Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Home Grown Hospitality
I have taken up the 100 mile challenge; being to try and buy as much locally produced food and goods as possible. This means that anything that says KRAFT or CHINA on it is a no-no. This movement has become quite popular where we live with enough resourced to make it feasable. It is not very difficult if I can drag myself away from the alluring seasonal displays of impulse buys at the grocery store and only buy the essentials there as well as get over the convenience of one stop shopping.
This weekend Jon and I went to two new farm stores. One specializes in selling their own and other farm's fresh (or frozen) goods; 200 different local farms are represented actually. They have an on site kitchen where they make frozen, organic and local meat pies, Shepard's pie, fruit pies and soups with all natural, additive and preservative free ingredients. We tried 3 cookies and two macaroons from this kitchen. I would say the meat pies are also worth a try based on the baking results! They didn't carry a product I was looking for and placed a special order for me as well as gave me a bunch of supplies to take home and attempt making my own wreaths with after I inquired about the owner's talent. The farmers daughter greeted us warmly when we arrived and spent a good amount of time telling us all about their store and their objective. I don't ever remember the manager of Loblaws greeting me this way...I was impressed and will be back!
On our way home we stopped at another little farm store where "Hershey" the oldest and fattest black lab I ever saw waddled over to greet me as I ran in to check it out quickly (Ben had had his fill of local shopping for that day...he and Jon stayed in the car). They carried hundreds of bottles of soup and homemade crackers. A freezer full of raspberry pies from their garden slowed me down a bit and I quickly made my way over to the check out, insulting the slow and leisurely ambiance of a store that warranted more browsing. I put my purchases on the counter only to be told by the kind owner (who greeted every other person who came in by name) that they didn't have debit but he was happy to take "IOU's and Pinky Swears" I stared for a moment until that sunk in. He was offering to let me leave the store without paying....huh? This in my mainstream North American consumer brain did not compute. He laughed at my shock and reassured me that I could pay my tab next time I came in. Well hot dog to that! Be back I will!
This food isn't cheap by any means, not compared to what we are used to seeing in the grocery sale flyer's. It is however the epitome of "you get what you pay for". I think it is far better to buy less high quality food than more cheap food with goodness knows what in it (I don't believe there is anything in an Oreo or Cheese Whiz that ever saw the underside of the earth...). According to my meal planner for the week though this modest pile of locally grown food will feed us well for the week (with the addition of the bread and muffins I made today...and some grocery store organic fruit that unfortunately grows nowhere in Ontario this time of year) we will see if this works out like I hope it will!
Meal number one was wonderful; I hope Jon makes it every Saturday night!