When I returned from the farmer’s market on Sunday I read a great post by Bill McKibbon on the Common Dreams website about Joining. This quote hit me right in the smile gland,
For the rest of us, who aren’t planning to actually till the soil ourselves, relearning neighborliness means joining a CSA or going to the farmers’ market (where shoppers have ten times as many conversations per visit as they do at the Shop ‘n Save). [emphasis mine]
That is absolutely true. Even as I crossed the street I saw my favorite city council member and I was able to tell her my proposal. The council wants to name the week of May12-19 bicycle week. I told her, “The council should take a few thousand dollars and have a bike giveaway to launch the week.” I said, “You might even throw in the mother’s day aspect. It is an election year.” I was also able to talk to her about the blue ribbon environmental report being password protected on the city council website. She told me she would look at it and suggested I simply type, ‘password.’ I ended by making her laugh with my description of my own watching the city council meetings on my computer screen, watching the council members staring at their respective computer screens and my wish to be able to type her messages during the meeting. Good laughs and a wonderful feeling of having been able to speak with my elected official, the only one in government I feel can hear me.
I had a great exchange with the beekeepers about our shared past experiences with Phoenix and that town’s mad dash towards crisis with home building glut, hundreds and hundreds of golf courses, new water park, etc. Insanity and greed in the desert. My exchange with the top blood orange producer in these parts, Rainbow Farms, was about how this week their fruit will be center stage of my blog. The African brothers with the Sambusa taste treats got to hear all about my solar oven purchase. It was fun to see their bafflement at the concept. I am crazy about those kids. The couple with the bakery took my critique of the focaccia (too thin and over-cooked in the center) with graciousness. This warm couple are so wonderfully pleasant I find I want to purchase from them – even with my bread reduction / elimination intentions. I only had a few bucks to spend this week, so conversation was brief - comparatively.
About those blood oranges. I don’t have an adequate vocabulary for these succulent wonders. These babies are what oranges were meant to be. It is funny, I had never heard of a blood orange until I leaned about them from a Jordanian friend I met in (coincidentally) Phoenix. She told me how wonderfully sweet these were and how they were a favored fruit tree. Here I am years later eating them from trees growing a ten minute drive from here. I bought enough for an orange a day.
I want to talk about this Scottish company as a model to follow rather than advocated we purchase this product. I say this as a locavore, aiming to grow most of my own food one day.
But, the story I spotted this week at Inhabitat is an encouraging one, a real opportunity.
Here’s a breakfast that’s capable of not only fueling your body but also powering the entire factory that makes it. Scott’s Porage Oats, a Quaker Oats Factory at Uthrogle Mills in Scotland is installing a combined heat and power biomass boiler that will enable the factory to become carbon-neutral, running entirely on waste oat husks. [snip]
The $12 million boiler (about five times more expensive than the fossil-fuel model) will make this factory one of Scottland’s greenest. During the first three years, more than 1,300 MWhrs of renewable energy will be exported to the National Grid. Quaker also estimates that they will cut over 172,000 miles in transportation every year since the factory will no longer have to remove 21,150 tonnes of husks—reducing their emissions by another 600 tonnes a year.
Hot Tip – Organic and GMO hidden labeling revealed!
Livin’ la vida local is a blog I feel I have been searching for a long time. This young blogger is doing all kinds of leg work for me in finding organic, local, sustainable food sources in this area. She writes,
Did you know that you can tell whether produce is organic or genetically modified (GMO) simply by looking at the PLU (price look-up) code?[snip] I had remembered reading about this in Marion Nestle's "What to Eat" (review coming soon), but this post at Bon Appetit reminded me.
- The PLU codes on fruit and vegetables contain four numbers (i.e., 4859).
- If produce is organic, the PLU code is 5 numbers starting with a 9 (i.e., 94859).
- If you see 5 numbers starting with an 8, (i.e., 84859), that means the fruit or vegetable is a GMO (a genetically-modified organism).
Flickr blood oranges