"You Can't Beat Farm Fresh"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, June 24, 2016

Living in the Thumb provides many benefits.

Health benefits top the list because of the availability of fresh food to be found in many locations. Eggs are an example: Having the ability to pick some up, almost still warm at a local farm is great. Can you even imagine how old those store eggs are? They leave a farm, go to a distributor, get packaged, and go to another distributor, then on to the eventual store’s cooler. Lot of miles on those eggs.

When I looked up how long the shelf life was for fresh eggs it said up to 66 days. Another note said, “If they smell rotten, they are.” When examining a carton of eggs I purchased out of the area, (eggs that claim to “be the best”), I could not determine the state of origin. The print was very small but I’m sure it did not say Michigan. There was a sell-by date which was a few days after my purchase.

I’m fairly certain fresh eggs are handled less. I’m not saying store bought eggs are not safe, but from first-hand experience, salmonella is not fun. For sure, refrigerate them wherever you get them, the days of leaving them sitting on the counter top are gone.

How old do you think that chicken is by the time it’s butchered, processed, packaged and sent along to the distributor train? For sure, a fresh chicken is the best choice. I’m sure the same can be said for the beef we eat or pork — all are available fresh if you know the right people. You can even pick out your own beef or hog before slaughter and advise the butcher about your favorite cuts. For those looking for less fat in their meat, we have buffalo that can be purchased, and I think there may be an ostrich farm, and I understand ostrich is the leanest meat you can eat.

How about the selection of fresh veggies? Today, I got fresh beets from the farmers market. I had some leftover canned beets and decided to compare them with my fresh ones. I didn’t season them or put anything on them at all. The canned had very little taste compared to the fresh. Carrots are another veggie that is so good fresh and so tasteless when purchased at the store, especially when they cut off all the nutrients.

Many root veggies grown in a garden can keep for months, maybe into the next year. Onions and potatoes, handled and cared for properly, can be kept really well in a cool, dark place. We used to call it a root cellar. Fresh tomatoes, radishes, shallots won’t keep a long time, but they usually get eaten quickly. Our local restaurants serve fresh veggies they grow or get from a local farm. When the corn is harvested and appears in the stores or restaurants, it is very popular. It can be prepared any of a number of ways, right off the cob is probably the favorite. Some people drive out of the area to get corn, but I think our local corn is much sweeter. I even had to mail it to one of my kids who moved out of state because she missed it so much.

Another benefit we enjoy here in the Thumb regarding our food is the large variety of fruit available. You can even grow your own if you are ambitious. Strawberries, blueberries, red and black raspberries. Cantaloupes and watermelon, apples, peaches red, tart cherries are all abundant locally, and each has its season so there is endless variety. For those lucky enough to have a baker on hand, a homemade pie is hard to beat (put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it). You can make that yourself also.

If you have that talented baker in the family, zucchini squash turns into the tastiest cake and you can eat it without guilt. Tastes sweet, like it has a fruit in it — not a veggie. In the fall as the harvest is taking place, our area is covered in pumpkins, and come Halloween, they smile or try to scare you. You will often find youngsters nearby giggling and laughing at them.

One more item many of us enjoy and derive great benefit from is local honey. I understand it’s a difficult task to raise bees, but I’m sure happy someone does it because I’m a believer that a tablespoon a day will help with allergies. With all our crops growing, we have lots of pollen blowing around, so try my tip.

Return to Home Page of Tipsforboating.com


Copyright © Fred Davis. All rights reserved.