Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Winter Farmbasket

In the past year, I've become more educated in the value of eating local, in-season produce.  I've also become aware of how much I took for granted growing up in Southern Oregon, where it was only natural that the produce, meat, and dairy was local. 

Growing up, we always knew where our food came from.  Our produce came from one of the many farms and orchards, our  meat came from ranches  in the eastern part of the state and was butchered by one of the local butchers, and our eggs and dairy came from one of the dairies just outside of town.  Sure, there was non-local items in the grocery store, but there was something about supporting the local shops because the quality was better and they were our friends.  Please keep in mind, this is all before they built a Wal-Mart when I was in high school.  Things have changed a bit since then, but I have a feeling that this is the case in a lot of towns (speaking of the change in food sources).  Unfortunately, we traded quality for budget and have grown accustomed to eating food that is nutritionally lacking and grown by a faceless farm in an unknown location. 
Stepping off my soapbox, and onto my farm box.  I'm a part of a co-op with a local farm.  Each week I pick up my basket/box of organic, seasonal local produce and farm raised eggs.  The particular farm I go to offers three sizes of boxes that I can change each week.  Another great thing is that I'm not obligated to buy a box each week.  So it makes it really easy to manage and reduce waste.  Every week, there's usually something in there that I've never seen or cooked with before.  I really enjoy those surprises. Last week it was watermelon radishes, this week, it's mustard greens.  Being winter, my giant bags of fresh basil are no longer present, but have been replaced with giant bags of greens and an abundance of apples.  I consider myself fortunate to live in Arizona where we get 300 sunny days a year and produce that is out of season in other areas is in season here and doesn't need to come from 1000 miles away. 

Another great benefit to my farm baskets is that it forces me to eat more fresh produce.  It also forces me to cook with new vegetables.  A neighbor of mine suggested sauteing the mustard greens in olive oil and garlic, so I think that's what I'm going to do, keep it simple. 

What are some of your efforts to eat locally and/or support local farms and businesses?


  1. Athena, you've given me some great ideas throughout your blog. I think I'll revisit the idea of getting a farm basket. My friend just loves hers and the produce looks wonderful. It's a great way to introduce yourself to things you've never tried or learned to prepare. Take Care! Terry

    1. I agree Terry, it is a really great way to introduce yourself to all sorts of new fruits and veggies. It's really neat to discover and use produce that you don't see in the supermarket. It's so easy to get in a produce rut buying the same things all the time when you go shopping. My farm basket has helped me to stay out of the produce rut. :)

  2. Hi Athena! I'm excited to meet you. I love finding bloggers in my area. I'm in Peoria. I'm guessing you are in the east valley? Which market are you going to? I tried watermelon radishes for the first time last week (they were in my box from Chow Locally) and I absolutely LOVE them!

    1. Hi Mary! Actually, I'm in Surprise, that's funny because I thought you were on the east side as well. Probably because all the great farmer's markets and CSAs seem to be over there. :) I go to the MOM Market at Park West and I went to the one at Friendship Park for the first time last Saturday. I work close to downtown, so I like to stop in at the Phoenix Public Market during the week if I need something. I LOVE going there at lunch for "Food Truck Fridays". I get my farm basket from Pinnacle Farms. I recently bought a 1/4 cow from Date Creek Ranch just past Wickenburg and I abolutely LOVE that beef. I can't eat store-bought beef anymore. I'm still searching for a local supplier of organic poultry, but with little success for less than $18 a bird.

      I'm new to blogging, so it's great to meet a fellow blogger, and local to boot! Feel free to shoot me a line if you have any comments or suggestions!

      Take Care!!


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