How a Meal Makes Itself

I got up early Saturday morning to get to the farmers market and run some other errands.

Yummy spread

Yummy spread

I bought some squash, tomatoes, corn, and onions for supper. And a cantaloupe because I just couldn’t resist. Enough produce to serve at least 6 people cost $16.00. My other purpose for going to the market was to make some price comparisons. I’ve chosen tomatoes for this initial comparison between local produce and conventionally grown, shipped produce from a major grocer.

My findings:

Big Box Grocer
Roma hothouse tomatoes from Canada: 1.69/lb
Vine-ripened greenhouse tomatoes from Canada: 1.59/lb
Green Giant (location not specified) vine-ripened: 2.99/lb
Green Giant (product of USA): 2.49/4-pack

Farmers Market
Red tomatoes from Choctaw, OK (23 miles away): 1.69/lb
Organic red tomatoes from El Reno, OK (41 miles away): 2.00/lb
Organic heirloom varieties from El Reno, OK: 3.00/lb

US Department of Labor/USDA
Average retail price for field-grown tomatoes in September 2006: 1.90/lb
Average retail price in June 2007: 1.51/lb
Average retail price in August 1980 (just for fun): .64/lb

Saturday morning the heirloom varieties were already all gone. When you can only get these sweet, sweet babies a couple months out of the year, the price doesn’t seem so bad.

That evening, after a day of swimming and relaxing, we prepared a meal to share with our visitors. We grilled burgers, along with sweet corn and squash boats. We removed the silk from the ear of corn, spread it with butter and parsley, re-wrapped the husks, tied them with jute, soaked ’em in cold water for about 20 minutes, then grilled them.

The squash was stuffed with a mixture of the squash meat, bread crumbs, red onion, garlic, mint, mozzarella, and topped with some shredded Parmesan. The meal was great, except for the flies that descended on the patio while we were trying to enjoy our meal.

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