got chickens and they’re the BEST pets ever, very low maintenance and lay the BEST eggs ever and you should see if you can have them in your town because you and your little guy would love it.

    BUT THEN I WATCHED THE HAUL VIDEOS. OK, stop right there, WTF was that? Seriously? It’s like a car accident and I can’t. stop. watching.

    So, thanks for that.

    • Well, Kate, I’m so glad you finally came out of lurk-dom and commented. I agree, that part of the movie was one of many that made me cry. I would LOVE to get Kendall a chicken, I would. And really, at some point I just might say F the HOA since I don’t think the chickens would be nearly as much of a nuisance as the neighbor’s dogs that bark NON STOP, right? ; )

      Okay, and YES! Thank you for commenting on the haul videos. I was beginning to wonder if anybody was really reading my whole post because what THE. HELL.

  7. Just awesome. We are lucky enough in NYC to have a plethora of farmer’s markets and many local choices. But I still feel that a lot of people aren’t really aware of how much BETTER these choices are. It sucks that we have to pay more to eat better… and thank you pointing out the importance of this on your blog and in your posts. Seriously 🙂

  8. ok. that video? i am so fucking lost. so people video themselves telling people what they bought at walmart? i’d say who the shit cares, but based on some of the comments there, it seems people do! and IF you’re going to make a video about what you bought and what the prices were, maybe get that part set up before you hit start?

    i had to stop the madness like half way through. wtf doesn’t even seem to sum it up.

    sorry to make this comment about that and not about how awesome it is that you found a local market.

    • That’s okay. Really, I shouldn’t have buried the magical lead that is the “haul” video in the bottom of an otherwise sort of serious post.

  9. Peaceable Kingdom is another good movie to watch. It’s much harder to watch than Food Inc., but if you really need a push to eat organic and locally fed animal products (or go vegan) then it’s a good choice. I sat in on a discussion with one of the main people featured in the movie (Harold) and he really is one of the most amazing people I have ever met!

    I am jealous that you have year round farmers markets, our are only open June-October. I struck up relationships with many of the farmers, but only while I was there. This summer I need to visit some of their farms so that I can visit year round for meat, eggs and dairy.

  10. I think this is sooo very great that you have come over to the dark side…. ha! You have a lot of followers and maybe this will be part of the movement to help our children grow healthy. But in the interest of saving money, I have a couple simple and good bread recipes that I use in my bread machine, and it doesn’t cost $4/loaf! I haven’t tried a lot of the other “fancy” type breads, but this is the one my mom has modified to fit the bread machine from her recipe she used to make our home made bread as kids. I would love to share it – it’s super yummy and you can use all organic ingredients to make it, at a fraction of the cost. There is a slight learning curve to make your bread not fall in the middle, but at just pennies to make….?? Who cares? My daughter loves it with butter or jelly or sunflower seed butter(pb substitute- she may be allergic to peanuts). Let me know and I will post it if anyone is interested…… I know you’re BUSY BUSY!! 🙂 Keep it up!

    • I know, I know, the bread was a splurge ; P I’m interested in making bread, but we don’t have a bread machine and it’s not really in the budget to get one right now. But, hey.. I hope to get one eventually, and I’m sure other’s would love to hear your recipe, so please do share it!

  11. I’m right with you on the non-processed food stuff. I read Barbara Kingsolver’s _Animal, Vegetable, Miracle_ last summer when my husband and I were part of a CSA. This year we are going to try our own veggie garden and supplement at the farmer’s market. It’s a little less convenient (and definitely a little more expensive) but I think that these small adjustments pay off in good health and environmental benefits.

    But really I was inspired to comment because of the Wal-Mart haul videos. lol. What IS that? Maybe I do something similar when I bargain shop at the mall and I make my husband guess the original price and the sale price for the items I purchased… but the Wal-Mart Haul just kills me.

  12. So many thoughts jumbling around here.

    So glad you have a farmer’s market near. Makes me very happy to live in an area where this stuff is common, and much cheaper. I’m even more grateful for the co-op in walking distance. Good for you for really making changes.

    All the effort and expense involved gets me so riled up, though – the effort, more than the expense. If I want to feed/bathe my child with things that won’t give her cancer, won’t mess with her nervous system – meaning, things with no phalates, PVC or PBA – I have to hunt and hunt for them. Why is it even LEGAL to put poisonous crap in items for infants for heaven’s sake??? That’s a whole ‘nother rant. It just burns my butt that I have to make donations to an organization like Environmental Working Group http://www.ewg.org/ so that they’ll test sunscreen to 1) see if it actually works and 2) not contain crap that causes cancer.


    I’m also glad you have an alternative to Wal-Mart. I didn’t want to soil your adorable flowers post by talking about them but really, they are the anti-Environment. Everything about them – big, cheap products that are meant to be bought, worn out and thrown away. Cheap, cheap products that are manufactured overseas because no one can make them cheaply enough in this country. Okay, that’s another rant. I’ll stop now.

    Oh, those haul videos are mind-boggling. I couldn’t stand more than 40 seconds of any of them.

    • Lisa, I totally agree. I HATE that you have to really make an effort to dig up information about such basic things. Oh, and trust me, I hear you on Walmart. NOT a huge fan of Walmart, actually try to avoid that place at all costs, but unfortunately I’m not swimming in options out here in the country. Working on it, though, definitely working on it.

  13. I love that there is an alternative to the mass produced foods but the prices are ridiculous. I bought cheese and my husband bought two different breads and spent almost $25, by the time we went to eat them that night, the white loaf was almost stale and the wheat bread just wasn’t very springy. By the next day the white loaf from We ME was hard as rock and the Rosey Ridge loaf fared better as toast. Next week I plan on trying the chicken.

  14. I love the Farmer’s market. Even the tiny one that is in Bartonville, because it is true you end up with more story than food. I do more story-telling than cooking so it is a nice fit.

    How is it that I haven’t found YOU? Love the blog.

    And those haul videos are INSANE…really. makes me scared.

  15. I know this post is a million years old but is this market still in operation? I’m relativley new to Fort Worth and am still searching for a diverse farmers market. I lived in NYC and Honolulu before moving here with awesome farmers markets so going to cowtown farmers market is always so sad, even though there’s good produce and raw cheese I’m wondering if there is anywhere that is more of an experience than just a quick trip to grab a few things?

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