Tag Archives: Farmer’s market

I fed my family for a week with Farmer’s Market Goodies for $82

A High Country Food Hub/Local Farm Meal Challenge!

This is a tad lengthy, but I feel worth it, so stick with me!

Often times, one of the stumbling blocks of shopping for locally produced ingredients is the so-called expense of feeding one’s family. Granted, it can be more expensive to shop at the farmer’s market for locally-raised meat and produce. It’s not always the case, but it’s to be expected.These are big time corporations here, these are small farms with a few employees, sometimes it’s just the farmer himself/herself. I try to be intentional about my shopping. I like to shop from local farmers, because my purchase could help send their child to dance lessons or to a math tutor. I know whose hands have touched that food and I know that it’s absolutely as fresh as can be.We also budget our grocery shopping (we use the Dave Ramsey “cash method” to stay in budget). But being 30 minutes away, going to the farmer’s market isn’t easy for me on Saturday, so I love the convenience of shopping online at the High Country Food Hub. Purchasing online uses our debit card, but we adjust accordingly. If you haven’t heard of the High Country Food Hub, I invite you to check out their website. They’re a part of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and they provide online access to local farmers to make it easier for you and me. I just love the service and they do so much to bring the community together with local agriculture with shopping, events, etc.  By the way, this post is not sponsored…this truly was my own  idea.

The challenge: Shop for a week’s worth of local goodies and make meals for my family. with it.  Budget: $100. I did my shop and it was $82 and some change.
Of course, I used some pantry/fridge ingredients to supplement like rice, onions, garlic, sauces to help stretch that budget but that’s to be expected. I did not go to the grocery store for any components I needed for my meals, only for random items like milk, avocado, snacks that I like to have on hand every week anyway. And I did swing by a local farm stand to get peaches one day because summer. Incidentally, the food hub does sell delicious whole creamery milk, but my son, the primary drinker, prefers 2%. And I placed my order too late to get Owl Creek bread.

Here’s my order:
Mixed cherry tomatoes, A Bushel and a Peck Farm
Heirloom tomatoes (red slicers)  Against the Grain
Heirloom tomatoes (mixed) New Life Farm
Purple potatoes, Blue Ridge Naturals 
Summer squash/zucchini, A Bushel and a Peck
Arugula, Full Moon Farm
Spring salad mix, Full Moon Farm
Shishito peppers,  Full Moon Farm
Mixed red/yellow sweet peppers, New Life Farm
Cucumbers, New Life Farm
Blueberries, Moffitt-Toolan Family Farm
Boston Butt, BRG Farms
Ground beef (2 lbs), Moffitt-Toolan, BRG Farms
Beef stew meat, Chestnut Grove Farms
Garlic brats, CS Farm
Chorizo sausage, Moffitt-Toolan

Here are the meals I prepared, with the local goods in italics. A recap of the recipes is coming soon is not up! 

Meal 1: (served 6) Paella Fried Rice using chorizo, some leftover chicken, leftover rice from a previous meal, peppers, onion, cilantro.

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Meal 2:  (served 8) Cincinnati Chili (This was enough for another meal of leftovers days later (without the spaghetti the second time). This counts as 2 family meals.
Beef was the only local item in this meal.

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Meal 3: (served 5) Pulled Pork using the Boston butt, Rainbow Veggies using the zucchini, peppers, shishitos, Purple Mashed Potatoes

 

Meal 4: (enough for 4) Mediterranean Night with garlic brats, peppers, blistered tomatoes (leftover rainbow veg) and Fried Feta w/ pita and hummus

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Meal 5: (served 5) Southwest Bowls w/Chorizo & Chicken, peppers & pico de gallo  (using tomatoes) on local grits

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Meal 6: (served 4) Korean Beef Bowls w/ Instant Pot stewed beef, zucchini, mushrooms

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Meal 7: (served 2) Arugula & Spring Mix Caesar Salad 

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Meals 1-6 (including leftovers from the chili) were were enough to feed my entire family. Paella fried rice gave us leftovers for 2 people. SW Bowls gave us another leftover meal for 1 (I turned it into breakfast), then there were a number of smaller meals, like salads, BLT’s.  Take a look.

Arugula salad with peaches, blueberries, burrata (served 2)

Arugula with figs, pancetta and burrata (served 1)

Spring mix salad with tomatoes (served 2)

Everyday cucumber salad with tomatoes (served 1)

BLT (served 2) using spring mix, arugula and tomato

I used the blueberries in smoothies, as well as snacking.

