Food Shopping

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by perennial, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Here is a question from a city person who will be moving to the country in a few years.

    What foods do you buy at an actual store, what foods do you grow/make yourself? What things do you get from local farms, etc.

    I've recently started buying what I need in bulk every six weeks, but know that I can simplify even more by making my own stuff - that doesn't bother me in the least (it tastes better anyway).

    brural
     
  2. To be honest the average rural people and farmer eats no differant than a city dweller. some people try to be self suficient but most use the grocer. even some city dwellers keep bees raise chickens or buy whole hogs or sheep.
     

  3. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I truly hope I didn't offend. I didn't mean to if I did It seemed that a lot of you lived off the beaten path, not near towns and are very self sufficient.

    I was just looking for hints on the food side of things on how to become MORE self sufficient. Where I live, i'm nervous about expanding my veggie garden as it may not look good to our neighbors we adjoin properties (I'm going mention it to them before doing it).

    I also KNOW i spend too much on food. That's one of my goals for this winter to make more than I am from scratch.

    brural
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Unregistered basically gave a correct reply. The vast majority of people out in the country eat no differently than those who live in the city or suburbs. Yes, some garden. While the vegetables may be fresher and 'home-grown', when all costs are considered the cost is about the same as buying from a supermarket. Citys have farmers' markets, as do the rural areas. While a some have chickens, they are primarily for eggs, not meat. Few make their own basic ingredients, such as flour, and even then most of those buy their wheat berries. I suspect few in the country live without an outside source of income, which is about like being a two-income family in the city.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    There are a few people who like to spend one weekend cooking, then just take the meals out of the freezer each night. I have never cared to do this, but those who do will likely be along shortly.

    I DO know that a friend of my husband cooked once a week. They basically made a Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, EVERY Sunday, and ate leftovers all week long. I like more variety than that, but whatever floats your boat! ;)
     
  6. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I did have great success with my herb garden this year and have had three good batches which I dried. These I will vaccum pack and use during the winter and give some to family as gifts. It will also save me from buying expensive herbs. I dried peppermint leaves and am going to use it for cooking and especially for tea!


    brural
     
  7. i apologize for answering in a way that made you think i was offended it was not my intention at all. I do think the way we eat is more a matter of personal choice time available etc gardening is probably about equally popular for city and country folks some love it some hate it most profesional farmers specialize and use the grocer just like anyone else.I spent a summer working for a farmer when younger and he milked one cow he had 300 beef cows and would always make a milker out of whoever lost her calf. what didn't get used was fed to the dogs or bumer lambs no cream got seperated no icecream butter or cheese was made all that got purchased ready made. he did not garden at all except for a few flowers and shrubs in the yard, nor did any of the neighbors. he did hunt deer and pheasant as well as harvest some wild turkeys that were basicly domesticated and lived on his place. he raised corn but it was cattle feed hog feed and cash crop he bought his cornmeal from the grocer. He sold feeder pigs but never fed out any He planted 18 acres of potatoes for a religous group on contract but bought most of his from the grocer. He used a few fresh ones in season but made no attempt at long term storage. he did take a head of beef to the butcher whenever he needed to fill the freezer. his bread came presliced from the grocer.
     
  8. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    Foods we grow/hunt/forage ourselves: venison, turkey, fish, mushrooms, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries,strawberries, apples, pears, peaches, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, spinach, lettuce (many kinds,) beets, zucchini, many kinds of squash, corn, cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon, turnips, leeks, lemon balm, mints, dill, oregano, marjoram, rhubarb, grapes, chives, parsley, basil, thyme, sage, sweet potatoes and probably some things I forgot.

    These items are canned, frozen or dried so they can be used throughout the year.

