Shopping local has become part of our effort to stay healthy during this pandemic. My husband and I are in the ‘at risk’ where some friends our age have grown children who do all their shopping for them. Having no family in town, we’ve established our own routine to avoid larger crowds.
Pre-pandemic, we shopped at the local farmers market, which promptly shut down back in mid-March, along with most everything else. Our favorite farmer, Julie Braune of Braune Farms Fresh Produce, opens their farm stand on Wednesdays and Saturdays. So we began shopping there. It’s a longer drive, but it gets us out of the house. Shopping there is quite orderly as we all stand in line, six feet apart, awaiting our turn.
A second booth was added with the delicious handcrafted pasta from Gourmet Texas Pasta. Courtney makes a variety of tasty pastas. Including gluten-free pastas, though I haven’t tried those.
We also buy our eggs from Lori with Hartman Farm. We’ve bought her eggs for 9 or 10 years now. We found that her eggs were better tasting than the conventional eggs at the store. They also have thicker shells which means they hold up better when you boil them. I have grown so used to her eggs that I try to make sure to never run out. I’ve been known to ‘forget’ that I can actually buy eggs other places! We meet up with Lori on her delivery day, in San Antonio, to get eggs and sometimes vegetables.
The farmers market is what got us started with buying local food. And since then, we’ve become fans of eating local foods. We have always supported local merchants whenever possible: choosing local restaurants over chains and the local hardware store over the big box stores, when possible. Local food just made sense. For us it means better quality and fresher food. We know our farmers and the lady who raises the chickens that lay our eggs. It’s a WIN:WIN since we support the smaller business and we get much better quality than at the grocery store.
Shopping local for our food also means we are eating more with the seasons. I believe that is how Mother Nature intended us to eat. I talk about that in my post on eating with the seasons.
A few weeks back, Gourmet Texas Pasta had their Chocolate Dessert Linguine at the farm stand. After talking with Courtney about it and how to serve it, I decided to try it. I spent a lot of time searching for recipes for a sauce to go with that pasta. I found one that sounded good, a Mascarpone-Vanilla Cream. It turned out delicious!
I also found recipes for salted caramel sauce and for caramel sauce with pecans. That got me hooked on wanting a salted caramel pecan sauce. I’m very picky on the ingredients that I use, so I borrowed ideas from several recipes and created my own recipe for Salted Caramel Pecan Sauce. The recipe follows.
Do you shop local? Now just might be the most important time for you to consider shopping local. The pandemic has taken its toll on the economy in general, but small local businesses are the hardest hit. I want to see small businesses survive in this time. So does Groom+Style and they have written an in-depth, comprehensive guide on the benefits of shopping local. Check out their guide and plan to do more local shopping to support your community. After all, it is where you live!
Salted Caramel Pecan Sauce
- 1 cup Organic brown sugar
- 4 tbsp Unsalted butter
- ½ cup Heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp Vanilla
- ½ tsp Sea salt
- ½ cup Chopped pecans
- Mix sugar, butter, cream, and sea salt in medium saucepan
- Cook over medium heat, while stirring with whisk, for 5-7 minutes. Or until sauce starts to thicken
- Remove from heat
- Stirr in pecans and vanilla
- Serve warm or refrigerate