Friday Rambles around the Table

Come on in, kettle is on.. I am on an Earl Grey Tea kick at the moment and I have taken to making a full pot of it at the time. I have been using some of my more fun teapots just cuz I can!

So what caught your eye in the news over the past week? Did you put the news to the side if you are in the states and focused instead on your Thanksgiving?  Are you doing Black Friday Shopping?  If so are you doing it online or in person? Did you make a list and if so, will you stick with it.

I have my master list of things that we know we want to add to the farm and I do watch sales to try to get them at heavy discounts if I am buying new.. Many times I can find them second-hand and that is an awesome way to save money and often buy things when they were built-in heavier formats.

It’s a balance act, as somethings repairing the older versions is beyond my ability or skill set and or the new version is just so much more improved, lighter in weight, or use less gas etc.  Its like food processors, the hand crank are the ones that go forever but so much extra work to make the food.. where the food processors are so much faster, but I have burned out a few motors in my day in my more bulk cooking/canning.

I want to talk about food this week, two things hit my radar this week.. both will affect most folks in their kitchens,  just in different ways.

First lets talk about the “fresh” item, that is of course Romaine lettuce. Yet another recall and in this case, they are asking everyone to stop eat Romaine and or any Romaine Salad’s or Salad Mixes that contain it.

The reason is of course yet another E-coli issue!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/lettuce-e-coli-contamination-1.4913956

This is the 3rd Major recall in 2018.. they reach for cross spreading from farm animals/birds/wild critters. So its being hit at the grow stage typically from the water source, then once it in the plants even at a lower rate, the very way it’s handled, packaged (when you buy pre-cut, the Romaine gives off sugars that help it grow in the bag (yum) give it lots of time to grow.  The best thing.. washing makes NO difference and its eaten raw!

But really we also need to look at the “new” waste water that comes from the treatment plants that is being used to grow crops..  I understand that they want to use “cleaned” grey water to grow crops, I do the same at times here on the farm, I have been known to collect grey water and water my fruit tree’s or low to the ground soft fruits.. What I do not use grey water is when its going to touch the produce that we will be eating!

But here is the bigger catch, they are trying to take “black” water and treat it enough that it becomes grey water and that is lot harder and there is going to be failure prone. However I want to turn this on a different angle..

Do you think having fresh “soft/summer” greens available all year round is going to become a thing of the past or the very wealthy, or do you think more folks will have small home green growing centers? in their homes. Do you think we will see more smaller growers take up the market locally.

Or do you think we will go back to eating more cabbage and other root veggies in winter salads?

All right lets switch from a luxury food that provides little calories and compared to most other foods, very little health punch that in truth could easily be replaced in meal planning and talk about one that is much more staple.

The Potato..

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-potato-harvest-weather-conditions-1.4896189

I listened with interest when they talked about the fact that we are down massive amounts of potato’s all across the country.. all-weather related.. the potato’s in many case rotting in the fields or rotting in the bins..

https://www.producer.com/2018/11/squeezed-harvest-causes-potato-shortage-in-manitoba/

I am calling it now folks..

  • We are going to see a potato shortage over the coming season, not just until new potato season but right up into full harvest next year!
  • We are going to see higher costs on the potato’s in the store but we are going to see a lot of very poor potato’s in quality being sold
  • The little potato company is going to rise its prices and take more of the market because they will be one of the few ones available that will not be effected by this but will certainly take advantage of it.
  • You can expect ALL frozen potato products to inch their way up in cost over this one.

Do not think this is only effecting us!

https://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/european-drought-emsland-highlights-damage-to-potato-crops-dramatic-cost-increase.html

Europe is having issues due to weather/climate in this regards as well and they are down 25% overall but really hit hard in the bigger potato’s yield that are needed for French fries

05 Sep 2018 — The European potato harvest will be at a historically low level this year and present a massive challenge for growers, processors and their customers. Due to the crop failures in potato fields, some of which were total failures, the availability of potato products will be significantly reduced. According to the Raw Materials Procurement Department of the Emsland Group, potato fields of the contract farmers of the group are in dire conditions.

The German Association of fruit, vegetables and potato processing industry (BOGK) expects that the potato harvest in Germany and Europe also made light of the situation in July.
Farming and potato processing industry experts explain that at this current time the crop is expected to be reduced by a minimum of 25 percent; large potatoes, which are necessary to produce French fries will only be available in small numbers or in the worst case not at all in many areas.

So normally I would tell you that we have our own potato’s in the cellar but our potato patch go turned into mashed spuds when the whole garden was smashed by a high hoe due to work that needed to be done.

Thankfully we have a local potato farm just down the road and at the moment they do have large 50 pound bags of spuds available at this time.. (I expect that they will sell out sooner than later, last year was the first year that when we went in the spring, they were sold out months before the next harvest)

So we will be buying in bulk for canning, cooking them, and cooled and stacked and stored in the freezer, plus hash browns put up and putting a couple hundred pounds into the potato bins in the pantry.

If you have a local farm, you might want to check on their status and think about stocking up while you can if you need to boost your put away amounts while you have the chance now.

The second things I am going to say, if you have land to do so.. might be a good idea to order in seed potato’s, and want to include some earliest in that order so that you can get them on the table a lot faster than the fall harvest storage ones

I did some fall potato planting and then bedded them down for first early’s if they make the winter.  Otherwise, it will be a seed potato year. I will start some true potato seed on a few as well.

I have used these guys for years and been very pleased with the seed potato’s that I get from them.. I have never had an issue to date (hopefully that will continue to be the case)

https://www.seedpotatoes.ca/

I see that they have a number of sold out kinds but still lots of good ones to pick from!

Will you be growing potato’s in 2019?

If you have to replace potato’s in your meals, may I ask what you will replace it with?

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16 Responses to Friday Rambles around the Table

  1. Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your Friday rambles. I had read about the lettuce, but not about the potatoes. I buy mine locally too, and will be checking with him to see about his supply. Keep rambling!

  2. Yup, sayin’ it again: “STUPID WEATHER!!”:/

  3. Silveryew says:

    What a cute teapot ^_^ I am an Earl Grey lady myself, if it’s available then it’s what I will have.
    We’ve been told a variety of root veg including potatoes will be smaller than normal this year, and that there will be much less of it available than normal. This is both in the UK and back home in Norway, and it’s due to the drought we had this summer. The lack of rain has just shrivelled everything:(

  4. Widdershins says:

    Maybe large-scale food disruption will be enough to wake people up, maybe not.

    • I think that large Scale Food Disruption will lead to people becoming more aware.. wake up.. hmmm not sure on that one.. but it will put that niggle in.. Why can’t I get X? or I guess it could lead to anger, I can’t afford to buy figs any more.. Sometimes that anger can lead them to think.. other times not..

  5. I heard a bad one today. Strangely it sounded like the type of word play that I would come up with. Had to share.
    “The Romaine Empire has fallen. Caesar is dead. Lettuce pray”

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