Archive for farm

Save Money; Eat Well

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Eating well on a budget isn’t always easy. More often than not, those 10 for $10 deals at the grocery stores are only advertising processed junk, and the coupons in the Sunday circulars are just as bad. What is the health-conscious, on-a-budget shopper to do? Here are some tips to help you save some money on your favorite eats:

  • Write (or email) the company. Do you have a favorite brand of organics? Is there something you’ve always wanted to buy, but feel guilty spending the money? Go to the company’s website, and click on “Contact Us.” Fill out the form, or mail a hand-written letter, telling them how much you love their products and would greatly appreciate some coupons! You will be amazed at the generosity of most companies. I’ve receive whole BOOKS with dollar off coupons inside.  Earthbound Farms and Amy’s Kitchen both send a bunch–and fast!
  • Trade in a bad habit. Do you smoke too much? Drink too much? Buy sugary cereals, candy, soda, or chips? Try swapping a weekly purchase of one of those for something healthy instead. Add up how much these vices cost per week–this number is usually surprising!
  • Shop seasonally. In case you missed my last post, you can save a great deal of money just by buying items that are in season. There is a reason strawberries and tomatoes are always on sale in the summer, squash and apples are always on sale in the fall, oranges in the winter, etc. Out-of-season foods cost more because of the cost of transportation to bring them in from other states, countries, and continents!
  • Shop locally. Not only does this give your local economy a boost (which is reason enough in itself to support a local farmer), but the prices of local produce are usually lower than the prices at the store–and for higher quality goods! Next time you see a little stand on the side of the road stop in, and see what kind of deals you can find!
  • Buy in bulk. When something is on sale, buy a bunch! Many farm stands will be happy to sell you a big box of “seconds” at a discounted price. I especially love doing this with apples and peaches. They may have a few bruises, but I just cut them out and they’re perfect for freezing or turning into sauce and preserving.

  • Grow your own! One of the best, and most satisfying, ways to save money on healthy foods is to plant a garden. Seeds cost next to nothing, and whether you have a patio or an average lot, there’s always room to grow! Even in the winter months I have had success growing herbs in a sunny window. If you’re planting a large garden, be sure that you know how to preserve your harvest; there’s nothing better than home-grown goodies available year round.

  • Make friends with a farmer. If you can’t grow your own food, buddy up to someone who can. Maybe you could volunteer at the farm for a weekly box of goodies. Bartering benefits both parties, and it’s an excellent way to form lasting relationships.

I hope you find a few of these ideas helpful. Just because the economy is suffering, doesn’t mean your health has to. There’s room to eat consciously in EVERY budget–find something that works for you!

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The Seasonal Chef

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2010 by smalltownhealth

Most people take for granted the awesome variety of fruits and vegetables that are available almost any time of year at the grocery store. Very few people, however, realize the many benefits of buying locally grown, seasonal food items.

In-season food tastes better; it’s fresh, crisp, and colorful. The better something looks, the more likely we are to eat it. And the less passage of time between garden/field to plate, the more nutritious the meal.

In-season foods are environmentally friendly. Consider the fuel cost associated with the transportation of “ripe” fruits and vegetables to the colder climates in the winter months. Any item that has traveled thousands of miles to get to your table was picked too early and gassed to ripen. Like an airbrushed photo, it’s false advertising. Ever taste a tomato or strawberry in winter? Blech.

Cost is another benefit of seasonal cooking. When crops mature, there is an abundance of perishable food heading to markets. No one wants waste, especially the farmers who worked so hard to produce the food. The prices reflect this. Farmers’ Markets are excellent venues to find some deals!

To make things easy for you, epicurious.com offers this peak season map. Just click on your state to see what’s in season any time of the year–great for planning your shopping list!

What about those mid-winter months when NOTHING is in season? Eat stored items from fall–root vegetables, apples, and pears all store wonderfully. I think I could live on those for a few months; don’t you?

Summer is about to wind down in my neck of the woods. While I’ll certainly miss the fresh corn salsa, strawberries and cream, and Catawba Island peaches, I am looking forward to the hearty stews, stuffed squash, and of course Catawba Island apples. 🙂 Now that’s a delicious outlook!