Mindylynns Kitchen

February 4, 2009

Living better made easier

Filed under: — Mindy M. @ 11:18 pm

I was talking to one of my “other” mamas, Tina, today and I realized that I have knowledge I can share.  I’m still in what I consider the beginning of my health journey, but during my exploration into the healthier side of food I’ve found some great resources.

CSA-Community Supported Agriculture.
Essentially you pre-pay for a share of a farm’s produce.  Usually organic and only available locally.  This allows you to support your local economy (keep your money local and see it work for you not just leave your bank account), you pay less because it’s not being transported from other states and/or countries, You help keep small farms alive…This is just a few of many reasons why you should try a CSA.  Each CSA is different offering different produce at different prices.  I would say research and ask around before setteling on one.
http://www.umassvegetable.org/food_farming_systems/csa/ (more about CSAs and how they work)

Grass fed Meats
Grass fed meats can be difficult to find if you are relying only on grocery stores.  However many Co-ops and health food stores do sell grass fed meats, they are just sometimes expensive.  The cheapest and best way to buy it is to buy direct from the rancher.  You can usually purchase beef by the 1/4 or 1/2 side if you don’t want to purchase a whole cow all at once.  If you research your local ranchers you can purchase this beef for sometimes as low as $3.99 a pound, or less.  You also usually have the option of telling the butcher which cuts you prefer…for example I prefer to have more steaks and roasts whereas my mom prefers to have more ground beef.  This is a really economical way to get a hold of great beef.  Other meats are also available I’ve found (but yet to buy) pig, goat, lamb, chicken, turkey, rabbit, and buffalo.  Just a side note…grass fed beef has an amazing taste, corn fed beef tastes mainly like blood, but grassfed tastes like, well, beef.  Try it a couple of times before buying in bulk.  I will admit it takes some getting used to.  It’s like eating whole wheat bread verses white…day and night.  You also have to cook grass fed meats differently.  But it’s worth it!

Pick your own farms
Many local farms and orchards, usually ones with farm stands, allow locals to pick their own produce at a much reduced rate.  You can find anything from pears to berries to christmas trees.

Farmer’s Market
Most people have heard of farmers markets and maybe even been once, but very few people have utilized this amazing tool.  At most farmers markets you can find most, if not all, of your food needs.  Fruits and veggies are a mainstay of farmer’s markets, but you can usually find eggs, honey, homemade breads, baked goods, pastas, juice, jams and a variety of goods.  At my favorite farmer’s market in Long Beach I used to get the best pita bread and fresh hummus and  fresh apple cider…YUMMM. Also, Farmer’s markets are just plain fun to go to.  Many vendors sell treats like fresh made carmel corn or tamales.  There’s often time music and local organic florisits.  The coolest thing is when you go to farmers markets you get to try before you buy.  You are usually offered a sample of everything (that’s yummy raw) to try so you know exactly what you are buying.  The vendors will usually be willing to help you select your produce for you or show you how to tell which is the best.  I usually find that the produce is cheaper at a farmers market than at a grocery store…not to mention it tastes like it should.  No more tasteless strawberries and tomatoes.

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