November 20, 2011

food and such

I pay $3.50 for a dozen eggs.

Sometimes more.

Generally, you can get conventional eggs for less than half that here.

Generally, I don't share with people how much we pay for eggs because they kind of freak out.

A few years ago I made the decision to slowly start getting as much of our food from people, not grocery stores, as possible. I know, I'm trendy, but hear me out. I kind of hate the term locavore, I think the 100 mile rule can't always apply to rural, and femivore, omg, barf. Except those are the values that I find compelling. Those are the priorities I find center me on a daily basis.

I also find that I need to be careful when I talk about it because I'm white, I'm upper middle class, I'm educated, my kid goes to private school. While I truly believe this journey is one that would have happened regardless of our financial status, I mean I did read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle the year Guthrie started eating solid food, the year I don't think we capped $15,000 in income and John was in grad school. I took full advantage of my farmer's market WIC coupons that summer. But I think it can sound so embarrassingly privileged and arrogant to talk about this stuff if you're not careful.

A couple of weeks ago I missed putting in our CSA order for the week. Oops - and we were out of eggs. So, I contacted another egg seller and she was able to deliver eggs to me at work. Does it get any better than that? I was in the middle of an audit and so asked a co-worker to take care of things if the delivery should come while I was unavailable. Which was awesome. Except then everyone found out how much I pay for eggs. And I was open about it, I'm not ashamed by it at all, just careful. Once everyone got over the sticker shock it opened a dialogue about buying local, about sustainable growing, about salmonella and having actually seen the living conditions of the animals who feed us. One woman asked if they were special occasion eggs and I laughed and said, once you've had local eggs you always want it to be a special occasion.

This summer was my third or fourth in canning and freezing food out of the desire to feed my family rather than something cute to do on a Saturday afternoon. And I love it. Like I said above it seems to ground me firmly in something I don't really have a name for - not one I'll label myself with at least! It feels so good to provide for my family in this manner. I don't know if it's the semi-self sustainability or the working with my hands. Or if it feeds my rebellious spirit to buy raw milk illegally. I'm ok with capitalism when it's responsibly used. When my money goes directly to the people who provide our food. It is just so satisfying for me to be on a first name basis with the people I buy from. I love that they know my kids' names, what I do for a living, our garden's ups and downs.

Winter is always a challenging time of year to eat locally- or it can be - so to keep is in line I signed up for the 5th Annual Dark Days Challenge. The premise is this: Make one meal a week out of entirely local ingredients from November 27 to March 31st. That's it. If all goes as hoped I'll be posting our successes and failures on Sundays. My hope is that we'll get some inspiration from the others who do the challenge - they will also be posting throughout the week.

My additional hope is that it won't be just a load of posts about scrambled eggs and homemade bread and jam- although I'm certain we'll have at least one of those! Our CSA deliveries will end shortly so there will be a lot of eating out of the pantry and heading to the winter farmer's market I think. Which will be challenging - the main market we have here, the one that stays open in winter, has a habit of importing nearly everything. It's a giant pain. You have to really watch their labeling and ask a lot of questions. It's always weird to see a slew of melons out - in February. Am I crazy to think that the farmer's market should be present to serve the actual farmers? That it should serve to build community?

So what have we gotten locally (and organically and sustainably) this year? So far I've found good resources for:
apple cider
raw cow's milk
raw goat's milk
and of course a whole slew of veggies through our CSA and local markets
i'm certain there's more, but i can't remember.

Interested in joining the challenge? Sign up at (not so) Urban Hennery! I look forward to seeing you there!


Luci & Loree said...

Darah, i just love u. You are a special person and such a good mom!!!

Gretchen said...

We are so lucky to get lovely local eggs from one of Dominic's co-workers ... only $2/dozen! And you are so right, once you got local/organic you don't go back. REAL eggs taste/look so different/better!


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