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Archive for the ‘Fair Trade for Farmers’ Category

Gaining Ground Farm with a Flurry of Customers

Gaining Ground Farm with a Flurry of Customers

QUICK! There is still time to hit the markets today. Don’t miss out. You can NOT get this quality at the grocery store. No way. Ever. My daughter is home for the weekend, so a quick trip to the market was a must this morning. Basically I spent every bit of cash I had. We got flowers for a special friend who is recovering from surgery. And East Fork pork sausage for my daughter and her boyfriend.

East Fork Farm Pork Sausage

East Fork Farm Pork Sausage

Her comment: “Wow. this is so tender you don’t even need a knife to cut it. Yummm. This sausage  is REALLY good! ” 

Last week I got some amazing Pas de Trois cheese from Three Graces Dairy.  Since Julie Claire is home this weekend and an avid cheese hound, I splurged on a Gouda cheese from Three Graces this week (looking forward to tonight’s appetizers).

My friend and neighbor Tom brought us some flounder he caught at Cape Lookout. With Tom’s flounder, we are going to have these Full Sun Farm green beans and Mountain Harvest Organics ‘Red Gold’ potatoes and fresh salad mix.

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Rain is a good thing, but so is sunshine. For a while we seemed to have the perfect balance of sun and rain that really got things growing. But folks, we have had some serious rain lately. Creeks have been edging up to the top of their banks, and in some cases…badly flooding the fields of farmers. Last week in Madison County, most (all?) of the bottoms on Lower Brush Creek had been badly flooded. In some fields, the wet ground had been swept completely bare. Other fields showed flattened crops beyond repair, or only little bits of the crop were still standing.  Further down on Sharp Hollow, the creek had laid a cover crop down flat across the whole wide bottom.

With rain, more rain, and more rain still – farmers were cringing and helpless against the weather, and just trying to make the best of a bad situation. The weather seems to be breaking, but it hasn’t been without some serious suffering and losses by local farmers. So. People who love local (that’s you isn’t it?)…let’s step up to the plate and show a little extra support right now.

Check out some sadly flooded fields on Tumbling Shoals Farm: http://www.tumblingshoalsfarm.com/blog/19851

Greasy Beans

Greasy Beans

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Great Week for Greens!

Great Week for Greens!

The tailgate farmer’s markets are cooking with so many choices. We had a cold start this season, but lately the weather has been awesome – nicely parceling out rain and sunshine in just the right amount. Last week almost everything was ready at the market…even local squashes (pattypans have been SO delicious for dinner this week!). Yummy broccoli and cauliflower too. I haven’t seen any field tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant yet, BUT I have been eating local greenhouse tomatoes AND I heard that blueberries were found at the Montford Farmers Market this past Wednesday.

The local strawberries have been so wonderful, I’ve made more smoothies in the last few weeks than I’ve made in the last few years. Strawberries are such a divine fruit; they are full of vitamin C, and they even whiten your teeth when you eat the whole berry. Try them in green salads. Looking forward to the prospect of blueberries, and a whole new toss of smoothie ingredients.

Blue Potatoes are Blooming!

Blue Potatoes are Blooming!

I actually dug a few new potatoes recently and can’t believe how my garden is growing. I had to kickstart some lame looking peppers this week, but otherwise things are looking fabulous. I have been squishing bean beetles, and keeping an eye out for cucumber beetles. I discovered some Colorado potato beetle eggs on my potato plants. Squish. Last time I looked I didn’t find any more eggs…but we all know how that goes.

Get out and enjoy the wonderful bounty. Stock up this Saturday – so you can eat deliciously and LOCAL all week. And remember to visit the local weekday markets too – every day of the week except Monday. Cheers!

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I am aching for spring. Since I work outside, the weather is an ever-present phenomenon, and it seems that the mild mid-winter has morphed into a very mean late-winter. The wooly worm was right! Monday was spent attending to a new shipment of fruit trees in biting wind. Tuesday got colder as the day went on. Wednesday…ahhh…the sun actually stayed out for most of the day. It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t grey either.

Woodfin Y Market - People In Line for East Fork Farm

Woodfin Y Market – People In Line for East Fork Farm

Today I wore about 3 shirts, a vest, a fleece, a wool hat, gloves, and occasionally my lined Carhartt jacket. I felt a bit like the Pillsbury Doughboy. I checked the weather report and temperatures through the weekend will be colder than normal. That’s right. Colder than normal. This is gonna sound like whining, but ugg, and double ugg. My stepdaughter, Amelia, wrote a wonderful post about February. Here is the first bit, but you should read the whole post! “Every year I think that I want to break up with February a little more.”

Our tailgate market farmers have to move forward with determination despite the bitter weather. To get goods to the market as early as possible, you can bet that many of their days are spent outside on these fierce windy days. Stuff has to happen while we are sitting on our cozy sofas drinking tea. Otherwise, when the spring markets open there would not be anything for sale. Farmers are BUSY right now – growing transplants, planting seeds, plowing ground, cutting down cover crops, birthing baby animals, building structures for the coming year, repairing greenhouses, fixing machinery, maintaining fruit and berry plants, and God knows what else. All of these tasks are done by the farmers with a leap of faith that rain will come when it is needed, that the plants will produce, and that someone will buy their goods.

Seth Salmon of Flying Fish CSA and Wildwood Herbal at Woodfin Y Indoor Market

Seth Salmon of Flying Fish CSA and Wildwood Herbal at Woodfin Y Indoor
Market

If you ever think you are paying too much for something at the Tailgate Market, flash on the dedication our farmers bring to their work. We probably aren’t paying them enough. These folks aren’t doing this only for fun. It is their job and

the way they pay their bills and buy their kids shoes. As I have said before – farming is a labor of love and we are the lucky recipients. Lets support them now (at the winter markets) as we anticipate the arrival of the spring markets soon. Best wishes and praying that the weatherman got it wrong.

Hand Knitted wool Socks at City Market (Indoors)

Hand Knitted wool Socks at City Market (Indoors)

Smoke Signals at City Market (Indoors)

Smoke Signals at City Market (Indoors)

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Frost is imminent. Some of my friends have already scraped their icy windshields. Local farmers

Peppers from Gaining Ground Farm

are walking that thin line, checking the weather predictions, and asking themselves…should I play it safe and harvest everything, or do I want the excitement of playing for higher stakes? Flying closer to the fire could mean you’re stuck with a pile of mushy peppers OR it could mean that you still have peppers in November – when peppers have evaporated from most farmer’s stands.

All of us (Tailgate Market fans) should grab these diminishing market opportunities with an eye toward local food feasting at seasons end. Local tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, okra and squash are at a premium and won’t be back again until next summer. These Tailgate veggies rise from our own NC ground…from our own county and our neighboring counties. That WNC clay dirt distinguishes our food. I think it makes it better for you, along with the care of our local farmers.

Call it love if you want. Whatever it is, grocery-store veggies don’t have it and you’ll never find it in the grocery store – where quantity always trumps quality. Do you think you pay too much at the tailgate market? We probably don’t pay enough. How can we repay the farmers and producers for their up-close-and-personal care of our food? Support them – by showing up rain or shine, buying their food, and appreciating that the food we are receiving is a true labor of love.

Early Fall Salad

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