Getting access to fresh, seasonal produce is a bigger pain than I expected when I started out on my quest. The agro-industrial business is just so big, influential and pervasive that they will do just about anything to make sure that you get bland, good-looking, out-of-season produce from half way across the globe in your hands, cheaply. The last part, “cheap” is key and why there are so few alternatives that exist. However, the good news is that there are consumers questioning the value of tasteless produce, picked when it hasn’t ripened and grown keeping in mind logistics and looks rather than taste and substance. There has been a growth of the availability of organic alternatives but in my opinion that doesn’t solve the problem. Unseasonal organic produce shipped from halfway across the globe is still unseasonal produce from the other side of the world. It does not make sense.
And so I found a couple of CSA (consumer supported agriculture) farms in my area and I almost pulled the trigger on them. They were not cheap at $1200/year/share for a guaranteed 34 weeks, but not too outrageous either. However, they do grow a lot of lettuce. The foodydoody household really isn’t much of a salad centric household so that will really not fly. We were looking for a more vegetable centric (yes, yes, greens are vegetables too) source. And so we are pinning our hopes on the McKinney Farmer’s Market scheduled to start operating this Saturday. By all accounts, it is supposed to be an excellent source of local produce. Will report on that shortly. To find a CSA in your area, click here.
I also found a local source for free range eggs. Rick Simerka of Red Goat Gardens has 4.5 acres and 30 chicken. He is producing veggies as well and I hope to have him as one my local sources as soon as his plants start producing later this month. The eggs are excellent and come in all sorts of colors. My kids were fascinated.
Lastly, being in Texas, we get a lot of sun, and given my track record of killing anything I plant, I had stayed away from planting anything. However, seeing my very green-thumbed neighbors – Elizabeth and David, in action and getting a lot of free consulting from them, I decided to take the plunge. I am growing veggies this year. I planted some tomatoes, zucchini, cayenne and herbs (mint, curry leaves and basil). Given that we live in a rabbit infested area, I have had to protect the bed with chicken wire. We’ll see how it goes. So far so good. Nothing dead yet.
What I am finding is that, while it is hard to source produce locally and seasonally, it is possible. And since I haven’t really consumed any produce, other than eggs, yet, it is a little premature for me to comment on the value of local produce from a taste and freshness standpoint. But I am working on it and will report as I know more.
Till next time. Bon Appetit!