local, seasonal, delicious

This past Saturday was the last Charlottesville City Farmers’ Market that I will attend for the year. From April until December, I did not miss a Saturday (aside from the time I was in Guatemala). I experienced an entire season of local, organic produce and meats. This is what I’ve learned in the last 8 months.

  • Fresh seasonal produce tastes amazing – no, this is not an exaggeration. Heirloom tomatoes? DIVINE. Blueberries in July? Sweet, tart, and crisp. Even the kale and greens are tastier!
  • The vendors at the market are some of the most genuine and inspiring people I’ve met. Their ability to get up at ungodly hours, suffer temperamental weather and still have a smile on their face is a testament of their passion. Making friends with and being about to shake the hands of the people who raised/grew our food is an incredible feeling.
  • No, it’s not cheap. But it is worth it. I don’t make a lot of money so I made the decision to stop mindlessly buying things and start investing in my health and well-being.
  • Planning is key. If I had my way, I’d buy everything from everyone at the market. And then it would all go bad in my fridge because I can only eat so much and I’d also be broke. To prevent said catastrophe, I’d set a list of what I’d like to get every Saturday and adjust it according to what was available. The list usually included eggs (duh), meats for protein (bacon was always on this list), some kind of greens, seasonal fruit (berries in the summer, pears and apples in the fall), and at least two kinds of vegetables.
  • Experimenting is fun! Whenever possible, I’d make myself buy something I’ve never cooked before. That’s how I discovered Patty Pan squashes, Russian kale, turnips, purple cauliflower, okra and so on.
  • Early bird gets the worm. Or the eggs. Whatever. Getting to the market early is the best way to ensure that you’ll find what you want. As the colder weather was approaching, farm eggs became more and more scarce and to ensure that I’d get my two dozen eggs, I’d be there right when the market started (7AM during the summer, 8AM during the fall). I regret nothing.

Winter officially starts tomorrow and my produce habits will have to adjust. Between a possible winter CSA and shopping at locally-owned grocery stores, we’ll get our food locally when possible. I can’t wait until next year!

A big THANKS to the folks at: Wolf Creek Farm, Whisper Hill Farm, Double H Farm, Sunset View Farm, Planet Earth Diversified, Babes in the Wood, and Shenandoah Joe’s (because I can only function at 7AM with the help of coffee). 

Days 135 – 156

What I’ve been up to since returning from Guatemala:

  • I started the Whole30 Nutrition Challenge on May 23rd (still going strong!)
  • CrossFit 2-3x a week
  • Work, work, work
  • Editing photos from Guatemala
  • Redecorating the apartment
  • Work, work, work
  • Sleep
This is just to update all my photos. As a side note, you’ll notice that there are some days missing – I’m going to admit that I slacked off and didn’t take any pictures on some days. I’ve accepted that I failed on those days and have forgiven myself. Onwards!
We gathered a crew of friends to help us in our first steps in decluttering our place! Our friends are awesome (Thank you Kyle, Michael, Ben and Mehtab!) and our apartment is awesome.
Sometimes, this is what you get when you live with a boy.
Typical breakfast (maybe dinner?) in our household.
We discovered something awesome – beef bacon! Kinda tastes like really good jerky when overcooked (my fault) but still delicious, I can’t wait to include back into my diet.
A great BBQ at a friend’s house included some perfectly grilled meat to satisfy our palettes.
He might kill me for including this picture but I like it. These are a series of photos taken of Chris’ band members for promotional posters. You should check them out – they’re pretty freakin’ awesome (www.theanatomyoffrank.com).
Day 1 of the Whole30! For dinner: grass-fed beef heart from Wolf Creek Farm!
 Apparently, I like food.Something I’ve yet to try at CrossFit – tire flips! Not that I’d succeed because they’re bigger and heavier than I am but who knows.
Back to the ol’ routine of the Saturday morning Charlottesville City Farmer’s Market. So many strawberries! I didn’t get any because they’re a bit too sweet for my taste (and therefore, go bad before I get to use them) but their colors are so enticing!
On days where the humidity isn’t stifling, I have breakfast outside on our back patio. It gives me the opportunity to savor my meal without the distraction of my laptop or the television. I also noticed that I feel way more centered when I’m not rushing around like a maniac in the mornings.
Where all the magic happens – my cupboard. Today (June 5th) I ventured to our local Whole Foods where they held a 50% off everything sale (they’re moving to a new location) and now my cupboard is even more stocked up. Now I don’t have an excuse for not cooking well.
A happy little accident occurred  – I was following a recipe from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook for an Almond Coconut dressing and added too much almond butter (is there such a thing?) and got a thicker, creamier sauce than anticipated! It’s got some tanginess from lemon juice and some added fresh basil so it goes incredibly well with fish.
While walking around the Farmer’s Market yesterday, I was tempting into buying some flowers to spruce up the apartment but I had to talk myself out of it – I know that I’m terrible at taking care of plants (although that orchid is still blooming..)
While I can’t enjoy a Sunday Brunch out because of the Whole30, I treated myself to a fabulous brunch this morning after a quick workout at a local park: local pastured farm egg scramble, prosciutto (no worries, the only ingredients were: pork, salt, pepper), and local swiss chard and sun-dried tomato sautée. Seriously, this was awesome – I impressed myself.
Phew!