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Time for a Change

July 8, 2013

When I started the Wild Ramp blog here the Market itself was not even open for business. I had been travelling the State of West Virginia writing another blog about local food for WVFarm2u so it was a natural extension to be involved with this blog.

I wrote daily. When I had no new information about the farms I visited, I shared other things I was learning. Things about the food we were eating.  Things about how to live more sustainably Sometimes I just shared a photo.DSC_0014

In preparation for my move to Oregon we asked for other people to come forward to help write for the blog.  Each author would be responsible for only one day so essentially would have a week to prepare. We have a few authors but not enough yet.  If you can help, please give it a try. Contact Stephanie Appleton at stkappleto@hotmail.com

Another change that was made was to move the blog to the Wild Ramp website. What that means is your subscription will be a dead end here….this is probably the last post to be published.

You need to click on this link http://wildramp.org/blog/ to go to the new blogsite and resubscribe.

Or subscribe right now by clicking below.

Subscribe to Wild Ramp Blog by Email

Thank you so much for being a reader and I will be sending periodic posts to the Wild Ramp blog from Oregon with interesting items.

mission statement

Beth Rankin

Cut Up Chicken Now Available!!!

July 4, 2013

A number of farmers who bring food to the Wild Ramp Market have been providing pastured or range free chickens. The difference in the quality of the meat and its flavor is amazing compared to chicken from the supermarket. When we held a taste test October 12, 2012 at the  Meet and Greet event that took place with the Apple Bake-Off over 50% of the people preferred the Wild Ramp chicken. IMG_0015

People who preferred the supermarket chicken mostly said it seemed juicier. They then received a very short tutorial why: chickens raised in an industrial facility are fed hormones, steroids and antibiotics during their lives and the processed meat is also injected with water to weigh more when purchased by you.  Yes, it is juicier, but that is not the way chicken is without a lot of added “help”. When you adapt your cooking of the Wild Ramp chicken there is no difference in moisture and a lot better nutrition going into your body.mobile-chicken ROy RAMEY

Up to two weeks ago, the chicken at the Wild Ramp has been sold whole.   A short experiment was conducted by Twin Maples Farm who brought in 2 halves, which sold very quickly.

Consumers have often requested chicken pieces. Producers are concerned that some parts would go unpurchased. Mil-Ton Farms brought in packages of whole chicken cut up, which sold out within a few days and plans to bring more in this week.

A very unscientific survey during several days at the Market indicated the desire for each part: legs, wings, breasts and thighs.  In response to this demand, Avalon Farms will be bringing in chicken pieces Friday July 5.   The future of cut up chicken at the Wild Ramp Market depends on your purchasing!

Chicken10_piece

Packages of leg quarters including the leg and thigh will be sold, packages of wings and packages of breasts.

If you are a Friend of the Market you can call ahead and request packages be set aside for you and pick them up when you can get to the Market soon after at your convenience. This is one of the perks of consumer membership that enables you to have your yummy food and personal schedule too.KYF-logo

The Wild Ramp is celebrating its One Year Birthday! You, the community, built this market and through your generous support made our first year very successful. Please help us celebrate the new things to come by continuing your support. We ask for our birthday that you consider looking at our birthday wish list located at http://www.myregistry.com/Visitors/GiftList.aspx?sid=AFC92F31-701B-40F4-B574-A186E476BE21, stopping by to make a contribution, or signing up for volunteer hours to help the market’s continued success. Thanks! Let us make this a birthday to remember!

Eat the Farmacy to Avoid Shopping the Pharmacy

July 2, 2013

Winter is coming. Oh sure, it’s the end of June and ridiculously hot and muggy but believe you me, winter is right around the corner.

Were you sick at all last winter? Did you get a cold or the flu? Did you know that instead of spending a lot of money on medicine at the drugs store and feeling miserable you could start NOW to boost your immune system and keep your body healthy?

The idea of food as a way to stay healthy is not new but it is true that if you enhance your regular eating with some specific foods you can go a long way to building the kind of body that tackles those germs successfully!

You have to eat anyway, so why not plan a bit and do yourself a favor?

Try these 10 best foods to boost your immune system and see if you can’t feel better all year!

1. Brightly colored vegetables. You probably already know that you should eat a variety of the colorful vegetables. But do you know why? The bright green, yellow and orange vegetables have the highest amounts of carotenoids like beta carotene. These are antioxidants which help your immune system to keep in shape. Try vegetables such as peppers, carrots and squash. Choose a large variety and don’t think you have to just eat boring salads every day. Include these vegetables in hearty soups, add vegetables to your next lasagna or grate them up to hide them in meatloaf or meatballs.veggies

2. Nuts. Nuts are full of antioxidants and vitamins. Most importantly they contain a good dose of zinc. Eating nuts may lower risk your risk of chronic disease and they are so easy to carry for when you need a quick snack.

