Now that you have been introduced to H.C., and to Harriet for that matter,

you will understand more why I love fresh food. I should elaborate. Fresh, locally grown, in season food!

Over the last two years I have been trying to wean my family from the more processed foods that are available. We are not totally there yet, but we are working on it. Now, when I look at a recipe that calls for something like a condensed soup, or a packaged biscuit, I ask myself, “Can I do this part from scratch?”. Now, the truth of the matter is that some days, convenience just wins out.  On Wednesday nights it is common to see a frozen pizza served at my table because we are always on the run. The rest of the week however, I try very hard to make food that is more natural or from scratch. We do several things to make this happen.

Thirty weeks out of the year we participate in an organic, local, CSA. That is a Community Supported Agriculture if you are not familiar with the acronym. Through this CSA we are able to pick up a box of  very fresh, very organic vegetables from a local farmer.  Most of the vegetables are picked with in the 24 hours prior to the drop off. Here is a picture of our very first box for this season! We picked it up Wednesday.

You do have to be able to think outside the box to do this. You are basically committing to eat what ever is in season at the time so it takes some flexibility and some adventure. Occasionally, I have no idea what some of the vegetables are. Being a girl who likes a challenge though, this is part of what I dig about the whole program. I now know what a Kolrabi is and how to fix one several different ways.

In addition to the CSA, we like to browse several of the local farmers markets from week to week. One of my favorites is the Dallas Farmer’s market because the organizer, Susan Breen, does a very good job of making sure the produce and vendors are local home grown farmers and Georgia folk. Now, this time of year, you have to get there early to get the in season veggies. Tomatoes and corn aren’t in season just yet, but this week….I snagged some great romaine, strawberries, and  broccoli. Not to mention Twisted Sister’s “Whey out Bread” and “Sunchoke Relish”. This next weekend I am going to try out the Marietta Square market.

We have also been getting our milk directly from the cow for the past two years as well. Let me tell you there is nothing like having the freshest cream in your coffee every morning. We also are able to get fresh whole broiler chickens from them throughout the summer every year. Chickens that I have seen and know are healthy and not over fattened from antibiotics and hormones. I feel much better about feeding these birds to my family.

We had Nate’s 1st birthday pictures taken out at the milk farm a couple of years ago. It is a beautiful place and I love going there every Monday to pick up my milk.

Then lastly, I also get fresh eggs  from a customer and friend that drops them off at Robert’s office for me every week. These eggs are almost too pretty to eat!

We hope to get a big freezer sometime this summer and at that point we will also be in the market for local grass fed beef too. Like I said, it’s been a process, but we are starting to get to a place where our food is truly more natural and doesn’t just come from a box that markets loosely that it is so. (never trust the front of the box)

When you think about it, supporting your local farmer just makes sense. The food is fresher and therefore more nutrient rich. It cuts down on the travel it takes to get it to your table verses what you buy at the store therefore saving other resources. It has been handled by fewer hands. The money you spend goes back into your local economy. There is much less waste in the way of packaging therefore eliminating the need to even recycle. Plus, you are supporting a local farmer in his endeavor to do what he loves. If we don’t support the local farmer, it won’t be many more generations before there are no more. Corporate Agribusiness is huge business, and not a very healthy one when you start investigating it a little. You would be shocked about what you don’t know, about the things you are purchasing at the store. Even the things that look like they are good for you.

I challenge you all to think differently about your food. Don’t just think about whether or not it is healthy, but also think about where it came from and who you are supporting when you buy it. Are your meat and dairy products produced in a healthy humane way? You may need to find out what that means. It’s something too many folks take for granted. Are your vegetables and fruits grown naturally or are they genetically modified and grown with pesticides. Do you know what GMO (genetically modified) means? It may be time you found out. We are called to be good stewards of what we have been given and personally, I don’t think our culture is really concerned with stewardship as much as it is profit. Profit isn’t a bad thing in itself, but profit made at the cost of our health…? You may need to get out of your box a little and quit trusting the marketers.

Also, take it slow…these are changes that take time, and in some ways lots of discipline in the way of planning. It has taken us two years to get where we are, and like I said, we very surely have a long way to go in many areas. Our fast paced culture is not conducive to this method of eating. It has really taught me to slow down and enjoy everything from the time it takes to get to know the growers (all great people worth knowing by the way) to taking the time to spend with Ruthie, and eventually the other kids,  showing her how to prepare it. Ruthie is becoming a master salad chef let me just tell you! It is very important to me that my kids understand where good food comes from…and it ain’t always the supermarket. Last fall we had the opportunity to spend one day a week a friends farm in Temple, Georgia. We did little odd jobs to help out in the garden in exchange for some great produce. Our friend, Beverly, really got a kick out of teaching Ruthie the way of the land too. It was a win win situation.

This year we are trying to do a little growing of our own on the back porch.  We’ll keep you posted on how Ruthie’s little garden is growing. Till then, I hope you take the time to check out your local farmer’s market. Check out http://www.localharvest. org to find the closest farmers and CSA’s near you.