Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Farmers Market

Today we had a booth at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market, which is just off Richmond Avenue in Houston. We started the process some time ago, which involves an application, review by a committee, attend a board meeting and answer questions (nerve wracking) and a farm visit. A lot of work, but that weeds out a lot of people I'm sure. In fact, at the board meeting one farmer was told he would not be accepted.

It was HOT! We had a neighboring vendor take our picture but it really doesn't show anything, so I won't be posting it here. I'll try to get a better pic next time.

We sold:

New potatoes $4/quart
Greenbeans $4/quart
Squash & Zucchini $1.00 each
Swiss Chard $3.00/bunch
Onions 50 cents each
Chicken Eggs $4.00/dozen
Duck Eggs $3.00/ half-dozen

The prices are unbelieveably high! We walked around after we set up to see what other farmers were selling their produce for and all of them said don't underprice your produce. So we priced our produce the same as theirs. I can't imagine paying those prices but I guess if you're used to buying organic produce at Whole Foods it's not a big deal. There's a family that sells chicken, fresh and frozen. One of their chickens costs $20.00 - EACH. I didn't even look at the price of the chicken breasts.

We didn't have any ripe tomatoes yet like everyone else, but then again no one else had swiss chard. The duck eggs were very popular and the chicken eggs sold out in one hour! People would stop and ask for eggs long after we were sold out. When the market closed we only had 1 quart of potatoes to take home.

Next week we'll have tomatoes, green peppers and who knows what else.

I also took home: fresh cheve (garlic and dill) which comes from a goat dairy very close to us, blackberries, and blueberries. The berries were $5 each (but they sold them to other vendors for $4)! Pricey, but I can't remember ever having blackberries so good. These were actually ripe and sweet! We had Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream for dessert with blackberries on top.

We had our first ripe tomato tonight for dinner. I made something that I remember Mom making when I was young, but I don't know if there's an actual name for this or not. She would pare cucumbers and cut into smallish chunks along with tomatoes and slice up onion and top with Italian dressing. I guess she did that when she had them fresh from her garden.

It's something that I really like to make but I change it up just a little. Instead of Italian dressing I use balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sugar, kosher salt (I don't think there's any real difference between that and regular table salt, but I like it being big enuf to see) and freshly ground pepper. So we had that with our dinner - so fresh tasting!

We also had what I guess you'd call Potatoes O'Brien maybe. Basically all it involves is sauteeing chopped onions & bell peppers in oil, then adding potatoes. I precooked the new potatoes in the microwave then cut them into chunks and added them to the cooked onion & peppers. I used red onions out of the garden and bell peppers from the freezer. (Sidebar note: we still have TONS of pre-chopped and -sliced peppers in the freezer from last summer!! Talk about convenience! I still have one bag of chopped onions too).

I don't know if it's because the food is homegrown, fresh, and organic, or if we were just tired and hungry, but it was DELICIOUS.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Journey Chillaxin'

After Mommy, Grandma and Aunt Mary did a "photo shoot" for the Country Peddler Show showcasing the baby accessories that Grandma and Mommy are making, Journey decided to take her first swim!
Journey likes the cool water!

Chillaxin' during the Photo Shoot

Monday, May 17, 2010

ADHD and Pesticide Use

A study published today in the Journal of Pediatrics found that one type of pesticide commonly used on fruits and vegetables may be a contributing to ADHD in children. Exposure of children in early life to these pesticides can cause brain injury. The study says that even tiny amounts of pesticides effect children's brain chemistry. The researchers claim the chemicals can have harmful effects on development, including behavioral problems and the ability to think and communicate. Some experts recommend buying organic foods whenever possible.


Homegrown Cucumbers & Bell Peppers -
All Organic!

Everyday I pass a field which was recently plowed and planted with watermelons. These plants are vigorous and growing really fast, much faster than the watermelon plants on our farm. There are absolutely NO weeds in that field either. The topsoil blows away every time the wind blows.

Homegrown Spring Mix (No E-Coli here!)

It would be really easy for us to apply chemical fertilizers to grow our fruits and vegetables faster, to spray pesticides to eliminate bugs and herbicides to eliminate weeds. But those are not sustainable options. We're slowing building our soil health through natural fertilizers and cover crops. Some of our produce is attacked by bugs and that's just a fact of nature. We work extra hard to keep the weeds at bay. All of these factors can effect the price of organic foods.

Yellow Squash

Why go to this extra effort? Because my sweet little granddaugther is eating the food we produce. We want the healthiest, freshest food possible and organic is the best way to do this. We never have to worry about whether pesticides were used on our foods or if the lettuce or spinach will cause E coli. We want to know where our food comes from.

Marc and organic carrots
Journey likes Grandpa's carrots!