Do you like a good deal?

I love a good deal. I sign up for all email mailing lists to know when the sales are zuchinnihappening. I work the credit card system to maximize the points I earn while spending all my money. I have a basement full of canned goods I bought last year when they were running a huge sale. It’s like my way of justifying buying the things I want: “they were on sale!”

Did you know you can almost always find something at the farm that is on “sale”? The value of our shares is already a great deal, but sometimes you can sweeten the benefits and stretch your local produce all through the year. Here are a few ways to get added value from the farm:

BUY IN BULK: When the harvest is heavy, deals can be had! Lower prices are available for bigger purchases. Look for signs in the pick-up shed or on the chalk board or just ask if bulk discounts are available. I love this option when I want to gift some produce to friends or neighbors or when I’m entertaining and know I’m going to need A LOT for big dishes. Common things to find in bulk throughout the season are: squash, cucumbers, kale, broccoli, beets, tomatoes, peaches, and apples.

BUY SECONDS (OR EVEN THIRDS!): When you’re cooking or baking and things are getting chopped up anyway, this is a great time to buy seconds (produce that may be bruised or have some insect damage) at a great discount. Karen often has baskets of seconds displayed in the barn near where you check out, or just look for signs. If you want to take the extra time to put things away for the winter by canning, freezing, dehydrating, or pickling, this is a great option. Shredded zucchini, sliced peaches, chopped kale or spinach, and roasted beets or tomatoes all freeze well (which is MUCH easier than canning!)

Zucchini and yellow squash are a great example of this great deal making. Last week I breakfastspent $10 and got 17 HUGE zucchinis. This ended up being more than half off the regular price! I gave 6 to my friend, shredded 7, and put four in my fridge for cooking this week. I now have 15 bags of shredded zucchini and 5 bags of cubed zucchini in my freezer for soups and breads for the winter, a batch of zucchini muffins in the fridge for snacks for my kids, AND I had zucchini nested eggs for breakfast this morning. Here are some pics for proof, and please consider all of these great options for great eating!

My Week of Eating from the Farm

Guest Post from longtime work share member Meghan

The CSA shares at the farm have certainly been a bounty of delicious veggies over the last few weeks. Four years ago, when I started as a work share member at Vollmecke Orchards & CSA, it was a learning curve to get used to using everything each week. I have gotten much better at planning and experimenting with all of the wonderful produce, so decided it was time for a greater challenge.

shareHow hard would it be to spend a week eating only food from the farm? This would include using the local products that Vollmecke sells such as beef, fish, yogurt, cheese, bread and eggs, in addition to the produce in my share. My exceptions to my little experiment were seasonings, condiments and beverages. As a relatively non-adventurous chef, I was a little nervous about trying this for a week, but after telling my farm friends of my idea, I was committed!

I picked up my share one Friday afternoon and also purchased eggs, a salmon filet, beef grillers, bread and cheese. I wrote down everything I had on hand and planned out the dinners for the week. So how did the week look? Breakfasts were fruit (raspberries and melon) and bread most days. I had Vollmecke Orchards’ apple butter on hand already, which is fantastic on Wonderful Good Market’s multi-grain bread. One weekend morning was classic eggs, potatoes and fruit. Lunches included egg salad sandwiches, green salads with tomatoes & Blazing Horizon cheese (also from Wonderful Good Market), and dinner leftovers.

Dinners were where the fun occurred:

Did I cheat? Yep. Over the course of the week I had two spoonfuls of peanut butter, and I added avocado to my fish tacos.

Was it hard? Not really! It took a little bit more planning ahead than I usually do, but it was fun to try some new things. Not having pasta, rice and beans was weird since they are staples in our pantry. The best part of the week was realizing that I snack on processed food too much. It’s so easy to grab a handful of goldfish crackers or make a quick stop at Wawa. This was a revelation for me, and one thing I will really take away from this experience.

Will I keep going? As much as I can. I am going to make a greater effort to eat more locally, especially at this time of year when it is so easy to do! Stock up on things you love that can be frozen or canned–you will love pulling them out in January!