Friday, April 25, 2008

Finding Fresh produce in The store and Farmer's Markets

Where is your produce coming from? Are you sure?

We just had a little market open up in the community. Actually a little roadside stand just down the road from us. they have lots of great things. The problem is that they are telling their customers it is local. Most of the customers do not question that. That is fine. But people, I hate to tell you.......there is NO local produce right now! I went by there to get a cup of tomatoes last week and the man told me they were local. I asked where is local? He said south Alabama. NOT! Maybe south Florida. South Alabama tomatoes will not be in until June 1. I have grown up in this business and i hate to be lied to. I told him he could keep his tomatoes.

For all of my northern friends. I will see the local stuff here first, because it gets warmer here sooner and we are able to plant earlier. I just don't want people "taken" and lied too. I hate a liar!

The first U.S. produce (not grown in greenhouses) will be seen from Florida and California.

Unless you are getting your apples from overseas they are last year's apples preserved by gases. I refuse to by overseas produce since most (some do) countries have NO mandated rules about using raw sewage for fertilize, usually human not just animal. Then the produce is not cleaned properly or at ALL!

I could go on and on. I know much more than I wish I did.......not really I am glad I do, so I can keep my family safe.

Anyhow, when you start going to farmer's markets and they tell you they grow what they are selling (especially early on) ask them about it. Ask to go visit their farm with your children. I know we are delighted to show off our farm, since we have nothing to hide (or should I say something to show).

Most farmer's markets have few rules on bringing produce in. I know one farmer's market that we sale at has none of those rules in place and produce is bought at the big market in Birmingham and bought up there and sold as there own. I wish I could change that, but the owner's of the market says as long as the customers get what they want it doesn't matter. GRRRR!!! I hate that.

Right now in north central Alabama we have strawberries in season. We will have cabbage, English peas, broccoli and cauliflower in the next few weeks. Then squash (yellow and zucchini) and most all peppers. Cantaloupes around June 15th and eggplant and cucumbers then too. You will start seeing field peas, corn and beans right before tomatoes. The earliest (ripe) tomatoes come in July 1st with watermelons and okra a couple of weeks after that.

Our peaches start the end of May and go through September. Our plums are mid May until July 1st. Our apples start July 1 and harvest ends around the end of October. Our pears are usually from late July through September. Our blueberries are usually in around the 4th of July and end around September 1. Our figs are late usually around August 1 and got through October. Nectarines (ours) are usually June 20 through about August 15th.

Now, I am getting off my soapbox. I just don't want anyone to get "taken". I hope everyone has a great summer and plants their own stuff. It's just the greatest feeling knowing that you grew that ! I also encourage you to find a farmer's market and visit it regularly. Get to know the farmers and visit their place. Show your kids how their veggies and fruits are grown.

Let me tell you a story and I will leave you alone for awhile. Back 5 or 6 years ago we were doing a tour. The school had brought over 300 kids. They had gotten to see my Granddad's 150 year old cider press in action, gotten to pick an apple and a tamed crab apple, gotten to see the new cider press and get a sample of the juice and now we were showing the grader (where the apples are sorted and graded. One little boy (who's Mommy was not present) asked my brother how we got all of the apples FROM the store to our farm. My brother was a little puzzled. He asked the little boy what he meant and the little boy told him apples grew in the store. Saying this after seeing them on the tree. I bet his Mom was glad she had to work that day! It is funny, but sad. My brother took the time to take the little boy and a couple more with a teacher back to the orchard and explain how the apple grows on the tree one more time.

I hope you all have a great day and many blessings!!!! Happy shopping!!!

5 comments:

KyliesMom said...

Oh my gosh, *human* fertilizer??? That really scares me. Thanks for letting me know!

Anonymous said...

Its sad Marva a lot of inner city children have no clue what a farm and etc are all about.

We have a local farm here that does tours and families can bring the kids up and pick just about anything that is in season.

My husband was ignorant to the fact on a lot of things about a farm until he married me :0) he was a city kid. We bought our home 16 years ago and our property backup to a dairy farm and hubby kept complaining about a smell. I said I cant smell nothing, because I was use to cow manure lol he has finally after 16 years now gotten use to it.

But never seeks to amaze me how many adult and children have no clue about country living.

Vicki(wheezymom)

Nico said...

Great article Marva! I've been researching pick your own farms close to me, but I haven't been able to find one. I'll be checking out the local Farmer's market this Spring and Summer :)

stephanie said...

Great info, Marva! I also hate it when someone tries to sell me a line. I have heard stories about human fertilizer and it is scary to think about the lack of regulations in other countries, when it comes to our food, or clothing, toys, etc.

We will be growing some vegetables this summer, but our source for local produce other than what we grow is not available this year (the farmer we purchased from couldn't get enough help and his children are all away at college so he won't be selling at market this year) so we will be looking when things start to warm up.

Take care,
Steph

stephanie said...

Great info, Marva! I also hate it when someone tries to sell me a line. I have heard stories about human fertilizer and it is scary to think about the lack of regulations in other countries, when it comes to our food, or clothing, toys, etc.

We will be growing some vegetables this summer, but our source for local produce other than what we grow is not available this year (the farmer we purchased from couldn't get enough help and his children are all away at college so he won't be selling at market this year) so we will be looking when things start to warm up.

Take care,
Steph