What’s In Season: January.

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PRODUCE:  Arugula, beets, bok choi, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce and salad mixes, mustard greens, onions, pecans, pumpkins, radishes, spinach, squash (butternut, spaghetti – winter varieties), Swiss chard, turnips, turnip greens.

HERBS:  Cilantro, dill, lavender, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme.

LOCALLY-RAISED and MADE GROCERY ITEMS:  Baked goods (breads, pastries, pies, gluten-free), balsamic vinegars, beef, cheeses (cow & goat), chicken (whole, breast, ground), coffee & espresso, cornmeal, dog food & treats (all-natural), eggs (chicken & duck), goat’s milk soap, granola, honey, jams & jellies, lamb, laundry detergent, lotion, milk, olive oils, pasta, pecans, pickles, plants (herbs, flowers, vegetables), pork, tea, wheat flour, wine, yogurt.

PREPARED FOODS:   breakfast burritos and tacos, crepes, Indian, pizza, pretzels & pretzel bun sandwiches, tamales (beef & black bean and queso).

WDFM Christmas Celebration & Handmade Market on December 14th!

On December 14th, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market will be celebrating Christmas at the Market – complete with caroling and festive spirits abounding.  We want to support all of our local producers and small-scale craftsters this gift-giving season – and promote buying local and handmade!!

To add to the holly, jolly Christmas spirit, we will have Christmas music this Saturday at the Market! The Burleson Band will be playing from 10am-12pm – interspersed with Christmas Caroling at 10 and 11. Bring along your best singing voices!  There will also be a kid’s activity involving decorating salt dough ornaments!

Here’s just a smattering of what you’ll find at Market this Saturday, December 14th:

  • Waco-themed felt Christmas Ornaments from Wendy Gragg:
Waco themed felt ornaments made by Wendy Gragg

Waco themed felt ornaments made by Wendy Gragg

  • Wine from Valley Mills Vineyards and Lily Lake Vineyards:
Wine from Valley Mills Vineyards

Wine from Valley Mills Vineyards

  • Natural Body Care Products and Handmade Soaps from TLC Farms, Happy Stuff, Dairy Meadow Soaps, Jessica’s Herbal Apothecary, and Mad Farmer & Mother Hen:
Happy Pits deoderant from Happy Stuff

Happy Pits deoderant from Happy Stuff

Herbal Salves from Jessica's Herbal Apothecary

Herbal Salves from Jessica’s Herbal Apothecary

Lavender buttermilk baby soap - and more from Mad Farmer & Mother Hen

Lavender buttermilk baby soap – and more from Mad Farmer & Mother Hen

  • Local jewelry and bows from Mister Other One, Jamm’s Homemade, Tie Dye Dino, Amanda & Micah of Star Farmers Market, and Your Little Beauty:
Waco-themed and other eclectic jewelry from Mister Other One

Waco-themed and other eclectic jewelry from Mister Other One

  • Stunning local photography from WKPhotography:
Photography from  Wes Kitten

Photography from
Wes Kitten

  • Handmade wooden toys from Jay Bryngelson and Crystal River Creations:
Crystal River Creations

Crystal River Creations

  • Seasonal Baked Goods from Pecan Bluff Farm, Vanilla Bean Bake Shoppe, and Artisan Ovens:
Gingerbread Cookies from Pecan Bluff Farm

Gingerbread Cookies from Pecan Bluff Farm

  • Hand-sewn, hand-knit, hand-crocheted, and hand-woven accessories from Juva Gypsy, Mad Farmer & Mother Hen, Elizabeth Ross, and Rachel Moberg:
Upcycled aprons from Juva Gypsy

Upcycled aprons from Juva Gypsy

Adorable crocheted baby items by Elizabeth Ross

Adorable crocheted baby items by Elizabeth Ross

  • Jams and Jellies galore from the Winemaker’s Pantry and Star Farmers Market:
Jams from the Winemaker's Pantry

