Shopping is something that I have grown to dislike. It once was a sort of social thing, as most everyone knowing me or my Little Lady would stop for a one- or two-minute greeting and a how-are-you-doing conversation.

It was not unusual for a half-hour trip to drag on well into the latter part of the second hour. But since I moved north up into cattle country, I no longer know many people, few know me, and those who I have met seem to be caught in a frenzy of getting what they need and getting out of there.

Here at Westwind Farms, meat products are much less a problem. Heritage Berkshire hogs are pasture-raised for slower weight-gain, making exceptional quality pork. Free-ranging muscular Boer meat goats have proven to be a delicacy to a large portion of the ethnic immigrant population. Cross-bread laying hens provide fresh, brown-shelled eggs daily, which seems to be the popular choice among the self-serve customers, and it is not uncommon to have a freezer full of freshly butchered, ready-to-roast meat chickens. All are fed a locally-selected grain mix with no medications or hormone additives.

In addition, we have seasonal vegetables and berries from our garden, as well as honey from the thriving 30-hive bee yard that we host along the edge of one of our back fields. It is hoped, too, that native speckled and or rainbow trout will be soon added to our freshly revived pond.

Though there are many very good displays of fruits and vegetables at the markets, it leaves me at a loss as to know what is good, as well as good for you. The greater majority is definitely imported, and it is difficult to know what conditions they are grown under.

The four “must gets,” in addition to milk, that are on my usual list are bananas, grapefruit, orange juice and molasses – all of which are definitely imported. I take no credit for the makeup of this collection, as it stems from my mother’s insistence that they contain most of the A, B, C and D vitamins necessary to keep a body healthy. So it was from her, though many years have passed, that I learned to like them to the point of enjoying.

An interesting point that recently came to light from a grocery receipt that I had used as a bookmark, dated four years previous, was that each item that I have mentioned has crept up in price by greater than 40 per cent, creating the question: “are government pension cheques keeping pace?”

From one of my Little Lady’s dusty cookbooks, folded deeply inside, in my mother’s handwriting, on tightly red-lined notepaper, was another interesting notation that she chose to share.

The script at the top read “Cleaning Store Bought Fruit” and followed with “Fill dishpan with water, add 1 cup of vinegar, stir well. Add all fruit and let soak for ten minutes. Water will be dirty, and fruit will sparkle with no wax or dirty film. Great for berries, too, as it keeps them from molding. Try this with strawberries, and they will last for weeks!”

That should wash away a few of our doubts and fears about the pesticides and chemical residues on various fruits and vegetables. I also remember my mother wiping the oilcloth table covering on our large, old country kitchen table with a hand cloth dampened with 3% hydrogen peroxide.

Perhaps some of the old ways are still better than the new? I have not yet died from any of these possible infractions.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins