Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Planning Groceries With the Box

These ideas also apply to anyone eating seasonally, be it from a home garden or a farmer's market.

We have a plan. Our box arrives Wednesday, we inventory it and plan some basic meals. Wednesday nights I cook the most fragile of the produce. Thursday evenings we walk to the farmer's market; this time of year we are able to buy organic heirloom tomatoes. We have one organic grower that we buy pastured eggs from, along with any seasonal fruit that she has. The stone fruit is on the way out. Once winter hits most of the growers will only have citrus, but a few will have persimmons and pomegranates.

The reason for this timing is so that we don't buy anything we won't eat. If I didn't get the box until Friday I might duplicate what they send me. I also learned that Tuesdays and Wednesdays seem to be the best days for the boxes, especially Wednesday. A Wednesday box generally has produce that was picked Monday, packaged and shipped on Tuesday.

After the farmer's market we continue our walk to the grocery store shopping center, which has a supermarket and Trader Joes. We buy any specialty items on our list, such as nuts, dried fruit, olives, wine, wild salmon, etc. We also buy sundry items such as toilet paper and laundry detergent. We haul this all home in a Deluxe Wonder Wheeler, the cart that makes walking and shopping a real possibility ( and is also fantastic for the beach!). We recently ordered a Burley Nomad and will happily use that with our bikes for other errands and trips, but the farmer's market will remain a walking trip.

I order some of our basic pantry foods from Bob's Red Mill. Right now I buy 25 pound bags of quinoa, cornmeal, rolled oats, and gluten-free all-purpose flour. I wish they sold organic pinto beans, but they don't.

We've now cut back our trips to the HFS to once a month or so, stocking up on organic pinto beans, organic maple syrup, organic cold pressed oils, mochi, brown rice (we eat more quinoa than rice, which is why I don't buy it in 25 pound bags), specialty beans, etc. This has been a car trip, but DH plans to start doing it on his bike with the trailer, and soon I hope to be up to the ride as well (about 11 miles round trip, with a huge hill).

Luckily, two of our supermarkets (both the chain store and the local store) have begun stocking organic produce. We usually walk to the local market over the weekend for more bananas and anything else we need.

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