If you read my post The Gospel of Local Food, you already know some of my frustrations about buying local, shopping at farmers markets, etc. I’ve been buying eggs from a guy a few streets over (with yolks so gorgeously yellow-they’re orange!). There’s a farmers market (St. Alban’s) five minutes from my house, but during the winter, the only producer that is there is the “meat guy”, whom I have not patronized nearly enough! I plan to change that soon. The other farmers markets are about thirty minutes away, downtown and in Brainerd. Oh, suburbia….I love you and I hate you.
I got over myself last week, though, and trekked down to the Main Street Farmers Market on Wednesday afternoon. It was their first week for their warm weather hours (4-6 as opposed to 4-5). I had only brought a twenty with me because I really wasn’t sure what all I’d find. Turns out I should have gone ahead and brought my grocery budget. Fresh veggies (tons of them), local honey, cheese, beef, chicken, eggs, flour and wheat berries (I plan on milling my own grain soon-yes, I might be crazy!), bacon, sausage….and on and on. For $18.50 I left with a 36-ounce jar of honey, a huge bag of kale, a bag of lettuce, 20 Brussels sprouts (they were 10/$1.00), and 4 potatoes. I made kale chips the next day-if you haven’t had them, you should!
My brain started churning when I left and I realized that I could almost do my grocery shopping at the farmers markets. There are a few things-butter, milk (although one of the farms does sell herd shares to get raw milk), certain fruits, and so on-that I haven’t figured out how to get locally and will need to get at the grocery store, and in the winter I will have to do more grocery store shopping (unless I become a super-duper food preserver over my summer break!), but for the warmer months, I think I can put the bulk of my grocery money into the hands of the people who are producing the food. It’s pretty exciting to imagine!
So, look out for Chattavore to be hitting the farmers markets hard and hopefully producing some meal plans to help my fellow Chattanoogans purchase more local products as well. If they’re willing, I’m also hoping to profile some of the farmers and producers. Help me support local food!