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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some Local Food Breakthroughs

Good old Whole Foods has led me down the righteous path to the promised land once again.  Well, that may be overstating things a tad, but I really do like that store.

Went grocery shopping for the first time in awhile, determined to do local as much as possible.  I exceeded my expectations and made some exciting discoveries.

In produce, I was able to get strawberries and broccoli from Floriday and cabbage from S. Carolina.  Had to get an onion from California but only bought one.  Don't we grow special onions in Georgia - Vidalia?  Hmmm.

In the dairy section, I found milk from a dairy in south Georgia.  Looked them up on line when I got home and they sell several products on their farm.  Dom and I are going to take a motorcycle ride down there when it gets a bit warmer.

Also bought some locally-made cheeses.  They're good - well, haven't tasted the cheddar yet - but the prices are breathtaking:  $18 and $17 per pound.  Ouch.  Gotta learn to make my own.

Then I found cornmeal grown and ground in Georgia.  Once again, looked them up on line and learned that they sell a whole lot of grain products - wheat flours, mixes, grits, rye flour...  This is especially exciting because I didn't think I'd be able to find that locally.  Now we can start making bread again.

Finally, bought some coffee from an Atlanta roaster.  Ok, I know coffee isn't local, but some things are not to be sacrificed.  Coffee is one; wine is another; I guess gin as well.  (Are we seeng a pattern here?  Too bad I don't smoke - that I could get locally.)  The roaster started in Olympia, Washington; Cathy, you should check them out although I have to admit I don't quite know where Olympia is in relation to Everett.

What a success.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ready for the Chicks

All the stuff we ordered for the chicks has come already - that was fast!  Dominique finished the chicken yard this past weekend except for the door, which he designed this week and hopefully will get to build tomorrow, if the weather holds.  Can finish preparing my beds, too.

So we're all set.  Just waiting for the week of March 15.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Progress

The 3-day weekend has been put to good use.  Two days ago Dom and I ordered pretty much everything we'll need to get our chicks through their first 5 months, including feeder, waterer, lamp, and lots of feed.  We've plottedd out where they'll spend the first month of their lives.  And today Dominique did a tremendous job of fencing in the area where their coop will go so that they can safely be "free range" even when we're not around to keep an eye on them.  Can't wait for March 15!

I planted the first batch of seeds that will be grown in the greenhouse.  It's not really that warm, even in the greenhouse, but I wanted to get them started so that they're set when it warms up.  Unfortunately it's too wet to continue preparing the beds but there's plenty of time for that.

Continued the quest for a good food source and think I've found a CSA that will fit the bill.  A tad more research then hopefully I'll be ready to share the discovery and post the link.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some Disappointments

Dominique and I braved the sub-zero temperatures yesterday to drive to Little 5 Points to check out the food coop there.  As it turned out, the independent bookstore I'd been wanting to visit, A Capella, was right across the street so we went there as well.

Disappointed on both counts.  Sevananda is ok, but nothing special, apart from the fact that it is clearly a very community-oriented store, which is cool.  But in terms of local food, most of their produce was from California, Mexico, and Peru.  Found one locally-made granola, but no other grains or grain products seemed to be regional.

Although it's a co-op, anyone can shop there.  No one ever asked us about becoming members, either.

All in all, I can't see much advantage over Whole Foods, which is a lot closer.

Then we walked across the street to A Capella.  It's a small store, with used as well as new books, well-organized.  I went there with 2 books in mind that I wanted to buy, and thought of 2 others as I was browsing.  I took the one book that I was able to find to the counter, planning to ask about the rest, prepared to order if necessary, understanding that a small store can't stock everything that a big chain can.

The guy at the front counter was on the phone and stayed on the phone while he started to ring up my book.  I indicated to him that I was looking for some other books as well.  He put the phone aside long enough to listen to me, and finally told the person on the other end that he had to call back later.  At last I had his attention.  He looked up one book after the next; none was in stock.  That, of course, I knew, having already looked through the store.  Never did he offer to order a book for me.

