When we arrived home from Arizona, and it was the late afternoon and we were excited to be back in Seattle, which we now dubbed "the land of plenty". Not being able to eat locally in Scottsdale was eye opening. Dan’s family is very healthy in their eating habits, but local-to-Arizona it was not.
This whole trip was pre-cursored with "if we can find local foods in AZ, we'll buy local foods in AZ, but I refuse to be that demanding daughter-in-law that turns her nose up at her in-laws generosity". And so on our trip, we ate healthy, we ate well, but we did not eat locally. It was impossible.
We had arrived in the peak of their "winter" time, when it is too hot for food growth. We attempted to find a farmer's market (most start in October), but none had opened yet. Only one bragged about it's year round bounty, and was touted online of being a great farmer's market with plenty of "vendors". We couldn't find it at first, because we kept passing this small, cement building that looked like a medical clinic. But that was it. Once inside, it was more along the lines of a health food store, though smaller and run-down. A tray full of peaches featured moldy, wrinkled orbs (but Organic!), the greens were wilted and everything else pretty much looked its age. In this single visit, our resolve to eat locally in Arizona was squashed.
After our 5 day hiatus, we were ready to be back to our local ways, and by the time we parked at home in Seattle, it was nearly 3pm, and I knew I would have to figure out dinner for us immediately. Before, on a night like this, I would simply call in our order at our local Thai restaurant and poof! Dinner would appear. Now, this is no longer the case. Everything takes time and thought, and a fridge full of nothing isn’t the most exciting palette to work with.
The meat part was easy to figure out, as we have almost a whole lamb in our freezer and several packages of very local beef. I decided to make lamb stew, something easy and fairly quick. I defrosted the lamb broth I had made also, and along with some of the fresh thyme from our small garden, it was the start of a delicious local meal.
Still, no meal in our home is complete without vegetables, and we were completely out. It's a Friday, I thought, I could go to the one Farmer's Market I know is open...in the Central District. Hmmm. That doesn't leave enough time to run my other errands, and it's right in the thick of traffic. So I found myself in a conundrum. How do you shop local when you are running out of time and need to grab something on the go?
There is an alternative that has been weighing on my mind. PCC, our local food co-op. I've sent Dan there on a mission for greek yogurt, which he proudly returned with. He reported back about other local groceries readily available, but it felt too easy to me. And since starting this journey, I've stopped trusting grocery stores as a whole.
But when I walked into the produce section at PCC, a lot of familiar names greeted me. Nash’s Organics. Rent’s Due Ranch. And in the bulk aisle, there was a bin full of Bluebird Grains, which is our go-to for a rice alternative.
In the dairy section, there were plenty of local options as well. Yogurt. Butter. Even local milk in a large, glass jar. Then something jumped out at me. Local eggs, for $2.99 a dozen. Organic. Local. Huh?
We’ve been spending $5 to $6 a dozen at the farmer’s market, treasuring each egg as if it was our last. In our desperation for finding a cheap, local egg resource, we have even considered getting a few hens for our backyard. Our very small backyard. In Ravenna. But why would we do that, or spend $5 a dozen each week, if we could just buy them each week at a store that is less than a mile from our home?
I'm still sorting this one out. After some research on Stiebrs Farms, I have found that they are, in fact, legit. They are located in Yelm, Washington, and proudly serve up dozens of Organic, Cage Free, Local eggs.
And PCC, I've got to hand it to you. You're doing a pretty amazing job at staying local.