Zachary and I went to our first farmer's market of the year last week. We usually go to the Beverly Market (118ave 40st) on Tuesday evening and then hit up the Baseline and Festival Place Markets (Sherwood Park) on Wednesday.
They all share a couple of common vendors, Beverly is the smallest of the 3 and Festival Place is definitely the largest and most crowded.
One of our favorite farmers, Nelson of Rose Ridge Land and Cattle, is at the Beverly Market and Baseline Market. We try to stop by and say hi and chit-chat at least once a week. He has the BEST smokies and he offers a variety of beef products as well as grains. They even mill their own flour on the farm :)
I enjoy stopping to chat with Nelson, not only because he's a Thorhild native like myself, but also because he is VERY aware of living a local lifestyle. Most of his business comes from people who support local farmers and in these "hard economic" times I'm amazed that he says business is booming more than ever right now!
Why is that strange?
It costs more, up front, to live a local lifestyle. You buy a whole beef in the spring to be delivered in the fall and that's the beef you have all year. Our purchase from Nelson last year was $2.90/lb (if i remember correctly) coming to a a total of just over $1600.
You have to purchase/grow all your fruits, berries and veggies in the summer and then can, freeze, dry, etc to have all year round.
It's a lot more work and cash in the spring and summer months.
But it really does save money and effort during the rest of the year, as long as you plan to continue the rotation and SAVE up the money to make your big purchases.
Kristy (my oldest sister and fellow poster on this blog :) ) is raising chickens this year. You have to go out every morning and water and feed them, and then either pay to take them to a butcher or do it yourself.
Our Baba and Gido (Grandma and Grandpa for non-Ukrainians) used to have chickens every summer and I remember us all getting together to butcher, pluck, clean and freeze probably 100 chickens every fall. We would all help, the younger kids chasing the chickens, Baba boiling them to loosen the feathers, Uncles plucking them on the wheelie machine (it was quite the contraption), Aunts pin-feathering, singeing, cutting off the feet, and then cleaning the inners out (gross, but necessary).
Yes, it was quite the family bonding experience :)
And now Kristy is continuing the tradition. Teaching her son, and my child one day as well, where our food comes from and how to prepare it for storage. And then, of course, how to COOK IT! :D lol