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One thing you should buy American - Food
Old 02-05-2008, 11:30 AM   #1
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One thing you should buy American - Food

Japan: Food Poisoning May Be Deliberate - Forbes.com

Anyone who has traveled to a third, second and some first world country know how great our food is here in the USA - relatively inexpensive; varied; bountiful etc.

One thing I will be looking at in the future is where food I'm buying comes from. China is not on the list.
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Eating Locally
Old 02-05-2008, 12:17 PM   #2
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Eating Locally

Shrinking the radius of food sources even more, eating local food apparently has many benefits. We tried a CSA (community-supported agriculture) subscription last year and it was good, except we need to eat and cook faster with all the vegetables that would sometimes spoil on us--either that or freeze 'em if we can.

It's definitely easier to eat local in the summer. In addition to CSA farms, we have farmers' markets going on in various parts of the city where we could do our produce shopping three times a week, if we wanted. One farmers' market is held in the vacant lot next to where I work so I just walk over to pick up eggs, pork, bread, cookies, even more veggies, etc.

I hope to learn to can vegetables this year. Just like shopping locally, this also takes more time and planning. I think that we would eat out even less and cook even more if/when I retire. I might even plant vegetables then even though gardening is a chore to me right now. It would also be neat to have a few chickens.

Ah, the pastoral life beckons.

I think one more benefit of RE is the time to gain control over what one eats, which has implications for one's health, one's finances, the economy, and the environment.
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Old 02-05-2008, 12:46 PM   #3
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Yep, eating more healthily has been one of the surprises of ER. It simply takes more time to get healthy whole food than to get processed food. And we are truly blessed in the USA to have such an amazing range of choices, from really bad to really good and everywhere between.

I find myself shopping more at Trader Joe's these days. Most of their fish comes from overseas, but I appreciate the opportunity to get wild-caught fish for about half of what it would cost at whole foods.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by flipstress View Post
Shrinking the radius of food sources even more, eating local food apparently has many benefits. We tried a CSA (community-supported agriculture) subscription last year and it was good, except we need to eat and cook faster with all the vegetables that would sometimes spoil on us--either that or freeze 'em if we can.
1. My goal in life is a small house on a big piece of land with an oversized garden so I'm right there with you.

2. We have this cookbook and I have found it invaluable:

Amazon.com: From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce: Books: Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

We did a CSA for the first time last year as well and it was overwhelming. I've heard from others that the first two seasons are the worst and it should get better going forward as one learns to break the rote cooking habit.

Oh, another cookbook that might serve well and can easily be adapted for meat would be: Amazon.com: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone: Books: Deborah Madison

It's another cookbook that I treasure when trying to put something together. It's a rather intimidating book at first browse and so it helps to approach things section at a time.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by flipstress View Post
I hope to learn to can vegetables this year. Just like shopping locally, this also takes more time and planning.
When growing up we produced or bartered for most of our food. We did a mix of canning, drying and freezing. We also had a root cellar to keep things like carrots, potatoes, cabbage, etc. through the winter or at least most of the winter.
A lot of veggies just are not that good canned. Tomatoes really can well. Fruit juices and sauce can well. Many veggies are best blanched and then frozen. Peas, string beans, corn are all better frozen than canned. Blueberries freeze surprisingly well but I think are terrible canned. Sone things are better cooked and then frozen, like winter squash.
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:51 PM   #6
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When growing up we produced or bartered for most of our food. We did a mix of canning, drying and freezing. We also had a root cellar to keep things like carrots, potatoes, cabbage, etc. through the winter or at least most of the winter.
A lot of veggies just are not that good canned. Tomatoes really can well. Fruit juices and sauce can well. Many veggies are best blanched and then frozen. Peas, string beans, corn are all better frozen than canned. Blueberries freeze surprisingly well but I think are terrible canned. Sone things are better cooked and then frozen, like winter squash.
And guess which kid they sent out to plant/weed/pick - to learn the value of honest work and all that crap. My dear old Dad caught a bad dose of "Five Acres and Independance" after WWII when he decided the PacNW was a better place to raise a family than Brooklyn.

