Farm fresh food

There is a price to pay for all of the beautiful specimens that the stores offer. People are becoming more concerned about the quality of the food. Even the large supermarkets are offering organic produce and pastured meat these days. Of course, you have to remember that they have to make a profit on this as well so often the products cost more there than directly from the farmer.

I read with interest the “new” regulations that will be in place for the local 2014 Farmer’s Market. I am sure back when the market was first started it complied with the regulations that were in place at that time.

All I can say is, “Congratulations, farmers! Way to go! You have made a difference in the marketplace.” You certainly have made a difference, but I am not sure at this point that is a good thing. You have now been mandated to adhere to food inspections, inspected kitchens, and everything else that has come down the pike.

Food safety is a huge process. Of course we want our food supply to be safe, but the vast majority of infractions have come from the large producers and from producers outside of our country. What is being done to correct these infractions? What hoops do they have to jump through?

Probably none of the local producers contributed at this point to an outbreak of food borne illness. Nevertheless they have been mandated to submit to inspections and display state regulatory signs. Of course, these licenses come at a price. The state is once again making money off the little guy.

It seems like the government is in the middle of everything these days. While I applaud the idea of food safety, I think that the small producers are unfairly being targeted. How can the people who sell at the local marketplace hope to compete with the big guys?

We are being told to buy fresh, buy local. The government is making that harder and harder for us. I, for one, patronize the local food stands. I enjoy fresh produce in season. I enjoy local honey. I enjoy meat processed under federal inspection and sold on the farm. I am all for the buy fresh, buy local mantra. We pay less for produce that is grown around here.

The farmer profits and so do us as individuals. We are getting the best food that is possible. Please keep supporting these local producers. Without the diligence of our farm community there would be no food in the supermarkets to purchase.

People have gotten further and further from their food supply. Many people have no idea what it takes to produce fresh milk, meat, and vegetables. If you could follow a farmer for a day you would get some idea. Our food producers work hard. They are often at work while others are out and about being entertained.

I appreciate the show “Pioneer Woman” because she is real. Most of her episodes are shot right on their ranch. The family is engaged in real farm jobs. Even the children are part of the production team. I do not know how she accomplishes all that she does. She not only cooks for television, she home schools all of her children and cooks for a large extended family. I can relate to that.

Many of the things that I see Ree make on television are things that I make at home. I cook the same way she does. I will say though that I have more access to farm fresh food to cook with. They are cattle ranchers so they have their own meat, but as for herbs and produce, she shops at the local stores in her area.

After a long hot summer where I jotted down my recipes and put together a second cookbook, I can finally say it is finished and it is in print. I will be out and about sharing with my readers this fall at some of the Christmas bazaars and craft shows.

If you want to read a little about the book go to www.cookbooks4sale.com. Type in my name then, go to “farm fresh recipes”. Everything should pop right up for you. I checked the site this morning, but my cover is still not shown, but it should be there soon.

In this book I have shared a number of stories about life in the country and on the farm. I have also added notes about many of the recipes. The children also contributed recipes this time so I have officially passed down my love for cooking.

People often ask me if I cook a lot. The answer is “yes”. Whenever I can I treat my children and their families to home-cooked meals. My one grandson loves homemade soup. If I make soup I take some for them to enjoy. When I cook a meal for all of us I make sure there is something for everyone. We recently had a taco bar with all types of toppings. Everyone fixed their own so all were happy.

When I was first married my husband constantly compared my cooking to his mother’s. She was an excellent cook. I never seemed to measure up. By the time our children were grown my husband was complimenting me on my cooking. Either I got better at it, or he grew accustomed to it.

Now, I would say I have a real passion for cooking. I love to experiment with herbs and spices to create something new from an old recipe. I would say that my cooking is “simply homemade”. I am not a gourmet cook, but a home cook. My recipes feature ingredients that you will have on hand if you have a half-way decent pantry.

Cooking from scratch is cheaper than using a lot of prepared meals. People who are struggling with a tight budget need to learn to make things for themselves from scratch. They will save a whole lot of money.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net