Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thrifty Locavore

I guess I’m a “thrifty locavore”, which means I don’t like to spend a fortune to eat locally, but try to do it whenever possible. In the summer, I shop at a farmer’s market nearly every weekend, and for produce, I can do it exclusively during the summer. I have also had a CSA share before, but since no CSA grows every single thing I want, I would also go to the farmer’s market, too

Best prices for local food:

  • I have found local eggs are about $2.50 a dozen, which are comparable to store bought cage free prices. I buy all local eggs – they taste so much better.
  • Dexter, Chelsea or Ypsi farmer’s markets have better prices, especially if you are buying in bulk for home canning, which I do a great deal of. Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is year round and has the best selection, but the prices are higher than other farmer’s markets around. The Westside Farmer's Market is small, but nice to go to on Thursday night after work and closer to home for me.
  • Needle Lane has the best CSA prices that I have found.
  • U pick farms are good deals, too, especially for canning
  • I like to buy Zingerman’s bread day old – you can get it at the deli next to the front door on Detroit Street in a bin for a discount
  • I buy bulk locally grown beef from TMZ Farms in Pinckney. Still more expensive than grocery store beef, but a much better deal buying in bulk. I go to Pinckney to pick it up at the hardware store after I call in my order.
  • Hannewald Farms has good lamb at a decent price for sale at the AA Farmer’s Market, but my kids don’t like the taste of lamb. Occasionally I will buy some for the grown ups to eat.
    I grow my own herbs…I’d grow more stuff, but the animals that live around my house will eat it.

    Stuff I still buy at the grocery store:
  • I don’t buy Guernsey or Calder milk, because it cost double what Prairie Farms cost, which is a local dairy co-op that doesn’t use hormones. To me, Guernsey/Calder isn’t worth the money.
  • Butter – haven’t found a local source for butter. Has anyone? I occasionally buy Amish butter that comes in a big blob from Indiana somewhere at Alexander Farm Market.
  • Coffee beans – I like to buy fair trade beans. Target’s Archer Farms has great fair trade coffee that is half the price of others I like (Roos Roast, Zingermans)
  • Poultry – I haven’t found a local source that I can afford, although John Harnois raises some delicious poultry.
  • Bacon – I love Nueske’s bacon, and haven’t found any locally that tastes that good. Besides, Wisconsin is somewhat local, isn't it?
  • Flour – although I might start buying more Westwind Milling stuff, which can be found at the People’s Food Co-op.


TeacherPatti said...

Totally agree on the Needle Farm...and I live so close to M&Y that it's nice to stop in and get my food.
For butter, there is Calder Dairy butter. I really like it, but it is expensive. The cheapest that I found it is at Bello Vino.
If you want some of the Westwind flour, let me know! They have more variety at the store than the PFC does.
I have been getting the Amish chicken from the PFC, which is pretty good and fairly decently priced.
I am going to try to can this year...I may be asking you for advice, if you don't mind :)

Maria said...

Yeah, the Calder dairy butter at Arbor Farms is running 7.99 for a pound and a half. Not cheap, but it's good and lasts a while (comes in a big tub). Only salted though, which I find disappointing.

Sparrows had some Northern Ohio chickens for a while but they seem to have disappeared.

kim said...

There are a bunch of places selling chickens locally, but I don't have the per pound price for each of them. Check out: Ernst Farm, Back 40 Acres, Earthshine (spendy!), Aric Van Natter (in Chelsea), in addition to Harnois. Brad Judge in Dexter may also have some this summer.

I love this post!


KHurley said...

I couldn't find local butter where I live, so I bought a quart of heavy cream from the same dairy where I get my milk, poured it into a couple half-pint canning jars and had the family slosh it around while watching TV. Before too long, we had local butter, and got to use the leftover buttermilk to make a loaf of soda bread. It made a small tub of butter not far off in size from what you'd find at a grocery store, and this is after my husband had stolen some of the cream to whip and put on top of a pie. So the quart of cream went a long way. The cost for the quart of cream was far less than what we'd have paid for a tub of butter, some whipped cream, and a small container of buttermilk all purchased separately.

Holleigh said...

I live in Ohio, and luckily we have a new dairy farm, Snowville Creamery east near Athens. It's the best local milk around and 50 cents to $1 cheaper than Organic Valley.

Regarding finding butter, I've been making my own with the Snowville whipping cream in my small food processor. You just pour in some cream and run it until you get a big chunk of fresh yellow butter. And the fresh, uncultured buttermilk is delicious! Plus, a huge amount of the commercial butter in the US is imported, especially from Europe. I'll never buy butter again.