Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things I have learned here: market edition

I thanked my sweetheart recently for his continuing patience and indulgence where our food is concerned. When we lived in Chicago, food came from the grocery store or the produce market, because that is where I knew food to come from. Sometimes, a lot of it came in boxes. I had heard of farmer's markets, made tentative explorations in their direction, found good cheese.

Then we moved.

We moved to Atlanta, and there is a super big year round farmer's market there. I went there weekly, on my own and with my boss, to pick up fruits and vegetables (and cheese). I brought visitors there. We didn't take pictures because you aren't allowed to. After a couple years of this, and reading a book or two, it occurred to me that it isn't the same when the farmers in question live on the other side of the world. Did I really need berries in January?

Then we moved.

Now, I shop at my local farmer's market almost every week. Here's where my gratitude for my sweetheart's continued understanding comes in. We eat stuff now like weird turnips, and mysterious greens and the best polenta on the planet. The stuff we get is seriously tasty. It may not be the prettiest, and I have learned the hard way to wash stuff, and soak your cauliflower in salt water. (Seriously, folks. Soak it.) We eat a lot of plants, and less meat. I have a hard time buying meat, especially chicken, since I know where to get the good stuff. I also know, from actually talking to the person who raises those animals, how bad that other stuff can be. That holds true for a lot of our food. We aren't completely seasonal or local; I confess I bought bananas at the grocery store today. We make a pretty good effort, though. The only berries in my house right now are the ones I preserved. I know where it came from. It's never been subjected to a crazy giant recall.

Flat out, we also spend more on food.

Can we afford it? Probably, no. But I don't think we can afford not to do it, either.

Also, there is excellent cheese.


Matt Fetissoff said...

Oh man! I'm so excited for when we visit (13th through the 17th of October) cause I'll get to see some of the cool stuff you're talking about. Great post!

Kris said...

I'm new to you and your blog (having been drawn in by your tweet that Best of Portland retweeted - a fellow cheese head!) but I think I'm hooked already.
Regarding the farmers market, we just moved here from MN and I'm still trying to find "my" vendors. Back in MN there was a greater abundance, especially from the Hmong farmers, during the much shorter growing season and I knew my meat vendors and they knew me. I forgot how long it took to make those connections and how much I treasured them. My husband it patient as well, which is something my culinary adventures couldn't survive without.
Looking forward to reading more from you.

queenofsheba said...

Welcome! Portland is a GOOD place for a cheese head to be. And as someone who has moved around quite a bit, let me tell you it is sometimes really sad not to be a regular customer. Those people who wrote the Cheers theme song, they were on to something.

Let me know if you find anyone that you just love, or if you need recommendations for anything I have lots of opinions, some of them good. And thanks for reading. :)