Off the Wagon

Ramblings from the Ridge


It’s been a busy week on the Ridge. KC was out of town for a few days which left me eating alone. The hardest part about being a locavore is trying to be bothered cooking for one person. I managed fairly well for the first part of the week. I had made several kinds of soup one day last week and I had a jar of sprouts and a loaf of homemade bread. I met a friend for dinner one night and spent another night with my Dad. I ALMOST made it until I decided that I didn’t feel like making crackers for my mozzarella seminar; I rationalized it as a business expense and headed off for the grocery store.

I’m sure anyone who saw me in Shop ‘n Save thought that I was smoking some wild herbs. I wandered into the produce aisle and just stood staring at the vegetables and fruit. The selection and color nearly took my breath away. I ogled sweet potatoes, radishes and watermelon. I don’t even like watermelon!! I had to keep reminding myself that this was a display and it was designed to make me want these pretty looking products of California, Guatemala and Mexico. I caved when it came to the apples.

Last fall we picked about 15 bushels of apples. My son motorized my Victorio strainer and my daughter-in-law and I “did” apples. We made 191 quarts of sauce and 40-50 bags of sliced apples for pie and crisp. We cooked an electric roaster full of apple butter and several batches of jelly. For six days we cooked and peeled and canned. The kitchen was 100 degrees and sticky from one end to the other. We kept reminding ourselves that it would be worth it “come winter.”

It was my intention to save a bushel just for munching, but we just never got there. We had shaken most of our apples from scrub trees on my girlfriend’s land so they could not be saved due to bruising. We told ourselves that we would just go to Barber’s and pick a bushel or two for winter. I did buy a couple of big bags, but we never managed to stock up. Our fresh apple supply lasted until late Fall; I had been doing okay with the sauce-until this week. I wanted an apple!

Back at Shop ‘n Save, I fell off the wagon…I selected two nice Pink Lady apples and five bananas. I wandered slowly up and down the aisles looking at all the food. Rows and rows of brightly colored packages and cans and bottles. I lost it again in the beverage aisle when I spotted my all time favorite tea, Twinings English Breakfast. I glanced over my shoulder to see if anyone was looking and quickly tossed it in the cart. Like a drunk on a binge, I careened through the store; I grabbed a couple boxes of Ritz crackers and succumbed to the canola oil in the same aisle. I knew I had to get out of the store quickly, I almost made it, then I heard donuts whispering from the bread aisle. Next to the donuts were bagels…homemade bagels take half a day to make…I was being killed by convenience. I dashed to the check out counter before I could be swayed by anything else.

When the cash register stopped, my total was $47.79. I had noticed that prices were considerably higher than the last time I visited a grocery store, but I was shocked by just how high things had gotten in two short months. I left the store, not pushing a cart but carrying my $47.79 to the truck in my two hands. I guess it wasn’t a bad experience since it strengthened my locavore resolve; that and the accompanying stomach ache from eating processed food. Even my body was saying, “Don’t try that again.”

I ended the week giving another mozzarella making seminar and with a renewed commitment to eating local. For those of you who missed me in Shop ‘n Save, check out the seminar schedule at and we’ll meet at the farm.

Until next week.


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