Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Eating Better and Storing for Winter

In the past few months I have been trying to shop smarter, healthier and prepare better meals for my family. I have been trying to get away from processed foods.

We planted a family garden. It has been a wonderful experience for the entire family.
My children, who would not touch most vegetables before, excitedly go to the garden to pick fresh veggies to eat. They each actively participated in planting. They actively participated in helping maintain the garden. They loved watching what they planted grow into food we could put on our table to eat.

The beginning of this year I discovered a co-op, Bulk Natural Foods. They have several pick up spots in Tennessee. I'm not sure what other States they have pick up spots in, but you can check out their site to see if it is near you. I order organic dry beans, natural white flour, wheat flour, natural peanut butter, organic dried fruits, fresh produce from local growers. There are too many things for me to list! It is also reasonably priced.

Recently, I discovered Azure Standard. I am picking up my first order from them tomorrow.  I ordered organic yogurt, cherries, lettuce, pineapple, oranges, as well as some heirloom seed packets for our fall garden. They have a huge catalog that you can get mailed to you, or you can simply look on-line.

This spring we also joined a CSA from a local pasture. It has been a great experience and we will definitely do it again. Every month I pick up a package that contains pork, chicken (usually a whole chicken) and beef.

We also switched to buying fresh eggs from a person locally and buying fresh milk (not raw) from a local produce market. 

In the past I would have argued that we couldn't afford to switch to healthier eating, that it costs way too much. I have proven myself wrong. We actually pay the same as we did before each month and some months a little less. One of the main benefits I am seeing is that my pantry and freezer are filling up for winter. By the end of summer, I should have enough food canned and/or froze to last us through to next spring. We should only have to buy milk and eggs.

So far this year I have canned peaches, pickles and bananas. I made strawberry freezer jam with berries the kids and I picked from a local grower. Unfortunately, I did not make enough because it is already gone. Definitely have to make more next year. I froze 80 lbs of potatoes, 30 lbs of beets and 20 cups of blueberries, all of which came from local farms. I still plan on canning stewed tomatoes, pizza/pasta sauce, applesauce, green beans and I am hoping to can pears.

I have enjoyed my journey in being more like a Proverbs 31 woman. I am definitely preparing our home for winter (and higher food prices).

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