Thursday, December 6, 2012

Veg Fest!

Part of why I'm able to spend the money I do on grass fed/organic meats and wild caught fish is because of my CSA.  We started buying in to Grant Family Farms, located in northern (high northern, it's rather unsettling to pass the highway sigh listing "CO/WY state border, 20 miles," about 3 miles before our exist) Colorado.  The farm itself offers vegetable shares in three sizes, egg shares, and preserve shares, which are simply large boxes of single items intended for long term storage.  Also, the farm raises chickens, ducks, and geese, which are used for various field duties and manure but also provide excellent poultry in the pot at the end of their working lives.  Recently, I bought 15 chickens for 28 dollars; the birds weigh about 2.5 lbs a piece so I spent approximately .48 cents a pound.  For 100% pastured, organic birds!  How much more awesome can this place be?  Well, I'll share a few more tidbits.  Grand Family Farm also contract with fruit growers all over the state to offer a fruit share (we get plums, pears, apricots, cherries, and apples and sometimes products like applesauce and cider), and contracts with 3 different local creameries for cheese shares, a mushroom grower for mushrooms, and a bakery for bread shares.  Someone trying to eat a Paleo/WAPF type diet could live very, very well off what this farm offers off their own land and through other local producers.

My family gets the medium size vegetable share, a box intended to feed 3-4 adults for a week, deliveries for 26 weeks.  We also get a "single" fruit share, approx 5 lbs of fruit a week, deliveries for 22 weeks.  We get the "full size" preserve share, which produces 10 large boxes of single items (all my choice).  I get all of this for $950 up front in late winter.  Since this quantity of food, properly preserved, will last an entire 12 months, if you divide the total cost by 52 weeks, you quickly find that my produce costs per week equal just a touch over $18/week.  For food coming off a farm that has been organic since the 70's.  I can't spend $18/week locally for conventional produce.  To buy organic and not from Grant Family Farm, I would spend probably more like $30-$40/week at current local prices.

Grant Family Farms had a rough year this year.  It started with an unusually mild winter last year, which didn't kill off the amount of pests winter normally gets rid of.  Then we had a very hot, very dry, very, very smokey summer.  The Ft. Collins fire in the news in June was only about 30 miles or so south of the farm.  So, the season ended up being closed one week early.  To make up for the disappointment, the trucks brought extra produce to our pick up locations last week.  I picked up some extra things, including a huge bag of end-of-season apples, but walked away feeling like I should have packed up more.  In addition to extra crates at our pick ups last week, there were two days of "Veg Fest" at the farm this week.  We went up yesterday.

For 4 hours total driving time and $50 for lunch and gas, I came home with a solid $200 worth of produce at local organic prices.  Leeks, cabbages, onions, dry beans, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and beets.

My children think that parsnips are bugals.  They also think the menu should include more parsnips.  I had planned to bring home half this pile but Chance and Shula insisted I needed more.

The potatoes the farm grows are a waxy heirloom variety.  They don't spike my blood sugar the way floury russet style potatoes do.  Therefore, we eat potatoes several times a week.  These, however, are destined for the food dehydrator and a veggie soup mix I'll be putting together over the next few days.

The world, according to my children, also needs more carrots.  Just like the parsnips, I'd intended approximately half the quantity seen here.  They helped me with the remainder.

We try not to eat beets too much or two often as at least two members of my family have a metabolic inability to process the red color and therefore pee pink.  This makes me think beets are a metabolic stressor for them but we do enjoy a good roasted beet or borscht occasionally.

So that's it for today.  Lots of vegetable goodness being dehydrated while attempting to keep children from eating up all the spoils of our drive while it's still in the bags.  As a cute kid comment, said children decided that an excellent snack today would be dried parsnips dipped in butter.  If they feel the need, I assume there's something in butter their little bodies need so I didn't stop them.  Just gave them butter knives.  I can deal with them eating butter straight up.  I cannot deal with little finger holes in the butter.

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