Seared my mind - God Bless hot rod cars, drive-ins, hamburgers, milkshakes and any kind of good old American fast food.

Just the memory of Pietro's 'Portland pizza' topped with fresh slices of tomato and a pitcher of Rainer beer brings tears to my eyes.

In later years shooting up no longer used Mason jars also was great fun.

heh heh heh -
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:11 PM   #7
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Anyone read the non-fiction book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by novelist Barbara Kingslover (The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer, etc.)? She and her family set out to eat locally for a year, growing much of it themselves. DW just finished it and I started it. It's pretty interesting. It's a little grating sometimes with her soapbox rants, but it's well done and very informative. Link: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Since then, DW has done some researching and found an organic, subscription farmer in our area. Any insight or advice in looking for one from you guys who've already done this?
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:22 PM   #8
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Since then, DW has done some researching and found an organic, subscription farmer in our area. Any insight or advice in looking for one from you guys who've already done this?
Random thoughts and I don't know if they cover what you're interested in.

Smaller farms may be organic but probably won't go through the trouble and expense of certifying. Just because it's organic doesn't mean they don't use methods you don't approve of. Just because it's not organic doesn't mean it'll kill you. Just because it's local doesn't mean it has a smaller footprint (extreme case, which is better for someone living in Sweden and trying to reduce their footprint, buying local hothouse grown tomatoes or buying Spanish-grown tomatoes that came in on a container ship).

Every CSA I've looked at encourages community involvement (beyond just money). Ours was rather open to people, had many events for members, and published a weekly newsletter that covered their growing practices.

Expect to be overwhelmed the first year. For instance, I've never cooked with burdock root, ramps, etc. I didn't know blue potatoes even existed. I've done plenty with garlic but I had it coming out my ears (we bought extra of that).

If you live in a big enough area, you could check out local co-ops and see who their suppliers are.

The trade off is, at some level, this... at least in our area. We pay less and the farmer gets more per pound if we buy directly. If we buy from a co-op then they weed out the stuff that doesn't pass their quality standards and we're not obligated to any sort of ongoing contract.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:28 PM   #9
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Thanks, Marquette. That all makes sense.

There is not a co-op in our town yet, but we've heard people talking about it. Supposedly, some people are trying to start one.

As for the subscription, my wife eats more veggies than I thought possible for three people. It's insane. The subscription garden that we found charges $75 to be a member and then $20 for each week's worth of veggies. Is that about what you're paying? This would save a lot of money for us, b/c DW buys only organic at the grocery store and as I've said, she will put away some veggies.

Apologies if this is hijack.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:43 PM   #10
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I love growing my own food. Been stuck in the city for the past 10 years though and I throughly miss it. Another one of those things I look forward to doing in retirement.
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More Semi-Hijack
Old 02-05-2008, 03:54 PM   #11
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More Semi-Hijack

dex, sorry for the semi-hijack but what could be more American food than the food grown in one's own American backyard or neighborhood?

Marquette, this past Christmas, we actually received that book as a gift from friends! I skimmed it and it does look really helpful.

To Martha: thanks for the food-storage tips. Growing up in a tropical country with produce available from the wet market year-round, I had no need to learn to can or store food. I did remember some rice-hoarding going on one time when there was a big rice shortage.

GatorBuzz, last year we paid $450 for 22 weeks of a box of vegetables. The veggies were more than enough for 2 people. My health insurance company subsidized $100 of it so we only had $350 out-of-pocket cost.

unclemick, here's an attached WWII image for you promoting Victory Gardens. I got it from the blog of an Oil Peakist who believes that part of the response to PO should be relocalization of food supply. I tell ya, I have almost succumbed to the "Five Acres and Independence" bug. I am actually spending part of my much-anticipated tax rebate on a ComposTumbler!
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