3. Berries. Vitamin C, present in berries in very large amounts,  is thought to prevent injury to cells and is therefore very useful in boosting your immune system. Dark berries in particular contain large doses of bioflavonoids that can act as antioxidants which will attack the free radicals moving around your body. You should consume mixed berries as it is thought they all work together to give you the best boost. And they taste great too!berries June 2013

4. Chocolate. WHAT! Chocolate is junk food! Maybe not. Cocoa is an immune boosting food. And chocolate certainly contains cocoa. If you reduce the fat and sugar content and consume the cocoa you may be able to increase your good cholesterol and decrease the chance of heart disease. Now that hot cup of steaming cocoa is actually an immune booster. IMG_1803

5. Fish. Fish are a great source of omega 3 fats and many people are deficient in these. Choose the fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon to get the best dose. Zinc is also present in fish. Our bodies can’t make zinc so we need to consume it. Zinc helps with cell building, including your immune cells. Lean meat is another great source of zinc.

6. Garlic. Garlic fights infection and bacteria.  With antiviral properties and also antibacterial features, garlic promotes the growth of your white blood cells. It’s also an antioxidant and is one of the easiest foods to include in your diet. Add it into soups, casseroles and sauces. Include it in salad dressings or roast it with vegetables. There are so many options to use garlic every day.

7. Yogurt. We all need more of the good bacteria in our bodies and yogurt is a great source. Live cultures in yogurt can help stop colds in their tracks! Eat Greek yogurt for the highest number of live cultures.creme freiche

8. Tea. Tea contains an amino acid that assists the immune system to stay boosted. L-theanine is present in all types of tea. Even decaf has healthy doses of it. So drink up!

9. Mushrooms. If you want your body to fight infection you need to eat foods that can increase the activity and new production of white blood cells. Mushrooms are that food. There are many different types of mushrooms and they can be used in all sorts of ways to give you the best benefits.

10. Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain large doses of vitamin A. Our skin needs good amounts of vitamin A to keep it healthy. When the largest organ in your body is healthy, you have a much better chance of staving off infection.

So there you have the 10 best foods to boost your immune system.

Try to make your diet interesting and varied. If you get bored with fruit and vegetables, try to buy something you’ve never tried before and go for a little more than the usual apples and oranges in the fruit bowl. Remembering to mix up the colors of what you eat can be all that you need to spike your interest and enjoyment.

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The Wild Ramp is celebrating its One Year Birthday! You, the community, built this market and through your generous support made our first year very successful. Please help us celebrate the new things to come by continuing your support. We ask for our birthday that you consider looking at our birthday wish list located at (link) stopping by to make a contribution, or to sign up for volunteer hours to help the market’s continued success. Thanks! Let us make this a birthday to remember!

http://www.myregistry.com/Visitors/GiftList.aspx?sid=AFC92F31-701B-40F4-B574-A186E476BE21

We’re Moving

June 29, 2013

Well, the blog is moving! We’ve integrated our blog with our webpage! Please follow us at http://wildramp.org/blog/ We’ll see you there!

Thanks!

A community-supported market…

June 28, 2013

“Our mission is to operate a year-round community-supported market that provides a viable economic outlet for local food producers while providing consumers access to locally grown agricultural products.”

You may have noticed that a key component in the mission statement for The Wild Ramp is that we are a community-supported marketWhen the Board of Directors started planning for The Wild Ramp, way back over a year ago, we knew that there was no way we could open a traditional business- with full-time employees staffing the store.  If we had to come up with that kind of overhead, 1) we probably wouldn’t be open yet as we would have needed serious investors, and 2) it’s highly unlikely that business model could ever be profitable for the farmers to sell their goods at the market- the only other models we have seen run with volunteers and many of them have community-donated space.

However, we truly believed that the community would value the service The Wild Ramp was offering- not only fresh, local, healthy, tasty food – but also economic development opportunities for the local economy and local farmers.  So we moved forward with a non-profit corporation.

What this means in non-legalese speak is that while we sell products, that’s not how The Wild Ramp stays in business.  We make barely any money off of the food we sell.  Remember, we give 90% of each sale back to our farmer producers, which barely leaves us enough to pay the rent and electrical bills.

So in order to keep the store open and all of our wonderful products available to you, we rely on both our farmers and our volunteers to help run the show!   If you’ve been in shopping when a farmer is dropping off product, you may have seen them working around the store, but not understood their exact roles.

farmer stocking

Farmers are responsible for pricing their own products (with our pricing labels so it runs through the computer correctly and credits their farm) and putting their goods out on the shelves or in the freezers or refrigerators.  They are also responsible for their own signage, telling customers what is for sale and for how much.  In that sense, we’re like a traditional farmers’ market.

wholesome living stocking

However, because we’re open more like grocery store hours, there are other tasks, such as restocking from the back or helping to sort and maintain the produce, which the farmers aren’t always around to help with.  That’s where our volunteers come into the picture!

volunteers stocking

Volunteers do a number of important tasks around the store.  You’ve probably seen them running the register, but there are lots of other jobs around the market- restocking the shelves, letting the Market Manager know what needs to be reordered, sweeping and mopping the store, helping to put price labels on items that are shipped to the store, putting away produce at night, pulling it back out in the mornings, answering questions from customers, coming up with recipes so people know what to do with unusual produce- the list is really endless!  And behind the scenes, there are even more tasks- keeping our databases up-to-date, ordering products as they run low, designing flyers for Wild Ramp events, helping to call other volunteers to make sure the store is staffed, sewing feedsack bags – and more- that list is endless too!

serving samples

We have estimated that it takes over 300 volunteer hours a month to keep the store open.  Would you consider joining The Wild Ramp community-supported market by coming down and volunteering a few hours a month?  We need you!  Email our Volunteer Coordinator, Cara Bailey, at volunteer@wildramp.org to find out more how you can help!

