Friday, October 10, 2008

The spoils of battle

As I mentioned yesterday, I was an idiot and forgot to actually submit my order at Athens Locally Grown, which meant that I was forced to go on a sort of local foods raid of all the grocery stores in town. What I got was mostly inferior to what I would have gotten at ALG, in that it wasn't as organic or as grown-by-people-I-actually-know, but it wasn't bad. Instead of being from about a 75-mile radius, it was from about a 150-mile radius. All in all, better than blindly buying South African oranges and Indonesian tilapia.

I should mention, before I show you what I bought, that there are a lot of things we don't need to buy. We have a garden full of vegetables (yes, even in mid-October): a few tomatoes, lots of eggplant, cucumbers, kale, mustard greens, bitter melons, and peppers of every possible description. We have herbs, from basil to sorrel to parsley. And we have a freezer full of our own chicken, plus some local grass-fed beef, wild Gulf shrimp, and a 16-pound chunk of pork. We expect to take delivery of half a lamb later this month.

We also have already socked away some locally ground wheat flour, cornmeal, Carolina Gold rice, and grits. We have canned and frozen vegetables including tomatoes and borlotti beans. And since right now is the tail end of the muscadine grape season, we have more of that glorious fruit than anyone could stand.

So with that introduction, here's what I found at Kroger and EarthFare. First, the things that were actually grown in the area:

Clockwise, from the upper left: Organic milk that was certified in North Carolina (this is the one item whose provenance I have the least certainty about, but beggars can't be choosers when they forget to order their raw milk from 70 miles up the road!); boiled peanuts from central Georgia; lettuce and bean sprouts from western North Carolina; Georgia chicken breast (for those times when I need something quick and don't want to defrost a whole one of ours); butterbeans from western North Carolina; and sausage from a Georgia town about 45 minutes west of us. There were Georgia potatoes, too, but I forgot to take their picture.

Second, the items whose ingredients might be exotic, but which were made by local companies:

Clockwise, from the upper left: Terrapin India Brown Ale from Athens, Ga.; Red Brick Ale from Atlanta; Red Rock Ginger Ale from Atlanta (no HFCS!); tofu and fresh lo mein noodles made in the northeast Atlanta metro; organic fairtrade coffee roasted about 70 miles away in South Carolina; and bread from the very same Athens-based company I would have gotten it from if I had remembered to order it from the buying club!

Note the absence of one of the beers in the photo. Several more of them appear to be missing this morning...

One of the first orders of business, as far as cooking all this bounty, will be a big wokful of chicken lo mein, using some of the chicken breast, the lo mein noodles, the bean sprouts, and some of our own greens.

A major goal I've set for myself is to drive up to the north Georgia mountains, as I have in years past, to get pumpkins and (even more importantly) apples. Oh, and sorghum syrup, too--my pancakes simply aren't as good without it. But I'm really busy right now and I have a work-related conference in Charlotte coming up in a little more than a week. Gas prices are also a major deterrent. It's possible that I won't have time to go to the apple houses at all, and that makes me sad. No! I have to find the time. I just have to.