Monday, June 15, 2015

How I Almost Never Go Grocery Shopping

Buy Local, Get Them to Deliver

We have always tried to eat local foods, belonging to various CSAs over the years, going to the Farmer's Market, joining with a friend to buy meat. But, James's diagnosis turned our efforts from a "try to" to more of a mission. The problem for us has always been the hassle. We live less than centrally located, CSA pick-ups were usually at least half an hour away and on weekends. Ditto the Farmer Markets. They were something that we started off doing with enthusiasm, then dragged ourselves to, and then stopped altogether.

I should be clear, there's a whole continuum of healthy eating. I would say we fall somewhere in the middle. Our meals are pretty much local, organic and meet my standard of healthy (our cheese is not organic or local. There are some other ingredients if you went through our pantry for sure). James picks his snacks (within reason) and eats like a normal 12 year old (junk). Like most kids, if he over does it, he suffers the consequences. He also loves fruit (and sometimes eats too much and suffers the consequences) so not all his snacks are junk, but I don't want to paint an inaccurate picture.

This is a local (to me) farm that raises free-range, pastured raised, grass-fed and finished animals (their stock varies chickens, lambs, pork, and beef). They often have various events at their farm ranging from kid's camps to chicken processing. I will be honest that I have never attended one because except for the chicken processing (little known fact about me: at five, I was in charge of pulling feathers out of dead turkeys with my sister. I will never be processing chickens) involve food. They offer FedEx shipping throughout Southern California and farm pickup in Temecula.

I will be honest, I find their prices shockingly high, especially if you are accustomed to shopping for conventional meat. So, we buy whole (or half) animals from them. Be warned - they give you every part of the animal if you do this. I have become a much more adventurous cook since doing this. Just this last week, I used half a pig's head and one pig's foot to make soup stock. It was actually really good stock and the dogs were happy.

Farm Fresh To You

(If you decide to try Farm Fresh to You, we will both get a credit if you use the above link. Thank you)

It's somewhat debatable how "local" this is. I'm not getting any carbon footprint bonus points. This is an organic farms in the Central and Imperial Valley of California. It's hard to tell their entire delivery area as they have you enter your zip code to tell if they deliver. However, my guess would be a large portion of California. When I searched, I saw Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, and Orange counties. Since I am none of those, I would guess many areas in between.

There's many things I like about this service over other CSA's I've tried, top of the list of course is the delivery. Beyond that is the ability to customize, since James has OAS, I can eliminate the things he is allergic to and keep them on my "not to deliver" list. That way I know, even if I forget to customize, those items won't be delivered. But, each week I can, and usually do, customize what I get each week. So, we get a small mixed fruit and veggie box delivered each week ($25) with pastured raised eggs ($8) added on. I can then add and subtract, getting rid of what we won't eat and adding what we will. Finally, they offer things a traditional CSA would not (although you can get their traditional CSA box and not add these items if you wish) like fair trade bananas. One thing we really missed in a traditional CSA was a variety of fruit.


We buy a ton of food from Amazon: Sunbutter in 5 lb tubs, Let's Do ... Organic Tapioca Starch, GF Harvest Organic Oats, Glutino GF Toaster Pastries, Betty Crocker GF Cake Mix, Edward and Sons Trading Company Coconut, Annie's Microwaveable GF Mac and Cheese and more, all on subscribe and save.

We have Prime, so we get "free," shipping, even on Sundays, which never fails to confuse me. I think this is a carbon footprint draw. I would have to drive to multiple stores to get all these different items. This way, they are all delivery once a month to my door, stress free.

What It Leaves

Mostly, this leaves us to buy dairy, some snacks, some dry goods, and cleaning supplies. And this is where Costco and Sam's come in. Coscto was recently named the largest organic grocer and they do have some things we simply can't get elsewhere, perhaps the most important is reasonably priced gluten, tree nut, peanut free bread. We got a Sam's membership during on of their Groupon deals and kept it after realizing that they had large bags of Namaste Flour at a decent price.

Mostly, Darren does the shopping for me at both of these stores. I have to be honest that I find them soul sucking.

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