Tag Archives: farmers

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: Food Industry Crawfish Boil Celebrates its Culinary Community

Featured in YES! Weekly on 6/8

Photo Jun 05, 4 59 18 PM

I feel like I’ve talked a good bit about what makes a thriving culinary scene. Sure, it’s imperative to have great restaurants. Talented chefs, you betcha. Bustling cities, no doubt. But what makes the culinary scene, where we are blessed to live, so special, is the brotherhood and sisterhood that is becoming more and more evident and that was very clear at a recent Local Industry supper this past Sunday. I was actually so excited to be a part of it. It’s something that mr. foodie and I have often talked about…with a twist and one day, if the chefs are on board, I’ll let you all in on our idea…until then, my lips are sealed (sorry).

There were about 100 restaurant industry folks there and it felt positively inner circle…and in a way it kind of was…but at the heart of it was community in all the right ways. Front of house staff, back of house staff, beverage pros and farmers…all gathered together to cook, talk about the past and upcoming weeks and generally just enjoying food and fellowship, after a hectic week that is the food business.

Organizer John Bobby, who’s the chef at Roosters, A Noble Grille in Winston-Salem, says it’s the second event of hopefully many…all to be held at an area farm so that those in the industry can get to know one another and the farmer in particular. “This is a very progressive kind of event that’s happening in a lot of cities. It’s a way for us to fellowship and break bread.” Bobby says he didn’t just limit the invitations to Winston-Salem chefs and extended invites to chefs from all over the Triad. “I wanted to include as many people as I could. We’re a community….if we didn’t get together and collaborate, it would simply be competitive. Or we’d see each other out and about and just say, ‘hey’, but we should really strive to support one another. And support the farmers and purveyors who provide for us.”

The theme was a Crawfish Boil and everyone was encouraged to bring a potluck dish to share. And one thing you’ll get from folks who work in kitchens or farms is some truly delicious eats. And some fun stuff that you don’t normally see in restaurant kitchens, like Ham Hock Terrine with pickled okra and pepper jelly. Or a Carolina Cassoulet thrown together by Chef Jeff Bacon of Providence Kitchen from remnants of smoked sausage, chicken confit and beans. Not to mention a straight up rustic boil with taters and corn and crawfish thrown on a table. There were kids activities too and many a crawdad kept the little ones busy along with some other outdoor fun… and mud pies.

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Bobby says that changing it up every month and visiting different farms helps increase the awareness of what our local farms are doing. Mitchell Britt, owner of Krankies Coffee in downtown Winston-Salem and Krankies Downtown Farm, host of the event, says having a farm is just another step in a direction he feels they’ve always been headed. “When we decided to take Krankies to the next level and open our kitchen up for daily service, we decided then that we couldn’t do that unless we intended to grown much of our own food.” Britt and his team farm on three acres in a mixed area of residences and businesses in West Salem. There, Krankies farm is growing herbs, lettuce, greens, fennel, tatsoi, just to name a few. There are wildflowers, sunflowers, buckwheat…and it’s all thriving with life and bees and ladybugs and all things that any farm needs.  Did you know you ca actually order ladybugs from Amazon? The things you learn from urban farmers 😉

Chef John Bobby and Krankies Owner Mitchell Britt

Krankies Downtown Farm is one of the first of its kind to receive an urban agricultural permit and likely will become a model for other urban farms like it.  Britt says, “It’s really a labor of love, with multi-faceted benefits. One day we want to be able to get this particular farm to the point where we might be able to donate it and it can then be a community farm.”

At the event, speaking with farmers and chefs who not only buy from them, but also work the fields with them, it’s so interesting to see how cyclical things can be. As mr. foodie pointed out,  a generation or two ago, many of our parents or grandparents couldn’t wait to get away from the farm and get to the city and now we’re seeing more and more, an appreciation for farming and the land and knowing where our food comes from. Even more ironic is now, the farm has come to the city.

And people are loving it.

Where’s your favorite farm? Do you have one in your city?