Sunday, April 18, 2010


I am not sure what happened to me today. Allergies finally got to me? Antihistamine induced insanity? I lost it a bit. Just a little bit.. I hope you understand my friends, but I really need to get these rambling thoughts out of my head.

It all started a week ago. There was a sign~ 16 acres with a house / barn on the border of a local park, near our suburban area. NOT that I am leaving (or thinking of leaving) my bit of suburban utopia, but I was curious.. so I called. The gentleman was nice on the phone. It was his mother's home of 98 years. He doesn't want the property subdivided. It is zoned agricultural. The price (hold on to your hat).. 1.5 million. Gasp.... Not so reasonable for a small farmer?

Then I checked out Helen and Scott Nearing's book 'The Good Life: How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World" from the library. It is a very good read. The photo above is from their garden in their first house in Vermont. I got to the principles that governed their gardening last night:
  • Live 12 months of the year from the garden.
  • Eat fresh, unprocessed food.
  • Eat a variety of food to furnish a well rounded diet.
  • Reduce canning and preserving to a minimum.
Sounds good right? We are working on it here in our garden slowly... Each year we learn and try a little more. Yes, I'd rather buy a compost spinner than an outfit from Macy's (sad but true). I love growing our food. It isn't easy. I am still learning and trying to eat local..

Then I went to the grocery store this morning. The produce section sent me over the edge.

Green Beans ~ from Guatemala
Cantaloupe ~ from Honduras
Watermelon and Mango ~ from Nicaragua
Sweet Onion, zucchini, asparagus, and cucumbers ~ from Mexico

The only cucumber I could find from the USA was plastic wrapped. I stood there waiving my cucumber and thought.. get out.. get out before they arrest you for causing a riot in produce! No one cares if the melons are from Honduras!!

I got to the checkout and the plastic wrapped cuke was still in my vegetable-less basket. I bought it and slunk to my car.

Be gentle with me.
It's Spring.

Too much reading?
I'll get myself pulled together. This week ~ going to check out an all season farmer's market. For now, I am going to pull on a coat and hat (it's sleeting) and go talk to the cold frame. Maybe if I talk nice to it the lettuce will come..

Thanks for listening..


Camilla~ Bloom said...

I checked out a book last year with that couple from Vancouver that were eating local for a year. AS much I love the thought of that I wonder now how realistic it is. With my 4 growing kids they NEED variety in their diet for proper growth, they just can't sit around and eat potatoes all day because it's avaiable.

I commend them for going out of their way...and you Leigh, for so caring and consiensious(sp?) but it's enough to drive me mad, trying to be politically correct as a consumer and a "good" mother and nurish my children at the same time.
I simply don't have the time to can and preserve either, I thought about that, too time consuming.

I am also a vegitarian so it is a challenge to find any kind of produce that looks appetizing in winter here.

So with the that said, I am growing my own food during summer....and will be supporting the rest of the world consumtion of fuel and also buying "unlocal".

The good news, I won't be bald from ripping my hair out, and...I won't be one of those unhappy "crazed" moms insearch of perfect.
Instead I am going the happy medium route...and will be cool as a plastic covered cucumber.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

Beegirl, we're definitely kindred spirits!

I about choked on the 1.6 million or whatever it was for 16 acres! Whew! I thought CA was pricy. (Actually, it' probably the same here, too... I'm sure I'm in denial!). I'm going to have to add that book you mentioned to my reading list. It sounds very interesting - right up my alley.

My friend who owns an organic farm asked me to work for her this summer. I'm so thrilled just to be able to be there and learn from her. Even though I'll mainly be a berry picker, I hope to see how she does a lot of things on a larger scale so that I can apply it to my own garden .( I hope my older body can hang with the work!)

Elephant's Eye said...

I try for South African first. Will stretch a point to Kenya, or sometimes Israel. Thinking about this now, if all the planes are grounded, we all won't be getting flown in food to reject. We will so too be eating local, or at least travelled overland.

Clare said...

Woah that little dream bit of land is pricey! There is a house with 6 acres I am just dying to own and it is $295,000 atm but just know they will come down, she has been trying to sell it for years.
*Sigh* Not yet!
The book sounds like a good read, will have to search my library and see if they have it or can order it in for me.
It always bothers me seeing 'fresh' produce from other counttries. We have oranges here so why do we need them from China!? And how is it that they can be disgustingly cheap. Oh the tactics they play to lure you in!
Just like you, I am getting there with growing my own veges, it is hard to look the other way when forced to buy.

dmoms said...