    Items we buy, flour, sugar, honey, oats, cereal, corn meal, pork, chicken, spices, chocolate, juices, bananas, dairy products (my biggest expense,) and occassionally some snacks like tortilla chips, pop, or other snack food.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. jassytoo

    jassytoo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We raise quite a bit of our own stuff but as the other posters said we still get stuff at the store. We have our own veg. garden, fruit trees and berry bushes.We have eggs and meat from our few hens and meat rabbits. We used to also have milk goat but don't at the moment. We have 2 bee hives as well. While that would supply a great deal of your food, there is still quite a bit to still buy. I also make my own laundry soap. The rest I get at outlet stores or on sale. I stock up so I have enough til next time it comes on sale. If you keep animals you will probably have to buy some feed from the store too. I fill in any gaps in the produce dept usually from local farms and neighbors who have stuff to give away. ( I take them back some of the finished product as a thank you.) We also pick wild berries. If you make a list of all the things you now buy at the store,then you can take each item and see if you can make it yourself or if you can do without it or substitute something else. Many people here are constantly striving to cut food bills and be less dependant on the store, you'll find lots of good advice here.
     
  10. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    I also try to grow all my veggies. Can or freeze for winter. I am fortunate enough to live near some fruit farms so I barter eggs and goats milk and cheese for fruit. We raise a calf for beef, have chickens both for eggs and meat. we have ducks for meat. Raise goats for milk, cheese, yogurt and sometimes ice cream. All of the above is also sold for cash for the stuff I don't have.
    Steff
     
  11. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I think everyone is right, to a point. You will probably keep the same style of eating that you have now...and that's the key. It's an individual thing. If someone is a junkfood junky (That's me!), or a health food nut, those tendencies will remain no matter where they live.

    When we lived in the city, I still made my own mixes and cooked from scratch. I do that now (So my junk food cookies are scratch meade). We moved out a year ago. We're working on being able to raise as much of our food as is feasible, but some things just aren't feasible. I don't have enough land to grow my own wheat, for example. We figure in about three years we'll be producing most of our fruits and veggies, and all our meat except pork. But I'll have to buy most of our carbs. (And chocolate! :haha: ) But not everyone wants to do that, or has the time/energy to do that.

    If you're looking to save money on your grocery bill, as you mentioned in your first post, you're on the right track with just changing your cooking and eating habits. Pre-made stuff is more expensive. But cooking from scratch takes more time. You have to figure out where your balance is between time and money, I think.

    My opinion once again....
    Meg :)
     
  12. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your input.

    I had such a jalapeno crop that I'm going to try making a few jars of jalapeno jam and then vacuume pack and freeze the rest for cooking. I plan on learning how to can veggies, etc. at a later date for next season. I've never made jam before.

    I do have the time and I find when I'm by myself (no kids around), I can whip
    up a dough for four loaves of bread in about 20 minutes - that was before I started grind my own grain though (have to see how long it takes with grinding).

    I guess, I'm convinced that the more I see at the grocery store, the more I think i need items. That's why I started going to a wholesale place every 6 weeks. I would definitely like to cut that bill so I'll have to put in some time.

    Right now I grow Jalapeno, Bell, and sweet peppers, Large Tomatos, cherry tomatos, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beans, zucchini, squash, cukes. I want to add some berry bushes and make a much larger garden because the broccoli did so awesome (huge heads of it w/no chemicals) and the kids ate it up. Also, I want to grow peas and just much more of everything.

    brural
     
  13. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    One of my nieces was visiting and was hungry. She was standing in front of my cupbaord surveying the contents. She looked at me and said, "All you have is ingredients." I had to laugh as she was completely right. When I shop in the stores, I do not shop for anything buy ingredients, not mixes or premade items. This alone will save you a lot of money on groceries. If you have flour and basic baking needs you can make breads, cakes, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, noodles, so many items. If you buy just one package of each of these items, you will spend 2-3 times as much money as you would if you bought the raw ingredients and whipped it up yourself.
     
  14. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Brural, this is a very good question. We're all different, so you'll have to decide what works for you and your family. I live alone, and I'm a vegetarian, so my pantry will look very different from yours.

    One of the first things I did when I bought my place was to plant fruit trees and blueberries. I planted way more than I can ever use, but I figured some wouldn't make it, I will put up quite a bit, and possibly sell or barter some. The first garden was dismal; I got next to nothing, but the next year was a little better, etc.. I plant tomatoes and beets for canning, green beans, corn and peppers for freezing, lots of winter squash and potatoes for storage, and a variety of greens, etc., for fresh eating.

