Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bailey's Buying Club - Ordering is now open for August 7, 2009

Click to log-in and order.

Please be sure to read the wavier on our website when you log in. It reminds you that items placed your shopping cart are automatically saved (there is no 'checkout' button).

Hi Folks,
Yay for the sun! Guess we shouldn't take the warmth of the sun for granted, eh?

Selema surprised us with the news on Thursday night that sweet corn was ready for Friday. Now she says we have to wait until the 14th until the next planting is ready. How was it? I forgot to set some aside for me and it was quickly gone.  Last year their sweet corn was consistently super fresh and very tender and sweet.  Last week's corn was the first planting that they covered with a protective cloth row cover in Spring to keep it a couple degrees warmer on those chilly Spring nights. Then they'd roll the cover back during the day. And back on again at night. It is an intense labour of love to nurture that first planting of sweet corn. Most farmers don't bother planting that early because it is too much work and too much risk of loss.  That is why Selema charges more for the early corn.  The price will come down on the sweet corn as the season goes on. 

Sweet corn is on our short list of local foods that we absolutely have to preserve for the Winter.  It is a sticky and messy and long job to steam it and cut it off the cobs but it is so worth it all winter long when we pull out those little golden nuggets and toss them in soups, stews, quiches, and on pizzas.  Are you curious what else is on our short list? I say short list because we have to prioritize. Am I going to run a buying club and bring local food into the city for 500 families or am I going to preserve everything I desire for the Winter? I can't do both. With my dad's help, my partner Matthew and I have been able to get the sweet corn in the freezer the past two years despite giving birth in Aug 07 and starting this biz in 08.  It makes it more fun to make a party out of it. Invite a friend over, put on some energetic music, get out the stimulants (sweets and chocolates for me) and go to town. Make a big mess, take photos to remember it all and then go to bed with a smile on your face.  Even if I could only get four bags of corn in the freezer it would be worth it. I think we froze 25 dozen cobs worth of corn last year.

What's for Dinner?
The nice thing about cooking at this time of year is that it doesn't take much to have a lovely meal. Steaming a few fresh vegetables with rice on the side is delicious and nourishing.  Now we can steam sweet corn, grill a few sausages, open a bag of Antony's salad mix and it becomes an easy gourmet feast.  What is "gourmet" exactly? Does it mean complicated? says it is "involving or purporting to involve high-quality or exotic ingredients and skilled preparation." Hmm... steaming sweet corn, grilling sausage and opening a bag of salad is not "skilled preparation".  But it is high quality. Can we say that choosing such excellent ingredients is a skill?  It does take skill to buy local food - it is not the mindless shopping of the megamarkets.  I think I'll change my description of the above meal to an "easy high-quality feast".

We discovered a new favourite summer meal today.  I steamed a pot of baby potatoes, baby carrots and broccoli and served it with a side of meat (chicken breast from Noah who is working to be able to offer us all chicken pieces).  The walla walla onions sautéed with the chicken were SO sweet and the soy sauce on them just made them sing.  No spices needed for this meal, just a bit of butter on the potatoes and salt and pepper.  My kids snarfed it all down and asked for more. Wish I had made twice as much. It was so easy too because I put the potatoes in the bottom of the pot (1 inch of water) with the carrot layer next and added the broccoli after about 10 min.  Next time I'm going to do it with beans on top and a different protein on the side (pork chops?).

Think Big
Have you ever considered buying a big block of cheese rather than a small one or two every week?  Millbank offers big beautiful 5 kg blocks of cheese. At first it may seem like too much for you but hear me out.  If you grate up 2/3 and throw it in the freezer, that only leaves you 2 kg.  Cheese will last a few weeks in the fridge so that gives you less than a kg a week (equal to two of the small packages). If you have a household of four or more, this amount of cheese is easy to eat in a week.  You end up saving about $1 a kilogram buying a big block and then have the added convenience of ready-to-go grated cheese in the freezer. We are offering a few varieties this week, but please ask if you want big blocks in any other variety and we'll add them.

Think Winter
Preserving food for the Winter does not have to be a big production like I describe the sweet corn above. You can preserve a bag or two of this and that without it becoming a new hobby.  For example, if you are dabbling in freezing food for the first time, try these six items: a bag of apricot halves, bag of pitted cherries, bag of blueberries, bag of cut up red pepper, bag of dill, and a bag of sweet corn (cut off of the leftover corn from supper).  This Winter these six bags will give you: the best 2 pots of borscht you ever made (dill), 2-3 amazing pots of chili (sweet corn), apricot platz (coffee cake, if you're not Mennonite) on a cold dark day (or apricot/blueberry smoothies for a few days), and a chocolate cherry cake (or cheesecake...).  You'll be feeling like a Queen (or King) this Winter (kind of like a cross between Martha Stewart and Laura Ingalls Wilder) when you make these meals and it will make you want to invite someone over for supper.  Two things we need more of:  feeling like royalty and sharing a meal with others.

