The Farmer’s Market Season kicked off last week, and I made sure I found my way downtown for the Saturday Morning Market first and foremost. The evening markets across Green Bay offer a variety of vendors and new experiences. However, I have a soft place in my heart for the Saturday Morning Market after years of attendance. It’s my priority each week once the weather turns. I have many vendors that I make a point to visit, but I know that I’ve missed out on good stuff in years past. Turns out, even after nearly four years, I still haven’t discovered all of the gems.
Near the Walnut Street Entrance sits the Behnke Farms van, and it’s a van I have both stopped at and walked past a thousand times. This is my fourth year attending the market, and for that reason it sometimes feels hard to find something new to highlight for you, dear readers. Behnke Farm recently caught my attention again over the winter when they started carrying and advertising their picahna at the Winter Market on Military.
Am I a month late? Absolutely. However, We’re all resolving to be different in the new year, and for me, that always starts with food. How will Eating Normal be going into 2023? Well…
1. Start Composting Food Waste
I carry a lot of guilt about food waste. It’s especially hard as a single woman with very few friends in the area to share my creations with when I am recipe developing. I have signed up with Greener Bay to begin composting my food waste, and in the month that I’ve had my bucket hiding in my pantry, I already feel less guilt about experimenting with my cooking. Even if I don’t eat EVERYTHING, I know it will have a second life.
If you’re interested in doing the same, please check out Greener Bay’s website for additional details. Pickup and Drop Off options are available depending on what’s best for you.
2.Cook Even More
I’ve started to fall back onto old habits as a single woman, one of those being my dear friend the instant ramen packet. Feeding only myself and struggling with food waste guilt has really changed the way I cook. I know I deserve to eat better, whole foods– but God, is it hard to do that just for me. I’ve been cooking for other people my entire life. If it wasn’t my husband, it was my parents before him. Now that it’s just me, it’s hard.
Now, cooking for me at this point is as simple as making myself hard boiled eggs for breakfast.
But 2023, I will make myself do it.
3. Make Cooking Videos
I’ll continue to try my hand at short form cooking tutorials like you’ve seen from me already in 2022, but with more frequency. The current food media climate is built on them. Playoff football and the Super Bowl are coming quickly, so expect snack related videos in the month of February.
4. Admit Defeat– Cookbook of the Month
I have never, ever, in the history of this blog managed to do a cookbook every single month of the year. It’s over, folks. We’re closing that segment. I may review a cookbook every once and awhile, but with the belt tightening as I work through divorce, I just can’t afford a new cookbook every month even if I wanted to.
America’s biggest food holiday is right around the corner, and if you haven’t started considering where you’ll get the best parts of the meal, allow me to assist you in doing so as locally as possible. With the regular farmer’s market season over, your only chances come in very limited dates. There are, however, brick and mortar locations to shopping for local produce and meats in Green Bay and the surrounding area that may take some planning to hit at the right time. We’ve compiled these locations for you as well as any dates and times of indoor farmer’s markets below. As supply chain issues are being threatened in the news, what better way to soothe your anxieties about providing a tasty holiday than to shop from your neighbors?
This is the new normal for a lot of people, especially in our generation. I’m not breaking any new ground by being a newly single woman at 30 after 6 years of marriage and 10 years of cooking to suit someone else’s food preferences. Eating Normal is now about eating and cooking for me, less about cooking for others.
Supporting local farmers remains important to me, but on a budget, the grocery store remains the easiest way to pinch pennies. Smart shopping methods that save me money will be shared to save you money. Pantry recipes will be as important as our market recipes.
My life has changed in the blink of an eye. One of the first things to change was the way I eat, and it’s time to adjust to a new normal. I intend to document that adjustment as closely as I can. Fortunately, I will have more time to devote to content creation here and on my social media platforms.
I appreciate your support through this dry spell of posting, and I hope that the new direction I am taking in my creative work with food will be enjoyable for you as readers and cooks. As you know, I never ask for you to take a look at my support page on the website to sign up for patreon or donate through kofi. If you decide to do that from this point forward, know that that money will go toward supplies for recipe development that only come from our local farmers. I will be revamping our patreon rewards to provide you with additional content if you choose to support.
The number of heirloom variety growers at the Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market has grown in the last few years, but one of those I have always kept my eye on is Adam’s Heirlooms, who frequently had vegetable varieties on the table that I never saw before that day. One weekend, I happened to stop by and see two words that excite an avid cook: Berkshire Pork.
Berkshire hogs originally hail from England, and in many cooking circles, they are considered some of the best available to a modern cook. They may not be Iberico pigs, but this variety of hog is talked about nearly as often as their Spanish, acorn eating relatives. I had to stop. I had to buy, and I learned a lot from the folks at the stand.
While most of my energy was focused on the animal husbandry portion of their offerings, the varieties of peppers and other vegetables on the other end of their stand remained peculiar and unusual compared to the other vendors at the market that morning. I will be back to investigate those further during the final farmer’s market as hot sauce preparations begin several weeks late in the Eating Normal House.