Jams from the Winemaker’s Pantry

  • Specialty gift boxes from Texas Hill Country Olive Oil, Brazos Valley Cheese, and the Winemaker’s Pantry:
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Holiday gourmet gift baskets available from Brazos Valley Cheese

  • Things for the gardeners in your life, including locally saved seed from Brim Seed Company, garden memberships to the Urban Gardening Coalition, and faerie gardens from Wee Woodlands:
Locally saved seeds from Brim Seed Company

Locally saved seeds from Brim Seed Company

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Faerie Gardens made by Wee Woodlands

  • Coffee and tea – on-site and bagged for you to stuff your stockings – from Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits and Double B:
Fresh and bagged coffee from Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits

Fresh and bagged coffee from Dichotomy Coffee & Spirits

  • A locally written book from Brooke Hampton of Enchanted Cedar:
Enchanted Cedar, the book by Brooke Hampton

Enchanted Cedar, the book by Brooke Hampton

  • Swag to represent your love for all things local and Waco Downtown Farmers Market – the WDFM burlap tote bag and wooden market tokens (which never expire!)
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WDFM Burlap tote bags – available at the Welcome Booth for $10

No Market – December 7th.

This Week at Market – No Market

December 7, 2013

After watching the temperatures for Saturday continually drop throughout the week (the high for the day is now set at 26 degrees – low of 23) and the chance of sleet/freezing rain increase, we have decided to cancel the farmers market for December 7th.  Spread the word.  Please stay warm with your friends and family – inside somewhere.  Unless you are crazy enough to be attending the last Baylor football game at Floyd Casey Stadium, then may your school spirit keep you cozy!

Rest up and get your craft on for our Christmas Market with a Handmade Marketplace on December 14th (details below for those who would like to participate as a vendor).  And pray for some warmer weather!

What’s In Season: December.

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PRODUCE:   Arugula, beets, bok choi, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, garlic, greens (turnip, beet, and mustard), kale (baby, curly, Red Russian, Siberian), kohlrabi, lettuce and salad mixes, onions, peas (sugar snap), radishes, spinach, turnips, radishes.

HERBS: Cilantro, dill, lavender, sage, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme.

On their way out: the last of the fall tomatoes, squash (pattipan, yellow, acorn, butternut), peppers (sweet and hot), sweet potatoes.

Handmade Market on December 14th

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Waco-themed jewelry by Jessie Hunter – aka Mister Other One.

On December 14th, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market will be celebrating Christmas at the Market – complete with caroling.  We want to support small-scale craftsters this gift-giving season – and promote buying local and handmade!!

If you are interested in selling, please fill out the “Contact Us” form on the website - and include a description of what you’ll be selling and a photo or two.  Nothing edible, please.  Cost will be $25 per booth and you must supply your own table.  Everything must be handmade by you – so that we are exemplifying the spirit of all things Waco!

Location:  WDFM – 400 S. University Parks Drive

Hours:  9am-1pm (please arrive by 8:30am – and plan on staying until the end of market at 1pm)

Cost:  $25/table

Deadline for registering:  Saturday, December 7th

We also operate a token system at Market – allowing all vendors to benefit from customers who only have credit/debit cards.  At the end of Market, you can turn in your tokens to the Welcome booth and record your address information so that we can send you a check for the tokens you earned.  More details about our Token System can be found here.

For more information, please contact Bethel at wdfm.manager@gmail.com

 

2013 National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Did you know that . . .

. . .over the course of a school year, over 1000 Waco ISD students are homeless?
. . . 1 in 7 senior citizens in the U.S. is threatened by hunger?
. . . the average age of a homeless person in the U.S. is 9 years?
. . . 1 in 4 of our children in Texas live in households experiencing food insecurity?

The McLennan County Hunger Coalition (MCHC) and the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition (HOTHC) are promoting the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 17-23, which is a nationwide endeavor to promote education, awareness and action related hunger and homelessness.  During this week, schools communities and cities throughout the nation will strive to bring a greater awareness to these issues of hunger and homelessness.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, there are currently between 3.5 and 4 million homeless persons in the U.S.  there is no question but that many of these homeless individuals and families suffer daily from severe hunger, as well as food insecurity.  Over 30% of children in Waco live in households that are at or below the poverty level, and where there is poverty there is hunger.

