Summer is really great for multiple reasons, granted so is every other season. There are several options for eating locally in the summer that aren’t there as easily in the dead of winter. What I am talking about has to do with gardening and farmers’ markets mainly. I so enjoy all the fresh produce, either that I have grown myself, or others have grown and I can buy directly from them. Ames is especially rich in this sense, we have two farmer’s markets, and it seems like a lot of the people with booths there are just selling straight from their garden in town. I love that! This time of year is wonderful for asparagus and the first salad greens, radishes, and rhubarb. Tarts are about my favorite thing to make, whether an egg based veggie tart or a fruit based sweet tart. I can also get all kinds of local meat from goat to pork to beef, not to mention fresh eggs. Yummy yum yum!
This kind of creates a problem though, so much produce and meat and eggs and dairy… How to carry it. Market bags are really great for this. I use fabric reusable tote bags for all my solid items and then crocheted market bags for all the produce. If I need to go somewhere after the farmer’s market, I bring a cooler with some ice packs in it with.
I posted about making a fabric reusable grocery bag awhile ago, so check that out for some links to patterns as well as some etsy shops that sell them. I never mentioned crocheted tote bags and I looked around a little bit and there are a ton of great patterns for them. Here are a few:
- Crocheted Market Bag – Posted on the Classic Elite Site, I really think this one is neat, it’s more narrow that I’m used to seeing.
- Large Plastic Market Bag This bag is actually made out of old plastic grocery bags! Neat-o!
- Monica Brown’s Crochet Market Bag – this pattern costs $5, but it is really nice and I think it would be worth it. I would love to carry this cute crocheted bag around on market day!
- I found this bag on Craftzine. It’s a Lion Brand Pattern. I have to admit, they are getting better, the organic cotton isn’t half bad…. yikes! did I just say that!? Here is another market bag from Lion Brand: Cotton Ease Market Bag
- I really like the Sally’s Shopper! What a cute name. Worked up in the right colors this bag could be oh so cute!
- I think this one is a vintage pattern, I always like that.
- And of course the crochet pattern central section on Totes, Purses, and Bags is always a great place to look around for bag patterns.
Now I’m not sure about everywhere, but just to give you an idea of what is sometimes available, there are a ton of really great Farm Share programs in most areas that are rich in farming. So midwest/middle of Iowa means that I have a lot of easy access to things that might not be available everywhere, I would imagine that everywhere you go, something similar would be available for whatever crops are being produced. You can actually search for farm co ops, farmers markets and the like on Local Harvest. That’s where I first found the farmer’s markets in Ames and the Food to Folk program.
Here in Ames (and it turns out DeKalb had one too, I just didn’t know about it) there is a program called Farm to Folk. It’s a farm share program, and I’m not going to know exactly how it works (I missed out on it for this year and plan on signing up for next year), but from what I have read there are a certain amount of shares available at the beginning of each season and you can buy a half share, a fruit only share, a full share, etc. Then when harvest time comes you get a certain % of whatever is harvested and pick it up at the local drop location. This is really great for the local farmers because if say in seasons like this one where their yields will be low they don’t go under and seasons where they have a high yield you as the folk get really cheap fresh local produce! Over the long term it works out to be a great system for both the farm and the folk! (I love that name!).
If you have a hard time getting to the farmer’s market and don’t have a farm share program, you can turn to you local health food co op. They usually carry a huge selection of locally grown produce as well as meat and dairy products. Also in the Chicago Area, there is this great home delivery program called TCF Organics. It’s not all local, I think a lot of it is actually through WholeFoods, but it’s still organic and in the case of eggs and such they mostly come from farmers within this region. They only operate within 150 miles of the Chicago area. I signed up with them the last 4 months or so that I was in Dekalb. I really liked it because I was so busy and it pretty much made it where my grocery store trips were just for grains and some other small things like yogurt. It helped me to eat healthier and saved me precious time.
Well, that’s it for today! I hope this helps encourage you to take a trip to your local farmer’s market. I’m sure I’ll post about this again sometime, but I’ll put it to rest for now.
I think the way things are lining up I’m going to get the pattern up on Saturday and not tomorrow (I forgot it was the 4th, so there will be 4th of July things that need attending and whatnots, haha, how could I forget that!).
Edited in: I have such unrealistic expectations for myself, sorry about all the delaying of pattern posting going on. I should really just go all the way on vacation when I go out of town. :P I do have it just about done and I’m hoping to have it up by Sunday night. Also, I won’t be posting on Monday… well…. I most likely will not be posting on Monday, something might really grab me that I will need to share… but I don’t have anything planned. I’m really excited about this pattern I have in the works, I’m just having a hard time explaining what to do. My sewing lingo in a little rusty! All disasters aside, I will see you tomorrow. :)
Also Kro Postal is officially open for business, but because of the holiday, orders will not go out until Saturday (if you order today or tomorrow). A few things have already sold out (thank you K!) so make sure to check it out sooner rather than later.
Happy 4th of July everyone!