Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Farm Fresh

I've said it before but I'll say it again (and I'll probably say it 100 times more); I think my favorite part of summer is having so much farm fresh produce available. Honestly, there is no comparison between the taste of veggies fresh from the garden and those that are bought at the grocery store from somewhere far, far away. My garden is slowly starting to produce vegetables and I am so pumped! It sounds so lame but I get excited going out to my garden and picking our food for supper. If you read my post, What's Growing in My Garden, then you'll know that this is not my first time having a garden. So why am I so excited about it this year? I think it's because I am doing a REALLY good job with the garden this year. Not to toot my own horn but my garden rocks! It's not overly big so I have made sure that everything is weeded on a regular basis, I have fertilized and watered it and I've kept it free of pests. Now I am reaping the rewards! For the past few weeks I have been harvesting swiss chard but now my carrots, potatoes and beans are starting to come. Even my tomato plants are flowering so I should pretty soon have some of those as well. Remember my sad looking cucumber plants? Well they aren't so sad looking anymore - I might actually get something off them!

I was off on Monday but Scott was working so Roscoe and I took a drive out to the farm he works at. I love it there! Their main business is strawberries (they run a u-pick and sell to the local grocery stores) but they do so much more. They have a raspberry u-pick, greenhouse where they grow a crap-load of tomatoes and cucumbers. They grow rhubarb, squash, turnip, pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, beans and peas. They have a large market at the end of their driveway where they sell all of their fresh produce (by the honor system I might add - it's not manned most of the time so they have a locked cash box that you leave your money in). They also have a large and very nice Saler beef herd (this is where we have bought most of our cattle), sheep, chickens and eggs. They sell fresh, "grass fed" beef and sheep but they have high quality show cattle as well so they do sell quite a bit of breeding stock. Every time I go there I am awed by the diversity of their business. This is exactly the type of business that Scott and I hope to evolve to, so to say that they inspire us is an understatement.

While I was there I helped Scott pick some tomatoes in the greenhouse and restock the market. It was fun! Although I know I only did about 1/100th of what Scott does in the run of a day so I know it must get tiring, I can definitely see why he likes it there so much. Before leaving, Brian (the owner) gave me some tomatoes and potatoes that were slightly blemished, but otherwise fine, that they couldn't sell in the market as a result. As I was leaving, I then stopped at their market and picked up a box of raspberries (which are SO much better than the ones I buy in the grocery store) and some cherry tomatoes.
Some of the goodies I got at Walkers and some from my own garden
When I got home I went out to my garden and picked some swiss chard and pulled a few carrots (they aren't quite ready yet so I only pulled enough that the others had lots of room left to grow). I figured I may as well make it a fully farm fresh supper. I had some ground beef out to make burgers for Scott (which we got from Brian and Linda aka Scotts work) and ground turkey for turkey burgers for me (unfortunately not farm fresh). After a weekend of eating out this meal was much needed and oh-so delicious. I also had such a sense of pride that I had grown some of the food we were eating. Call me weird but I just think it's cool!

I strongly urge you to eat fresh food when you can. Even better yet, have a small garden of your own. You don't need to live in the country or on a farm to do this, there are plenty of ways to make it work for your situation. However, if this just isn't for you, at least buy local foods. Not only will you be supporting local farmers and the economy in your own town but it's also so much better when it's fresh. Taste aside, chances are if a farmer is selling at a market or opens his farm up to people to come visit and buy right off the farm, he's doing things right. Not that all farms that don't do this are doing things incorrectly, but it shows that he takes pride in making sure his facilities are well kept and you can see how the animals are treated and crops are grown. I am not a supporter of the "organic" craze or the terms "grass fed", "steroid and hormone free" or "free range", but I am a HUGE believer in supporting your local farmers. There is something to be said for knowing exactly where your food is coming from. I hope this at least makes you think twice about buying carrots from China rather than at the famer's market down the street. Get out there and BUY LOCAL!

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