Friday, October 28, 2011

SOLE on SNAP Day 27 and a convo with a farmer

I heart the Farmers Market. Naturally. I heart farmers, and that's where farmers are. Especially farmers like John Crihfield.

I had some time to kill yesterday evening after work. I had somewhere I needed to be at 5:15. Not enough time to run home, and too much time to just leave work and sit around for 30 minutes. I decided to stop at the Capitol Market to see if they still had apples, because I want to can some soon. I could kill an afternoon walking around the farmer's market. Especially on days like that because it wasn't busy at all, and I got the chance to chat up the farmer at the stand I usually buy from.

He's like you picture a farmer, I think. White hair, trucker hat, leathery skin, soft spoken.

I was looking over the apples, and he asked if I needed help. "How much longer will you have apples?"

"Monday is our last day." They lease space from the Capitol Market, a non-profit, quasi governmental organization. And their leases end on October 31st. Period. He told me he has hundreds of bushels of tomatoes still on plants that he won't be able to sell. I asked if he had a farm stand at his farm that he could sell them from. No, he was going to Florida at the end of next week. He would most likely just donate them to Manna Meal, the local soup kitchen, or let them rot on the vine, he said nonchalantly. He already donated hundreds of bushels of green beans and corn to Manna Meal. I'm sure they appreciate the generosity of farmers like him. He said he had another load of beans that he wasn't planning on picking. He planted the tomatoes at the end of July for late tomatoes. Only, they were a little too late. I asked he sold to Kroger or anything like that, and he said he did once. In 1949. He got something like 15 cents per bushel of green beans back then. But he said now there's too much paperwork involved. You have to fill out paperwork saying how many times you spray pesticide, and what kinds of pesticide, and it just wasn't worth it. (Alarm bells going off in my head actually as he's saying this...) He actually sold just about all the other vendors at the Capitol Market green beans to sell. I didn't realize that farmers had arrangements like this. He said sometimes a customer will look at his green beans or corn, and then to the booth right beside him and buy green beans that he sold that farmer, and he just chuckles.

I can't beleive the Capitol Market has an end date of October 31st for the leases, though. Especially if the weather cooperates. The outdoor space they occupy will be empty for at least 3 weeks, since the Christmas tree vendors don't come in and set up until the week of Thanksgiving. Why not let the vegetable farmers stay?

We talked about what kinds of vegetables he grew. He grows a hybrid called a Volunteer green bean. When I asked him why, he said it's because they taste better. He said he bought the apples directly from the orchard. It was Shanholtz Orchard in Romney, WV. He said he didn't sell anything but West Virginia apples because they are the best.

I had to go, but I could have stayed a chatted with him for an hour. I told him about my blog. That I write about gardening and eating, but he seemed pretty unimpressed. I'm not sure he knew what a blog was, actually...

Well, Mr. Crihfield, if you're reading (or anyone on your staff), thanks and keep up the good work. I left with two irrestible purple Cherokee tomatoes and a zucchini.

I had a 1/2 cup of oats with 1/3 cup of frozen blueberries from my mom's bushes. I had a splash of half and half in my oatmeal and 1 Tb of honey. I had a cup of coffee and half and half in it, also. Jeremy didn't eat breakfast, but had a cup of coffee with creamer.

We celebrated two coworkers' birthdays that fell on the 26th and 27th by going out for Mexican food at one of our favorite joints. I had half an order of vegetarian fajitas with refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo and guacamole and corn tortillas. I also had some of the obligitory chips and salsa before our food arrived, but I measured out 12 chips on a napkin and just ate those to help me keep my calories in check. I also had a medium margarita. Bad, Jennelle! But it was so good. Jeremy had two leftover deer BBQs with slaw on whole wheat buns, some BBQ almonds, a stick of Sargento snack cheese, a Fiber One 90 calorie bar and some tortilla chips and humus.

I had a cup of coffee at work with French vanilla creamer.

A completely SOLE meal: I made chicken marsala with polenta. The chicken was pastured chicken from Almost Heaven Farm via the Monroe Market. The polenta was made from cornmeal from Reed's Mill Flours, some chopped fresh organic sage, and a pat of butter from Organic Valley made from pastured cows. The marsala sauce had a tomato was leftover from the box I bought to can at the beginning of the month and from John Crihfield's younger brother, Ron Crihfield's farm (the elder Crihfield didn't have canning tomatoes the day I went to buy them). It also had an organic, but not local, onion. The recipe also called for chicken stock, and I used some of what I made from the bones/carcas when we had the drunken chicken earlier this month. The only non-SOLE things in this were the marsala wine, a little bit of olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and some dried thyme. I cut up one of the Cherokee Purple tomatoes to have with dinner. I don't recall ever having eaten one raw before, if at all, but I was disappointed with the taste. I don't know why, but I thought it would be super sweet. Only it wasn't. At all. These tomatoes would actually be good to cook with since they have such a tangy, unsweet taste, but they wouldn't be very pretty in a sauce or something. I also cut a couple pieces off the huge pineapple tomato that I took off my tomato plants when I tore them down for the winter.

EXERCISE: I burnt 345 calories (which still wasn't enough) at the gym doing 20 minutes of elliptical and 20 minutes of stationary bike at a moderate pace.

Calories 2,542  (2,887 less 345 from exercise)
Fat 90 g
Sat Fat 38.7 g
Cholesterol 264.3 mg
Sodium 3,534 mg
Carbs 362 g
Fiber 43.2 g
Sugar 144.4 g
Protein 88.5 g

The myplate report on my LoseIt! app says I didn't meet my fruit or vegetables quota for the day, but oddly enough, has the vegetarian fajitas listed under protein sources. I'm not sure why.

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