Monday, May 26, 2008

A month without Whole Foods...

As we left the farmers market today my daughter said- lets see if we can not go to Whole Foods for a month. Our nearly daily trips to Whole Foods do slow down somewhat during the summer months when we are producing more in our own garden, getting food from our CSA share and we have farmers market that we can get food from almost everyday of the week. However, even during the summer months we do go to Whole Foods at least a few times a week to buy nuts, cleaning products, spelt flour, west coast cherries, brown rice sushi as an after school snack, sea salt, flax seeds……

Without hesitation I answered yes. Now I am considering why I immediately embraced the idea. I am attracted to the idea that food purchases will be thought about. Most items will require a visit to an individual store. Therefore just for the sake of convenience anything that can be gotten at the farmers market will be. For example I adore cherries but they will be in season locally quite soon, In the meantime I can eat local strawberries and apples that are plentiful and flavorful at this moment. Although I do eat primarily local when possible I will cut out all fruits and vegetables that are not immediately available at local markets.

Another motivation is variety. We eat a large variety of beans, grains, nuts and seeds. Generally we purchase them at Whole Foods. I always mean to stop at the many Ethiopian markets in my neighborhood to pick up yellow lentils, teff flour and other ingredients but I usually grab them at Whole Foods for the sake of one stop shopping. Going to small markets we will try something new.

I like supporting my small neighborhood stores. I know that at a new store within easy walking distance carries the same ecologically friendly cleaning products that I usually purchase at Whole Foods. When I buy detergent at the small store I will ask the people working there about the products. We will have the opportunity to learn why the product we choose is different from a similar main stream product. I am interested in this information and would like to know instead of just buying something and assuming that it is good just because Whole Foods decided to carry it.

Inevitably frequent visits to small shops in my neighborhood will strengthen bonds with the people in my community. We will share information an inevitably learn more about the products that we use, the food that we ingest and the individuals that live and work near our home.

We have not made “rules” about where we will shop. We are busy and need to eat the best food we can. The gathering of food and other products we use needs to work for us in our lives. Instead this pause will hopefully just bring another layer of consciousness to decisions about what we are eating and buying.

I will make note of where we find various items and what unfolds.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CSA, First Share of the Season

CSA-Community Sustainable Agriculture…not a sexy name but provides pleasure--

You buy a share on a farm and regularly receive a portion of what is grown each week during the growing season. You help a small farm by insuring financial support for a season and you enjoy the benefits of what is produced. A connection is made between the growers and members. You become invested in how things grow…the story of deer eating all the kohlrabi hits close to home since you go home with no kohlrabi and the person who planted the kohlrabi is the one telling you the story…

This first week the share was small- a little bit of a few different types of greens, some green garlic, a pint of the most delicious strawberries, a basil plant and two tomato plants. Certain times during the season there are unlimited amounts of specific vegetables available. In both instances my excitement is immense.

I like the uncertainty of the share. Last summer was dry and the eggplant did very well at both the CSA and in my own garden. Luckily we love eggplant and we ate it for most meals, shared it with friends and got creative so as not to get bored by eating the same dishes day after day. I recently finished off the hot sauce that I made last September from an abundance of hot peppers.

I look forward to both the bounty and surprises that "my" farm will offer up this season.

To find out more information about CSA's and where to find one near you go to CSA .

My CSA is Clagett Farm.