Each Wednesday, I’m going to bring you an American company that’s super-local to my area. Most likely, you’ll have something similar in your area too. To see the biggest impact on your economy, buying “wicked local” is one of the best ways to do it. When I do spotlight these places, I’ll try to focus in on ones that are super affordable-equal to or less than the general going price in our area. (But, I can’t make any promises)…

Ok, so you’d really like to buy local but don’t want to break the bank. Igetthat. The supermarket flyer offers enticing sales on things and it’s so convenient. Well, to follow up on my farm stand post, we’re going Blueberry Picking.

Blueberry picking, like going to the farmer’s market, is a great family adventure. We took the girls a few Sundays back to Crabtree’s in Sebago and had a blast. Our oldest loved running up and down the rows of blueberry bushes (and clearly more ended up in her mouth than her pail!). It’s going to be a repeat trip, I just know it.  I’d definitely reccomend going in early morning, or on a cooler day because the blueberry fields can get really hot. The sun was beating down on us! The little tin pails used to collect the berries are super cute and make satisfying ‘plink’ noises when you drop the berries in.

 

Now that I’ve told you everything you already know about why you should go pick blueberries, let me give you a more monetary motivation: savings. In more ways than one. Our local Bridgton Hannaford sells blueberries (in season prices) at 7.97 per pound, or 10.64 per pound if you want to go organic. It gets more expensive in the winter. Yikes! On the other hand, if you pick your own at Crabtree in Sebago, you get your berries at…wait for it…1.95 per pound.

 Let’s say that freezing blueberries for winter is something you’d like to do and you want two pounds to freeze (that’s enough to nicely fill a one gallon ziploc bag. Here’s how it’d break down:

  • Hannaford Regular: 15.94
  • Hannaford Organic: 21.28
  • Crabtree PYO: 3.90

In other words, you could buy about 4 pounds of blueberries you pick yourself versus one pound at the store (and that’s the non-organic price!)

Wanna tie in the lesson with your kids? Read these!

  1. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky
  2. Blueberry Mouse by Alice Low
  3. Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayer
  4. Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
  5. Jamberry by Bruce Degen

Blueberry season is ending soon, so head on up to Crabtree’s and pick some berries to freeze for winter so you can enjoy them all year long. They go great in pancakes, pies, smoothies, jams, and I have a delicious blueberry scone recipe compliments of Angie that I’ll share with you tomorrow!

http://www.crabcoll.com/blueberry/homepage.html

So you may or may not have found the giveaway requirements hiding somewhere here on the blog yet…but I decided in the meantime to make a multi-dimensional giveaway. Let me explain! I picked up this delicious, soft skein of Quince and Co’s Lark, a worsted weight yarn in the color Nasturtium (a nice, carroty orange). Perfect for fall.

“Alicia, but where is this yarn coming from?” you might ask…I’m so glad you did! Quince and co’s company is based right out of Portland, Maine, and uses wool sourced in the US. In their words:

We offer wool yarns that are sourced and spun in the US. Known in the trade as “territory wool,” our fiber comes from Merino, Rambouillet, and Columbia-based sheep that roam the ranges of Montana and Wyoming. All our wool and wool-blend yarns are spun in a New England mill with a venerable history. By sourcing our wool in the US and manufacturing our yarn locally, we minimize our carbon footprint.

I just want to add that for being a “Made in America” kind of company, their prices are very reasonable. My friend Ange picked up two fat skeins of Puffin in Marsh for her first knitting project. It’s going to be gorgeous. I highly reccomend starting with this yarn for a new knitter because it knits up fast and is so,so soft! Ah, but I digress…

So here’s the deal on the giveaway- Quince and Co. didn’t sponsor me in any way. (Gosh, I WISH!)

 I went to Knitwit and bought this myself. (If you’d like to skip the giveaway and go straight over to Knitwit, it’s a lovely store: www.yarnonthebrain.com) and you can also go here to check out Quince and Co’s great yarn: www.quinceandco.com !

 I may go back and get more to make Rebekah rainboot liners (see my Little Bean Rainboot Liner Pattern on ravelry if you’re curious).  The prize is your choice: If you’re a knitter, you might want me to mail you this yummy skein as IS, so you can knit with it. If you’re not (orjustdon’thavetime) you can request that I knit this up into a pair of cute little orange fingerless mittens for fall.

Why fingerless mittens? Well, the yardage matches the project size. They’re great for fall, for walking your dog, taking a jog with your stroller (and child!) and those chilly days when real mittens or gloves just aren’t necessary yet.

