One of the things I miss now that I've returned from my virtual Valle Crucis vacation was spending time at the Watauga County Farmers' Market. The virtual meals I ate on this summer's trip were delightful if only because of the ingredients supplied at the Market (OK, in all honesty, every meal eaten with a view from the mountain is pretty dang good...Even hot dogs) . Yes folks my tongue is sticking so far into my cheek it's a good thing I'm typing and not speaking 'cause nobody could figure out what I was saying otherwise...The point I'm trying to make is, from my past visits it looks like ya'll have a great resource going here, you really should use it and get to know the folks raising the food you eat. Not every community has the option.
Third Week of August, 2007
One of the advantages of shopping at the Watauga County Farmers' Market is not only the number of varieties available, but that specific information is available about each variety directly from the grower. Tomatoes and peppers in particular have a wide range of tastes. You can select either sweet or hot banana peppers grown by Don and Roger Owens, or perhaps you would prefer their jalapeno or bell peppers. Roger and Don also offer grape tomatoes, Mountain Gold, Mr Stripey, and pink heirloom tomatoes, along with White Half-runner beans. Kenneth Oliver will have Early Girl, Better Boy and Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, green and purple bell peppers, and both red and white potatoes this weekend. Reba Green will not only have plenty of Pink Girl and Better Boy tomatoes for the market, but she should also have enough Silver Queen corn for everyone to get a taste of the homegrown goodness.
Richard Boylan will have lots of garlic in diverse types that are sure to include your favorites. Iva Lee Hayes will certainly have fresh kraut by the Saturday after this coming one, but in this warm weather it is possible it will be ready even sooner.
Landscape plants and shrubs are also available and blooming in variety, such as Alicia Breton's selection of Hydrangeas including Tardiva and Limelight. While you are comparing types you are invited to relax in one of Sheila Sherman's custom Adirondack chairs and see the matching accessories all in western red cedar.
The Woodlands Barbecue Restaurant will be on hand this Saturday offering up plates for your lunchtime enjoyment. Meals will be on sale starting at about 11:00, and they are expected to go quickly!
Watauga County Farmers' Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We are at the Horn in the West, turn next to First Citizens Bank on Highway 105 Extension and go to the top of the hill. We will be there rain or shine!
From just down the valley (virtually speaking) Tom Philpott has this to say at Grist about the new criticism being tossed at the local food proponents...
Attention farmers' market shoppers: Put that heirloom tomato down and rush to the nearest supermarket.
By seeking local food, you're wantonly spewing carbon into the atmosphere.
That's the message of a budding backlash against the eat-local movement. The Economist fired a shotgun-style opening salvo last December, peppering what it called the "ethical foods movement" with a broad-spectrum critique.
Among the claims: organic agriculture consumes more energy than conventional, and food bought from nearby sources often creates more greenhouse-gas emissions than food hauled in from long distances.
I really like his reasoning behind the criticism...
The sustainable-food movement's achievements have thus far been largely cultural. In other words, despite all the attention from celebrity chefs, best-selling authors, and, ahem, environmental webzine columnists, the vast bulk of food consumed in this country still travels gargantuan distances, consumes unspeakable amounts of fossil fuel in its production and distribution, and leans heavily on poisons and water-polluting artificial fertilizers.
And while the sustainable-food movement's power may be causing vapors within the pages of the Economist and the New York Times op-ed page, Wall Street hasn't gotten the memo. In the stock exchanges, shares in agribiz powerhouses Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, John Deere, Smithfield, and Tyson are all trading at or near all-time highs. That means that the "smart money" isn't quite as impressed by the rise of buy-local campaigns as commentators on either side of the food-miles debate are. For unsentimental investors, the profit prospects for industrialized agriculture, geared for long-haul distribution, are rosier than ever.
If you haven't discovered Tom's thought provoking pieces at Grist yet, click on over and read some of what this Valle Crucis farmer has to say. I think you'll be glad you did.