The HOTHC (www.heartoftexashomeless.org) is a totally volunteer organization which works to increase community awareness of the problems of homelessness, to indentify gaps in services that prevent homeless persons from achieving self-sufficiency, and then to develop strategic plans to fill those gaps to help homeless individuals and families to  improve the quality of their lives.  The MCHC (www.mclennanhunger.org) whose mission is, ‘United to End Hunger in McLennan County”, strives to increase community awareness of the problems of hunger, and to encourage collaboration among pantries, community feeding programs, organizations in the food economy, congregations, and governmental agencies to serve those experiencing hunger and food insecurity to help them improve the quality of their lives.

During this week the MCHC and the HOTHC will be sponsoring events, as well as supporting established events to increase the awareness of these issue in the lives of our citizens.
Click here for the calendar of activities.
To learn more or to participate, please contact: Chelle Samaniego, chellesamaniego1@gmail.com, or Kenneth Moerbe, at 254-715-0134,kemoerbe@gmail.com, Co-chairpersons of the local NHHAWeek Planning Committee.

Farmer Joel Salatin Rants Against Proposed Farm Regulations – and Why You Should Care Too

From Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm Facebook Page. Preach it Joel!

In case you didn’t know, the sustainable agriculture/local food community is abuzz in recent weeks over proposed Draconian regulations from the 2009 Food Safety Modernization Act. Overseen by President Obama’s appointment, Michael Taylor (longtime Monsanto attorney who shepherded Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the world, this food policing project is just now getting flesh on the bones. It’s ugly.

If you haven’t received the action alerts about this, you’re not plugged into the clean food and integrity food movements. The public comment period closes Nov. 15 and literally every single non-industrial food organization is hopping mad about the proposals.

Like all subjective regulations, it’s hard to know what everything actually means. The regulations use “farm” and “facility” interchangeably, which makes all of us farmers wonder if we are no longer farms, but rather perceived as food facilities. Each farm is limited to only 3,000 pastured chickens–is this per year, per property, per business entity? It’s all unclear, but obviously if it’s the most stringent, it would destroy polyface Farm.

The regulations almost prohibit using compost for vegetable production and create a scorched-earth policy toward wildlife that meanders onto farms. The regulations love centralized Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and doesn’t want mixed plant-animal farms. Chemical fertilizers are easy to use; biologically active soil amendments practically impossible. You get the flavor. Did anyone expect anything different from a Monsanto rep?

But that’s not what this post is about. That’s all just context. The crux of my thoughts today revolve around the axiom perpetuated in all these action alerts and info-sheets: “better oversight is needed.” While whipping us into apoplectic frenzy with diatribes about how heinous all this is, the same authors, in the same evangelistic fervor, say “better oversight is needed.” They mean government oversight of food safety; primarily, I assume, industrial food.

Saying “better oversight is needed” while decrying the kind of oversight we’re getting is naive. The most powerful section of the documentary Food Inc, in my opinion, is right at the end where the revolving door of industry-regulators shows the business cards as examples. How do you get “better oversight” when the entire regulatory bureaucracy marches to the beat of the same drummer? While certainly a few lone voices do exist, the food policing agencies as a whole share the same idealogical fraternity–indeed in many cases the same college fraternity–as the industry they’re supposed to regulate. It makes for a cozy–and incredibly prejudicial–family.

The wise reaction to all this is to realize that we are getting the kind of oversight we’re getting because that’s how government regulations operate. They always have and always will. The government agencies kow-tow to the biggest players and the whole structure becomes concessionized toward the status quo rather than a true societal watchdog. The dog bites innovators and rabble-rousers; it licks the biggest
players who can afford to bring it biscuits (wine and cheese dinners).

