Hey, did you know that we here at Scoot like food? And eating? We totally do!
Something else we like? Supporting local businesses. And a big part of that is eating local.
We’re spread out all over the country, so that first part isn’t so easy. But while we may not be local to each other, we’re all down with our local food scene, be it farmer’s markets, CSAs or locally sourced restaurants. Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to chat about the different ways we keep it local.
Two words. Farmer’s. Market. Or if you have access, going straight to a local farm is even better. New England is home to really decent gardening conditions, so in the summer, it’s easy to get local grub. I’m lucky enough to have a ton of local farmer’s markets nearby, so pretty much any day of the week, I could hit one up. And, as if that weren’t awesome enough, there’s a local farm about 10 minutes up the street from work, that has a farm stand three days a week.
This past weekend, I hit up the local farmer’s market. My husband is usually working on Saturdays, but he had just started his vacation, so we all went. This particular market is my personal favorite, as it sits right beside a small beach, and there’s a big grassy area to have a picnic, and the best lobster rolls in the world are sold right up the road. They have everything from fresh bread to nautical jewelry to local honey to TONS of fresh produce. I went with $40 in cash, and left with all this.
The kids were right in there, making suggestions and asking for berries. (Parenting Pro-tip: If your kids ask for fruit, say yes, every time). And everyone got frozen lemonade, and I still left with a couple bucks. Total score.
Riverside, California has a huge agriculture industry. It is home to acres of citrus trees, hosts the Orange Blossom Festival, and even has a Citrus Heritage Run through the orange groves, which I participated in last year. It’s not uncommon for residents to have a few lime, lemon and orange trees in their yards. The University of California, Riverside, which is just around the corner from my place of residence, keeps groves of citrus trees and has a botanical garden that is open to the public. Yep, we here in Riverside love our gardens.
Riverside puts on three Farmer’s Markets a week, in different locations. There are also markets that are open daily where you can buy fresh produce that’s been picked that day. I used to live downtown (on Lime St., right between Orange and Lemon), so I’ve only frequented the Downtown Farmer’s Market. I used to walk there every Saturday to get produce, fresh flowers, eggs, honey, and bread… and sometimes dog treats. All organic, all grown locally.
Riverside is very close to other agriculture towns, like Redlands, mostly famous for Hangar 24 Orange Wheat beer, Yucaipa and Oak Glen, where you can pick apples in the acres of orchards, and Norco, which has a very distinctive smell, they have cows. Vendors from these nearby cities bring in their goods and set up shop on Main St. in Riverside every weekend. In addition to all the produce, there’s live music, food trucks, and local vendors, all displaying their goods and services, from dangly handmade jewelry and pottery to fancy scarves and hats. It’s a great way to support local business and I like the idea that I get to talk face to face with the people that grow the food I’m feeding to my family.
Summertime means my creativity in the kitchen (and in general) is at an all time high! I want to do and try all the things and I’m not afraid to go for the gusto in trying new recipes because hey, there’s time to spare.
When I’m able to, I always support local businesses. Growing up in the Garden State means we have the opportunity to head straight to the source when we prepare our meals.
Here’s a recent haul from a trip to our local farm, Duffield’s. Anyone want to guess how much this cost? The cucumbers and corn are homegrown.
Additionally, I am super luckily to have other sources for what ends up on our table. Joyce, at Pickie Pickie Farm (aka her yard) has chickens! We visit once a week to get extremely fresh eggs from her chickies.
The chicken roam freely around the yard during the day and return to the coup each evening.
Finally, there’s the Bullock Garden at our local elementary school. This is a brand new initiative headed by first grade teacher, Sonya Harris. I’ve been lucky enough to learn from the educators at my son’s school how to weed the things that don’t belong there and (the fun part) pick all different herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
We were fortunate to have Ahmed Hassan work on the garden this spring and it’s truly been a blessing to our community.
So, whether you’re local to one of us or not, we highly encourage you to check out your local farm scene. And then you should totally send us pics of your food. Because in case it wasn’t obvious, we really like food.
Next Friday look for our post about homing gardening and CSAs (that’s Community Supported Agriculture). Are you a part of a local CSA? Shoot us an email at scootadoot at gmail.com – we’d love to feature YOU in our next post!