Who is volunteering now?

June 27, 2013

You just never know who you might see volunteering at The Wild Ramp. We’ve had a local business owner known for his fun T.V. commercials, Chris Miller.  You may run into your child’s teacher, a neighbor, an old friend, or the farmer who grows your food. You may even see the mayor of your city. This Saturday, that is a sure thing.

On Saturday May 29th, Mayor Steve will become one of so many exceptional members of the community that have stepped forward to donate their time, money and resources to the development of The Wild Ramp. The Mayor will be greeting customers and bagging purchases from 11am-2pm.
Mayor Steve commented on why he wants to volunteer, “I want to be associated with innovative, creative, thinkers, and doers who are changing our community. The Wild Ramp is a wonderful example of how the Huntington area has become an innovative and entrepreneurial community. The founders of The Wild Ramp have found a niche to bring and connect farmers with consumers in an affordable manner. As a result, our city is addressing head on the availability of healthy food choices. The Wild Ramp is proving we don’t have to have an outside corporate interest located here to bring innovative business models…we can build it ourselves!”

We greatly appreciate the mayor’s support, and invite you to come visit him Saturday while he is at the market to share why The Wild Ramp is important to you! See you, and the mayor, on Saturday!

The Power of Belonging

June 26, 2013

It may be hard for people who know me now, but in my younger days I was pretty quiet and shy.  The ability to talk to anyone about almost anything came later, once I entered the work world and was required to go meet with a lot of strangers and convince them to participate in a new statewide program.  One-on-one, I learned I could find something in common with just about everyone.  And once we could chit chat I could say what I needed to say for the job and persuade them to do their part. So, I learned to overcome shyness…and it is a lot of fun to talk to people!

I really enjoy the time I spend at The Wild Ramp Market each week. I started working on Wednesday mornings because at that time it was the first day the market was open after the weekend and being no fool, I knew I would have easy access to all the fresh food the farmers brought in to restock the store.  When market hours expanded to Tuesdays last year I had my schedule and did not change. It turns out there is plenty of yummies any day with the way various Producers deliver throughout the week.

Greeting each person when they enter is easy and it seems that most people respond to an upbeat attitude and smile. It is fun to identify the first time shoppers. They all tend to step into the shop and then stand still for a few seconds, looking around. That is my clue, if I am not busy helping at the cash register, to step up and ask, “Is this your first time here?” It is fun to find out how they heard about The Wild Ramp. Word of mouth from friends is the predominant way, but we are also seeing a lot of tourists travelling through the area who got off the Interstate for a break and came down to Heritage Station to the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

I proudly tell them that The Wild Ramp is most likely different from any other farmers’ market that they have ever visited.  We are a local market first and foremost and I point out the map with its concentric circles of 50 miles and dots positioned where the Producers are located. It clearly is evident that most of the food available at The Wild Ramp comes from within 50 miles of Huntington. I point out, that is as the bird flies, not as the roads wiggle and we have to drive here.  Usually gets a smile. Oh yes, our mountain roads are quickly recognized as one of the unique features of our state.mapa

9 5 e

I explain how the fresh produce, our wonderful fruits and vegetables, are located at the front of the store and how the market changes its appearance as the season progresses. I warn them that in a few weeks, when the tomatoes and peppers and more summer produce start coming in, the tables will be piled high and the windows may break because of the amount of freshly picked ripe produce that will be available.  Another smile at my attempt at humor. veggiesgreen beans

Towards the back of the Market we have the prepared products: the pasta, the sauces, the crackers and more.  Take your time and explore. You’ll notice coffee and chocolate too, obviously not grown in the Tri-State region but roasted here and wonderful.IMG_1803

The two white coolers have the milk (we need that van to bring more in each week…if you haven’t already “Liked” Dutch Miller Kia (https://www.facebook.com/dutch.kia?fref=ts) please take a few seconds to do that. He will be giving us a van in order to be able to go get  larger quantities of milk and other foods from up in the Athens area.  Anyway, the coolers have the milk, cheeses, eggs and sometimes more fragile produce that does better staying cool. IMG_1855mission savvy salad

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The freezers have our protein: chicken, beef, pork, lamb, goat (yes, the most eaten protein in the world so get over your hesitation and check it out), trout, bison, rabbit, and veggie burgers. IMG_1815

And finally, the small freezer has Jeni’s ice cream. My mother usually channels the next statement: You can buy some only if you buy “good” food too. logo

It’s all good. So it’s all so easy to talk about.  Volunteering at the Market is easy and the time flies by. People are friendly. They’re happy to be there.  It is great to be part of this and have a sense of belonging to a community that cares about something of value.logo

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