Before I started on my simple living journey, I had become complacent about food and where I bought it from. Occasionally I would visit the markets, but usually I bought all of my groceries including meat and fruit and vegetables from the supermarket...to save time. It wasn't until I started harvesting my own vegetables that I remembered just how good fresh produce tastes. It brought back precious memories of time spent with my late grandmother in her vegie patch, picking beans straight off the vines, to munch on after school.
I was always impressed that she grew so many vegetables, and never really understood why she did that when I was a kid...but I now think that part of her lives on in me, and I am thankful for those early memories.
When I decided to reduce my spending at the supermarket I analysed my dockets for a few weeks (How to Save Money on Groceries), totalled them up into categories and realised that my biggest expense besides meat was fruit and vegetables....then processed foods. I was the queen of quick, short-cut meals with a stock of pasta sauces, curry bases, one pan dinners, instant pasta meals...you name it, I had it in my pantry. Now, that does not mean I still don't have some of these available as a backup, but I now try and prepare fresh food (vs processed or frozen) at every opportunity. It means I need to be more organised, which I am...most of the time.
It makes logical sense that the best way to buy fresh food is to buy it locally, especially if it is produced or grown in your area. This food has not sat around too long in storage, or been transported in trucks or boats...and you get to know the people you are buying it from. I have started investigating different avenues of shopping for fresh produce in Gympie (besides my local market) and I was inspired by a recent post from
Natural New Age Mum, How to Go Supermarket Free. If you have not visited her blog before, be warned...you could be there for hours!
She offers some really great suggestions for avoiding supermarkets such as community gardens, buying direct from farmers and co-ops. The Supermarket Free Challenge (conducted for the month of April) even has its own website. Here are just a few of the suggestions of where to source your local produce:
- Your own backyard vegie garden
- Farmers Markets
- Local butcher for meat
- Bakery for bread - if you don't make your own :)
- Toiletries from your local chemist - If you buy the monthly specials they are cheaper too!
- Bulk items from your local wholefood shop - I buy alot of my grains and flours in bulk from our health food store
I have now decided to make a conscious effort to do this. I have been asking my local butchers where their meat is sourced and I have found a couple that stock local meat - one I found buys meat from Tasmania would you believe? I order two dozen eggs each week from a lady at my Gym who has free range chickens, and every second weekend when I don't have Army cadets, I will attend my local market and buy fresh - only what I haven't grown myself of course. I would also recommend adding your local Asian Grocer to the above list....they have amazing and interesting fresh produce too.
I am curious....do you shop the old fashioned way? Or do you do all your shopping at the supermarket?