Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Eating Right: Local and Organic

I've recently read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and I'm thinking more about the way we buy and eat. It's not easy to do the right thing! Here are some of the things I'm thinking about.

I would like to stop buying factory farmed meat. Although I've toyed with vegetarianism, Kingsolver makes a good argument for omnivorism, and then, as always with this issue, there are the practical concerns -- such as my husband really likes meat! So I need to find local meat, and I can. There is a farm about 20 minutes away that sells their own pork, chicken, lamb, and beef. These animals are locally and humanely raised, but I don't know if they're fed pesticide-treated grain. There is a turkey farm another 10 minutes away that has pretty good practices, but could probably not be considered organic. So if I can do the trip just once a month or so, I can probably meet that goal. I am concerned about the cost, but so far the prices are somewhat reasonable, and if I save extra trips to the supermarket, I will probably save some money.

Produce is more difficult for me. I shop irregularly, and try to shop without the kids, so working Farmer's markets into my schedule is more difficult than it should be. There is a farm (not far from the meat farm) that sells in season produce, and they use IPM, so I feel comfortable buying from them. I am not an expert at planning my menus around what I found. I like to choose a recipe then get the ingredients. Also, my husband calls our crisper drawer in the fridge the "rotter drawer" which is sadly too accurate! Frozen organic produce may be my best choice. I'm just not seeing myself buying up all the in-season organic local produce I can find and canning it or otherwise processing it for use the rest of the year. I've considered joining a CSA, but have so far resisted, because I'm afraid that only I would eat what we got, and I'd feel guilty about any waste. As I've said before, I may have gone wrong way back in terms of what my kids will eat!

After reading Kingsolver's book, and with my newly raised conscienceness about pesticides, I find trips to the supermarket excruciatingly frustrating. What's safe? Everything has pesticides or high fructose corn syrup! Of course you know this, but there are whole aisles of junk -- an aisle of cookies and crackers, an aisle of sugar cereal, an aisle of corn syrup salad dressing, and aisle of crunchy pesticide chips. There is no organic bread in my supermarket. I realized that of the healthiest foods I buy, I eat most of them, and my kids get the SAD (Standard American Diet) stuff. (Medium SAD only -- I have some standards!)

I'm getting ready to make our bread. I have a Bosch Universal on my Christmas list, and I think I'll get the Family Grain Mill package from Survival Unlimited with the Bosch adaptor and the hand base. They have the best price I've found. I don't have much of a plan for food stores in case of an emergency, so I figure some wheat berries (which last for years) and a hand mill would be part of that plan. The trade off between time and healthiness is very clear to me. I think I'm willing to take on bread, especially if I'm making 6 loaves at a time. There is the worry that my family won't like what I make, but I've been making bread off and on for a while, and it generally gets eaten. I might not be able to go to 100% whole wheat, but I think it will be healthy bread, and I can buy organic wheat berries. There is a store about 50 minutes away that carries organic whole grains -- worth it if I go only once or twice a year.

1 comment:

Yielded Heart said...

Hi, there:)

What wonderful news! I just want to say that I applaud you for making such positive and giant steps! Your family should be proud. Stories like yours inspire me more.

I came here via Shalom Bayis, btw:)