Yup, I’m now the proud owner of 100 pounds of potatoes, 50 pounds of yellow onions, and some 27 cloves of garlic. I’m nuts – certifiable crazy. That’s what the lovely folks at my local farmer’s market think at the very least.
We’re headed into the harvest season, and for our local farmers that means lots and lots of tomatoes, pumpkins, squash of all colors, and taters coming out of their ears. It’s a race against the impending frosts to see how much they can harvest and sell before the local market closes for the winter. There’s another local market further downtown that stays open during the winter, but it’s impossible to sell what’s out of season.
Personally, I hate buying produce shipped from Mexico and Chile during the winter. Have you ever tried to buy organic taters in the winter? They’re pricy, not to mention a bit wrinkly and mushy at times. So, this fall, I’m trying something new. I’m all about supporting my local farmers, so I’m stocking the cellar – the basement – with produce that should last a long time. Potatoes that you buy in a grocery store can go bad in a week – nasty slimy, smelly things that start to ferment into a horrible version of vodka on their own. Farmer’s market fresh taters will sit in my pantry at room temperature for months and be just fine. (I did test this before I loaded up on taters – I’m not that dumb.)
Besides, you get a better price when you buy in bulk. My total bill for the taters and onions was a whopping $56 – that works out to $.36 a pound for the taters, and $.40 a pound for the onions. This week in my grocery store regular potatoes, not organic, were selling for $.70 a pound.
The garlic was a bit pricier – I told them I’d buy the whole basket of large garlic cloves if they would make me a deal – $1 a clove is priced a tad high. The vendor at the table looked at me and his jaw dropped: “the whole basket?” I said “yup, they store well,” but he kept muttering “27 cloves of garlic…that’s a LOT of garlic!” It used to be normal for people to stock up – if you didn’t, you didn’t have anything to eat during the winter. When did this become something weird?
100 pounds seems like a lot, especially when I’m trying to sort them and trot them down cellar. It’s not really that much for us though, because we eat a lot of potatoes. Baked, mashed, oven crisped into tiny little cubes – they’re all tasty. And pretty darn nutritious if you’re careful. I fix them with the skins on because that’s the most important part – and that’s the main reason I shop for organic. Do you really want to eat something that has been in close contact with the pesticide laden dirt? Not to mention what I read about farms in certain countries using what’s basically raw sewage as fertilizer. Eww.
So. Guess what’s for dinner?
(by the way, mashed taters with garlic is heavenly – and fairly healthful if you skimp on the butter.)