Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kings On The Cheap.

Seems like whenever our new "locavore" lifestyle is discussed, the first response I hear is, "We can't afford it." At first, this statement made me nervous, wondering if perhaps we were not being as responsible with our money as we ought. (What can I say? We eat well. ) Instead of succumbing to paranoia I took the high road and kept an eye out on receipts and prices. Turns out we're not so flamboyant with money as I feared; we eat like kings on the cheap. You can too, and like it or not I'm going to tell you how.

Know there are some sacrifices to be made. This venture is a commitment. Not only is it a commitment to buying local and organic, but it is also a commitment (which we sometimes break) to avoiding restaurants and trying to grow our own food.

That said,

  • STOP EATING OUT: We must limit eating out if we are to afford buying local. The cheap, organic restaurant (The White Tiger) has threatened to blow a hole in this principle, but we've managed to stick with cooking. Sometimes it's hard and we slip, but we always feel better when we eat what we have made.
  • EAT LESS MEAT: John loves his burgers and sausage. It hurt to take them away from him. Yes, he had some frozen Jimmy Dean sausage patties in the freezer, and once we made our rules he said, "I'm not throwing these out." I shrugged and watched him ration each little sausage until the frozen bag was empty. Now I order ground lamb and he rolls up his sleeves and works them into little lamb sausage patties and gets his fix. I'm sure if there wasn't work for him involved he'd never again look with longing at Jimmy Dean.We purchase two "selections" of meat per week. Usually it's 1 lb ground lamb ($6.50) which is much healthier than beef and very versatile. The ground beef is good too, and cheaper (1 lb. $4.50). Both lamb and cow were well treated through the duration of their life. Yay.
  • EAT WHAT YOU BUY: It is a sad day when something we've purchased rots and I have to compost it. Because we are selective about our veggies, we make sure and eat them. We try not to waste. It's amazing, however, how much longer it lasts since it hasn't been schlepped from California (or further) sitting on ice until purchased. Our produce has twice the lifespan of grocery stores', which enables us to devour it without haste or waste.
And, lastly...
  • GROW YOUR OWN FOOD: I can't take credit yet for these rewards, but I know we will save money in the long run heading out to our backyard to pluck tomatoes off the vine. This is a small investment money wise, but it is a very large investment time wise. If you are planning to grow a vegetable garden, know you will need to give it a lot of care. We are true amateurs in this project but it's okay, because we haven't spent much (30 bucks, maybe?). My only request is that you buy seeds from credible sources (most commercial seeds are developed with a termination gene so that your plants die after a year in order to get you to buy again, though that's another (blog) story). Try heirloom.

I'd also like to leave you with an itemized list of my biggest weekly CSA purchase. Note how much I spent and that I was preparing a dinner party for eight.

Items ordered on April 6, 2009
1 x Arugula -- Sylvette = $4.50
1 x Beet Greens and Roots = $5.00
1 x Beets -- Tops and Roots = $3.50
1 x Bok Choi -- Young = $4.00
1 x Bread -- MultiGrain Pan Loaf = $4.50
1 x Bread -- Sour Dough Baguette = $3.00
1 x Coffee -- Costa Rica LaAmistad -- Dark = $9.90
1 x Eggs -- Multicolor = $4.00
1 x Granola -- Autumn Harvest -- 1 Lb. = $8.00
1 x Kale -- White Russian = $3.00
1 x Lamb -- Ground lb = $6.50
1 x Lamb -- Liver = $4.00
1 x Mushrooms -- Shiitake -- Fresh -- 1/4 Pound = $7.00
1 x Radishes -- mixed bundle = $2.50
1 x Salad Mix = $4.00
1 x Salad Mix -- Baby Lettuces = $4.00
Total: $77.40


Korea-Seoul-Map said...

Very nice blog! ^^
do you know Seoul, Korea?
if not, feel free to visit me.
Thanks a lot ^^

Anonymous said...

Hi Annie, love the image of John and his last Jimmy Dean sausages. The Kelley boys have a sausage 'thing'.
I noticed the comment about the termination gene which fascinates and worries me. I had only read about this issue in relation to farmers and their crops. I think I remember it is an issue related to the harvesting of seeds. Most veggies are annuals and won't come back anyway unless they re-seed or seed are harvested for planting. The termination gene causes the seeds from these plants not to grow. I thought biotech companies were using them to protect the investment in their genetically modified seeds/crops so that farmers would no longer collect/harvest the seeds to replant instead of buying new seed. It brought up many issues about biodiversity, the effect on the food supply etc. Equally fascinating and scary stuff. It freaks me out to think they are altering our little seed packets. Who cares if we collect a few seeds, most consumers are not hard core seed collectors, they let their veggie gardens die back and replant the next growing season. That is freaky-deaky to me! The girls love to collect seeds in the Fall. We have many plants that re-seed but we dont usually bother with the veggies. Where did you find out about the termination gene in seed packets? I would love to know more. Happy cooking and planting!

A.Kelley said...

Hey Lynn, thanks for reading! I read about the 'termination gene' in "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" but I loaned my copy out. In it she talks about the monopolization of corporate seed companies and the way that they patent their hybrid seeds so that they end up dominating which types of tomato plant (for example) are grown. Doing this causes other varities to become overshadowed and eventually made extinct. There are types of vegetables that simply don't exist anymore because they aren't popularly sold or grown. I'm not sure about the explicit nature of the termination gene, I believe that most farmers do replant in the fall and spring but companies are trying to make it illegal for them to do so ( )

Kingsolver can explain it much better than I, but all you have to do is google "corrupt seed companies" and you'll find out what's going on. It's really disturbing. Check out heirloom from and look at all their interesting varities!

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