Of note, you can access their website to pre-order what interests you most and pick it up at the Market this weekend. They have home delivery in the Manitowoc area if that is more your speed. I can only wish for a home delivery in Green Bay in the fast approaching off season.
Their previous business model focused entirely on the boards wasn’t as inviting for me as a person who doesn’t do much hosting at home. Access to a big cheese case, however, is very inviting. Cheese and crackers are a common snack in the Eating Normal House, and we left this visit with a brand new cheese in our lives after enjoying the cheese tasting during the event.
Souper Day and Bountiful Boards have also taken on joint ventures in catering. If you’re looking to supply a tasty, locally produced lunch to an office or an event, stop in to the Revolution Market to investigate your options. Many of the potential items were available for sampling and viewing during the Grand Opening event– including a lunch box which would fill that office lunch void perfectly. We took home one of their cold sandwiches for lunch the next day and enjoyed the Souper Day crafted sandwich with Bountiful Boards cheese to its fullest.
These new expansions provide all businesses involved with a great opportunity, and we as a community would be foolish to ignore the opportunity that it also presents us. Eating well and eating local in the age of inflation takes some of the pain out of the wallet by putting the money into the hands of people you know, and the people here will know you. They make it their responsibility.
Here’s to a new era at the Revolution Market.
We were not going to let that stop us from trying Rocky Mountain Oysters, or bull testicles. It’s an unusual delicacy in most of the US, much less Wisconsin. A festival that takes up an entire block in a little town surrounded by pasture and farms on all sides that celebrates exactly that is even more of an unusual experience. I didn’t know what to expect before setting off through the rural county roads.
New Year, New Me– we try to tell ourselves. That’s not really the case, but by god, we can try. I have often not managed to meet the goals I set for myself in these sorts of articles that have graced the pages of this website in the past. 2022 can be that year if I am gentle with myself. There are many possibilities on the horizon for me at Eating Normal, and I want to share them with you. These Resolutions will help us get there together.
1. Eat 75% local ingredients.
This is hard to do in the modern world, but it is perhaps the most achievable goal I have in Green Bay right now. We have several local producers still putting out winter veg and hydroponic vegetables for us. Eggs and meat are still coming out of our farms, and there are plenty of winter markets out there to shop for these things. There’s still things that a woman has to get at a regular grocery store, and I will bend where I have to with out of season ingredients and pantry items. It’ll be okay. Still, I am putting my money where my mouth is quite literally this year. If I’m cooking, you bet your ass it’s local.
This will of course be easier as the growing season comes around. Meat will be more expensive locally, but high quality veggies will be more plentiful. I intend to learn how to do some proper canning in order to preserve the flavors of Wisconsin in every way I can.
2. Improve my photography
This is a struggle for every amateur food blogger. We’re the stylist, the writer, the photographer, and the social media manager. Something's got to give, and for me, it’s often been my photography. I haven’t invested in equipment in years. I use my phone for everything, and I don’t even have a good size ring light for a proper recipe photoshoot USING said phone. That’s changing. While I’ll probably still use my phone, I don’t have to use the same plates on the same boring background with the same bad lighting forever. It’s time to change.
Over the next few weeks, you’ll see new angles, lighting, and maybe even some more tiktok videos here and there while I work on improving my technique. Thanks for hanging on for the ride while I’ve been lazy about how stuff looks.
3. Do All Twelve Cookbooks of the Month
I’ve been saying this every year for four years. We did really well at the end of 2021 by keeping up with every month but December, so let’s try again. There are so many cookbooks from 2021 that I never got to after their release and even more coming in the next few months. Do you have recommendations of classics or new books coming out that you’d like me to cover? Leave your suggestions.
4. Explore Wisconsin
I haven’t stepped foot much outside of the Green Bay area since moving here in late 2019. COVID and health issues have kept me close to home for far too long. There is a lot to eat, drink, and see in this state. I intend to start doing that in 2022 and sharing that experience with you here as well as at Nosh Wisconsin. As with cookbooks, I am open to recommendations of restaurants, breweries, and whatever else you think I might enjoy.
If you’ve been around for awhile, you know that COOK90 has its origins from Epicurious’s David Tamarkin, and the rules are simple: cook every meal for the entire month with only three exceptions across the whole of the month, and do not repeat a recipe. Breakfast is something of an exception since we all have certain proclivities during breakfast, but there’s absolutely no eating out during this period of time.
This is the first Thanksgiving in two years that my husband and I have been able to return to one of our favorite cities in the world, Cleveland, Ohio, and share Thanksgiving weekend with my in-laws. The tradition was stopped first by our move to Green Bay and then by the pandemic, but we did not allow that to change our minds this year. We missed the city and the people. We needed to go home.
Let me start by saying that I have never been a frequent flyer. I’ve been on less flights in my time, and many of those were as much as three years behind me when I prepared to fly to Cleveland on Thanksgiving day with my husband. My bags were heavy on my weak shoulders. I was anxious and excited. The drive down to O’Hare airport in Chicago from Green Bay was an easy one. The worst was yet to come.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird. Pledge monthly to our patreon!