The eggs were used in a couple of different breakfasts including one that used the leftover pulled pork into an omelet. We still have half dozen eggs left.

 

Foodies, that means for my $82, I was able to make 40+ plates of food with those staples and every family meal included a locally-raised meat (6 meals that fed all 4 of us, a salad for 2, plus leftovers and individual lunches).  I shocked even myself with the ability to extend my dollar. And what’s more…my husband and son both went on a trip a few days into the “challenge”, putting it on hold, and the salad, peppers, zucchini were all still fresh two weeks later. I bought the food on Aug. 7, started the meal portion of the challenge on Aug. 9, stopped family meals Aug. 11 and restarted on Aug. 16 and completed Aug. 19. While they were away, I made salads for myself and ate leftovers with my daughter. It’s probably the healthiest I’ve eaten in a long time with well-balanced, colorful local goodness.  The other takeaway is that we don’t have to be nervous about using up these ingredients. None of the produce went soft or bad and it took me almost 2 weeks to eat it all.

Guys, I’m nothing special, I made a meal plan of items I know my people like and bought ingredients from the Food Hub based on my meal plan, which is nothing different than I do if I’m typical grocery store shopping. My habits are usually Food Hub every 2 weeks, then I fill in with a grocery shop, and when I go down the mountain to Winston-Salem, I usually hit Trader Joe’s (once a month). Every now and then, I shop a local market or Earth Fare, but we have a cash budget and we stick to it as much as possible (sudden trips for ice cream or chocolate chips don’t count, do they?).

I want to make it clear that this is not a sponsored post. Items were purchased with our own money. This really was a challenge….to see how I’d do.

As for the recipes, some are tried and true and found online, some are mine and most of the salads are seriously just thrown together. Recipes coming at you Thursday!

By the way, if I’ve kept you to this point, on Friday, the Hub is having a Fill Your Freezer sale with lots of great locally raised beef. There will be presentations at the Ag building (address is on the flyer below) all day long beginning with ME at 11:30 when I demonstrate how to sear and carve a flank steak. Come see us and maybe you can get a taste of the flank steak with a delicious corn and tomato salsa that’s perfect for tailgating at App’s first home game! presentations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

foodie b’eat: Winston-Salem’s Getting an Open Market

If you have trouble like me getting to the farmer’s market on Saturday, then you might enjoy what’s coming to Winston-Salem…in what is the up and coming-est part of town.

Winston Junction Market, an open-concept indoor market, will be located at 901 North Trade Street behind Earl’s. 

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The market will feature food and beverage vendors, artisans and a handful of farmers.  David Dalholt, who also owns Sunnyside Millworks and Sunnyside Mercantile, says when the owner of the building showed him the converted warehouse space, we wanted to turn it into something special.  “It’s such a cool spot. It got my wheels turning.” Since it’s hard for some families to get out the door to a farmers market on Saturday mornings, he wanted to take advantage of the lunch crowd. “Folks can come in, grab lunch, grab a beer and get a little shopping done.”

Dalholt wanted to control the vibe and the look of the space so he and his team are providing tables and custom signage. Vendors won’t event have to bring tables or signs. Menu boards will also be very visible in the event that if you’re waiting in line, you can read the menu easily as you wait.  And just so you know, Dalholt has a way with aesthetic. His tables and woodworking are incredible, so this place is going to look great. 

Patrons are welcome to come and just hang out. Seating will be provided on the patio on top and rows of seating are provided throughout the length of the market indoors.  You’ll be able to shop for food,  order something from vendor like Wine Merchants and Vin 205 Bistro, Lavender and Honey Kitchen, Golden Rule Kombucha, buy plants from House of Plants. You’ll be able to find artisanal products and a few farmers will be there as well.

Wanna go? Grand opening is Saturday, March 30th 11:30am-2:30pm. It will be open each Saturday with hopeful plans to extend hours in the future. 

I’ll be stopping by there tomorrow to get a closer look so more information to come! Until then, follow Winston Junction Market on Facebook for updated vendor announcements and future dates. 

 

Carolina Poutine with Pulled Pork

Did you say poutine? Yes, yes! This is your all local poutine inspired by the abundance that North Carolina offers. I am receiving compensation from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to raise awareness about purchasing pork at NC farmer’s markets. All opinions and content are my own.

