This weekend (Labor Day weekend) marks the unofficial end of summer, as I sit here preparing to tell you about my “Sustainable Summer” my mind is wandering to thoughts of Dora the Explorer backpacks and upcoming flu shots. Before I head back into my “Manic Mommy Mode” (as if I’m ever out of it) I wanted to look back on some of the things that made my summer one of Sustainability.
First a quick update on my Farmers Market project. If you’ve been following my posts then you know that a couple of months ago I decided to take a huge leap of faith and approach my local municipality about bringing a Community Farmers Market to my town. Well, I presented my idea to the Municipal Council in August and it was approved pending selection of a new market location. If you recall when I met with the town mayor to try and garner his support, we had a bit of conflict concerning the proposed location and he asked me to find another spot. After careful consideration and what seemed like hours wandering around my one horse town I decided that there really wasn’t a better location and I was going to fight for my initial selection. When I met before the Council, I found that the location I was interested in is slotted for another project as I suspected all along. The Council loved the idea of the Farmers Market but was leaving it up to me and my “committee” to find a better spot. Since meeting with the council I have formed a Farmers Market “Committee” and we are scheduled to meet later on this month to toss around possible new locations. As always I will keep you posted.
Despite ineffective mulching and weeding my small victory garden did yield about 25 pounds of heirloom tomatoes and I’m still harvesting jalapenos and frying peppers. I put up 2 dozen jars of Strawberry preserves and few experimental flavors as well, how does Blackberry Thyme sound and Blueberry Lemon Verbena? Sadly there were no trips to the strawberry patches or blueberry farms this year, most of my wares were purchased from the Farmers Markets. My mother and I decided to go half on a poultry share and after tasting what these true organic, sustainable chickens taste like I don’t know how I could ever go back to any supermarket brand. I happily stumbled upon a couple of great produce stands relatively close to home and stayed committed to my weekly trips to the various farmers markets. My grandfather happily supplied me with black beans, zucchini, and so much more from his own garden. Although I put my homemade bread making on hold (it was just too darn hot) I continued with some regular butter and ice cream making but no more adventures with cheese, and speaking of homemade dairy I even had the good fortune of being a guest on the Martha Stewart Radio program Morning Living on August 24th talking about my adventures in homemade butter making.
One thing I didn’t find myself doing was a lot of grilling. I usually love grilling but after my last post on the differences between gas and charcoal grilling and which one is the more sustainable choice I decided just to put my outdoor grilling on hiatus for a bit and found myself using an energy efficient counter top electric grill when the mood for grilled foods would strike. I feel like there was so much more I could have done to support the local, sustainable food movement but given my situation I think I did pretty well and I always have to remind myself that I am only one person and Rome was not built in a day. But I want to hear from you, what did you do this summer to make it a more sustainable one? And what are your plans for having a more sustainable fall and winter? Foodwise that is.
Here’s a small portion of Heather Jone’s first post about working toward bringing a Farmer’s Market to her small town in New Jersey:
I already have a location in mind. One thing you need to know about my town is that although we aren’t a destination spot according to my local county engineer’s office, over 50,000 cars travel through my town on their way to the shore points between the months of June and August. And that is my plan, to entice those out of towners to stop and pick up some of our fabulous locally grown produce on their way to their million dollar beach houses.
As for the Market committee, I have a few people in mind to assist me with this but I haven’t approached them yet. My plan is to review the information, inform the DOA that I will be moving forward with the project (The DOA informed me that out of all the applications filed to set up a community farmers market only a third actually get up and running), and then meet with the town mayor. Once I get a feeling of whether or not he’s going to go for it and I don’t see any reason why not then I will get a committee together and prepare to present the project to the town council.
So this is where my newest journey begins, I’m saying my prayers and keeping my fingers crossed that I may be able to possibly have it up and running for the month of August but if not this summer than all systems will ago for next year.
Heather Jones is a wife, mother, freelance food writer, and graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She has worked for Gourmet Magazine, TV Personality Katie Brown; and the New York based Indian-fusion restaurant Tabla, and a recent guest on Martha Stewart’s radio program. Heather resides in Woodbine, New Jersey (population: 2800) with her husband and two daughters. She is a strong supporter of the Sustainable Food Movement and believes that education is the key to making a difference.