Saturday, June 4, 2011

Farmer's Market Lessons

Last summer, Greta and Dad took me to one of the largest Farmer's markets I have ever been to, and it got me thinking about my lifestyle. Today I took the girls to Saskatoon's and noticed it even more. The things that Mike and I make for ourselves are all up for sale, and they cost a lot more than you might think. A handful of rhubarb is $5 and a wilted basil plant is $4. Fresh spinach and chard both cost about the same. The amount of asparagus I picked yesterday is about $7.  That's just plants and seasonal food. Anything processed is much more. Baking costs nearly ten times the cost of ingredients and thing we make like canning and soap are even more. People pay it because they are too busy or disinterested in doing it themselves, but they believe handmade, local or chemical free is worth it. Quick calculations told me that Mike actually earns nearly double his library salary each month in the stuff he makes for us.

This lesson was reinforced at the grocery store where I bought pre-made salsa and bruchetta ingredients (minus the fresh basil, a savings of $4.19 - no organic available). Because of our tomato blight last year, we ran out salsa about three weeks ago and Mike is very sad. I think salsa is to Mike as ice cream is to Wendy. Anyway, the salsa is very mediocre and costs a lot for the amount you get, and bruchetta ingredients were also really costly. Makes it easy to understand why people by chips instead of peppers and candy instead of raspberries. Anyway, the long and short of it is that I am very happy to be growing things - and not just because I love to do it.

Currently eating:
  • all herbs
  • rhubarb
  • spinach
  • baby chard
  • asparagus
  • garlic greens
Blooming perennials:
  • 2 types of iris
  • purple clematis
  • anenomie
  • 4 types of tulips including a beautiful yellow-pink clustered tulip
  • orange poppies
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers, squashes 
  • chives
  • tea rose
  • lily of the valley
  • wild violets
  • strawberries
  • birds-eye narcissus (Mom admonished me for calling them daffodils)
  • a variety of shrubs
Today the girls and I also picked lilacs, tulips, iris, and lily of the valley. Leora and I made 7 bouquets in a variety of rooms. There were no lilacs for sale at the farmer's market, but we played with the equivalent of $40 of luxury fresh flowers that were pesticide free with zero greenhouse gasses expended in growth or transportation. Yup, we live a luxurious life in a small bungalow full of used furniture.

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