Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In answer to your questions. . .

In answer to Kathleen's comment about our homegrown corn:
Most of the time, our homegrown corn (in shucks) is near the mushrooms, off to the side of the produce department. It can be hard to see, tucked away behind a high display. That part of the produce department is one of my favorites, no trayed produce, lots of local stuff, and many ethnic choices. If you haven't visited it before, you're in for a treat.
In answer to the question about why we use styrofoam trays:
We have been desperately trying for over a year to get compostable trays.
It looks like we have finally found a supplier who has some that are sturdy enough for our use. Even though they are much more expensive than the styrofoam, we will be changing over to compostable trays as soon as we can get a shipment. Believe me, this has not been for lack of trying. Apparently, the technology is new enough that most companies have not been able to meet our needs.
The vast majority of our customers want their corn in trays. Otherwise, we would just pile up the fresh ears as they were in the picture you mentioned. Some folks want to see the corn they're buying. Like you, I prefer my ears packaged in shucks.
It is a high-priority goal of ours to have all biodegradable and compostable packaging. We never dreamed it would be so hard to find.

Good Earth Eggs

Just look at these beautiful eggs! They are from John David Farms and we sell them under the Good Earth Eggs label.
They are the only local, all-natural egg production facility that serves the St. Louis area.
We sell white grade A large, brown and double-yolk eggs at Sappington Farmers Market. Most weeks, our prices are the lowest in town for any eggs-not to mention all-natural!

Susan and Johnny David are two of the hardest-working people I know.
Besides all the work of taking excellent care of 80,000 laying hens and the eggs they produce, Susan works off-farm to help make ends meet. They own the only local egg production operation serving the STL area.
Whenever we have a marketing opportunity for them-like a show-or a sampling at the store-Susan jumps right on it without complaint.

The above picture is not the loveliest age for a chick. They've lost the pudgy fluffiness that makes everyone fall in love with a chick, and their feathers are only partly grown in. It won't be long and they'll be full-fledged (that's where the word comes from!) chickens.
They're part of the 80,000-chicken "family" that Susan and Johnny raise.
They will get a diet of locally-raised grain and alfalfa and absolutely no growth-enhancing hormones or antibiotics. The price is lower than most conventionally-produced eggs.

Double-yolk eggs are really fun to serve kids (of all ages). Down through history, all sorts of mystical qualities have been attributed to them-good luck, fertility, etc. I just think they're a lot of fun. I like to watch the puzzled expressions turn to joy when I serve a double-yolk eggs.

Since I retired from farming and moved to my little cabin on Current River, the main thing about farming I miss is raising chickens. Chickens are awesome. They are a lot smarter than most people think. Many heritage breeds of hens make the most wonderful mothers! I don't think it's an accident that the Bible uses a mother hen as an analogy for God's love for his children. Those mothers will stand up to predators many times their size to protect their babies.
When they fluff out their wings and the babies run under them, it just does my heart good.
The sight of a baby chick peeking out from under it's mommy's wing is one of the cutest sights in nature.
Johnny and Susan David love chickens, but they knew they couldn't make a living raising a few chickens. So, after much study, they devised a way they could raise all-natural eggs in a large-scale setting. Their attention to detail ensures that these production eggs are the closest thing to free-range without letting 80,000 chickens run free. When they took over the 3rd-generation conventional egg farm, they began working to change it to an all-natural facility.
They have succeeded and they continue to grow in all the right ways.
Thanks, Johnny and Susan for all the work you do to ensure that St. Louis consumers can have fresh, local eggs.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Bountiful Harvest

This week, we at Sappington Farmers Market have been saying "This is what it's all about!"
We got homegrown, local FIGS this week and the very next day, Randy Wood picked up 1,000 pounds of organically grown local seedless table grapes. For the first time this summer, he actually had the reefer van full top to bottom and side to side with an assortment of local produce. I'm telling you, this is what Randy lives for. Because of the volume of our purchase, the grapes will only cost $1.50 per pound!! That's for local, uncertified organic grapes. Chuck isn't certified, but I know him, and I know he uses excellent organic growing methods.

So now we have lots and lots of tasty, just-picked yummy table grapes for sale. Chuck Hart, the farmer who grows these grapes, uses all organic methods, and you can see from the picture that his grapes really show their origins. It's hard to get grapes like that using conventional growing methods. The taste of the grapes is outstanding, and it's so reassuring to know that there are absolutely no pesticides on these grapes.

With school starting, the orders for fresh, safe, tasty local food have been pouring in from HELP (Healthy Eating with Local Produce) who serve Maplewood/Richmond Heights and Bistro Kids who serve several private schools in the STL area.
We are doing everything we can to link farmers with these great providers. That association makes the hard work worthwhile.

Hard to believe that summer's drawing to a close, but the supply of produce is nowhere near over. We have lots of delicious local food in store for us as the days shorten and cool. I'll keep you posted.