eat local

All food groups covered!

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Having missed last week's opening day of the Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers' Market, I pushed my lunch back to two today, when the market opens, to see what they had. I was therefore ravenous on getting there, but someone from an office in the Key Bank Building was circulating with leftover sandwiches from a meeting! Thus fortified, I was able to go about my shopping.

Chest freezers are magical.

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Over at Eat Close To Home, Emily is both wondering whether to buy a chest freezer and also commenting on the one-wayness of the blogger-commenter relationship. So I'm going to go old-school - I was blogging before comments existed, yo - and post here, rather than there.

My family bought a chest freezer sometime in my childhood. Every year, we got a lamb and a quarter(?) of beef from my godmother, down the street. When we moved out of the North Campus Co-ops to Jorvik, my parents gave us that freezer - and bought themselves a smaller one. When we moved out of Jorvik and bought a house, my parents gave us a small chest freezer as a housewarming present. (...with a lamb inside it. Yummy.) (We donated the parents' -> Jorvik chest freezer to Growing Hope.)

Blueberry season!

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It's blueberry season, apparently until the end of August. We like Dexter Blueberry Farm - not organic, but local and close. (Plus, it's where my mom took us several times a summer when I was little, so it's tradition.) I picked about 9 pounds.

Blueberries are $1.35 / lb at the farm. I weighed some out; they're about 3 cups / lb, making a dry pint about $0.90. Blueberries at the store are about $4/pint. Wow.

Now, were you to think like an economist, and figure out how much time I spend picking said blueberries, and driving to the farm and back, and declare that my picking time costs me the same hourly rate as my working time, then this pint costs about $5.75, before per mile costs are calculated. Which is why I avoid thinking like an economist - and also why we take friends along. With Kelli & Michael in tow, the mileage costs are cut in half from what we pay alone, and the time expenditure has entertainment value, meaning the cost of my time is priced at the opportunity cost of the fun I could be having elsewhere, and, ehhhh, let's just say it all equals out, my time cost is zero, meaning the cost of the blueberries is equal to the price of the blueberries plus mileage costs / pickers. I don't care for economist pedantry anyways, so this method is fine by me.

Still my kind of robber baron

The Ann Arbor News notes that Bello Vino gets a significant share of its vegetables, fruit, and lamb from the owner's local farm:

At the busy Bello Vino food market in the Plymouth Road Mall, customers are used to getting fresh, locally grown produce much of the year. They just may not know how local.

About 4.5 miles from the store, Bello Vino owner Louis Ferris has turned 85 acres of his 107-acre estate in Superior Township into a farming operation that includes a 1-acre-plus vegetable garden, an orchard with peach, pear, apple, cherry and plum trees, 750 blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, strawberries, a 2,100-square-foot greenhouse, eight bee hives and a flock of 128 breeding ewes to produce lambs.

Eat local stories of the week

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There have been two stories about food this week that have raised my ire.

First, at a community garden workshop held by Growing Hope, I learned that the local "Plant a Row for the Hungry" campaign raised 10,000 pounds of fresh produce from local gardeners. That's a lot of food! Now, the largest part of that actually comes from the State's Huron Valley Women's Correctional Facility, where gardeners donated their entire harvest, of over 7,000 pounds of produce. Why the entire harvest? Because the prison's contract with their food supplier wouldn't let them use the food grown on site in the prison's kitchens. Of course, the food wasn't wasted, because Food Gatherers was there to take it, but I had read this weekend that the State of Michigan spends 1/5 of its general fund on the correctional system - about as much as it spends on higher education. It is ridiculous that the State was so incapable of being flexible that it couldn't use the food onsite.

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