Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Getting To Know You...

My family and I've spent the last few days getting to know our new community. Saturday morning, we woke up early enough to drive downtown and find the local farmer's market. We had intended to have breakfast at a place called "The Cereal Barn and Peanut Butter Cafe". Supposedly, they made their own peanut butter from scratch and customers could add all sorts of things to their sandwiches, like marshmallows and Nutella chocolate spread (S'mores, anyone?). I say "made" because after walking around town trying to find the place, we ended up in front of what looked like a condemned house with a sign saying it was about to become the new community something or other. So, in our search to find a great breakfast, we found ourselves inside "The Copper Cup", which was basically a generic Starbucks. My mocha was pretty good, and I liked my blueberry scone, but it wasn't what B had in mind when I said we were going to get breakfast before visiting the farmer's market. Luckily, the market made up for our lousy meal. I had become accustomed to a small farmer's market with maybe twenty booths in our old neighborhood in Ohio. Saturday's market in our new town was HUGE! There were all kinds of local produce and other food items for sale, many of which were certified organic. There were lots and lots of tomatoes and corn, the staples of Indiana agriculture along with wheat and hogs. We also saw lovely berries of all types, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, other squash, and beautiful flowers. Some vendors had interesting mushrooms, and I saw a couple farmers selling various meats and wild honey. We ended up bringing home about a pound of fresh green beans, a few zucchini, and about six ears of corn. I also bought some very nice looking cherry tomatoes for myself (B doesn't like tomatoes, and V's tried them, but doesn't seem very interested in them). I'm so glad we made the trip. The market was lovely, though crowded and a little overwhelming for V. Over the weekend, we had fresh sweet corn cut off the cob and sauteed in butter at dinner and zucchini bread with chocolate chips for dessert (and breakfast later in the week). We also had broiled zucchini with garlic, dried rosemary, and olive oil at another dinner, and I boiled up the green beans for lunch the same day. The best part about the whole experience was the fact that we enjoyed every single thing we bought, including our son, who can be a picky eater sometimes. I've never seen him eat green beans before and love them, but now I know that fresh green beans are much more edible to a toddler than frozen or even canned. I kept this in mind when I went grocery shopping yesterday. Another great thing about our new town is the lovely co-op grocery store, which is less than 10 minutes away from our home. Everything in the store is natural and/or organic, and most of the produce and other foods are grown and sold by local farmers. Not only are we supporting the farmers in our community when we shop there, but we're also helping the environment by buying food that hasn't had to travel far to get to the store. While there, I found organic green beans just like the ones we bought at the farmer's market, organic green grapes (or "bapes", one of V's favorite new words), organic bananas, some great all natural macaroni and cheese, and a few frozen organic lunch items, like pizzas and spring rolls, among other things. The store also sells bread from a local bakery, which is excellent for garlic bread, and the store's deli has lots of wonderful ready made pastas and sandwiches. The co-op was really a great find for me. I know the groceries there can be more expensive than what Wal-mart or Kroger sell, but I don't feel guilty shopping there because I also know the food is much better for me and my family than many of the items I used to buy, which were mostly processed and full of ingredients I couldn't pronounce if I tried. Best of all, I'm exposing our son to fresh fruits and vegetables, which I hope will help him make healthier food choices as he gets older. He still likes his cake and ice cream ("cake" being another favorite word this week), which truly makes him his parents' son. ;) I just hope he learns that all things can be had in moderation. After spending time at local grocery stores and the mall yesterday, I took V to a nearby park this morning. Our town has a great parks and recreation program, and the park we went to today even has a large community pool area. We didn't go swimming, but after walking around the park a little, we found a great playground built specifically for 2 to 5 year olds. If it hadn't been so hot while we were there, I would have let V play all day. However, it was close to lunch time, and I was sweating buckets, so we made it a quick trip and went home to eat leftover fresh green beans, all natural mac n' cheese, antibiotic free deli smoked turkey on wheat pita bread, and juicy, fresh cherry tomatoes. We've had a great time discovering places and things to do in our new city. I can't wait to unearth more treasures in the coming weeks. Hope you all are having just as much fun as we are!
Best to you all,

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