I was under the impression that independent bookstores were an endangered species but judging by the customer service at A Capella either (a) they deserve to die out or (b) they're in fine shape, thank you very much, and don't much need my business.  Sorry, won't be making any special trips to Little 5 Points to help support them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Local Food Coop in Atlanta

Been poking around the internet and may have found something, although it doesn't sound as convenient as Cathy's which actually delivers.

There's a place called Sevenanda in Little 5 Points, which is kind of near downtown.  I'll definitely go check it out, but not until it gets warmer.  Sorry to be such a sissy, but this sub-freezingweather is kicking my butt.  Anyway we're still working through the leftovers from the Walking Club party we won't be buying more food any time soon.

$120 for lifetime membership - how does that compare to yours, Cath?  Plus they encourage (not require) people to work in the store, which I think could be fun.  They support both organic and local food, and it's been around 33 years.  Seems like the spot.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Solar Power

It's amazing how a day of sunshine pushes you out of the house and into the garden.

We're having the first nice day in quite awhile here in Atlanta, and Dominique and I ran outside as soon as possible to make hay while the sun shone.  (Unfortunately, it's already starting to cloud up.)  Dominique staked out the space for our chicken yard while I finally ordered our chicken coop from etsy.  It won't ship until March 15 but that's ok, the chicks will need to be inside where it's warm and we can keep an eye on them for the first few weeks.

Then I started on the beds in the lower 40.  The earth is really improving; much less of that horrible red Georgia clay and much more of the dark loamy stuff.  Result:  we seem to be getting a better class of weeds.  Used to be very tough, tall grass; now it's more of a ground cover that would actually be nice if it weren't where I'm planning my carrots and potatoes and basil and and to be.

Made a small experiment.  In 2 beds I hoed then pulled out the weeds; then covered the entire bed with a deep layer of mulch.  In the third bed, I only hoed and mulched, leaving the weeds where they were.  It was a lot less work, so if the result is the same - i.e., weedless beds, I hope - then I can continue doing it that way.  Unfortunately I won't know the outcome until April, when I prepare the beds for actual planting, so I'll have to decide what to do with the rest of the beds in the meantime.

A very big toad jumped out the leaves in one of the beds.  Quite a surprise.  He didn't seem at all bothered by me and in fact I had to give him a gentle poke to make him move so I could see if he was ok.  He was.  I yelled for Dominique to come down, which scared him (Dom) to death, but eventually he brought his camera and we got some great shots.  He (the toad) seemed a little dopey; do toads hibernate in winter?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I was feeling bad about not really putting too much into practice so far.  Ok, I've got chicks and seeds coming, but for the moment, we're still just eating whatever we want or whatever we've got and it's not particularly local and most of it isn't even organic.  Most if not all of the farmer's markets in this area are closed now (although I need to be more diligent in checking thatout).

Fortunately, I got to the part in the book where she's pointing out that if you start reading this in the middle of winter - as I have - you've got to accept that there's not much you can do except plan ahead.  So I guess I'm really doing what I need to be doing, which is nothing to feel bad about.

I will, at least, find out if some of the farmer's markets are open, and also I need to follow Cathy's lead in looking for food coops that will deliver local food to us.  Project du jour!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Garden Planning

Just ordered nearly $60 worth of seeds, including - fanfare! - artichokes!  Found another great site, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.  Similar to the Seed Exchange in Animal Vegetable Miracle, but oriented toward varieties that do well in southeast US.  Heirloom varieties, for the most part, and mostly organic.  I ordered tomatoes, beets, winter and summer squash, peanuts (!), potatoes, carrots, and peas.  I have seeds left from last year for arugula, cilantro, corn, lettuce, cabbage, Brussel sprous, spinach, and peppers - I hope they're still good.  And I'm counting on my basil to reseed itself as it did last year.

Found out that the chicks are arriving the week of March 10!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'm so excited, I just ordered 4 chicks!!  Two Dominques :-D and 2 Giant Jerseys.  They should arrive some time in March, which gives us plenty of time to prepare.  Oh boy, I can't wait til they get here!