Posts tagged ‘farmer’s markets’

May 27, 2013

It’s All About The Choices You Make

I am a proud customer of Smith Meadows Farm and have been so since we moved back to Arlington in 2002.  Having just finished Forrest Pritchard’s narrative of how he saved his family farm, Smith Meadows, I can’t tell you how glad I am that he made the choices that he did. As a mom of a young man who will be launching into adulthood at James Madison University this fall (and who professes a desire to major in English and Philosophy), I totally understand the less than whole-hearted embracing of his decision to choose the farm over a teaching career by his parents. But he persevered and chose not to embrace his parents’ concerns about the choices he was making. Even when his take home from the market was less than an Andrew Jackson. As his customer, I am thrilled that he had the vision and stubbornness to continue to fulfill his dream. My belly, and the bellies of my family, embrace his choices.

Enough about me though. What about the book? And the farm? And let’s not forget about the meat and the pasta?

The book is wonderful. It draws the reader into a coming-of-age tale, or maybe a conquering hero tale, or a straight up historical narrative about family farming in the USA. I am not the English major in the household. I read, I cook, I spend a lot of time bring local food into my home, and preparing it simply for the family. Gaining Ground reinforced the decisions that I make every week. But while I was reading it, I really just wanted to keep reading it, and hoped that dinner would prepare itself :)! The narrative sings, the writing is lyrical, and brings you into the story as it is lived by “Farmer Forrest” and his family.  There is hardship and sadness but the story is victorious in the end, as I am sure that you all might have imagined simply by the cover!

In addition, the narrative hinges on a decision to move to farmers’ markets close to DC, specifically the Arlington Courthouse Market. As this is the market that we shopped at when we first returned to DC, listening to the description of the behind-the-scenes market culture is priceless. And if readers have been shopping at Courthouse for the past decade or more, I am sure that you will want to read the book simply to see if you can identify who the vendors are that he describes!

Highly recommended – for those of you like me who eat as much grown locally as possible, and especially for those of you who still buy your meat at the grocery store. Stop, read, and reconsider.

October 15, 2012

Shopping Local-Style

Little time to write. But still some time for shopping at the farmer’s market. Although my schedule has been less than ideal for the past month or so, I have relied on the farmer’s market, our CSA pickup, and the milk, eggs, and meat delivered from our dairy to sustain our family.  No one has gone hungry, and my time at the grocery store has been quite curtailed. I am ready for some sanity to return to my day to day, but am blessed that I can nuture my soul and body while I shop for our daily bread.

Here are some pictures of what we got at the market this week. Although the temperatures can’t quite decide whether to exist in the warm or cool zone, this hasn’t affected produce available at the market. The colors are the rich deep reds and oranges and yellows of fall.

With some deep greens, and the whites of cauliflowers to share in the reds and yellows and oranges, we are ready to start the week.

Now, if I could only get the Man of the House to prep that kale that is sitting in the fridge waiting….

What’s your favorite fall season veggie or fruit?

April 22, 2012

Signs of Spring – Happy Earth Day All!

Earth Day is cool and wet, but the day before Earth Day dawned sunny and warm. Signs of spring were everywhere.

1. The farmer’s market is filling out – no crepes yet, but our favorite produce vendors are back.

2. The colors of the market are changing. Now we see brilliant red,

read more »

February 20, 2012

Eating Local Can Be Easy…

A trip to a different farmer’s market on the way to Doughnut Day and a local dinner was the result!

Our normal farmer’s market day is Saturday. But with Friday being opening night of a play that the twins are part of, we have been at the theater for the past three Saturdays rehearsing and building and painting sets. But the play has now opened, so the set is built, and as we were heading to our Mardi Gras weekend party, we drove past one of the smaller farmer’s market in our neighborhood (just in our immediate Arlington/Falls Church area, we have three year-round weekend farmer’s markets — pretty lucky, I know!), and decided to stop in to see what was available. There were only about 8 stalls, but Smith Meadows was there, and there was a vegetable stall.

So, we g0t some sweet Italian sausage, some carrots, and some salad.

Quick boil of the carrots, served with melted butter and some local honey….

Chop up the onions (from the grocery store), cook the sausage in a frying pan with a little bit of water. When the water evaporates, add the onions, and enjoy the smell of frying onions!

Marry that with some red quinoa (organic) cooked just like rice in the rice cooker, some unsalted butter from South Mountain Creamery, … and voila, dinner!  Even the Picky Eater enjoyed it (especially once soy sauce could be added to the quinoa).

Sometimes, the SOLE dinner is the easiest one in the fridge.

December 15, 2011

More Farmer’s Markets Are Good

NPR is thinking about local commerce … and the lead example is the growth of farmer’s markets.  According to the article, there are now more than 6,000 farmer’s markets … a 250 percent increase since 1994.  I must admit that while I realized that there has been a growth, the amount of growth hasn’t really struck home.

But our own family trajectory reflects this growth. When we lived in Chicago (1983-1993), we never shopped at a farmer’s market. When we lived in Bolivia (1993-1995), local markets are the way that all but the very wealthy shopped – and there were mercados for bread, and another for vegetables, and another for meat. Our return to Chicago for another year and a half didn’t bring any farmer’s market visits that I can recall. Our cross-country move to Southern California dropped us back into the farmer’s market world — and boy did I ever enjoy the access to local citrus. Then another move took us to a small town between Boston and Provide.  Farmer’s markets weren’t a big part of our daily life there either.

Upon our return to Northern Virginia in 2002, we eagerly embraced the farmer’s markets. Having grown up here, we knew that there were multiple farmer’s markets — and we have joyfully explored several of them. Our favorites have changed over the year, but we now live with the luxury of year round markets and several storefronts that feature locally produced food. What a wonderful set of choices we now have!

%d bloggers like this: