My Yummy Local Life

{May 13, 2013}   Make Your Own- It’s Fun!

So I just thought I would share a few things that I have been making instead of buying these days. Some are still in progress so I don’t know if they will be successful or not. I generally will try to make anything at least once. Most things end up being easier than they look and it’s fun- and also healthier- knowing how your food is made and what is in it.


One Gallon of organic humanely raised whole milk yields about one pound of mozzarella cheese. The kit I bought will make up to 30 batches of mozzarella this size so I should be getting plenty of practice. Regular fresh mozzarella (milk source unknown) usually runs us about $6 for half this amount. $6 is what I paid for the top quality milk.


The growler is fermenting some homemade root beer (from extract). It started to explode in the house and is now living in the garage. The mason jar is home to wild fermenting strawberry vinegar. Currently it’s still in the wild yeast (wine) phase, but in a couple weeks it should start to turn to vinegar. My guess is this process may be shortened a bit by the heat.



I got a kit to grow mushrooms from a box. It says it will take 10 days. The first picture is about 3 days in. The second is about 6 days in. We plan to harvest some starting on Thursday. The box was $22- if we get about a pound of oyster mushrooms I think we’ll break even, anything over that and it will be free mushrooms.

I’ve said this before, but at the Carrboro farmer’s market the early bird really does get the cream of the crop. In this case, I got some lovely oyster mushrooms today.  I think in order to get mushrooms you have to be truly among the first wave of people, which today I was, because I have to work at noon today instead of my usual 5pm shift on Saturdays and I wanted to make sure I would have time to go to the market, eat, write this and get ready for work all before 11am.

Here’s what I got:

This weeks veggies! Mushrooms as the highlight!

Mushrooms and long peppers: $5.00 (the mushrooms were 4 so those peppers were like $0.25 a piece!)

Three big tomatoes (all different types): $4.55

1/2 lb of table grapes: $1.50 (A couple of these will hopefully provide the yeast starter for my next batch of ginger ale)

Goat Cheese: $4.49

1 red and 1 white onion: $1.75

Salad mix: $4.00 (Not from my regular salad mix guy who I couldn’t find today-sad)

Peaches: $5.00

Total Spent: $26.29

Spaghetti Squash and Mangos!

Also got some spaghetti squashes and mangos (3, hubby already ate one) from a co-worker who had too many: FREE! (Because she knows I love to be cheap). These aren’t at the market right now, so not sure what their value might be, but free is a good price if you ask me!

Earlier this week I called to pretty much every blueberry picking farm in the area and got the same story: “We have some blueberries still ripening, we might be open for picking on Saturday, but if we are it will be the last day.” Lovely since Thursday is the day I had open and wanted to go picking…

So yesterday I called farms further west in the state (typically they have stuff for a week or two longer than us), thinking I could go next Wednesday on my day off, but NO… same. exact. story.  So sad for me. Evidently due to the extreme heat everyone’s blueberries are done early.  Happily they were still at the market, but I had to pay a stupid tax for not finding time to go sooner.  I got this bucket of blueberries for freezing:

Stupid Tax blueberries!

Instead of costing about $12-15 like they would have had I picked them myself (assuming between $2-3/lb), these lovely berries cost $25 for the 5 lb bucket.  Now they are getting frozen so that I can have blueberry muffins in the winter! Selfish. I know.

In all fairness, there was ONE farm that was still open for picking… since they are “certified organic” instead of just “natural growing practices” they charge $6.95/lb to have the privilege of picking some of their berries yourself.  That would have made my 5 lbs cost about $35, which is how I have talked myself into the fact that these berries were actually a deal!

Carrboro Market before 8am provides a glorious bounty of color and variety.  Dang it! I’m a morning person, but I still don’t like to be anywhere before 8 in the morning. But today I wanted blueberries and the last time I went to the Carrboro Market there were no blueberries to be had (at 8:30am!).  So today I rolled out of bed, took Einstein out, threw on some permethrin treated clothes and headed to the market as early as I could muster. After (hunting!) for parking, walking the quarter mile from where I had to park and setting foot on the farmer’s market grounds, it was around 7:35am.  And hallelujah! the sweet old lady that I like to buy from had blackberries! I ended up getting all of this glorious bounty:

Pre 8am Farmer’s Market Bounty

Breaking everything down, here’s what I ended up with:

1 pint blackberries, 1 qt plums, 1 qt PURPLE potatoes, 1 head yellow cauliflower: $12.80

1 HUGH head of lettuce, 3 small heads of broccoli: $3.90

2 quarts of peaches (Free stone), two varieties: $10

PURPLE bell peppers, 3 cucumbers (one that is round?!), 3 purple eggplants: $4.50

1 pint oyster mushrooms, 1/2 pint raspberries: $8

5 baby artichokes (!), 4 squash blossoms (!): $6

Grand total: $45.20- Sometimes I feel like I am stealing this stuff!


So things that I found that I was not expecting to buy (but HAD to based on their amazingness): artichokes, mushrooms, purple potatoes, plums, and squash blossoms.  Things that I was planning to buy (and the entire reason I went so early), but did not buy: blueberries! I saw blueberries, but by the time I saw them I was already overloaded with all of the above gloriousness! Also there were still strawberries (I have no idea how since it’s been HOT) and if you know me at all you know it’s very strange for me to pass up local strawberries.

The moral of the story is: the early bird gets the worm (and fruit) and the late worm gets to live (but doesn’t get fruit).

et cetera