Just a reminder, we are working our way through the topics covered in Living More with Less. This week is actually one about which I know something! Woo hoo!
I grew up on a farm, sort of. It would probably be more correct to say that my Dad was a farmer. He grew potatoes and onions, and we didn’t live ON the farm in the same way that my dairy farmer friends did. We lived in the country on a street with houses on the edge of the fields with backyards that overlooked corn and hay fields. In the summer I would weed onions, and in the fall help grade potatoes, but that was about the extent of my involvement. Occasionally my Dad would have a garden in our backyard, but we didn’t help with that much.
So how did I end up rediscovering my earthy roots? I’d have to say that joining a CSA was my gateway into the locavore lifestyle. Suddenly I was able to meet the farmers who grew my food, and was forced to do something with the large bag of strange vegetables that I picked up every week. For me, it was a commitment and the beginning of a journey. It took the question of what to buy right out of the equation. It was simpler for me than going to the grocery store or wandering around the farmer’s market. The weekly recipes that came with the vegetables helped too!
Eventually I started wondering what else I could get “not from the store.” I was introduced to the concept of a herdshare where I could get raw milk each week, and where there were free range eggs and grassfed meats available to pick up at a price which was more than the grocery store but less than many of the other grassfed organic sources.
Some of my coworkers and friends think it must be very inconvenient to have to pick up milk on Tuesdays and vegetables on Thursdays during the CSA year. Actually, it’s kind of peaceful and helps me get in and out of the grocery store very quickly as I have the majority of what I need already.
Of course the next natural step would be to grow one’s own, and I experimented with my very first garden last year. It turned out pretty well, despite having a shady yard, so I’d suggest a few potted herbs and tomato plants to anyone, even if you are doubtful about your green thumb (as I was).
This coming year I hope to expand my garden, but I’m also trying to be realistic. I work full time, blog on the side, and am working on a business plan with my husband to open a brewery. I know I don’t have time for labor-intensive plants. So I won’t be discontinuing my CSA membership any year soon – that provides our main “eating” vegetables, and the other items that I grow are for freezing and putting up.
As with anything, it’s a challenge to balance what I’d like to do and what I actually have time to do.
How do you determine that balance? Do you get produce from gardens, farms, or markets?