Tag Archives: local products

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triadfoodies Holiday Gift Guide

Happy Holidays, foodies! Christmas is my favorite time of year. As we sit here on a mountain still under a mountain of snow (23 inches over the weekend), I am so excited to share my favorite finds from 2018. I was doing a gift guide before it got popular, ha! Or…at least I didn’t realize other bloggers were doing it.  This guide of glorious deliciousness is ALL LOCAL and easy to get. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve probably seen many of these items before.  These are products I use in my home. I buy them all year. And they are the perfect gift giving items too. It’s NC …right there in your stocking!

You can read the whole story and find out how to win over at YES! Weekly. You’ll need to comment on their Facebook page to win.

Abby’s Better Nut Butter (Date Pecan Butter):

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To say that Abby’s Better Date Pecan is a top fave would be an understatement.  Abby was 15-years-old when she started making her own nut butter, which turned into a business. Now three years later, you’ll find her nut butters on the shelves of most main grocery stores regionally. Abby’s Better also has a a website where you can purchase nut butter, bars and merchandise to your nutty delight. abbysbetter.com

Y’all Sauce

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As seen in YES! Weekly a few weeks back, Y’all was born Baptist in Louisville, KY and moved to Winston-Salem where it’s made with passion. We love Y’all sauce because it really goes with everything.  Y’all became a fave when we tried the Come Back sauce in late summer. Then the Jezebel sauce went on the Thanksgiving turkey and man, oh man was that good! Guess what? The winner gets a gift set of all three Y’all Sauces: Henry Bain, Come Back and Jezebel.  You can find Y’all Sauce at Southern Home & Kitchen and Canteen Market & Bistro in Winston-Salem. Check out their website, yallsauce.com for retailers or to have it shipped to you.

As Good As It Gets Salsa

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I love a good salsa, especially a local one. Andrea Cardwell makes the Triad’s newest salsa by hand, pours it and distributes it…all by hand. This salsa is super fresh tasting with a small chunks of veggies you can see and taste. The black bean and corn salsa is just as good and both types of salsa come in mild, medium, hot. Another flavor…get this…called Butt Burner is available in regular chunky salsa only and is made with jalapenos, habaneros and Carolina Reaper peppers.I tried it and lived! You can find As Good As It Gets at many local Lowes Foods, Colony Urban Farm Store and small grocers. Check out asgoodasitgets-nc.com for a complete list of locations. By the way the winner is getting Medium Salsa and Butt Burner. Two delicious salsas! 

Bee Pollen at Colony Urban Farm Store

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Bee pollen? You mean you can actually eat that stuff? Why, yes! It’s fruity, floral and nutty. It tastes to me like a honey infused grape nut cereal. It’s superb on smoothies, smoothie bowls and yogurt.  It’s suitable for ice cream and even salads and other recipes that might require a touch of street and crunch. The possibilities are endless. Bee Pollen is considered one of nature’s most complex foods as it is a complete protein and is stocked with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and anti-oxidants. A spoonful before a workout can give you a bit of energy without it being heavy on your stomach.  A little goes a long way. This bee pollen is produced locally and is supported by Bee Our Future, a local bee conservation initiative that delivers, installs and maintains beehives for businesses and residences throughout the Triad.  Colony Urban Farm Store is located at 492 West End Blvd., Winston-Salem colonyurbanfarm.com 

14-Degrees Coffee

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Joey Burdette and Terry Miller, owners of Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge in Winston-Salem, have endeared themselves to many with their cozy coffee shop with desserts and confections, pastries and teas. And this fall they launched their very own specially roasted coffee. And coffee great coffee must go on the guide, foodies.  You know it’s fresh and wonderful when there’s a roast date on it. Note to yourself: All coffee should have a roast date on it.  TCH is located at 301 Brookstown Ave Ste 300, Winston-Salem.

Fainting Goat Spirits Tiny Cat Vodka

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A triadfoodies Holiday Gift Guide would not be the same without some local booze. And we think Fainting Goat Spirits Tiny Cat Vodka is the local staple spirit for your bar and your party.  Tiny Cat starts with organic grain and finishes clean in your glass. Distiller Andrew Norman is even throwing in a recipe for his famous Slightly ImPEARed Cocktail for you here. Check it out at the end of the list. And get the Cat at ABC stores.  faintinggoatspirits.com

Batistini Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil

IMG_4662Cooking and condiments in my kitchen have been elevated to new heights thanks to Batistini Farms olive oils and vinegars. It’s hard to choose a favorite but you pretty much can’t go wrong with their truly impressive and earthy and fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Organic notes. This EVOO is meant to be savored as a condiment, not to be cooked with. A balsamic drizzled into this oil for a salad or even better, to dip your bread in, is not to be outdone. You’ll see why this combo is a staple at renowned restaurants, like Blackberry Farm.  We also love Tom and Cindy Sephton’s commitment to bringing quality olive oil and vinegar to the area and so much knowledge along with them.  You can find Batistini Farms at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Bistro, just to name a few.  Visit b-farms.com for a full list of locations or to order.

Shady Creek Farm Facial Scrubs

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You know how sometimes we like to mix it up and throw in something that’s not food? Well, this is one of those times. And our favorite non-food this year is a reusable facial scrub from Dallas, NC. How cute is this??  Use these scrubs to get the grime off your pretty face or put on some toner. When you’re finished you toss them in the wash and let them dry. Reuse for another day and feel great  that you’re not adding more trash to the world. Shady Creek Farm also sells “swiffer” type wipes, washcloths, soaps and a whole host of sustainable goodness. Check shadycreekfarmandnursery.com to order or for retailers.

Gorilla Grains

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A perennial fave in my house and was featured in 2015 in our original gift guide. We felt the need to bring Alicia Rehburg’s amazing 100% granola back into the lineup. Mainly because since I’ve moved and I’m farther away from easy access to this crunchy goodness….well, let’s just say absence has made the heart and tummy grow fonder. What makes Gorilla Grains stand out is that it is buttery…you can taste the butter. Other granola has oil as their fat, but the Gorilla’s is butter and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll understand.  You can find this amazing granola at Musten & Crutchfield, Elon College and various markets or order at gorillagrains.com 

Black Mountain Chocolate Fruit Cake

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The quintessential reigning alumnus that’s never been off the list and never shall it be, unless they stop baking it. The boozy chocolatey concoction with Broad Branch Distillery’s Night Lab is for adults only and oh so good. Great with wine. Decadent with coffee or tea. Naughty with a bit more bourbon on the side (in a good way). It’s a Black Mountain delight made at 732 NW Trade Street, Winston-Salem.  blackmountainchocolate.com

Slightly ImPEARed Created by: Distiller & Mixologist Andrew Norman, Fainting Goat Spirits

 1.5 oz Tiny Cat Vodka

.75 oz Winter spiced simple syrup*

.75 oz Fresh lemon juice

2 oz Pear juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a coupe or martini glass.

 *To make the winter spiced simple syrup combine 1 cup brown sugar with 1 cup warm water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1 clove, 2 star anise pods, 3 cinnamon sticks, ¾ inch of peeled ginger and sit for 10 minutes. Strain out the solids and keep refrigerated up to a month.

Deck yourself. Deck your friends with these local goodie! Shop local and enjoy.