Friday, November 22, 2013

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

  • Eductation: Rhonda Sherman on Vermicomposting
  • Guest Chef: Derek Treuer with latkes
  • Music by Jennifer Marhoul & sons
  • In Season: Squash, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, potatoes, cabbage, garlic, eggs and more

Thankful, Not Wasteful
The gravy is flowing, the guests are pouring in the front door, and the garbage needs to be emptied again. With all the decorations, packaging and food scraps, cooking a beautiful feast for family and friends sure does generate a lot of trash. During the holiday season, we generate an additional 5 million tons of waste in the United States, but with a little planning and effort, you can significantly reduce your waste-line.

Decreasing garbage starts with shrinking the amount of potential waste you bring into the house. Fortunately, one of the benefits of farmers’ market shopping is that you have increased control over the packaging. By shopping with a cloth bag or basket and reusing small paper and plastic bags for produce items like potatoes and greens, you will not only be using fewer resources, but you will also have less to throw away at home. You can further reduce waste by returning the packaging we do have at the market, like jars and egg cartons, to the farmers for reuse.

Once you return from the market, make sure to properly prep and store all produce, meats and breads to ensure lasting freshness and reduced spoilage. For instance, as I wrote in the Herald Sun last month, vegetables that tend to dry out, like greens, should be placed in a sealed plastic bag to protect against the moisture sapping refrigerator air.

Special Market Date!

It’s inevitable that you will create some food waste, such as peeled potato skins, broccoli stems and plate scraps. If you have a yard, consider composting: it is easy, inexpensive and will eventually provide you with an excellent source of nutrients for your garden. If you don’t have a yard, then you can still compost with vermicomposting or a subscription service like Compost Now. Tomorrow, Rhonda Sherman, an Extension Solid Waste Specialist, will be at the market to show shoppers how they can vermicompost, while she creates a bin for the South Durham Farmers’ Market!

And, of course, don’t forget to recycle! Durham Country has an excellent single-stream recycling program, so that you don’t even have to sort your recyclables.

I hope these tips will help you have a more sustainable holiday. After all, Thanksgiving is more than a day of excess; it is a time set aside to appreciate our good fortune, our community and the local harvest.

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