The Flavor of Authenticity


No matter how much I love good jam, I still cannot bring myself to spend 4 dollars on an eight-ounce jar of Bonne Maman’s at the grocery store.

I am, however, more than willing to do the following without a moment’s hesitation:

-Spend $40 on sugar and pectin and jar lids

-Dig through peoples’ garages for extra jars (with permission, of course)

-Wash and sanitize box upon box of dusty jars

-Venture out into the heat to pick pounds and pounds of fruit

-Haul the fruit back to my house

-Sort, wash and chop the fruit

-Turn my kitchen into a sauna while I boil the fruit with sugar and pectin, pour it into jars and process those jars in a huge steaming pot of boiling water.

Scald my hands, get pricked by cactus thorns, get scratched by branches, nick my fingers and develop blisters all for the sake of enjoying something homemade.

And enjoy I have!

Apricot, wild plum, white peach, strawberry, spiced fig, prickly pear–I’ve been in homemade heaven all summer long.  However, jam has been just the tip of the iceberg as far as food goes.  Thanks to the talented vendors at our local farmers market here in Clyde, I have been spoiled with wholesome treats such as goat’s milk cheeses and yogurts, homemade breads, farm-fresh eggs, raw milk and organic chickens.

But here’s the funny part:

I gladly paid $3.50 for a small jar of fresh lemon yogurt this past Saturday, and yet I refuse to fork over $1 for a small container of Chobani at the grocery store.

What’s that about?

If it were just me behaving this way, I would chalk it up to lunacy.  But I’m NOT the only one. When I decided to sell my 16-ounce jars of apricot jam for the price I felt they were worth ($9), I was worried that no one would buy them.  Instead, I sold thirty jars in three hours. What was interesting was that both the well-to-do people and the paycheck-to-paycheck people were buying, not only my jam, but three-dollar cartons of eggs and six-dollar loaves of bread as well.  What would cause struggling people in a struggling economy to purchase higher-priced fare when they could easily go down the street and get the same items for much cheaper?

I believe the reason is that we crave authenticity.  After spending a week staring at a computer screen, getting stuck at traffic lights and, god forbid, pushing my way through a crowded supermarket, I feel as faded as the yolk in a store-bought egg.  I feel suffocated, like I’m made of plastic.  But then I cook up a batch of jam or sprinkle some homemade feta over veggies that I grew myself, and soon I feel the color returning to my cheeks.  Sure, authenticity comes with a price, but it’s worth every penny because what we receive in return is whole and real. 

When I heard that Chobani supported the 2012 Olympics, I thought, That’s nice, but I may or may not buy their yogurt.

However,when the owner of the local creamery told me that she gets up at 3am every morning to make yogurt and then milks the goats at 6am and then leaves for her day job at 8am, I thought, I’ll take a jar!

Please don’t take this the wrong way.  I don’t have it out for big businesses.  What I’m saying is that there is life and power in food that had been passionately prepared by hard-working hands versus food that’s been packaged in a factory by sterile, glove-clad hands.

Call me crazy, but I can taste the difference, and I’m willing to pay for that difference.

******************

If you live in the Clyde area and wish to partake in our authentic fare, head out to our farmers market between now and October 6th from 7-11ish along North 1st Street.  In the meantime, check us out on Facebook at “Clyde Farmers Market.”

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14 thoughts on “The Flavor of Authenticity

  1. I so agree, I grew up on a farm in Missouri. We grew our own Veggies, cattle and milk. When I became a “city girl” I was schocked at a Steak House when they gave me an over cooked tiny piece of meat. Thank goodness for Farmers Market!

  2. It’s crazy but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Though I have put a ton of stuff in the freezer and I’ll can when it’s cooler. Last year I didn’t and thought I would melt. So I’m doing it differently this year.

    • What a good idea! Only…I have absolutely no room in my freezer. Every time I open the door, I am hit with an avalanche of frozen tomatoes, peaches and chilies. 😛 Time to buy a separate freezer and save my sanity! Looking forward to checking out your blog. How did you come across mine?

  3. That’s what we did! We needed more space in our fridge and freezer so found a stand alone fridge and a stand alone freezer. And we have it stuffed to the gills already. I am new to blogging so I’m still trying to figure out how to search for blogs. But this time I went to the reader and clicked on recipes and yours was there. Glad I found it as we grow tomatillos and I want to try the green chili sauce. Though we didn’t have much luck this year growing them. They came out very pale almost a yellow green pale. Last year they were beautiful. Not sure what happened.

    • I didn’t know that chilies grew at all up there. I figured they only grew in blazing hot weather. Which state do you live in? I’m also shocked that tomatillos grow there, too. I was watching the Fabulous Beekman Boys and they have tomatillos in their upstate NY garden. Crazy. I guess I just figured that if Mexicans use it, it grows near Mexico. haha

      • We have to start the seeds indoors at the beginning of the year but yes we can grow all sorts of peppers. We live in NH. It does get blazing hot up here as well! And high humidity. Ick. One year we had a range of -30F to 110F.

      • Dang! If it weren’t for that confounded snow I would live waaaay up there. To be that close to Vermont and the Maine coast! Like I said, I might get myself into trouble when we are in Maine.

    • Thank you so much, Leatha. I really needed to hear that today. You, too, are gem. Thank you for supporting the good things in our community–and mowing your neighbor’s weeds.:)

  4. Your blog was recommended by Amy from afternoonpopcornsnack, and I really enjoyed this post. I too can be extremely extravagant and frugal all in the same day. I figure one balances out the other. And fresh homemade produce – yum.
    And now you have an Australian follower 🙂

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