Saturday, June 23, 2007

Supporting Local Farmers

Today, I am going to go to a local Black berry and Blue berry farm to pick blackberries. I do have wild blackberries on my farm, but this year they are about the size of baby English peas. (drat!). So, off I go to pick from someone who irrigated. That's OK, I believe in buying from local farmers. To be honest, not only should the berries be bigger (but not as sweet) but their plants are thornless, and I don't expect to have to sidestep snakes, and snakes are a big possibility in my berry patches!

Farming can be a seriously risky business. Especially, if you are trying to make a living from it. This year, especially, in my part of the country, being a small farmer may mean ending up seriously broke, not to mention hungry. We are in the middle of a bad drought here in Middle Tennessee. Luckily, Tennessee will probably never run out of water. It doesn't really matter how dry it is, or how long it has been that way, just drill a little way and you WILL hit water. Some of the larger farmers around here aren't being really affected because they have taken advantage of wells and springs to keep their crops irrigated, but most can't afford that.

To top that off, we had a hard freeze at the most inopportune time last spring. All the peach and apple trees, and the blueberry bushes were in full bloom....guess what we aren't getting this summer and fall? The strawberry crop was affected, but luckily they were already further along than the other fruits and there was a half decent crop of strawberries. Unfortunately, I ended up paying $11 a gallon for the same thing I paid $7 a gallon for until this year, but at least I hav some strawberries in my freezer for the winter. I happened to be traveling in South Alabama recently where the peach crop was stunted but not destroyed. So a few peaches made it home with me. I have eaten three in the last week and a half. The rest are in the freezer. I'm thinking lo-carb homemade peach ice cream a few times this winter....(lo-carb ice cream...a future blog post)

Being a permanent low carber means I don't eat a lot of fruit. To me it is a wonderful treat. Most of what I pick or purchase will end up in small containers in my freezer to be pulled out later in the year and used for cooking or as a desert treat. (Or thrown into a fancy drink, or as part of a low carb smoothie.)

If you are lucky enough to live in an area of the country where you have lots of fresh fruits and veggies, please support the local farmers by stopping at their farm stands, responding to offers of off farm sales in the local papers, and hitting the farmer's market weekly. Our way of life depends on you.