Monday, May 25, 2009

Bailey's Buying Club - May 29, 2009

Hi Folks,
Let the local food begin!! We've had some technical difficulties but are ready to go now. Place your orders! We've got fresh tomatoes, lettuces, and grape tomatoes. We've got artisan breads and great sandwich breads (no 100% local breads except for the Spelt Bread from Golden Hearth - and it is the BEST spelt bread I've ever tasted). We've got maple syrup, peanut butter, canola oil, wine vinegar, mushrooms, natural beef, cheeses, flours and grains, corn tortillas and tortilla chips (!!) and popcorn in a variety of colours.
In the coming weeks we'll be able to offer sausage, pork cuts, chicken, hamburger patties, honey, yogurt, and more... like strawberries!
The farmers are working hard to plant the seeds and transplant the seedlings. It's been a wet Spring so many farmers say they are "behind" in planting by a week or two. Antony said the fields were so wet he went birding for a few days because he could not plant. Others like Selema are right on schedule because their fields dry out quickly. Elmira is known for having soil that has less clay so it dries out more quickly. Great for the Spring. Not great for August. Selema says that she has transplanted 1200 lettuces into her garden to grow into head lettuce. 1200! They asked a neighbour with a greenhouse to grow the 1200 seedlings for them. They are doubling the food crops they planted last year in order to supply food for the families of Bailey's Buying Club.
Selema's sister, Erma, who lives on the same farm is branching out this year and growing us arugula (aka roquette). She does not like to eat the stuff but she likes to grow it for us. She is also making us a few rhubarb custard pies for a few weeks that we'll have to try not to fight over. Rhubarb custard...

New Suppliers
We have three new exciting suppliers this week: a flour mill near London, a farmer near London who specializes in dried beans, and a tortilla maker! Arva Flour Mills has been in the family for over 80 years. They offer less selection than the Oak Manor mill we've been buying from and are not organic. Get this, they generate over half of t he power for the mill from the river (true "hydro"). The bean farmers are Steve and Dianne Rounds. I don't know much about them yet besides the fact that they have a good sense of humour and call themselves "Hillbilly Beans". They even offer a bean mix named "No Bull - Free Gas Beans". Now, farting jokes aside, we all know how satisfying and delicious beans can be when lovingly cooked. We also know how good they are for us and how eating more beans and less meat is good for the planet. My friend Carrie is my inspiration for featuring beans on our household's menu. She makes a mean meal of beans and rice. So humble and yet so good. Add salad and there's a meal. Now, we can even add fresh local tortillas and tortilla chips to our beans and rice (yes, I know rice is imported - I'm okay with that). Doug McKechnie makes fresh and preservative-free corn tortillas and chips and wheat tortillas. He has not been able to find the kind of corn he needs in Ontario so he currently gets it from Illinois or Indiana but he has planted a patch of corn this Spring so that he can use it in his tortillas this Fall.


The beef this week is from Jeff Stager who we sourced it from last year. It is labelled "conventional" but he rarely uses antibiotics and never uses hormones or steroids. The animals are raised on a combo of about 50/50 grass and grain. I've been happy with the roasts and hamburgers and I'm a beef snob. I don't like steaks in general so I won't comment on those but buying club members raved about his steaks last year. Next week we'll have organic beef available.

I'm so ready to stock up on Millbank Cheese again! The Old Cheddar is my favourite. The packages they sell to us are approximately .455 kg but we charge a flat rate for them to make pricing them easier and to keep the price down. (We'd have to pay someone to price each one.)

Stocking up for Winter
I know it's hard to think of preparing for next Winter when it's barely Spring. The sad news is if you want to eat local asparagus or rhubarb July through April, you need to put it in your freezer. The good news is it is SUPER easy to freeze these two items. Just chop and freeze. No blanching or anything. So if you want to eat rhubarb crisp in September or asparagus soup in October, now is the time to buy extra and throw it in the freezer.

The Problem of Super Cheap Asparagus
You may notice that asparagus is super cheap at Value-Mart and other grocery stores. They are playing the "loss-leader" game where they sell a hot item at a loss in order to draw customers into the store who will spend money on other items. There's nothing wrong with this except it warps our perceptions of the real cost of food and some people think that the local farmers who charge more are ripping them off. Far from it! Local farmers usually don't charge enough to cover the true costs and time that go into growing the food. If they would pay themselves and their workers a fair wage, their prices would be three times as high as they are now.

Labelling, Ordering and Forgetting
So, happy ordering. If the farming method for an item is not specified, assume it is conventional. We are working on clearer labels about this. On our website you can read definitions of the labels we are using for farming methods at

You have until Tuesday evening at 8 PM to complete your order. You can begin ordering on Sunday and go back and make changes any time you want before Tuesday at 8 PM. When you place an order, you are setting of a chain of events where I phone the farmer, the farmer harvests your chosen items and then washes and packages them before delivering them to First United on Friday afternoon. Please don't forget to pick up your order. If you do (we all forget sometimes!), we will donate it and you still get the pleasure of paying for it. Think of it as a gift to the farmer and the family who receives the surprise box of succulent local food.
See you Friday between 3:30 and 7 PM.
In love of local farmers and local food,


Technical notes:

There is a listing of some ingredients at We will be adding items to this list as we receive them. If there is an item that you would like to see on this list, just ask!

Look for the second line of products when ordering. If there are lots of an item (like mushrooms or loaves) we have created a sub-category for that item.

There is no checkout button. Whatever you have ordered as of Tuesday at 8:30pm will be the order that is processed. You can confirm what you've ordered in the Shopping Basket on the left hand pane. If you place anything in your Shopping Basket that you do not want, please be sure to delete it by Tuesday at 8:30pm, because at that time your order will be finalized.

All prices are subject to change at Friday pickup. We do our best to estimate fair and accurate prices but sometimes errors and changes occur. Please see a Volunteer Helper at Friday pickup to calculate your final cost and check out. Helpers will have their calculators ready to help you!

* indicates an item that may have added tax
** indicates an item's price is approximate; final price will be determined by the exact weight of the your item

If you want your order pre-packed for you this week, please email us at info@baileyslocalfoods.caand we will be sure to have it ready for you on Friday. This feature will be built into the ordering system in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience!

If you have any error messages appear while you are shopping, email us at info@baileyslocalfoods.cawith the error message that you received and what you were doing (the item you last added to your basket) when the error occurred.

Enjoy the new ordering system!

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