    I have a grain mill, and I grind wheat berries for flour. I purchase them at the health food store in a 50# bag, Montana Gold variety for bread, and organic soft berries for pastry flour. I buy organic cracked corn for the chickens, and grind that into cornmeal for myself. I keep a dozen hens, and I buy organic feed for them. I sell eggs at the hospital where I work, and that easily pays for their feed.

    My pantry has gotten smaller since I've lived here. I thought I needed a ton of food stock-piled, and I've found that it will take me forever to eat some of the dried beans I have. I bought 50# bags of black beans and lentils! I enjoy them tremendously, but it was way too much!

    What I eat also depends on my work schedule. On a relaxed day, I'll cook fresh veggies and rice. When I'm working a lot of OT at the hospital I've been known to run into the store and come out with a shopping bag full of "comfort food", which is not how I'd normally eat (chips, cookies, bagels, brie cheese, Pepsi). I try to keep ready-to-eat homemade soups in my freezer, and sliced cheese for sandwiches. I eat a lot of peanut butter, and obviously I can't grow peanuts in NY. I shop in Ithaca at GreenStar (a co-op) for alot of my *health-food* stuff. I buy organic coffee, tofu, sesame oil, nori seaweed; things that you probably don't eat but that are an everyday staple in my diet.

    Hope this helps!
     
  15. kentuckyhippie

    kentuckyhippie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I kind of worked backwards when I decided what to grow, what to buy etc. I looked at my normal grocery list and picked out the things I could grow myself like green beans, tomatos, squash etc. and thats what I planted because no sense in wasting garden space of stuff you don 't normally eat. Then I checked around amongs my friends and found one who will let me have eggs in trade for craft stuff and someone who hunts but whose wife wont cook the meat so I get that for free and don't buy meat from the store anymore. Another thing to consider is your storage, do you can, freeze, dehydrate. For instance it would make more sence to buy potatoes 10 lb at a time instead of growing a ton if you don't have space to store them. Everybody has a different plan that works for them. May take you a couple years to figure out yours.
     
  16. stubone

    stubone Member

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    We live on one acre and so we have to choose what we want to grow...
    we grow green bean and can 150 quarts in the summer, we also grow tomatoes and can 80 quarts and can salsa as much as we can. I freeze peppers. We also have started apple trees and have 2 older ones that dont produce much, and we have a peach tree that gave me about 1 1/2 bushel this year (not perfect fruit but good enough to make peach butter out of and peach jam)

    We can all of our own jelly, jam, spread from what we forage or pick. We also have a place that you can pick your own blueberries close and an apple orchard close that i get a couple bushel apples and make apple sauce and apple butter.

    There are several farms in the area that we can get bushels of fresh produce in things like potatoes, beets, corn, tomatoes and the such. This year i have not had to buy any of that, but i always have the option.

    We butcher 25-40 chickens per year, we are growing 2 hogs (that we take and have butchered) each year, We raise rabbits for meat and to sell, we have a dairy goat that we milk, and we get more eggs than we can handle from the chickens (we sell the extra).

    We also order our wheat for grinding once a year from Montana.

    So really the only thing that we do not buy from the grocery is...Meat,chicken, Milk, eggs, flour, and jelly/jams.

    Other than that, we purchase most every thing else when we run out of the fresh stuff and we eat more of the fresh stuff during the summer than winter.

    Most of my friends around here (country) dont do what we do. The most all depend on grocery stores. A few order beef (or grow it with a friend) and some do a hog or have laying chickens.

    Belinda
     
  17. stonerebel

    stonerebel Well-Known Member

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    I grow enough vegtables in the summer to last me through then winter. I also hunt and fish a good bit. We rarely buy meat or vegtables at the store.
     
