Saturday, October 3, 2009

Once upon the milklady and her horse pulled carriage...

Once upon there was a milklady with her horse pulled carriage and I was growing in a month like others in three because I was raised with her milk.


When I was a kid, in my communist ruled country, the states used to "own" all farms and factories. In fact it was like nobody owned them, and definitely nobody cared. The food we could purchase -when you could purchase it - was "treated", thus bologna used to taste like rubber and milk was mostly water.
Fortunately the peasants that were able keep a small parcel from their land, usually the garden neighboring their house, were still growing fresh herbs and produced and were allowed to sell it in the open market. Some, the most enterprising I guess, were growing cattle and selling fresh, untreated milk, butter, sour cream and cottage cheese.
Her name was Maria, and she came by my grandparents' condo building thrice a week, in a horse pulled carriage driven by her husband Ion. She used to deliver us milk twice a week and cottage cheese and sour cream once. I do remember, like it was yesterday, the carriage stopped in the front courtyard and Maria shouting : "The milk! The milk is here...Maria came with your milk". This is why I grew like Prince Charming in one month as much as other in three for I was raised with her milk, cottage cheese and sour cream . My mom was raised with the milk delivered by Maria’s mom and my oldest son was raised with the milk her son might still be delivering nowadays...though now they have a modernized cattle farm and he drives a four-wheeler.

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Here in the United States grocery shops and food plants are owned by big corporations. I won't say they don't care -they do as much as they have - they do care so to balance demand with supply. Their care is quantifiable by economists using complex math formulas. I won't say it's bad, and I won't say is good - I trust my readers can make their own judgment...

But I was missing those fresh garden tomatoes, fresh herbs and fat green papers I used to buy from the open markets. Most grocery shops do not offer them, or offer them at an uncompetitive price. I was worried that farmers' markets are no different-too expensive for a single mom's pocket. Fortunately browsing Art Predator's blog I found out it is not so. I followed her advice and googled Community Supported Agriculture and my zip code. So I found my local slow foods website here. Now I got to browse a little more through all resources to find out how I can have one the local farmers deliver fresh food baskets to my area, but until than I finally decided to pay a visit to my local McGinnis Sisters. The store sells some brand names, but most of their produce, bread and meat is supplied by local farmers, ranchers and bakery shops. Tomatoes and peppers were $1.88/lb. A handful of fresh parsley 99cents. Spicy Italian ham for only $4.99 (they are making their own) and the local apples are only $1.88/lb -better than the grocery store. These is to name just a few things one can choose from a rich selection of products. The meat is more expensive but the fresh fruits, vegetable and herbs are definitely cheaper. And they are not much farther down the road than the local grocery store were I used to shop on a regular basis. Oh, and my kids got the free cookie as well...A shopping experience I shall definitely repeat.

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I know that usually I fail making real life stories as interesting as the imaginary ones, but if you made it this far and you do hold dear memories of fresh apples or the once upon a time milkman with his crates and roundmouthed bottles you have to pay a visit to your local community supported website and find that local farm or mom and pop grocery store that can bring all that back ...

9 comments:

Paul said...

That is fascinating, more so because it is true. I like the fact that communism couldn't complete control the food chain. The corporations would certainly like to. Food tastes better and is better for you when there is as few people between the eater and the farmer as possible.

Ana said...

He, he, Paul –of course they could not , this is what black markets were for…
But were we tend to differ , is in that I do not consider corporations to be good or evil, but amoral…One reason for corporations is that they have better tools for gaining capital and competitive advantages. The people beyond corporations can be “good” or “evil” though, but that is also true about government rulers and each person that is in position of power…
What I like about free markets is that unlike in state controlled ones, an educated costumer can really make his voice heard. Thus I believe more in educating consumers than controlling the market…but I’ll write more about it soon.

artpredator said...

I love the sound and the movement of that first line!

So happy that you have found some yummy, healthy, locally grown food!

What a difference it would be if we all grew some of our food and got what we needed from neighborhood farms instead of shipping it and trucking it across the country.

So glad I could be of service!

Ana said...

Gwen,

Gwen,

I appreciated it –and thanks for all the great info.

I prefer to buy all that can be locally grown from local venues. But please do not totally eliminate the trucks – there are jobs at stake. Plus I need to have the bananas, cinnamon and feta cheese still delivered. I am spoiled that way :)

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read this blog. Thank you for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon.

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read that post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Ana said...

anon,
I am not sure if both comments belong to the same person- they look quite similar to be mere coincidence.
But whoever you are, wherever you are , many thanks. I do not have such an exciting life to write about. Neither do I have such a strong opinion on farmer's markets. But the Food Inc. link and post is my dedication to you

Ana said...

Anaïs: Guess what are we eating for dinner?

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently discussing about technology, and how integrated it has become to our daily lives. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.


I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as memory gets less expensive, the possibility of copying our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could experience in my lifetime.


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