The problem is not better government oversight. The problem is government oversight, period. The answer is not better government; the answer is eliminating the government’s meddling in food affairs at all. At this stage of the game, with a First Lady who planted an organic garden on the White House lawn, if we can’t get any better recognition of scientific evidence for decentralization, pastured livestock, farm diversification, and small-scale processing I would hope anyone still putting faith in government oversight would begin to question their wisdom.

I have a question for all my friends who share a love of integrity food and healing landscape who still think we need better government oversight of food. Pray tell, just how are you going to change agency climates from evil to good? How do you get everyone from Monsanto to Tyson to Bill Gates to quit populating the government agencies with their lackeys? How are you going to break the good ole boy network between the corn growers alliance, the chemical fertilizer institute, the herbicide alliance and the pharmaceutical industry with the ag colleges and the government agencies? How? If you haven’t been able to do it yet, when? Next year, the next year? Just when is this better oversight going to kick in?

Folks, I beg you, please, please, please quit asking for ANY more government involvement in our food system. You can’t convert a demon. We need an opt out strategy, to preserve a food choice for the natives, before all of us heretics who dare question industrial orthodoxy get rounded up and put on the reservation–if we sign up as friends. Otherwise, it’s Wounded Knee for us. It’s just this kind of naive faith that somehow we can get better oversight from the government that perpetuates and fuels the burgeoning inquisition. Too many people think they can replace the food extortionists with folks who will love compost and pastured chickens.

I have news for you–’t ain’t gonna happen. Not today. Not tomorrow. We need to quit feeding the idea that we need government oversight in food. It’s given us GMOs, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, irradiation, DDT, and the demonic 1979 food pyramid that embarked our nation on Type II diabetes and an obesity epidemic never seen in any civilization in human history. And these people are watchdogs of food safety? Give me a break.

The way to get safe food and plenty of food choice is to let the players duke it out in the marketplace. I’ll tell my story; Monsanto can tell their story. Right now, it’s a stacked deck. The entire weight of the U.S. government is there to pooh-pooh my story and stamp “approved” on Monsanto’s story, or Tyson or McDonald’s or Merck or Pfizer–pick your devil of the day. Any of them will do.

Only when people are responsible for their food choices, without prejudiced government agents coaxing them, will people finally begin taking the responsibility to educate themselves about food and consequences. When we remove the tyranny, liberty fosters personal accountability. Accountability fosters informational interest. Suddenly people will be as interested in their food as they are in the Kardashians, and wouldn’t that be an exciting societal evolution?

Food business that hurt people will get their pants sued instead of hiding behind the skirts of government food safety agents saying: “I complied with all government licenses.” The license means if you join the fraternity, courts will absolve you of guilt. Get it?

I beg my friends in this movement: please don’t give any more credence to government food meddling. It’s why we are where we are. Here at Polyface, we’re not sure how much more of this “better oversight” we can stand. Look at your children. Look them in the eye, and then tell them you are depending on a bureaucrat to keep them safe. If you can do that, you have way more faith in the industrial food orthodoxy than I do. As for me and my house, we will put our faith in businesses we trust, people we know, farmers who don’t pepper their entrance with “No Trespassing” signs, sheep dip, and haz mat suits.

Among consenting adults, the freedom to acquire the food of our choice is certainly as important as the freedom to worship, shoot, or pray. Our country seems to love rebels wherever they pop up around the world–except right here at home. Here at home, we’re called criminals and we live in terror for our farms and our freedom to feed our children what will liberate them from being enslaved by the pharmaceutical-medical-chemical-industrial orthodoxy. We don’t need “better governmental oversight.” We need freedom.

What’s In Season: November.

Greens (turnip, beet, and mustard) lettuce, strawberries, variety of fall tomatoes, kale (baby, curly, Red Russian, Siberian), beets, baby spinach, cucumbers (slicing, English and Armenian), okra, squash (pattipan, yellow, acorn, butternut), spinach, bok choi, broccoli, turnip greens, turnips, arugula, red potatoes, eggplant, radishes (French breakfast and watermelon), peppers (sweet and hot), onions (shallots, red and yellow), garlic, sweet potatoes.