Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eating organic and locally.

My latest dream (besides the literal dream in my sleep last night about chickens digging their way out of the fence) is to be able to go a year without going to the grocery store.  So in other words, starve. Ha, no seriously.  While I am a big fan of Publix and I am very glad they opened one near us, they don't carry any local products.  This area is blessed to be such a great place to farm, hunt, and fish.  I can drive south and go to a fishery and get fresh local seafood.  I can go to farmer's markets, an organic farm and even our front yard for vegetables.  B and his friends have been hunting for deer, quail, and ducks.  There are beekeepers (I want to be one, AND I WILL), a grass-fed cattle and lamb farm within 30 minutes from here, an organic dairy, and a cheese making dairy all just a short drive away.  Oh and a butcher down the road that has the best bacon I've ever put in my mouth, but I'm not so sure where their pork is from.  Their beef is from Iowa and it's very yummy.  They will also process meat for you.  Below is a list of places that I have had food from with the exception of the organic cornmeal place, I just found them this morning.

LOCAL
Bon Secour Fisheries
Baldwin County Farmer's Markets
Mae Grace Farm (organic CSA)
Windmill Market's Westside Grocery (mostly organic)
Hastings Farm (grass-fed, organic, no hormones or anti-biotics beef and lamb)
Sweet Home Farm (no herbicides, pesticides, or growth hormones)
Grass-fed Farms (info for every state)
Working Cows Dairy (organic, low temperature-pasteurized)
Farm Fresh Meats
Conecuh Sausage
Organic sprouted flour and grains (organic)
Organic cornmeal, grits, and polenta (organic)
Kittrell's Daydream Apiary
Local Harvest (info for every state)
*update* (added 3 more sites)
Farmer's Pal - Organic, sustainable, local (find sources in every state)
Find Locally Grown Food
FarmPlate - find local sustainable food

I'm trying to go through our grocery list, our pantry, and refrigerator and compile a list of the items we eat on a regular basis.

A quick inventory last night I came up with following lists:

pantry items:
  • Peanut-butter
  • black beans
  • garbanzo beans
  • kidney beans
  • coconut oil
  • coconut milk
  • coconut water
  • almonds
  • pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
  • flour 
  • cornmeal 
  • sugar
  • honey
  • oatmeal
  • flax seed
  • rice
dairy:
  • milk
  • cream
  • butter
  • cheese - (available local) if I can get some good milk on a regular basis, I'd learn how to make butter, cream and cheese myself
  • yogurt - I totally made this and kept it on hand up until I had a baby, some how I got off track but plan to get back on track this week
meat:

  • fish (sometimes we hit up our fishing friends, hey if you are one of our fishing friends and don't have enough room in your freezer, we'll gladly take some off your hands)
  • beef (available local)
  • lamb (available local)
  • poultry (we have sometimes)
  • pork - I just can't give up bacon
  • eggs - we pretty much always have


animals:

  • dog food
  • cat foot (can't they just catch mice and squirrels?)
  • chicken feed (plan on growing worms and grain for these birds)
Some items I haven't decided on what to do yet, are toiletries.  While I use cloth wipes on baby's butt, I don't think I'm ready to have cloth wipes for grown ups instead of toilet paper.  I'm a big fan of Charmin. I have a soap connection, she's making soap bars like crazy right now.  I'm going to try again to make homemade dish soap and laundry soap.  I've had a couple of not so great experiences with that already.

This is just what I've compiled in my head last night and this morning.  I'm going to take at least 2 more weeks and figure it all out before I swear off grocery stores.  The trade off is going to be driving a lot more and shopping online.  Shopping online is kinda great.  I'm really good at that.

POSTAL
  • Of course I shop Amazon.  Being an Amazon Prime member can maybe get you in trouble.  "Free" 2-day shipping is definitely a decision maker when it comes to comparison shopping.  There is access to lots of vendors and options, which make for a fairly reasonable price.  Amazon.com
  • Organic fruit delivered to your door anywhere in the continental US Fruit Share
  • A multi-farm community shared agriculture, delivered to your door, in parts of Alabama Grow Alabama 
  • Green Polka Dot Box has wholesale prices on natural foods and is supportive of sustainable companies.  I have compared my Publix receipt to these prices and they ARE lower.  We will probably be signing up for membership here.  And if you are interested, please let me know because you can get discounts for referrals. 

Whoa, my head is totally spinning.  It seems daunting.  It's just so easy to load up and go to one big box and shop for everything.  I took this directly from Grow Alabama's website
Approximately 5% of all food purchased in Alabama comes from Alabama, that translates to a loss of an estimated $50 Billion per year. http://www.growalabama.com/aboutus.asp
So shopping close to home is good for our local economy.  It's also good for the environment, much less shipping emissions, usually much less or no packaging waste.  It's healthier for your body because the food is fresher, picked closer to ripeness and less likely to be a genetically modified organism.  When you buy organic over conventionally grown produce you are putting much less or no toxins and chemicals in your body. Plus conventional farming is not sustainable and won't work forever. It's easy to say, well I've eaten this crap for x amount of years, what difference does it make now?  Well one way to make a stand for what you believe in is to spend your hard earned dollars where it makes a difference.  I can tell you one thing, I have learned to waste less food because it's organic.  So maybe it costs a bit more at the store, but less money is going into the trash (or compost) and the end of the week.  Plus, I'm now in the baby making and raising part of my life and my habits will rub off on my child(ren).  I'm working on breaking the cycle, and setting the example.

If you want to learn more about where your food comes from please watch:
both are available on Netflix, neither are so graphic that you can't watch.
I'm sure there are many more documentaries out there about where our food comes from and farm sustainability.

So now that I've stated and started working on this, huh huh, I guess I'd better follow through.  It might not be easy but it might not be hard either.  It will just take some TIME to research and experiment with what works best for me and my family. I know this isn't a light-hearted humorous post, I promise more of those will come.  And I'll keep you updated on this venture. Oh, and I don't know why the formatting is what it is on here, I don't like the white background on my bullet points.


6 comments:

  1. There is a local vineyard in Perdido for local vinegar of all flavors, blueberry, cucumber, grape. Good stuff and the wind is great.
    www.perdidovineyards.net/
    And you know those phone books you got that you didn't want. TOILET PAPER. LOL

    Renee

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  2. I'm so glad you're doing this Blog, becka! You are nothing short of amazing?

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  3. Cool! I've had some of their vinegars, forgot they did wine too. We've got muscadines growing plump right now. Hopefully we will make a bottle or two of muscadine wine this year.

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  4. Thanks for the info on all of the local goodies...there were some I wasn't aware of. =)

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  5. Thanks for sharing!!!:)

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