IMG_7515Every once in a while a great opportunity comes along and you get a little more bang for your buck when it comes to being a cheerleader for all things local–you get a whole TEAM of cheerleaders. I’ve partnered with the NC Department of Agriculture’s Got to be NC program along with bloggers across the state, to highlight some of our local farmers. Bloggers like me, who love local goodness (I’ll call them my SQUAD), are shopping at their local NC farmer’s market, buying the ingredients for a meal and sharing the recipe with folks like you. We’ve got chicken and pork coming at you. I’ll share links to those at the end of this post.

My farm is Mill River Farm in Mount Airy. I’m actually familiar with farmers, Kim and Steve, as I subscribed to a CSA with them a few years back. Such quality meat and produce!  I looked forward to what would be in my box every Saturday when I picked it up from the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market.  market - booth2

Kim and Steve have an abundant farm and they sell pork products such as bacon, pork belly, pork butt and loin, chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, produce of all varieties like lettuce, kale, peas, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and I could go on and on. You can visit them at the farm (details here) or at the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market, where you can speak to them directly and find out more about how they raise their animals and grow produce that you can feel so great about.  They’re both super knowledgeable and enjoy sharing what they do. Kim even has a cookbook called Cook Like a Farmer .  It’s full of great recipes. The thing that we don’t want you to forget is: When you visit your North Carolina farmer’s market, don’t forget the meat!

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When I saw Kim and Steve, they weren’t in their traditional digs inside the farmer’s market since the fair was in town. But they had enough yumminess on hand for me to purchase the main ingredients for my #GotToBeNCPork Carolina Poutine.  Poutine? Yeah, baby! Poutine is typically french fries and cheese curds with a rich brown gravy.  If you’ve had it, you know it’s like the guiltiest pleasure ever. Mine is a riff on that.

Let’s take a look at my truly local…

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Carolina Poutine with GotToBeNCPork
Serves 2-4

2-4 Sweet Potatoes (count on about one per person), preferably #gottobeNC
Pulled pork (from a 2-3 pound #GotToBeNCPork butt or shoulder)
Ashe County Cheese Curds
BBQ Sauce of your choice (I used a blend of chipotle sauce with some Eastern NC sauce I had on hand)

To prepare the pork: Give the pork a good liberal rub of your choice of seasoning plus plenty of salt and pepper. If you’re able, grill the pork on all sides. I don’t have a smoker, so I let my grill and my slow cooker do the work for me. Get it good and browned on all sides, then place in the slow cooker with about 1 1/2 cups of water or broth (beer or a mixture of bbq sauce and water is fine too–you just want a flavorful liquid). Allow to cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Once tender and falling apart, remove from cooker and shred it, baby.

Cut your NC Sweet Taters into fry-sized sticks. Coat with oil (I used avocado oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and sprinkle with smoked paprika (optional), salt and pepper. Bake at 400-degrees until lightly browned and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Just before you remove the fries from the oven, heat up the sauce. I simply used my favorite Sam Jones Eastern NC style sauce and added some smoky chipotles to it.  You will want that sauce to be PIPING hot so that it can melt the cheese curds as it hits them.

On a platter or pan, place the crispy sweet potato fries in heaping pile. Top with shredded pork, cheese curds and drizzle the sauce over the top. The sauce should be hot enough to start melting the cheese curds. If not, it’s okay to blast it under the broiler until they appear to be just melting.

Garnish with chopped green onions and enjoy!

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I want you to know that this delicious and fun recipe is simply a guide. If you can slow cook your meat on a smoker, so much the better. As I said before, I don’t have a smoker but I do have the grill and a slow cooker. I get a really good crust by grilling on high, though I keep an eye on it as the fat and any sugar on the outside can cause it to light up. You can also bypass the slow cooker and modify by cooking on a low heat in the oven for 2 1/2-3 hours. The sauce is also up to you. A mole would be amazing with those sweet potatoes. Play around with your flavors and have fun!

So… what makes it poutine? To a purist, is it still poutine if it doesn’t have real gravy but rather a sauce?

I’m not here to debate that. I just do know this poutine delicious party, nosh, use-up-leftovers kind of fare that tastes great with a NC craft beer. Support your local farmers at your local market. I’ve got links below to plenty of convenient locations and some of the best pork in North Carolina.

PS: You are going to have plenty of pork leftover for another poutine, tacos, breakfast…or a good ol’ BBQ plate.

Here’s a list of the pork and chicken from my squad:

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Got To Be NC Pork at Your Local NC Farmers Market

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Watch Heidi’s video!