  18. there is good advice in almost every entry here. to cut a grocery bill a good starting point may be to record everything you buy for a month or a year then look at what each one costs. if you smoke, tobacco may be the biggest expense. if you eat meat that may be the big one. some easily overlooked things are, teas herbs fruits and nuts are usually quite expensive to buy maybe those could be grown. most herbs are just weeds and grow easy, but cost big bucks at market. next in line is likely to be nuts then fruits and vegies. save the resources to grow the most expensive stuff if you can. wheat or even flour for instance can be bought so cheaply they may not warrant even considering trying to grow. A lot of the grain crops get very little pesticide or herbacides used in their production as farmers don't want to spend any more money than they have to. I live in the heart of wheat country and except for adding ammonia to the soil before planting most of it would qualify for the organic label. Your biggest gains are like most pointed out in buying ingredients rather than a finished cake or pie. Another cash saver is buy cheap cuts of meat if you like meat and learn how to prepare them as most cheap cuts can be just as nutritous and delicous as the expensive ones. before deciding to produce dairy or meat products do some evaluating of the situation as it can be quite easy to spend more producing something than you can buy it for. that is often the case when you buy bag feed at the feed store. you can often buy a butcher hog for less than the feeder pig and the feed. In general if you don't produce the feed think hard before you comitt to animal production. Of all meat to produce yourself chicken is a good first one you can buy 50 cornish rock and 18-2o pounds of feed for each one and in 2 months move them all into the freezer.You may also want to watch the seasonal shifts on things like the grains and cattle and hogs and time purchases such as a whole hog or beef to go with seasonal lows. beef demand is up in summer so winter when it means buy hay or sell may be the time to put up a beef.i think hog lows tend to come after holiday demand gets figured. another thing to consider and this is a big one a lot of people who produce their own food do not do it to save money. Lots of times it is a hobby a pasion or they just want to get a superior or differant product than they can buy.
     
  19. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    I have to respond to this part of your messages. I guess I come from the school that believes that it is much better to ask for forgiveness than for permission. There are very few things more beautiful than a well-maintained veggie garden. Furthermore, no one says you have to lay it out in squares, rectangles, or rows. Many veggies will fit right into a flower garden and landscape. There are books on the subject. Grow zuchinni and always be ready to share.

    Do you own your own house? If you do, you should be able to plant anything that is legal. Out of consideration, you may not want to plant anything that aggressively wanders, or be so neglectful of maintenance that it is an eyesore, but anything else should be OK. If you rent, ask the landlord, explaining your growing philosophy (organic, I hope) and how you will be improving his property.

    There is such a sense of accomplishment to raising your own tomatoes and peppers, making your own salsa, and seeing that shiny jar sitting on a shelf. A friend comes by and you are able to say, "Here, have some; I made it myself!"

    There was a book in the 70's about how a couple in Berkeley, CA turned their city lot into a wonderfully productive farm. The words Integrative and Urban are in the title. Could be available used--it's bound to be out of print. There is another story about a young man who grew mixed salad greens on a city lot and very quickly turned it into a quarter million dollar business. When I was young and eager, I phoned the zoning board to find out what the regs were pertaining to animals. I found that the laws are on the books if someone complains. I see laying hens and rabbits as entirely possible. They can be contained in such a way as to be totally inoffensive. Put large bushes around their pens, not so much to try to hide them, as to merely keep them lower profile. Build the rabbit cages over the chicken yard and forget about flies or smell. Clean out both often and compost, being sure to cover the poop with leaves, etc. Most people would think they are so cute, and bring the kids over to learn about nature!

    Amy Dacyzgen (sp???) wrote a bunch of books about being a tightwad. Years ago, she and her husband saved enough money in five years to buy their place. If you are truly committed to the idea of pure food, buying your land, or whatever, YOU CAN DO IT!! Read the book "Your Money or Your Life" and you'll get there sooner than you think.

    Good wishes and smooth sailing

    Sandi
     
  20. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    3 girls,


    We do "own" our land/house. I decided that I would enlarge the garden more towards my back yard (it's on the side where neighbors can see it. When I brought over some produce last night, i told my neighbor that i would be expanding next year a bit and that she would receive more produce and hopefully some canned items.

    We get along really well with our neighbors. We are a rear lot and share a 200 foot driveway and then our two houses are there. We don't have fences up between us because it looks nicer, less maintenance and makes the area look much bigger than it is. I think I was worry for nothing. My hubby is all for a bigger garden (he likes to eat the produce)!

    brural