Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cream of Unbought Merchandise

Week two of our tiny nascent farmers' market has come and gone, and we're really happy with the way it's going. There are only a few vendors, and there aren't a huge numbers of customers, either. But there are customers--and they buy very enthusiastically. And thanks to L2's husband, we're getting some free local newspaper coverage. We can't wait to see how things shape up as tomato season kicks in.

Yesterday as we were packing up our tent and table, I joked to the s.o. that we were having "Cream of Unbought Merchandise" for dinner. And that's sort of what we had. There was a gorgeous bunch of chard that hadn't sold, so I chopped it up and sautéed it in olive oil. I thawed a few slices of our home-brined ham, and I poached two duck eggs to serve on the greens. The total cost is extremely hard to judge, but let's estimate 1/2 lb. @ $3.50/lb. for the ham (the pork was only $1.50 per pound in its raw state, but the brining ingredients--including a veritable sea of hard cider--increase its cost considerably), $2 for the chard, and 50 cents for the duck eggs.

This morning, already kind of tired of cornmeal products, I opted to make a batch of whole-wheat pancakes. I used locally milled spring wheat flour, chicken eggs, raw milk soured with a dash of vinegar, honey, and leaveners. I served it with about a quarter-cup of south Georgia-made fruit syrup, which, at $4.50 per smallish bottle, might have cost more than the pancakes. (I think we used about a sixth of the bottle.) In retrospect, I could have used my own jam and been much more frugal.

I'm wearied by all the calculations I'd have to do to figure out an actual price for the 'cakes, especially because I only used about a third of the batter today (the rest is in the fridge for tomorrow morning). And not all of what I used was consumed by humans; nearly half went to our dogs, who are gradually being switched over to a home-cooked diet.* So the math is beyond me. After all, I am only on my first cup of coffee.

Oh! Coffee. Whatever that total might have been, let's add $.50 to it.

By the way, I trust you all remember that I am also blogging about this challenge elsewhere?


* Is anyone else considering home-cooking for their dogs? The recent contamination issues have been a big part of our decision, although to be honest, I've been uncomfortable with the filth that goes into dog food for a very long time. So this was more of a catalyst. We've ordered a few of the top books on the subject (Dr. Pitcairn's, etc.), have done a ton of internet research, and are planning a consultation with our vet just to be sure we're doing it right. From what I can gather, dogs mostly eat like people on the Zone Diet. They get protein and carbs and veggies--they are true omnivores.

I think home-cooking for pets might be unwieldy for a lot of people, but considering the way we cook and eat, it seems like a good fit for us. It doesn't really add any work to my day to put some stew in the crockpot and some rice in the rice cooker. And there are a lot of things we can share with them...we just have to be careful about certain ingredients they mustn't have, such as onions and raisins.

Dog pancakes for everyone!