Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Bounty

   Our family has recently joined the 10% Campaign.  This is a simple, genius idea and I urge you to please check this out and consider making the pledge yourself.  The Center for Environmental Farming Systems asks North Carolina residents to pledge to spend 10% of their food dollars on local products.  We, in NC, spend about $35 billion on food each year.  If we buy just 10% of that food locally, then $3.5 billion will be kept in our local economy and will support small local producers to boot.  You can get more information about the 10% Campaign at the following address and if you don't live in NC, please look to see if there is a similar program in your state.  


   There are nine farmers' markets and two local co-operative grocery stores providing local and organic products within a 20 minute drive of us.  Luckily, now that it's essentially summer in NC, they are all in full swing.  We can shop at a farmers' market on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday and on the off days hit the local co-ops.  Or, better yet, I can stop and visit the local farmers who set up from the back of their pick up trucks at the intersection a mile from our house, whenever they have something to sell.

   This past Saturday we decided to go to the Carrboro Farmers' Market.  It's one of the largest and best markets in the country, with more than 75 different farmers, and a few craftsmen, selling their products.  There is a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, dairy products from both goats and cows, meats and eggs, herbs, locally milled grains, a rainbow of jams and pickles and baked goods.  The Carrboro market is a true local farmers' market, allowing only products that have been produced within 50 miles of the market and requiring farmers to be present to represent their goods.  

We picked up strawberries, asparagus, pepper jelly, mint and lemon verbena plants, and the most amazing french breakfast radishes to use in Easter dinner.  We had hoped to pick up rhubarb as well so that Brendan could make his Aunt Mary's wonderful strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert.  You can see Brendan showing off this heavenly concoction on TV if you click on the link.  Be sure to keep your eye on the male anchor who finally gets fed up with waiting and tries to grab the pie!


No one at Carrboro had rhubarb, so off to Chatham Marketplace we went.

Chatham Marketplace is Pittsboro's co-operative grocery store (http://chathammarketplace.coop).  The Marketplace is essentially a full service grocery, carrying everything from produce, meat, dairy and grains to green cleaning products and even has a prepared foods section that serves a freshly prepared lunch and dinner every day!  It is community owned and housed in a converted textile mill.  The restored mill is the home of the Marketplace as well as professional offices, a dance studio, and has room for community events.  Outside, there is a lovely pollinator garden consisting of more than 125 plants that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators that benefit farms.

We were able to pick up rhubarb at the Marketplace and spent Sunday afternoon preparing for a big family dinner.  Brendan is happiest in the kitchen, whether at work or at home and I just try to stay out of the way.  It was a fantastic dinner, made all the better because we knew we had thrown our support to local farms.  Here's a sampling of what we all got to enjoy!


  1. The food looks Wonderful!! and the flowers are gorgeous! Are they from your garden?

  2. Yes, Rob, they're from our garden - thanks to our visiting florist, Patrick for the arrangement!