Conscious Kitchen Challenge, Shopping   5 comments

One of the blogs that I read regularly, Ask An Organic Mom, is doing a conscious kitchen challenge to promote her new book. I’m taking the challenge and posting my results here. The first week was a self-exam, the second is the shopping challenge. I haven’t read her book, so the challenge is limited to what she posted in her blog.

Farmer’s Market: I’ve been making weekly farmer’s market trips since grad school (2004). I love going to the farmer’s market. I’m lucky to live in California’s Central Valley where I can go to a year-round farmer’s market, and where I can eat “local” seasonal produce all year long. I put local in quotes because not everything is within the 100-mile radius that is generally considered to be the definition of local food. For example, our avocados come from southern California, something like 400 miles away. We buy our salad fixings, snack vegetables (except my husband’s packaged baby carrots), dinner vegetables, and fruit (except my husband’s bananas) at the market. We also buy olive oil, cheese, bagels, bread, muffins, flowers, honey, nuts, and sometimes eggs and olive oil at the market. As of last week a new vendor came to our market selling meet from organic range grazed cattle as well. My failing in my farmer’s market shopping is that I don’t ask enough questions. My challenge: I need to start asking what kind of pest management the farmers use, and I need to ask our bread vendor if the muffins and pastries are wrapped in vinyl or non-vinyl plastic wrap.

CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm: I had wanted to participate in a CSA since I first heard about the concept in college. A CSA is a farm that sells memberships and then provides a box of produce weekly to the members. Some CSAs also require members to work a few hours on the farm or with distribution. A couple of years ago I got my chance when we split the membership and the weekly box with my sister-in-law. We got swamped by the amount of food and couldn’t keep up (a share is for 4 people, and there were only 3 of us). I have never thrown away so much food in my life. I really struggled with not being in control of the contents of my fridge and not being able to control quantity. You don’t know in advance what or how much is going to be in the box each week, and that can make menu planning a challenge. In our case I make our menus on Friday or Saturday, go to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, and go to the grocery store on Sunday; but our CSA box was delivered on Tuesday. Also, that variety of foods could include large amounts of food that we didn’t like and small amounts of food that we love. We maintained our membership for a couple of quarters, and then the three of us threw in the towel. We just couldn’t make it work. It was nice getting the weekly newsletter, and really feeling connected to the source of our food, but the cons outweighed the pros for us.

Farm Stands: There aren’t any real farm stands within a reasonable regular driving radius, so I consider this not applicable.

My Own Garden: Oh I dream. I don’t have a good excuse though. One of the reasons I rented the duplex where I currently live is because of the yard and the planters in the back yard. Then I moved in and discovered how much trash is in the planters and any thoughts of growing food in them went out the window. A couple of years ago I started growing a few herbs in pots, but it’s been slow going. I am currently planting new annual herbs, and am thinking about getting a couple more pots to expand. Oh, we also have a pot where we are growing sunchokes, but the harvest was miniscule last year. I do dream about having my own garden, especially an herb garden because my mother spoiled me silly with the best herb garden in the world at our old house. (Thanks mom!) My challenge: Expand our container gardening to include more of the things that are not easy to get at the farmer’s market.

Grocery Store: I shop at Whole Foods, my husband shops at Raleys. He likes to do his own shopping for his lunches and other food that he takes to work, and he prefers to do that at the grocery store down the street. Since meeting me he has been corrupted and now does much of his shopping in the natural food aisle. I shop at Whole Foods even though it is not nearby because I want an entire grocery store, not an aisle. Whole Foods is okay, but it is easy to get complacent and forget that the company practices the same predatory contracting as other grocery stores, and that they sell a lot of stuff that doesn’t meet my objectives.  My challenge: Read EVERY label for ingredients, nutrition, and origin.

Posted April 7, 2010 by mayakey in food, shopping

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5 responses to “Conscious Kitchen Challenge, Shopping

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  1. Label reading is my new addiction (well, hell I had to take up something since I quit smoking) – especially with everything and anything I might feed to Owen. I’m practically neurotic about what I will give him (nothing I can’t pronounce or identify). Less so for myself, but for him…only the best.

    I like to buy “good food” … Michael less so. I doubled our food budget on my own when he was in OKC. I buy the good stuff at Sunflower. He was freaking out about how much I spent on food. But I ate so well and it made me so happy. 🙂

    Carmela Chavez Liberman
  2. Pingback: Conscious Kitchen Challenge, Produce « Love Knowledge Zeal & Fortitude

  3. Pingback: Conscious Kitchen Challenge, Meat « Love Knowledge Zeal & Fortitude

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  5. Pingback: Conscious Kitchen Challenge, Beverages « Love Knowledge Zeal & Fortitude

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