Eating local

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Arugula-doesn’t look like much, but it was a lot. Our first crop harvest.

So, it’s a trend now. Eating local, farm to table, farmer’s markets etc.  I realize some have been around for generations and my first farmer’s market was in the city I first lived with my new husband.  It was pretty big, relatively speaking, people lined up for fresh fish caught off the Half Moon Bay coast. That, I thought was weird because in the Bay Area of California, there were numerous fish mongers around and only minutes away.  I let them wait.  Me? I headed with my infant child’s red wagon in tow, people learned to give me a wide space once they knocked into it without looking that there might be a tail behind.  Some people smiled at my brilliance because 2 gallons of apple cider doesn’t leave hands free.  Apple cider, English peas and fresh nuts.  Those were my go to and must buys.  Okay, when in season. Living in California at the time meant in the area or northern counties.  Mostly I went and still go for the colors in a farmer’s market, the friendliness of the folk selling, the congeniality of people gathering over the excitement of a mundane vegetable like a beet, a carrot, a pea.  I like to see what else is available and as the seasons change what can be “locally” grown.

And then we moved to Wisconsin.  There was the shock, not the weather, but why wasn’t there more than apples, oranges and bananas in the markets between January and March.  I was not happy.  Oh, it was a small town about 75 miles and across a state line for the nearest city of significant size, and some 25 years ago, and yes things have improved.  Eating local took on a whole new meaning.  It meant: GROW IT YOURSELF, improve your canning and store for the winter like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family did. Eventually there were a few farmer’s markets and then there were truck farmers coming from around the areas  bringing their melons and corn, strawberries and finally the best truck brought PEACHES!! all the way from Georgia.Phone photos 7-23-2017 048 They sold the best grapefruit and oranges  from Florida in the winter. Local meant something different.  It meant blueberries and tart cherries sold by the pailful for pies and canning from Michigan. Local was where you could get it, and our vegetable garden was big, we had lots of area so we put in apple trees and rhubarb; my canning abilities grew stronger and better as well as making cider from bushels of apples.  It was fun.  It was once suggested that I should support the local Farmer’s Market, but I didn’t feel it necessary as they were pretty much offering for sale what I was growing anyway. Sorry, but no unless there was another reason like it was fun, offerings again of color, fish that I didn’t grow or fish for and so on.

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Peaches, blueberries and vanilla ice cream. Sigh!

And then we moved again, just across the state. Here, things were very plentiful living near a large city again.  We were late in the garden this year and have a MUCH smaller planting area, but we plant veg in between and in pots. Fairly successful and even better it will be next year. On the down low…we’ve scoped out a community garden in the same area as the Farmer’s Market-3 blocks away!  I can bring the trusty old red wagon from years ago out again to carry my garden supplies! (and you thought I’d gotten rid of it? HA HA HA)  Fortunately the peach truck found us..bless them, Sunday farmer’s market is now providing us much more produce grown in Somewhere, WI and the warm weather, slowing down of rains allows for us to eat..local.  Alas, last week was the last of the peaches and today the last of their visits until winter and citrus. So we adjust and eat what’s offered.

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