Got to Be NC Chicken at your NC Farmers Market

 

Get Your Taste & See NC Box with Coupon Code!

Hey, foodies!

You know fun it is to go to local markets, boutiques and shops and see all the yummy, local provisions? If only there was a way to see AND taste or taste and see. Well, there’s a new company, based right here in North Carolina that is giving us all a chance to bring home a box of North Carolina goodness. You pick your city and it’s delivered right to your door.

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My friend, Shayla, launched Taste and See NC earlier this year as a way to highlight local makers with a gift box of artisan food products from our fair cities. There’s a Winston-Salem box, a Durham Box, Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville. You get the idea. Shayna reached out to the foodies and asked us if we wanted a box (uh…yes, Shayla, yes!) and let us choose our city. I was familiar with some of Asheville and all of Winston-Salem’s box. I haven’t had the benefit of enjoying a whole lot of Durham goodies, even though it’s one of the top Southern food towns. So Shayna sent me a Durham box and I just had to show you how cute and fun it is. Of course, I’ve tried all of these items and will be sharing them with you here.

Look! It was a like a little present from Tiffany. Only better. Yeah I said that (No thanks to the post office for getting it all dirty).

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Inside that Carolina Blue box was a selection from some of the finest makers in the Bull City:

Big Spoon Roasters: Apricot and Pepita Bar
Chocked full of real ingredients. I started noshing on this little bar so quickly that I forgot to snap a pic. Oops! But I did remember later to photograph this bar as a topping to my smoothie bowl. It was chewy and lightly sweet and satisfying. On a side note, you can find Big Spoon in the Triad (including Whole Foods) and all over the region as they are super popular with their nut butters. It was fun to see they’ve gotten into food bars for a quick, healthy snack. Big Spoon is known for their sustainable practices including supporting our NC Peanut Farmers. IMG_8466

Sangha Tea: Ginger Peach Black Tea
As I write this, I’m fearing I’m catching the microfoodies’ colds. So this tea is very warm and soothing. This tea is smells and tastes exactly as its name. It’s gingery. It’s peachy and wonderful.

Ello Raw: Cinnamon Sugar Donut Bites
Another healthy grab and go option, these little grain-free bites are made with raw, organic superfood ingredients.

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Durham Toffee: 
Man, oh man. This toffee though. Fortunately it made it to me without getting all melted in the summer heat. This toffee is melt in your mouth, chewy, buttery deliciousness topped with the crunch of almonds. I’m going to miss it when it’s gone. It won’t be long now either.

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Double M Bakeshop:
Shhhh…don’t tell mr. foodie that there’s another nut butter in the domicile. He already shakes his head in disbelief. I have an entire pantry shelf devoted to nut butters (cashew, almond, flax and chia, peanut x 4, mixed nut)  and they are even stacked one on top of another. It’s almost embarrassing. Proudly, Double M now sits among its lower class peers. The peanut butter is all natural, with a little coconut oil and an ever so light lacing of honey for some sweetness. It’s a great blend of a little sweet, a little salty and the little girl who only eats peanut butter when she has to is Double M’s newest fan. On a bagel or with some crackers? Yes, please. Drizzled on a smoothie bowl? Done and done.

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So if you’re in, near or from one of these hometowns, they make a fun gift for yourself and especially for friends and family, to give them a taste of the local flavor. All City Boxes are $40. Find out more here.  City Boxes will get updated as well.

In December, Taste and See NC will begin offering a quarterly themed subscription box which will feature seven to ten NC food items. It might be a pantry theme or a chocolate theme, but you can bet it will be delicious. You can still order the City Boxes to sample the program or to give as a gift. Sign up for your quarterly subscription here. Get $5 OFF with the coupon code TRIADFOODIE

I also wanted to point out something about Taste and See…and Shayla didn’t ask me to tell you this, but it’s so worth knowing. Approximately 160,000 of North Carolina’s citizens receive emergency food assistance in any given week. One in four children live in food insecure households. You can help with your quarterly subscription.  A percentage from the sales of all quarterly subscriptions will support a NC-based charity specifically focused on feeding children in food insecure areas.  These NC makers are already doing their part by creating healthy, real food from our own state and supporting the farmers here. Now you can help Taste and See bring it full circle by enjoying your quarterly box or gifting them or a City Box to friends.

Enjoy these makers, foodies and don’t forget your coupon code!