Won’t you feel great walking around with a nice soft piece of American economy on your hands, literally? Keep searching all the posts for more giveaway info!

🙂

I promised you a good, basic farmstand recipe and I shall deliver!

You will need: Tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and balsamic vinagrette.

STEP ONE: Slice tomatoes. (thick slices, thin slices, chop-chop…whatever you like)

STEP TWO: Slice mozzarella. (peel it, dice it…whatever looks pretty)

STEP THREE: Chop up some basil. (throw in pine nuts if you’re feeling wild)

STEP FOUR: Drizzle gently (or liberally) with Balsamic Vinegar!

Delicious. Easy. Fresh. Healthy (for you AND the economy!)

Think you’ve got something better? Share!

Ok friends, things are about to get a little more intense. Or hardcore. Whatever you want to call it. Last post, we looked at buying American-produced food at the grocery store. I can guarantee that you (yes, YOU!) probably have food in your fridge from somewhere here in America. Howgreatisthat? The grocery store is an excellent place to start because it’s pretty much unavoidable. Well-now that you have that under your belt, let’s take another leap of faith into the American economy. Next stop, the farm stand!

Farm stands and farmer’s markets are about as local as you can get. The people selling you the food are most likely the people that actually grew it–so you’re probably talking to the actual person who put the sweat equity into your dinner (or snack). The food is fresher, more visually appealing, and normally cultivated in a more eco-friendly manner than something mass-produced. Don’t you care more about something if you have to work hard for it?

“Oh, that looks SO fun, but there aren’t any farmer’s markets around me!” you might say. Think so? Try again. Do a google search and you may be surprised at what turns up! Being out in the open, fresh air is invigorating. Your kids will love running free and wandering from stand to stand, inspecting the visual feast of fresh vegetables, yeasty warm breads, clean and pure handmade soaps, and hormone free meats.  It’s a nice family adventure and it sure beats the flickering yellow fluorescent lights and dull hum of the regular grocery store complete with stale air. Now I’m not saying that the grocery store is bad and I don’t make it to a farmer’s market every week by ANY means! What I am saying, though, is that it’s a good time. Satisfying. All the fun of the farm without the bugs and cow poo. Knowing you’re enjoying yourself WHILE crossing off part of your to-do list? Fabulous.

Portland has an INCREDIBLE farmer’s market. It’s great to walk around in and there’s a huge variety of things there. They actually function TWICE a week instead of just on weekends, so if you need something for a wonderful wednesday dinner (or just something fresh) you can skip on down to Monument square and wander around.  For more info go to http://www.portlandmainefarmersmarket.org/ OR check out their facebook page!

In Bridgton, there’s a farmer’s market EVERY saturday during the summer. This picture with the green bins is what you’re likely to see there. They have seedlings for your garden, fresh, crisp veggies, hand milled soaps, even locally spun alpaca yarn *heavenforusknitters*! The prices are good, too. The last time I was there I got 2 pounds of rhubarb for about $3.00! Pretty comparable to the supermarket.

Another local spot to hit is Reinhard’s Farm Stand on Kimball Corner road here in Naples. It’s a little bit up from the greenhouses, and worth the drive (which isn’t that bad from 302 to begin with). A cute little stand that works off the honor system.

The prices are simply incredible. Summer squash, for example, is .50 a pound! Compare that to Hannaford’s SALE price of 1.99 and you have a 1.49 savings on every pound you buy. Their corn is fresher than anything I’ve bought anywhere else, and their green beans are HUGE. A quick suggestion- look up a curried zucchini soup recipe and get two pounds of veggies for a dollar, fry up some grilled cheeses and kick back knowing you just fed your family dinner for less than 2.00 a person! I’d tell you all their prices but I think you should go look for yourself…

Do you think farm stands are worth the effort? Have a favorite farm-stand food based recipe? I’d LOVE to hear your responses!

 

Good job finding the giveaway entry requirements!

Leave a comment on the yarn giveaway page stating ONE area of your purchasing that you’d like to be more conscientious with in buying American. Then, name one store you think you could do that at.

For Example:

I would like my children to be playing with American made toys. I know Treehouse Toys in Portland carries things made in the US.

Extra entries for reposting a link on facebook! On Thursday the 18th I will have Rebekah choose a name out of a hat (because honestly, that’s way more fun than a random number generator but just as fair) and the winner can choose to either have a skein of yarn, or a pair of fingerless mitts! Good luck!