Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Patience, Grasshopper

Lately, I have been feeling like Aesop's fabled grasshopper, who failed to store food for wintertime.  You remember the story...

It is not that I have been lazy like the grasshopper, but I feel equally unprepared.  I imagine all of the food I could have stored by now, if I had known about this undertaking last summer.  The reality is that by the time I selected this particular behavioral change as part of my research project, the opportunity for seizing the cornucopia of local food had passed.  Speaking of the cornucopia, I have discovered that there is one featured prominently on our state's seal.  Do you think this is a sign of good things to come?  I sure hope so!

A recent visit to the Matthews Community Farmers' Market renewed my hope for winter abundance.  The Matthews Market is open every Saturday year-round, and all of the produce is grown within 50 miles of Matthews, which is essentially a large suburb of Charlotte.  Though the Matthews Market is smaller than the Charlotte Market and also offers its share of prepared foods, non-food items, and meat, every piece of produce sold there is on our menu.  I looked around at this group of farmers, and I thought, These people are not going to let us starve.  What a relief!

Our most exciting find in Matthews was a new selection of spices, including a blend that could be used instead of salt and another that could be used to make a ranch-style salad dressing.  We also purchased eggs from Alex, a serious young businessman in his early teens who manages over 200 free range chickens in Monroe, NC.  We even bought locally grown luffa for washing dishes.  However, dairy products have continued to elude us...

According to their website, the Davidson Farmer's Market has a couple of promising dairy vendors who offer butter, milk, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, feta, mozzarella, and a variety of other delicious cheeses.  There is also a mushroom vendor and the possibility of greenhouse tomatoes!  I planned to visit this market last Saturday.  However, this time of year they are only open on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.

Having been burned by the non-local ingredients on my last cheese hunt, I am attempting to contact these vendors before I hit the Davidson Market this coming Saturday.  Assuming their products meet the 100 mile food criteria, I will channel my inner Tommy Lee Jones - you know, "a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse in that area..." or at least every dairy booth.  Armed with coolers, cash, and reusable bags, if there is dairy to be had, we'll have it by Sunday!

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