Carrboro, North Carolina
Born and raised in central Maine, my youth was spent mowing the lawn, kicking a soccer ball against the garage doors, and trying to sneak sugar cereal out of the kitchen cupboards after I was put to bed. More about Tim
South Royalton, Vermont
I am a baby boomer who grew up in a time when the trend in food was convenience and speed. It wasn't the fast-food era, but a post-World War II time when ... More about Warren
We live in Holliston, Massachusetts. When we bought our house in Holliston about 27 years ago, Holliston was a rural/residential town of about 13,000 people. More about Barbara
Wallace, West Virginia
My name is Autumn. I'm 24 years old, and I live in rural north-central West Virginia. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and in 2005 I graduated from ... More about Autumn
My personal interests revolve around the environment, both knowing more about it and getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. This led me down an educational path to ... More about April
Posted at 12:53 PM on January 30, 2008 by Warren Johnston (3 Comments)
I’ve gone in search of local salad greens, which are not a common sight in New England this time of year, and I’ve been somewhat successful, although the price makes me think twice.
There is a very good nonprofit here, Vital Communities, that keeps up with local farming and what farmers have for sale. The agency maintains a Web site, vitalcommunities.org, with a searchable listing of farms in Vermont and New Hampshire that sell to the public. So, if I want salad greens or dried beans, all I have to do is search the site. Most farmers sell either direct and at a few local retail outlets. I wish they'd list prices.
The problem with buying this time of year is the cost, particularly when you’re buying retail and not directly from the farmer.
The greens I found sell for $17.95 a pound at a local CoOp. I weighed a head of leaf lettuce. It was more than $12. On the other hand, another farmer sells bags of baby salad greens that are hand picked, washed and ready for use. She has a solar greenhouse. A bag is about $5, which for special occasions, is OK. In the summer it’s a couple of dollars less.
I also bought dried beans and cabbage. The local beans are selling for $3.25 a pound, and the head of cabbage cost me $4. Unfortunately, these are supposed to be poverty foods. Meat is about the same price. It’s hard to afford being local without long-ranged planning.
Does anyone have suggestions about how to go about it cheaper?
For a rather expensive one time start up cost, you could buy an Aero Garden container or something similar and grow your own lettuce.
Thanks. I may have more time and plan better next year. In the meantime, I have to rely on others.
Posted by Tom | January 30, 2008 1:36 PM
I live in Lebanon, NH and have been aiming for an 80% locally-grown diet. I have a winter CSA share with Luna Bleu Farm, right in your own town of South Royalton. It is a wonderful bargain - I share a small share with a friend and get lots of potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage, beets, rutabagas, celeriac, etc all winter. Today there were alfalfa, mung bean and broccoli sprouts as an added surprise. They deliver it to the monthly Norwich Winter Market for a fee, so I don't have to trek to South Royalton.
For greens, I have been growing a succession of organic sunflower sprouts in soil in a south-facing window. The seeds were from Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford VT. They are delicious on sandwiches, in stir fries and sometimes I add them to cole slaw just to have something green. I have pots of cilantro, mint, and chives too.
My guess is that, when you speak of greens at $17.99 pound, you are speaking of Carol Stedman's beautiful Spicy Greens? My bag was $3.50 and they were beautiful! Such variety! I use them on sandwiches and little salads and they have lasted a long time.
I am wondering about the price on the dried beans - the Hanover Co-op carries Butterworks Farms Jacob's Cattle beans for a dollar less per pound than UVFC and it makes me think that UVFCo-op may have an error on their price? Did you notice that the UVFC black beans were considerably cheaper? They are my favorites.
Upper Valley Localvores have been writing "Frugal Localvore" columns for the UVFC newsletter. Hope you'll check them out!
Upper Valley Localvores
Thanks for your thoughts. Unfortunately, I didn't plan well enough for the winter, aside from a freezer full of garden produce. So, without a CSA, I must rely on what I can find conveniently and what I can afford at the local stores. Time and money are big considerations for me, because I have little of both. In the future, I'll do a better job filling the freezer and plant the garden with winter in mind. I also plan to buy meat and poultry in larger quanities to tide us over. Those things will save time and gasoline and will balance out the higher costs.
Well, a "freezer full of garden produce" sounds as if you HAVE planned ahead and now I'm not so worried about your chance of surviving the winter!
I shop mostly at the Upper Valley Food Co-op in White River Jct. and they do a wonderful job of stocking and labeling locally grown food. They carry local cheeses, eggs, milk, cream, butter, yogurt, tempeh, dried beans, wheat berries, whole wheat bread flour, rolled oats, cornmeal, cider vinegar, maple syrup, honey, cider jelly, cider and maple seltzer. Relatively new is tofu from Vermont Soy, as well as soy milk. Last time I looked, they also had local apples (still crisp!), Champlain Valley applesauce (or you can easily make your own), potatoes, onions, garlic, turnips, celeriac, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, beets, local sprouts and beets. Sometimes they have Strafford Creamery Smooth Maple ice cream which uses only maple syrup as sweetener (no cane sugar.)
I heard that black beans were in at your co-op in South Royalton yesterday - do you like burritos and black bean soup?? Good luck to you - you are brave to bite off this challenge and it will be fun to follow your experience.