 

 

triadfoodies’ Favorite Things 2014

Every year, for years now, our family has been giving the gift of our favorite things to a few select people in our lives…mainly close family. It’s usually quite the hit! It always always has foodie items and sometimes something cool like a mug or lip salve or anything funky that we discovered or became “reacquainted with.”

Here’s this year’s list of our favorite things…a good list this year with Got to be NC products and one or two out-of-towner’s but at least one was purchased at a locally owned business. Links to the companies that make the products are in the list! Merry Christmas!

Mark and Kristi’s (and Ava’s and Beck’s Favorite Things 2014

Favorite things: Featuring Cackalacky Sweet Sauce, Gorilla Grains, Fogwood Farm Spiced Tomato Jam, Cheerwine, Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter and this most awesome mini sifter from Southern Home & Kitchen

Favorite things: Featuring Cackalacky Sweet Sauce, Gorilla Grains, Fogwood Farm Spiced Tomato Jam, Cheerwine, Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter and this most awesome mini sifter from Southern Home & Kitchen

Merry Christmas! We can’t believe this season happened upon us so quickly! It was so fast we nearly forgot this beloved (we hope) tradition. This year, most of our favorite things just so happen to be “Got to Be NC”.

Cackalacky Sweet Sauce: This Famously Original Sauce is from the awesome guys in Chapel Hill who grabbed our state’s nickname and threw it on everything they make. This BBQ-type sauce is made with NC’s own Cheerwine and it gives the sauce a sweet, fruity element that’s amazing on meats, especially pork belly. Cackalacky also makes a sauce from Sweet Potatoes called “Spicy” and they make these killer peanuts as well. Lots of restaurants around the state use their products. And if you ever see Cackalacky beer in the beer aisle, be sure to pick it up. It’s made by Full Steam Brewery where the two companies partnered to bring a unique ginger pale ale that’s different than any other beer you’ve probably ever tried. cackalacky.com

Fogwood Food Spiced Tomato Jam: Not to be confused with ketchup, this is a slightly sweet and spicy tomato “jelly” that tastes like the holidays. It’s especially good on cream cheese and awesome on garlic bread with some parmesan sprinkled on top. Try it with a bit of hummus and veggies (pickled or not). This wonderful farm in Reidsville also grows shiitake mushrooms, peppers and dehydrates them and they make this amazing buttered pecan syrup that we’d loved to be able to put in your treasure trove here but we just couldn’t get our hands on it. You can probably order it online! You should! Highly recommended on pancakes. Check their website as well for a list of local shops that sell their products, which includes various Lowes Foods as well as Kernersville’s own Musten & Crutchfield and another fave, Let It Grow Produce.  fogwoodfood.com

Speculoos Cookie Butter:  This is almost Ava’s favorite thing. We are on a roll with the cookie butter. If you like the original from two years ago you will love this. This has the cookies (from last year) not all the way mushed into cookie butter. So you get crunch and cookie butter and it’s still meltable and pourable after melted and we really just eat it off the spoon and enjoy. You do whatever you want. Located at Trader Joe’s.

From Beck:  Gorilla Grains Granola: Let me tell you, the butteriness of this granola will make you so happy to be alive. You really will just consume it right out of the bag and not bother with all that fussy stuff like yogurt or milk (unless it’s to drink it). It’s just too good for snacking. And you can get it with cranberries and other troublesome things in it but the original is just too darn fabulous to pass up. Beck will not eat any other granola. He asks if it’s this. He can tell with just one bite. How this woman who owns this company is not a millionaire used to be a mystery…but a recent conversation with owner Alicia Rehburg explains that she keeps it small so she can have the best quality control possible, but who knows what the future holds?  You’ll have to find Gorilla Grains on Facebook and order personally by calling or messaging. And you can find her just about every weekend at the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market. Also at Summerfield Farms. 

Powdered Sugar Spoon: Isn’t it like totally cute? I mean, enough said. We found this at Southern Home & Kitchen in WS. You can probably find them at most kitchen stores. This will give your desserts, coffee or whatever a nice teeny tiny dusting that’s just enough with not a big mess. LOVE!

From Ava:  Cheerwine: (see first entry)  Ava has probably drunk her weight in Cheerwine this year. This soda was born in Salisbury, NC in 197 and is wild cherry cola yumminess. It’s as authentic North Carolina as gets with a juicy burger and fries, mmmm.  You can have the “legend” delivered right to your door! cheerwine.com

So that’s our favorite things 2014. If you think there’s something we should try that ought to be on our list, suggest to us please! What are some of your faves this year?