I am not understanding the perserving and canning at minimum part.

I can't even stand to go into a regular grocery store these days. the fruit and veggies are just too pretty - fake almost. yet, I relate a bit with camilla with the kids and all.

i am thinking we need to really

deb said...

Holy smokes, that's some expensive property! They must grow money trees right on the property.

Isn't it sad that so much of our food comes from so far away? And yet, we have more control over this than people think. We just need to stop buying it. End of story. Our past generations never saw fruits and vegetables from places around the world. They used what they had canned or put away in the freezer and if they couldn't find it there they waited until it was growing in their own gardens.

I love that a compost spinner rules on your list over Macy's! Sweet.

Have a great week!

A Friend Across the Miles said...

I'll listen to you anytime...

Baby steps still get one to their destination - you go girl!

Thinking of you today Shirley!!!!


rtfgvb7820 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Jessica said...

This weekend I went to the farm market of my childhood (a small family owned barn/store) as opposed to the big grocery store. I spend much less money, but my selection was just as limited. Soon, soon there will be lots of local goodness. This time of year is so very hard!!!

Chiot's Run said...

So weird how everything works in this country. We'd love to buy the lot next to us, but the guy wants $20,000 for it, for a quarter of an acre - YIKES. I could buy 40 acres outside of town for not much more than that.

Read this quote in Eliot Coleman's book yesterday - love it:

"Even though most people can easily discern the quality difference between brands of automobiles or appliances, that same astuteness, with the exception of visible cosmetic quality, does not seem to be applied to vegetables. The myth has been successfully planted in the public mind (possible for the benefit of the homogeneous supermarkets) that biological quality differences do not exist and a carrot is a carrot is a carrot."

gonzomama said...

i have been known to utter my annoyances aloud in the grocery about where the produce is from. it's quite sad really.

we are excited that we have expanded our garden this year. we just have raised beds and limited sun, but we are learning and growing and loving every minute of it.

i don't know where you live, but here 1.6 m for 16 acres is a deal. especially with a house on the property.

underthebigbluesky said...

okay, 16 acres, $1.5 million, oh heck, i cannot even do the math on that one per acre...yikes!!

i am reading Marian Nestle's book What To Eat and she is talking about all these issues you are talking about!!! i just read at lunchtime how small local organic farmers cannot get their organic food into grocery stores, because of the giant conglomerates, moving into the organic market which is why we get shrink wrapped cukes from California!!!

If it helps I am there raising my fists in the store....granted I don't necessarily want to give up bananas and mangoes, but really green beans????

i have barely put a spade in the ground, not sure how much "garden" i can do myself this year, so i am very thankful for my Amish neighbors and their "local flavor" that should be coming soon....

here is another laugh though, the girls and i went to town to get our passports done Saturday morning and drove past our local "farmers market", there was one lone person there, and from what i could see from the car she had tomatoes and pineapples...ummm, sure not local or in season, lol.

keep that dream up....and feel free to vent anytime!!!

Anonymous said...

To calm your sticker shock a bit, $100,000 per lot x 16 acres x 6 lots per acre = $9.6 million dollars. That's approximately what a developer would pay in a North East suburban area. For LOTS only, then add the value of the houses.

Makes $1.2 million seem like a bargain.

Nancy said...

Oh, to live the dream...wouldn't that be nice? The thing is the dream isn't easily attainable for the majority or maybe even the minority. I'd love to eat only local and only local. Unfortunately to make ends most families have to have 2 working parents. Years ago when people ate only what they produced at least one was home to tend to the garden/fields/orchard. A rarity now. As a kid we ate mostly local -- beef from our pasture, pork from our farm, chicken from our farm and oddles of veggies from the garden and apples/cherries from the orchard. Mom was home and worked like a dog all day during the spring and summer but we enjoyed the fruits of her labor well into the winter.

Carmen said...

Ugh! There must be liquid gold in the depths of that land! Ha! ; )
I hear your frustrations. I bought a bunch of strawberries at our local grocery and came home to discover that they were from Mexico. *sigh*
I think your post just gave me some motivation to get those $80 worth of seeds from Baker Creek started and ready for the garden.
Baby steps! ; )

funkisockmunki said...

I just got back from an unfamiliar grocery store, having had a similar experience. All the 'organic' was from far away places. I ended up buying one sad looking onion wrapped no less than three times in yellow "organic" tape. QFC is such a grotesque shopping center.

Can't wait to get moved and back to gardening and shopping at our co-op grocery, which will then be only 3 blocks away.