Do you know who grew YOUR food?
Farmers Tali, John and Jim grew the food I've eaten today. I know who they are and I live near their farms.
Today, I decided to go the the local farmer's market. It's basically a collection of simple booths or tables on a un-used school's lot or at the local grange, where local growers can offer what they've grown direct to the public.
Arriving at shortly before noon, I missed the item I was most looking for, fresh, locally grown strawberries. These are amazing. I know because I get them from the local CSA where I am a member, Anchor Run Farm. Matter of fact, I was out in the field picking strawberries, with my 26 year old daughter last Wednesday. (You might want to consider it my alternate office, since I took a call booking me to be on the Ed Schultz Show the next day, with Tony Trupiano.)
My daughter and I picking strawberries on the Anchor Run CSA farm
Anyway, I know how sweet and delicious locally grown strawberries taste. There is no comparison between them and the kinds you buy in grocery stores-- the ones that are grown to survive travelling thousands of miles by train. There's no gasoline in them.
That's right. When you buy local, you buy food that does not have a lot of fuel energy invested in transporting it. Every time you buy food that has been transported to your grocery store by train, plane, boat or truck, there's a lot of extra energy that's gone into it. Buying local is a great way to cut down on the use of energy and maybe even on greenhouse gases.
This is my second year as a member of Anchor Run Farm and it has been a pleasant surprise to describe how much more fun and pleasure it's given me, not just because of the healthier organic food at reasonable prices, or the new kinds of food I've never tried before, but also because it's been fun to go out in the fields to pick my own food-- garlic, hot peppers, tomatos, beans, herbs, berries. But don't bother trying to sign up with Anchor Run this year, they sold out their memberships before the season even started.
The farmer's market I visited is not very, nor very busy, but it's only in its second week. That made it easy to park, and the drive to the market was even shorter than the drive to the nearest grocery store.
My first booth was selling home-made whole wheat raisin nut bread made with organic flour. Yum. Got me a loaf.
I walked past a booth selling greens. My weekly pick-up at Anchor Run had filled our fridge with all kinds of lettuce, greens, etc., so I figured we had all we need.
Next, I came to Solebury Orchards. I've bought their apple cider in local stores, but here, they were selling, in addition to the cider, apple butter and pear butter. I'd never tried pear butter, so I bought a jar of it.
Next, I checked out a table selling organic chicken and duck eggs. The duck eggs were a little bit bigger than the chicken eggs. Pricey, at $4.50 a dozen. The signs at the table showed pictures of field where the birds graze, with a caption, stating that it's all about what they graze on.
Next stop, a table selling locally grown and butchered beef and free range chicken. The chicken was all sold out. The beef was a little bit pricey, but not bad-- $4.00 for ground beef, about $9 and up for steak. I didn't buy any.
There was another table without an food on it, with a poster. I asked the woman manning it what it was about. She explained that this was a project of a county-wide organization the Bucks County Foodshed Alliance.