Greetings from the farm. What a difference a year makes. Last year it never rained. This year we can't get enough sunny days to get hay dry enough to bale. Last year it was so dry nothing would grow. This year everything is growing like crazy. Last year we harvested a good wheat crop, high quality hay but very little of it, a pathetic corn crop, and it was too dry to even plant my soy beans. The quality of this year's wheat crop is too poor to be sold for flour so it will be ground for animal feed, there is a lot of hay but not much of it is high quality, but the corn and soy beans look better than they have in several years. Such is life on the farm. No two years are ever alike. And such is life for the farmer, he is never satisfied with how things turn out.
This is national farm market week. The foods we get at the grocery store have traveled an average of 1500 miles before we buy them. Many of the fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe so they can withstand the rigors of travel and handling. Most of the meats and eggs were produced in assembly line fashion. While at your local farmers market the fruits and vegetables are picked at peak flavor and grown on farms in the immediate area. My meats and eggs come from humanely grown animals and are the freshest you will find. And when purchasing from your local grower, the money stays in the community and is spent several times before it eventually reaches the multinational corporations who could less about your local neighborhood. Also, when purchasing from the grower, the farmer gets to keep a larger percentage of the food dollar by cutting out the middleman and not having to pay shipping cross country. The farm is the only business I am aware of where we buy retail, sell wholesale, and pay the freight both ways. By helping to keep local farms profitable, it is more likely that the farmer will remain on the land. That will cut down on development and help maintain our scenic beauty. With all of these benefits coming from shopping at your local farmers market or farm stand, how can you resist?
This week at the market I will have veal, not the kind you find in the grocery store, but red veal from a calf that had a quality life. It was allowed to travel with and nurse it's mother as well as having access to green grass and a creep feeder full of all the grain the calf cared to eat. Veal cuts will include scallopini, cutlets, cubes, boneless shoulder roasts, short ribs, brisket, and ground veal. Lamb cuts will include buttrerflied leg, boneless shoulder, shanks, sausage, ground lamb, racks, loin chops, rib chops, and arm chops. Pork will include boneless butts, boneless loin roasts, pork chops, ribs, bacon, smoked ham steaks, and country ham slices. Sausage flavors are country, hot Italian, sage, mild Italian, applewurst, maple, and bratwurst. There will also be all three flavors of pulled pork barbecue. Beef will include strip, ribeye, porterhouse, T-bone, skirt, flank, and sirloin steaks; sirloin tip, eye round, and boneless chuck roasts; short ribs, ground round, kabob cubes, and beef patties. I will also have jellies and eggs. Have a good week and I will see you at the market.