Friday, April 22, 2011

Mother Earth says, "Shop Locally!"

Well, there are only a few minutes left of this Earth Day here on the left coast. I’ve used this week to provide you with a few simple ways to stay fabulous and go green. By turning off the lights and dining locally, we can do our part to give back in our daily lives. These tips are just adjustments to our normal lives but their impact is huge. Today, for my final tip, I will keep is short & sweet.

3. Shop locally for foods & services...

Shopping locally allows you to connect with your community and not waste gas or time venturing too far. Yes, you could venture out to the big chain stores and shop till you drop on unbeatable deals because shopping locally will seem to cost more up front as pricers tend to be steeper in local shops and gas stations. But what you find that you are paying for is both convenience and quality. Think about it: How far are you really from a clothing boutique, food co-op, farm, organic butcher, skilled seamstress, great school, hiking trail, book club meeting spot, river, library, authentic pizzeria, Goodwill, cafe, pool, riding stable, consignment store, wherever. Take this long list and look around as you are out and about. You will discover some new places if you just look a bit more closely around town. People will drive an estimated 25 miles/day and this figure is conservative, especially for my busy family of 5. Be bold and try a local product or service on your next outing. My own spontaneity led me to some golden eggs.

Look at them. Are they not beautiful? They are from Quilceda Farm, a fully operational farm about 30 miles from my house. I happened upon them at my local butcher shop and they fit all of the quality standards that I have established in my relationship with food. I took a chance and after doing my research by contacting the farm directly, I found out quite a bit. The eggs are from cage free and free range chickens, meaning they are
not kept in cages and are also allowed to roam freely around the
farm in the air and sunshine. Quilceda Farm has been in business for over 5 years now and is home to about 400 birds. This seems like a pretty *big number but large scale chicken farms are known to have housed over 50,000 caged chickens in some cases. The approach at Quilcedas is more personalized as they deal with their birds on a daily basis. Living around them and handling them directly adds a special quality to the chickens and the eggs that they lay. Call me crazy, but I feel that this kind of love is passed to the eggs that are produced at Quilcedas. Their varying sizes, shapes and colors exemplify the diversities that are present in all aspects of life creating a truly beautiful, natural product.

Shop locally and support your community farms and businesses this Earth Day by seeking out local food suppliers. Do some research and see what delicious culinary delights that you can get close to home. As the warmer days approach, I am reminded that the Farmer’s Markets are just around the corner and local food will be right at our fingertips come May! Crisper apples, berries, carrots, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh-churned butter, golden honey await us all at the seasonal markets. This is where the farmer and the consumer really connect and information is exchanged to make the food experience better for both of them.
Organic, local foods will cost you a bit more but it is worth it. Quality does not have a price tag especially when it comes to food. It is up to you to make the right choices about what goes into your body. I am still working on making all the right ones for my own.

How lucky am I that I found these just in time for the Easter Weekend. They are our own little miracle. Green eggs for Earth Day? How ironic is that? I wish you all could hold them. The pictures do them absolutely no justice. They are so perfect & wonderful that I hate to use them. Is it also ironic that I plan on Deviling them???

*This number seems large to me because I don’t own any chickens right now. This is why I sought out the lovely eggs above, as my family eats about 2 dozen, yes, a week. Though chickens would be cost feasible for my crew, my husband has forbade it. My sister in law, however, just recently purchased 5 chickens and is having a chicken coup constructed on her property. I wish her well on her journey. The baby chicks are so cute!