Guest Post: Adventures in Eating Locally with the Proctors: Week 4-5
Meet the Proctor Family! They're a family of four in Bloomington-Normal trying their best to eat entirely local food one day each week, and they've graciously agreed to share their adventures.
Follow Neal, Maggy, Lydia, and baby Adalyn as they shop, chop, dice, grill, and even grow local food this summer in an effort to not only eat fresh, wholesome meals, but to support their community, and live a little greener. Each week, they'll share their stories and their creations right here on our blog. Are you up for eating locally once a week? Follow the Proctor Family and find out.
Week 4-5: Meatballs and Lamb Tacos
May 28 - June 4
June 5 - June 11
Time is precious so we’re going to keep this one short and sweet. I’ll also be combining weeks 4 & 5 of our adventure into one, action packed summary. Whether it’s lack of creativity on our end or just the nature of limiting our food selection to locally grown options, we’ve already repeated a few meals. I’m okay with this though as breakfast for our family is generally some combination of eggs, bread, and meat anyway.
The past two weekends have been fairly action packed. For this reason, our farmers market adventures have turned from a family trip to more of a routine grocery trip, with myself flying solo. This is okay though, as my attention is geared toward making well thought out consumer decisions rather than chasing Lydia around the market. Getting further into the growing season, there is a much greater selection of produce, with other vendors starting to bring more and more to the table. When availability goes up, price generally goes down, which bodes well for our goals. Food, as always, has been delicious. Breakfast has been more of the staples, including sausage egg breakfast sandwiches and French toast with eggs. For dinner, we’ve been able to maintain a little bit of creativity, including spaghetti with meatballs and some delicious ground lamb tacos with a radish, green onion, and cilantro salsa. That’s right, lamb tacos. We finally got our bulk lamb in we’ve been waiting on. There is a little more to the lamb story though, which I’ll get into later.
½ loaf honey oat bread (plow creek bakery): $3.00
½ lb breakfast sausage: $4.00
½ dozen eggs: $1.75
Subtotal: $8.75 ($2.92/person)
1 lb spaghetti (Pasta Alley, Decatur, IL): $6.00
1 large jar spaghetti sauce (Localfolksfoods, Sheridan, IN): $7.50
1 bag mix greens: $2.50
1lb Carrots: $3.00
1 bunch radishes: $2.00
½ loaf honey oat bread (plow creek bakery): $3.00
½ lb ground pork: $3.00
½ lb ground beef: $3.00
Subtotal: $30.00 ($7.50/person), 4 people
*note we spared no expense with this dinner, which included spaghetti with homemade meatballs, a delicious salad with croutons, radishes, carrots, and some garlic bread on the side.
The finished product!
Breakfast 2: French Toast
½ loaf cinnamon raisin bread (plow creek bakery): FREE (already paid for in previous weeks meal)
½ dozen eggs(Irwin Family Farms, Bloomington, IL): $1.75
1/8qt expensive Organic GMO free Maple Syrup (somewhere in the US): $1.60
Subtotal: $3.35 ($1.12/person)
Dinner 2: Lamb tacos
1 lb naturally-raised, GMO free, grass-fed lamb (somewhere outside Springfield, IL): $10.00
2 bunches radishes: $4.00
4 green onions: $1.00
1 lb frozen sweet corn (sourced from Maggy’s family farm): FREE
10 non-locally sourced corn tortillas: $.50
Subtotal: $15.50 ($5.17/person)
While week 5 was our best week yet, I do want to state something about our meals. I’ve been working nonstop on a brick paver patio in our backyard, Maggy is still nursing our two-month year old daughter, and Lydia is going through some kind of growth spurt. Appetites have been at an all-time high at the Proctor household. Meals do not seem to be going as far as they normally would. Something to keep in mind ;).
When we decided to go in on a half a lamb with Maggy’s sister, the price we were quoted was roughly $4.69/lb plus processing costs, which would be a little over $1.00/lb. This seemed reasonable, assuming the price was going to end up roughly $6.00/lb. What we did not know was that this unit price was on the “kill weight” of the animal. What started out as a 35lb half animal, turned into roughly 21lb of meat, or what is called the "hanging weight." We paid $4.69/lb for the kill weight (the full 35lbs) and not the hanging weight. While it makes perfect sense that an animal would lose weight through the butchering process, I’m still trying to understand the concept of paying a unit price for meat that never ends up in a package. Upon further research, I’ve found that it basically comes down to the way a farmer wants to make the deals. Some sell on “kill weight,” some sell on “hanging weight.” This is definitely something to keep in mind when purchasing a whole or half animal as it will drastically affect the end price of your meat. Instead of paying $6.00/lb, our final price came out closer to $10.00/lb. Lesson learned I guess. Either way, we now have roughly 10lb of various lamb cuts (the other 10lbs went to Maggy's sister), which we will continue to use over the course of our adventure.
On a positive note, our garden is coming along quite nicely. The rabbits that ate our green beans last year don’t seem to be around and the warm weather has been a welcome change to our tomato and pepper plants. That is all for this week. Until next time.