Saturday, August 29, 2009

the trials of a localvore in massachusetts

So my experience buying local produce in Massachusetts has been quite a disappointment so far. I started with the local farmer's market, fairly certain that I wouldn't find anything in bulk, but still slightly hopeful for a half-bushel of something. I found that the prices there were not just a little higher than what I'm used to in Belleville - they were double what I used to pay! Corn, for the most part, isn't really sold by the dozen - its sold by the ear at the high cost of $.50/ear. Most things are priced by the pound so, though they might agree to sell you a bushel of tomatoes no one would ever ask for such a thing because the cost would be outrageous. I asked a couple of the stands if they sold the same produce at their farm and if you could get it in larger amounts - at the mention of a bushel of tomatoes most of them looked at me like I was insane and responded that they had no idea what the cost would be and I would probably have to pre-order such a large amount. After this I spent a few weeks dejected, convinced that no where in New England was going to sell me a bushel of tomatoes at a decent price.

Finally this week I decided that I need to call around and at least ask some of the farms before I give up entirely (after all - winter is coming and without shelves full of canned goods I have no idea what we would eat!) So I started dialing - the first farm acted like I was insane to ask for a bushel of tomatoes, the second didn't answer, but the third completely understood what I was asking for and priced a bushel of tomatoes at $25. In Belleville a half-bushel of tomatoes was usually around $8 so this was only $9 more which wasn't too bad considering some of the other prices of local produce here. Their farm had a stand every day from 9-7 that I could pick them up from (without pre-ordering!). So excited that I finally found something that would work I planned for a Saturday morning outing to get the tomatoes and then planned what all I was going to can all day once they were in my possession.

This morning I woke up excitedly and headed to the farm stand - I was briefly worried when the girl at the stand had no idea what I was talking about, but then she called someone and the next thing I knew she was leading me to the "bushels" of tomatoes. The box she said was a bushel looked more like a half-bushel, but since she hadn't really known what she was doing to begin with, I figured I would just go along with it and then call the woman I talked to the other day when I got home. Surely she would correct the problem and I could just pick up the rest of the tomatoes another day. Unfortunately when I called the lady informed me that one box is 25 lbs which is a bushel of tomatoes. Basically I'm the victim of false advertising. A bushel of something usually isn't based on weight, but on volume, but an estimated weight for a bushel of tomatoes is 53 lbs, putting the weight for a half-bushel around 25-26 lbs. So this annoying lady sold me a half-bushel of tomatoes - trying to convince me it was a full bushel. In addition to only being a half bushel of tomatoes the box wasn't even that full (see picture below). Unfortunately, I'm not sure I'll find anything better so I'm left paying more than double what I'm used to or just giving up canning which, nerdy though it may sound, I love. So far life as a localvore in Massachusetts is way more difficult than I expected. Signing off feeling ripped off, frustrated and more than a little angry...

my "bushel" of tomatoes...what a joke:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

fear, harry potter and 3D

NOTE: I just realized that though I wrote this at the beginning of the month and never remembered to post it! Just imagine that its Aug. 7th!

Steve and I went to see the latest Harry Potter movie last night as part of our anniversary celebration. One of the new fun things about the area we just moved to is that the local movie theater has an imax theater in it. Since Steve had never seen a regular movie on an imax screen we figured we'd splurge for the extra $4 tickets and check it out. In addition to being an imax movie it ended up being in 3D...actually I should say the first 15 minutes of it were in 3D - at least those 15 minutes were cool though!

As we sat watching in 3D I was lucky enough to witness one of the high school girls in front of me reaching out to touch the images in front of her. Suddenly I was reminded of my last 3D experience - sitting in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids show (I think!) at Disney world. I specifically remember putting my hand out at several points in awe of the fact that I couldn't actually touch the images that were appearing before me. Unfortunately I soon afterward became freaked out by the characters rushing toward my face and spent the rest of the show either with my eyes shut or my 3D glasses off.

It was such a refreshing reminder of how easily I'm overtaken by irrational fear. I'm proud to say that at least this fear was one I overcame: I was able to sit through the whole film - 3D glasses on - eyes open!

Some shots of our anniversary celebrations:

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