Back on the Home Front

I will write more about our travels another time, and perhaps in another place. If so, I promise to post a link. Meanwhile, it’s time to write about “here” again.

Since our experimental garden plot failed earlier this summer, we needed a new and cheap source for fresh, local fruit and vegetables. We were still on the lower food budget amount, as The Agency had not yet corrected for My Dear Wife’s seasonal unemployment. We are hardly the only ones, either. Fortunately, we live in an area where there are resources for low-income families who want to eat well, and our friends at Backyard Harvest came through for us again. They are running a CSA-type operation which, for SNAP (that’s the clever new name for food stamps) recipients, costs $5 per week ($20 for rich folks) for a big box of greens, yellows, oranges, reds…you get the picture? Here’s an example:

early-season share basket

Those eggs are from the chickens who live in the garden behind the Backyard Harvest site.  Both chickens and eggs are quite nice.

I called it a “CSA-type” operation. Technically, CSAs are memberships connected to a particular farm; the BH share program takes in donated produce from local folks who have home gardens. So, similar…yet a little different.

I truly appreciate the generosity of those who have chosen to share their home bounty this way, as much as I envy their skill in growing it. This is a challenging climate zone for garden produce; between the long winter, the lack of rainfall, and the often-scorching heat, there are many ways to fail. I stumbled upon but one of them. I also stumbled upon a usable workaround.

I wish I were riding my bike to pick up this produce, for all the usual reasons: exercise, carbon-neutrality, eco-bragging rights, and so on. The trouble is that this pickup site is over in the next town, roughly 11 miles from home. It’s not so much the length of the ride, although the inevitable return would double it; it’s the time factor. It takes me roughly 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours to ride that far, and that’s a big chunk of time out of the day: three hours for the round trip. Plus, I’d want to stop at The Co-Op and WinCo, and I’m not sure my bike trailer can carry that much. I’m not sure I could bike all that back up the steep hill to our house, either. So, My Dear Wife and I drive The Green Monster. We will often do our regular shopping then, and make the rounds of the thrift shops, thus consolidating the various errands into one larger trip. It helps take some of the sting out of not biking.

I also wish we could finish off the greens/yellows/oranges/reds/etc. before the week ended and it was time to go and get some more. We’re trying, and I think it’s getting better, but I’m not always sure of what to do. I’m not even always sure of what’s in the basket; what it tastes like and how best to cook it. Maybe if I read the tip sheet they hand out with the greens, I might have half a clue. Trying to eat less meat, especially less beef, has put me way out of my cooking comfort zone.


About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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