Sunday, September 09, 2007

ELC Day 8: Lansing Day Trip

Yesterday we piled into the car (late) to head out for Lansing. Chad was attending the Michigan Policy Summit and Silas and I decided to tag along to see what fun could be had in the state capital. We explored the Lansing City Market, which was smaller than I expected but had a higher variety of food items than ours here in Royal Oak. By that I mean, Royal Oak has mostly produce, some eggs and chicken, and a few producers of bread (and one farm provides beans, flours, and seeds). Lansing hosted fewer produce tables, but more were organic; they have their own cheesemonger, for which I am eternally envious (they even sell local cheese!), and they had more types of flours available. Oh, and a couple who sells delicious popcorns. Anyway, if you combined that market and our market, most of my food needs would probably be met. I know that Lansing hosts several other farmer's markets throughout the week, but this one was the only one there on Saturdays.

Can I just say that Lansing has their own Locavores group? And that they are hosting a week-long Eat Local Challenge for the Lansing area?!? So so envious am I. Why not here, why? I should start one. Maybe soon.

Lansing was a cool town. Everyone was super nice and helpful - several mamas pointed me to fun things for toddlers (like the downtown Library, where Silas burned off a lot of steam) and one mom in particular pointed us to a very cool Italian grocery store, right near the city market, called Roma. We went there after picking Chad up from the conference, since even at progressive events in Michigan, vegetarians are left to starve (he said for lunch they served him a pile of white rice with some soggy baby corn and carrots. Swear to god.) What a score! Even though it was the end of the day, they still had delicious, fresh food. Chad had a veggie calzone while I inhaled the spinach pie. Oh, and did I mention dessert? Cannolis!!!! And a mini-eclair. Chad had some raspberry cream cheese pastry and an apricot bar (he's allergic to the chocolate, y'know). We also bought a huge tin of EVOO and some frozen homemade gnocchi. It was a good find.

So what all did I find at the farmer's market? I'll tell ya:
2 lbs Jennings Brothers Soft Wheat flour ($6)
Grassfields Raw Milk Organic Cheese (1/2 lb Gouda, 1/2 lb Cheddar) ~$13 for both
2 quarts organic heirloom tomatoes ($6)
1 dozen free range large eggs ($2.50)
1 quart organic Paula Red apples ($2.75)
1 pint dried local cherries ($3.50)
1 bag of baby rice popcorn ($2)
1 bag of kettle corn ($3)
1.5 quarts of local peaches (can't remember...)
1 pint local raspberry jam ($2.75)

A pretty good haul, all in all, for about $45. So what are we doing with it all?

3 of the peaches became Peach Coffee Cake for breakfast (which also used 2 of the eggs). The tomatoes are now in the slow cooker turning into some more delicious homemade sauce that well will freeze in quart bags. The cherries will either go straight into our bellies or into the next batch of homemade granola. The apples are almost gone. The cheese is outstanding! We just ate pieces of it today with lunch, it's great snacking cheese. I'm psyched to learn that I can buy it online! Although it's 165 miles away, I feel like it's worth the extra mileage because it's a)raw milk cheese b) organic c) really local otherwise, as in, they feed their cows with feed from Michigan. So it's worth fudging the mileage a little. Plus, it's so freaking tasty!

Day 8 Menu Wrap Up

Homemade granola
eden soymilk

Popcorn, an apple, some hunks of gouda (me)

Egg salad sandwich and Odwalla C Monster from Great Harvest Bread Co. (me)
DH: inedible conference food

Lunch, take 2 at Roma Grocery:
Veggie Calzone
Spinach Pie
Assorted desserts

Light Dinner:
Fresh tomato salad with local mozzarella, basil from the backyard, EVOO and balsamic reduction
Leftover rosemary biscuits

Not such a local day menu wise, but we increased our local food stores and spread some money around Michigan's local economy!


Jen@BigBinder said...

Hi there! I am participating in the ELC too, but my 'exemption' is that I am only doing it for 2 weeks because it corresponds with an eat local challenge here in town. I live in Grand Rapids; but I grew up near Lansing and lived in Royal Oak as a really young kid. I am riveted by your blog because I know all of the places you are talking about! So, this is our first week of it. If you come to Grand Rapids ever you should check out our farmer's market and we have lots of locally produced goodness here too :)

keeta said...

I'm so envious, you guys have a city-wide challenge, too?

That's so cool, we were just in GR for the first time a few weeks ago - stopped off at the Meijer gardens, what a cool place! I think we'll be heading back that way in a few weeks when my parents are in town. Is the farmer's market on Saturday? And if you have any other GR spots to check out, let me know!