Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Neighbor Sandy

My neighbor Sandy owns the beautiful orchard on the left side of my property when facing the Mississippi river. From October to the end of January she has a roadside stand. Unfortunately ordinances are making it difficult to have a permenant roadside stand by making requirements that are too cost prohibitive for local farmers to afford.
Small farmers also have difficulty selling to larger stores because of their own expensive requirements. Where does that leave a small farmer? Farmer's markets are a great answer, but there aren't enough of them. Local small farmers have the freshest produce available and still it is difficult to get it to the people who live close by.
Fortunately Sandy's stand has been there for many many years and is excused from much of the ordinances. It was originally her father's and citrus farming and tree grafting was all she knew as a child. Now her stand has a faithfull following during the citrus season. She sells all manner of Louisiana citrus, citrus trees, produce, nuts, and canned items. She also offers local crafts and gifts.
I love "shopping" at her stand. It and the people who come are always interesting and fun. I say "shopping" because Sandy never lets me pay for anything. "Oh, just take it!" and if I insist, "Oh you're so silly! Go away!" So I like to think we've worked out a sorta bartering thingy. I bring her eggs, crocheted dish rags, arugula, parsley, or whatever I have in my garden that she doesn't already sell at her stand. I offer to water her plants when she goes out of town...you know stuff like that.
Each year I like to stock up on lemons from her stand. Lemons out of season are expensive in the store and usually have these thick peelings and are not too juicy. The lemons Sandy has at her stand are big, thin skinned and juicy. So I "buy" a bunch, juice them, pour the juice in ice cube trays, freeze, and store in the freezer in a ziplock bag. This bag gets used forever. The last one I threw away was when my freezer defrosted after Gustav (hurricane). Luckily we had used most of the lemon cubes.
Then we have enough lemon juice for summer lemonade, lemon bars, fish, guacamole, marinades, etc...until the next lemon season. You just take out how many cubes you need! Not only are we using local food, but we have a superior food and are saving on our family's food cost.

Louisiana lemons!
Don't forget to eat your greens! This batch I cooked from the garden had: collards, turnips, green onions, beets, parsley, carrot, broccoli, curly mustard, arugula, and another green that came in a seed mix. I haven't identified the last one yet. I seasoned it with onion, bell pepper, garlic, celery, cayenne, salt, pepper and smoked sausage. Extremely yummy.


Sandy said...

Envy. Envy.
(Love the lemon juice idea! Brilliant. )

Egghead said...

So lucky to have a neighbor that grows such beautiful sunshine in her yard. Lucky.

Miss Riya said...

This is so ironic, Just yesterday I was thinking that bartering is so much simpler than the financial pie in the sky system we have been a part of for so long. So today I was avoiding homework and browsing on egghead's blog and found a new site called SWAP MAMAS then I mosey on over to your site and your talkin bout swappin yer eggs for lemons. Well anywho.... tell Byron thanks for the eye doctor advice.... I'll be right over as soon as this paper mache ostrich I made is done drying....ya reckon it's a fair trade? ;-D

Hong said...

Great! site, I love your ideas and pictures are lovely.

Tip: did you know you can eat the pea shoots? Stirfry them in a little bit of olive oil and minced garlic and salt n pepper. Goes well on top of rice and with the thai dipping sauce you've made.