Think Local
What else can you buy from Bailey's Local Foods rather than at the supermarket? Changing the local food system won't work if you only buy a few recreational local food items. It's got to include your meat and potatoes, your breakfast, your staples.  We can't provide you with bananas or avocados but we do have just about everything else that can be grown here and is made here. No guilt trips here, just stating the facts. Changing the local food system will only work if about 50% of us are buying about 50% of our foods locally.  You don't need to buy it from us, just get it. Make it a part of your regular life - a part of your routine.  50% means you can still eat all of the avocados that you want to! - and rice, almonds, fruit loops and coffee and whatever else is important to you.  We're encouraging you to seek local foods for the items that are easy to substitute: cheese, meat, oil, fruits, vegetables, beans...

Local Feed for Egg Makers
We have 9 hens in a coop in our backyard.  We used to have 10 chicks but one of them turned into a rooster so he had to move to the country. He was too bossy so I was glad to see him go. I just wish we could've heard one cock a doodle do before he hit the road.  No eggs yet but any day they may start laying!

We've been driving out to Elmira to buy our chicken feed so I was thrilled when Noah said he could sell us local chicken feed!  Rachael and I are clear that we sell food and nothing else (at this point) but food for the animal that will give me food seems to fit within our mandate.  The farmers that raise the hens that lay our eggs (Steven and Karen Lemke) also have a small feed mill on their farm.  They grow all of the grain for the mill on their farm except for a premix of supplements. 

Fresh Broccoli
Lena Burkhardt called me about having those nice new potatoes last week and this week she has broccoli for us!  I've been wishing we had broccoli so I'm thrilled. And it's even organic. Organic broccoli means that it may have a few little worms (sweet corn often comes with worms too).  The trick is to soak the broccoli in salted water for 10 min and then the worms will die and float to the top.  I don't know about you but I'd rather have a few worms to soak/wash off then chemicals soaking into my broccoli.  If you see a worm in your sweet corn, thank Edward (Selema's husband) for not spraying the corn. Just cut off the the wormy part and eat the rest.

New Foods to Look for This Week
Pfenning's has a Galia Melon(!) I'm not sure what it is but if it's a melon, I'm in! I looked it up and it is a green-fleshed melon that tastes closer to a cantaloupe than a honeydew. Pfenning's also is bringing us our first green and purple sweet peppers, and first acorn squash.  We can also order Button Mushrooms from Pfenning's this week. Selema says that the first red cabbage is ready and Paul Bowman has yellow wax beans big enough to harvest. 

Did you see the article in the Etc. section of the Record on Saturday with a photo of Antony John from Soiled Reputations? It is in Dinah Murdoch's column Ravenous. Antony has baby leeks and baby turnips for us this week.  We are able to order three different kinds of melons from Pfenning's this week!  They are not cheap but if you compare how much fruit you get in a small melon compared to a pint of berries, the melon seems more affordable.  Paul and Saloma Bowman are growing melons for us but they are not ready yet so we'll buy them from Pfenning's until then.  You can get flours and oats from Oak Manor this week (and not next week).  At this time of year, their oats are from farther than 100 miles (Northern ON) and the hard flour is from out West. When this season's crops are harvested, these items will come from closer to home.  No raspberries on the horizon due to extreme wet and lack of sun. Find them wherever you can, we won't have any.

Tortillas and Tamales
We order the tortilla and tamales every other week. So this week you can order as much as you want (two weeks worth?) and then next week we sell whatever is leftover from the previous week.  The tamales will be msg free this week! Doug was dismayed to discover that there was msg in the chicken bouillon he was using in the tamales. He has made changes so he can offer us MSG free tamales.

Closed the week of Aug 21
Rachael is going on a family holiday the week of Aug 21 and there is no way I can do this without her so we are closing for a week.  We'll remind you again the week before so that you can stock up for two weeks.

This sure is fun changing the food system together,
Bailey's Local Foods

P.S. We can use your big fruit boxes, green quart boxes, jars from preserves and egg cartons (from eggs you bought at Bailey's) again if you return them.

Is this your first email from us?

You are receiving Nina's messages because you are a member of Bailey's Local Food Buying Club.
If you do not wish to receive Nina's messages in the future, please uncheck the Nina's messages box associated with your email address in Account Settings at

Click to log-in and order.

No comments: