For this Walk and Talk Wednesday post, I wanted to focus on local foods.
Have you ever sat down to a meal and looked at where each item was grown? It would be very easy to sit down to a breakfast for example, and eat eggs from Illinios, bacon or sausage from Idaho, bread from Kansas, orange juice from Florida, strawberries from Chile, blueberries from Brazil, butter from Pensylvania, cream cheese from Wisconsin, and so on. How far did your food travel before it made it to your home for your family to eat?
What is local food?
Local food by definition is food produced within a 100 mile radius of the consumer.
I don’t buy everything local, but I try to buy as much as I can. For example: honey, jams, bread, free range chicken & eggs, fresh garden produce, fresh orchard produce, raw milk, soaps, lotions, cleansers, etc. There are plenty of meats locally raised, but I have yet to find 100% grass fed beef and organic local grains among other things in my immediate area here in NC. But I try to buy what I can, and support local producers and the local economy as much as it fits into my family’s lifestyle and budget.
When I lived in Indiana, I was so blessed to have folks support me as a farmer and store owner and my my products. The Weston A Price Indy Chapter and Cincinnati Chapter, and the Cincinnati Locavore movement supported me and purchased lots of my products that I raised on the farm. People from all over Indiana (north, south, east, and west), Dayton OH, Cincinnati Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and lots of places in between came to load up on our beef, chicken, eggs, and produce. Folks who came from over an hour away would always bring big coolers to load up on meats and other cold products. Sometimes even whole coops would have an order filled and bring a truck load of coolers. Even local folks came regular and in addition to meats and cold items, they bought bulk grains, locally bottled coconut oil, local raw honey, local maple syrup and other several other items in our country store too. In addition, we had lots of crafts made by local artisans for sale too including some dear Amish friends who made handmade items like greeting cards and candles, a local farmer who made goat milk soap and lotions, and more.
I have been on both the farmer’s side of raising local foods, and the consumer’s side of supporting local farms and local foods. When I moved to NC, I went on a search to find the freshest nutrient dense local foods I could find. We visited several farms directly and traveled near and far. One great resource we found was the local farmer’s market called the Tailgate Market in Hendersonville, NC. It is a special gem on the journey of local foods and local farmers and producers meet in downtown Hendersonville, NC on Saturday mornings.
I love to take my children with me and walk and talk at the Tailgate Market.
It is still spring, but items already in season included: chicken eggs, guinea eggs, turkey eggs, whole frozen chicken, pork (assorted cuts), various breads, cookies, deserts, jams, turnip greens, collard greens, radishes, lettuce, herbs, flowers, plant starts for the garden (tomatoes, squash, lettuce, greens, peppers, hebs, etc.), early strawberries, soaps, lotions, cleansers, local wood carvings and art, etc.
We bought some chickens and fresh free range pastured eggs. These chickens are moved daily in moveable pens in a pasture and allowed to free range on grass. They are fed grains, but they are allowed to supplement their diet by eating a full range of bugs, seeds, and a variety of weeds and grass every day.
We also bought some fresh baked goods from the Balson Bakery. They are a local homeschool family that produces a wide range of baked goods, jams, applesauce, fresh eggs, fresh plants and potted herbs for you to grow in your own garden, and they make recycled market bags that are hand sewn by their daughters.
My kids love picking out a few bags of their homemade cookies and jars of jam.
These recycled market bags are sewn from re-purposed feed sacks. Aren’t they cute?
You can find venders selling homemade soaps, lotions, bath salts, remedies, and more.
My kids enjoy walking around and meeting each of the local producers and learning about what they have grown or made to sell at the Tailgate Market.
From fresh breads . . .
To delicious edible flowers, beautiful plant arrangements, and herbs . . .
The kids have a great time exploring at the market.
This vender had turkey eggs (sold out), guinea eggs, and chicken eggs.
Can you guess which of these are guinea eggs?
I used to raise a variety of eggs on my farm in Indiana too.&nb
sp; FRESH EGGS ARE DELICIOUS! I used to raise free range chicken eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs, turkey eggs, and guinea eggs. My favorite eggs to eat fresh were chicken, turkey, and guinea. My favorite to bake with were duck and goose eggs. I loved to make cakes and homemade noodles with duck and goose eggs. Yum!!!
These are guinea eggs. I love these eggs for breakfast!
This farmer spent a long time teaching us about edible mushrooms. I will share some great pictures and things we learned from him in a future story. But he was a wealth of information and I was so glad to meet him and learn about different kinds of local mushrooms he was selling. He has agreed to come and teach kids a life skills class for our outdoor programs we have in the park. I can’t wait!
I bought some fresh collard greens from this vender. He also had fresh eggs and rainbow chard for sale.
Another farmer with a variety of eggs and hand crafted wooden art for sale.
She had chicken eggs in various colors of brown, white, blue, and green. Some of the light brown eggs almost look pink. These colors are natural variations from various chicken breeds. The green and blue and pinkish brown are produced by the Aracauna chicken.
Seems we just can’t help ourselves when surrounded by all this great produce, but to buy some more locally grown fresh vegetables. It is a good experience for my children to learn to clearly ask the vender for the product we are want and to pay the vender. As we walk along the market and talk to the farmers, and buy their products, the kids are learning how to do business, exchange currency, count money, meet local producers, and choose healthy food for our family. These are all valuable life skills.
I encourage you to see if you can find a local farmer’s market in your area to support. If there is not a market close by, perhaps there is a local farm that will sell to you directly.
Your body will thank you from the fresh nutrient dense foods you feed it! Your local farmers will thank you for your support. Your kids will thank you for quality time together as they spend time walking with you outdoors and meeting other people from your community and they feel they belong to something special. They become connected to the people who make their food and it becomes important to them.
Check out Local Harvest to find a local farm near you. Other places to look might be your local news paper classified adds, a local 4H extension office, and the farm and garden section of craigslist.org .
Be sure to read about other great adventures we have made in our search for local foods and other stories written about the Tailgate Market too.
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No Time For Flash Cards
For this Walk and Talk Wednesday post, I wanted to focus on local foods.