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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

On our way to Va yesterday, Mike and I actually got to the town that is about halfway in time to see a couple of vendors still at their farmers' market. Our vegetable garden beds got pushed off too late this year.

Berries and grapes are coming on in Jenna's garden, but the raised beds are only about half set, none planted. Can't say precisely why, except that Mike had so much pumping to do here at that time, from a wet winter going into an even wetter spring. The permit trumped a few plants.

I decided that we could buy fresh and supplement those with frozen, when I can't make it to the store. Had wanted to buy local, but we were always too late leaving to catch anyone selling, until now. I ended up with all we can eat for the week for $20. Turnips, onions, cukes, corn, yellow and zucchini squash, eggplant, cabbage, and even some fresh peaches.

I am sitting with some nice vegetarian and vegan cookbooks this morning, trying to figure out some new prep and cooking ideas. Looks like steaming and roasting, and a bit of grilling, are in order for the coming week. For some reason, we grew up with grilling for meat and nothing more. We have just started putting sweet corn on the grill, instead of boiling it or roasting it in the oven.

I know a lot of you are great at gardening and putting food up for winter. I am not, never was good at this, and doubt I will get better this late in life. My gardening skills would let us starve.

When I climbed back into the truck with my treasures yesterday, Mike and I looked at each other, and said, "Why bother?" If we can eat about half of our intake ( breakfast is oatmeal, lunch probably a salad or sandwich or leftovers, and we may or may not have meat with these veggies), for $20, why would I knock myself out in a hot, weedy garden? I can save that fun for my flowers!

What do you figure your garden to be worth every year? Ours have certainly cost us way more than they were worth, over the years, not even counting our time. If my brown thumb helps provide some green money to other farmers, that seems fair, as long as they et bacon and pork chops!

Does anyone else see a vegetable garden as not worth their time and energy snymore?
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7 Replies
dairy mom
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

We have not had a garden since we bought the farm 23 years ago.  Planted garden the 1st year we were on the farm and found there was something deep in the dirt that killed everything just about the time the green beans were ready to pick.  Haven't got a clue what had ever been dumped there, built a barn on top of it.  Never took the time to break sod and make a new garden site.  Do not miss it one bit.  Gardening was his thing not mine.    Took a little getting use to not having everything right on hand winters, but I adjusted.

There is a "farmers" Market here in town.  Been open 2 or 3 years.  Government money in the development.  Wouldn't go there if they paid me to come.  There are 2 produce vendors that have been in business since before we moved here, and they are the reason I won't patronize the new "farmer's market".    I occasionally go to one or the other but mostly get fresh produce at the chain groceries. When the kids were all home couldn't really afford "fresh".  Now I find with just the 2 of us I do buy more and more fresh (if you call what ends up in a chain grocery store fresh) in season.

Actually if your point is to save money it is much cheaper to catch can good sales rather than do your own.  Figure in labor, equipment, energy and supplies you can't can or freeze for what you can get at the case load sales.

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turkey feather
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

We have always had a garden full of vegetables. The amount of money saved is tremendous but the real value is knowing how the food was grown and what is in the soil and what has been put on or not put on the garden produce. It is so easy to mislead people by saying it is organic because there is no real way to tell except trust the seller. People want to buy organic but they also want perfect looking produce and the two don't always match.

 

You would not have purchase very much at our farmers market for twenty dollars.  I recently sold some red raspberries for $7 a half pint. DGS has sold the green eggs for $4.50. Three dollars for a pint of new potatoes. The space rent is very high, a few hundred dollars for the season and most vendors must drive an hour or more. A customer said yesterday that she could no longer eat eggs purchased in a store and I cannot either.

 

You can now buy Kobai beef there, that may be the wrong spelling, with some small steaks selling for $40.

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

Kobe beef is Japanese traditional type, I think. Steaks there are outrageous.
I got a good amount of stuff for the money...more than the same $$$ would have bought at the local chain store's produce department. I will buy there, if we miss the farmers market. Like I said, yesterday was the first time we got by there in time to buy anything at all.

The market I helped to organize and run for a few years some years back was too much baked goods, handmade soaps, and other stuff we really didn't need to eat or use. i still have bars of goat's milk soap...I bought just to be nice to a girl there. We are more the sweaty/stinky Lever 2000 type of people!

I think we had some pesticide carryover here in NC, too. I blame drainage, but it is more problematic that soggy roots. This clay holds herbicides in some spots in fields, as much as 20 years after any was used there, the grass is still damaged and discolored. Our yard was built up with soil from one of the fields, so ????
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soilbabe
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

It is expensive and hard work, and I could probably buy from a farm market for convenience, but I love my vegetable garden.  It is 50x60 and loaded with all kinds of wonderful tasty veggies for our culinary enjoyment.  Tonights stir fry had our own peas, zuchini and onions.  By next week we we will have beans and potatoes.  We have been enjoying fresh crisp lettuce for weeks.  My herb garden is beyond wonderful.  Foods taste so good when seasoned with fresh dill, thyme, basil, oregano and chives.  Love fresh cilantro.

 

What I am waiting for is tomatoes.  NOTHING compares to a fresh picked garden tomato.

 

My one hour daily garden workout makes me sweat way more than the gym or jujitsu class.

 

I know its a "bother" but one I gladly undertake.

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linda/IL
Senior Contributor

Re: Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

LuAnn, I'm jealous. I did pick a couple little tomatoes but not a lot of flavor. The bugs have found my Chinese cabbage and no peas or potatoes got planted. Beans still small. It's been so wet - hard to plant. Strawberries were great and raspberries look good. Saw my first Japanese beetle today on a rose so hope they're not going to be bad.
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Suey73
Advisor

Re: Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

I'd go to the Farmer's market but only if I can schedule a parts run at the same time.   A good part of the sellers are  kind of "corporate"  that drive to all the area markets.      My MIL  use to consider any woman that did not have a garden as lazy.   I do not enjoy vegetable gardening.   I just kept reminding her... If I save one baby pig in the farrowing house from stillbirth or crushing... I can afford to buy all the Green Giant petite baby peas I want.   

My vegetable garden consists of  6 sweet green pepper plants and 3 roma tomato plants. And 6 rows of  sweet corn.   The only thing I freeze is sweet corn.     Oh yes,  this year I have tart cherries.  3 trees of  "organic cherries".    They are organic from lack of proper management.   We seem to get cherries every 3rd year with  proper weather cooperating. 

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Kay/NC
Honored Advisor

Re: Farmers' market v garden$$$$$???

Well, I do not eat rawxtomatoes, so erhaps that explains my lack of interest anymore. I have gotten good at flowers; so, onowvI could raise the vegetables, too...I just don't want to anymore. Fruits/berries, fine. Two out of three ought be good enough, don't you think?

If I am going to keep Winn three days, and a couple of afternoons besides each week, run the business side of things for the farms and rental houses, do the volunteer work I have chosebpn, take/teach TKD, and keep two houses fit or habitation, something has to give. I choose for that to be something this simple to replace!
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