Jeff and I watched "Food Inc." a couple of months ago. It talked about food as "big business" in the United States and was actually a little scary. No, it didn't say everyone should be vegan, but it did say that the fact that our food comes from only a handful of sources that are HUGE and have major lobbying power in Washington D.C. is something to be concerned about. If one of these mega-businesses decide that some sort of quality control issue isn't important to them (or isn't as important as their profit margin) their customers are probably the ones that will take the hit health-wise. That's all I'm going to say, but it's an interesting movie. If you decide to watch it you won't get bored that's for sure. Anyway, they mentioned CSA'a : Community Supported Agriculture. Right afterwards (it seemed like the next day, but probably not) my sister-in-law came over and told me about Jacob's Cove . This is an organic farm located right in Orem that sells "shares". You buy a "share" in the beginning of the season, and then get produce every week for three months. This isn't "Bountiful Baskets" which frankly is probably a better deal for more produce but gets its produce from a distributor (google it and look it up if you're in the area though --everyone I know that's done it has been very happy). The point of this is that it's all locally raised, for sure is organic and sustainable practices, and you're directly supporting the farmer.
When this farmer brings you his produce, you know it was picked this morning and didn't spend a couple days on a truck, and a couple days in the distributor's cooler. Think vitamins and flavor. Here's another reason I'm doing this: I was at Ream's the other day and picked up a bunch of asparagus and whistled at the price: "2.99 a pound?" geez. An older gentleman next to me said, "how much would they have to pay YOU to go out and cut asparagus for an hour?". He had a point. We've all got a budget to worry about, but it seems like we're willing to make the farmer take a little less and a little less to compete with farmers in Chile and New Zealand (which bugs me that that they're getting the shaft anyway), or to compete with the lower quality soy or corn-based processed product that gets government subsidies for its huge mega-producer. Sorry, I wasn't going to get more political --I just lost control. :)
Anyways, we bought a couple of shares this year, and then we had a cold, wet wierd spring, and everything is behind season, the farmer is struggling to organize his pickup sites and contact everyone (his messages keep getting lost in spam) and basically we're the guinea pigs this first time around for him. He sent out an email last week (which I didn't get by the way) saying the greens were ready now although nothing else is yet, and if you want some to come on up and cut them. OK, greens are my diet mainstay, so I was all over it as soon as my sister-in-law told me. I was prepared to kinda give this guy a tongue-lashing when I got there with all of the mistakes going on, but once I met him it shut me up right away. He's just this nice guy who seems swamped. His "office" looks like a snowstorm hit it (with paper), and he seemed pretty distracted (kind of like a chicken with its head cut off). I did tell him he needed to get someone to help him, and he said "there IS no one else". Well maybe the bugs will be straightened out by next season. when I went outside though, you could tell this guy was a farmer.
(beautiful red-speckled lettuce)
(Lola Rossa --Sam's front lawn)
Me and the kids got a little hack saw from the barn, and walked out to the field with bags to cut us some greens! We wish we had more bags. There were gorgeous rows of lettuces, collards, kales, chards, mixes, you name it. We went crazy. When we got home, I split it with my neighbor who is also signed up, and washed it up, put it in the frisge, and then immediately took it out again for a big salad dinner.
I peeked in the greenhouse to see how the tomatoes were coming along, and it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen! If you close up on the picture, you can see that each tomato plant has a little rubber collar around its vine, and is tied up with twine to trusses in the ceiling. It was so cool! You'll notice he grows the plants directly in the ground though (none of that water-slurry base crap) for extra flavor and nutrients. He just built the greenhouse on the ground, and the sides are a soft plastic to roll up in warm weather, and roll down for protection in cool. The greenhouses cover 1/3 acre --the size of my whole lot. There were also cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplants, and lots more. These greens are the freshest, crispest I've ever had (except out of my own garden!). I can't wait to taste the rest.
Fairbanks and the North Pole
2 weeks ago