Rotten Tomatoes

Locavore on a Budget

So, I bought too much food at the farmer’s market. I truly couldn’t help myself, so much produce, all in season and, therefore, all dirt-cheap. So what did I do? I bought a lot of it. Now, I am sitting on my kitchen counter drowning in fruits and vegetables knowing that I cannot possibly eat them all before they rot.

What should I do? Surely eating them all right now would lead only to stomach pains and misery. Waiting for them to spoil and throwing them away, however, would not stay true to my “locavore on a budget” values. By doing that, I might as well throw my beautiful green bills into the garbage.

Before I go on, I want to add that by buying local, my fruits and veggies are very fresh, much fresher than the grocery store, and therefor take much longer to go bad. This is helpful to my “locavore on a budget” endeavors, as I don’t have to go out and waste my money on gas just to buy vegetables the day before I plan to eat them.

Anyways, some good hard thinking and a few carrots while sitting atop my veggie mountain later, the solutions came to me.

Compost

First, if it’s too bad to eat (as my zucchini from a few weeks ago unfortunately was) you can compost it for you own garden. Composting, though kind of smelly, allows you to make your own nutrient rich soil to grow your own garden. Gardening solves the problem of having to buy some produce all together (though it does not positively impact your local economy in the way that buying from local farmers would). Composting prevents you from having to buy the soil. By composting, I am not only avoiding throwing away the cash I spent on my rotting veggies, but am saving money in other areas of my eating local challenge.

Another idea is to use your fruits and vegetables in preserves and baked goods or dry them. All of these things make the produce last much longer without losing its nutrients (though preserves may contain a lot of unhealthy sugars).

I made strawberry rhubarb preserves and dehydrated carrots (I use an electric dehydrator).

Strawberries

Not only am I keeping myself from wasting money by doing this, but it is also something that I am glad I learned for the later summer months. This will allow me to continue to eat locally and cheaply through the winter as I will already have food prepared and will not have to search for local food in the off months (local fruits and vegetables, not unexpectedly, are much more expensive or else impossible to find in their off seasons).  Lucky me, I managed to dodge the rotten tomatoes…at least for the time being.

Submitted by Sasha Laferte

About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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