Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to commit to increasing your family’s vegetable intake this summer (or right now!).
This week’s Eat Well, Spend Less focus is on making the most of where you live, so tomorrow I’ll get in depth about how we corral the Michigan weather to make hay while the sun shines…and get seasonal foods at the right times in the right places, then preserving them to last all year long.
If you’re lucky, I might even figure out how our food budget has changed since switching to a traditional foods diet and share that, too.
For today’s mission, I want you to think about your own location, particularly related to summer vegetables. Will you:
- join a CSA? (CSA = community supported agriculture program, where you pay for a share of a farm’s harvest and get a box of produce each week)
- grow your own garden?
- shop a Farmer’s Market?
- have another idea to increase your veggies?
Some CSA Tips
If you’re going to get into a CSA, my note might already be a little late. The popular ones are already probably filled up, but you can often find smaller gems that are well worth the money and still have openings in April for the summer harvest season.
We have never done a CSA, mostly because last year when I felt ready, we thought we might move to another part of the city, and I didn’t want to drive 30 minutes to split my box of produce with another family back here on the north side.
I also kept thinking that I wouldn’t quite get all the things I wanted, especially the fresh fruits and eggs, so I’d be going to the Farmer’s Market every week or so anyway.
I have kept detailed notes about what I do purchase at the market and exactly how much we spend, so that I can get down and dirty and figure out if a CSA would (a) give us what we like and need and (b) be cost effective. I can’t imagine it not being a good deal, considering what I usually spend when I wander the farmers’ stalls, but would we get the favorites we enjoy?
One neat benefit to a CSA is that it pushes you to try new vegetables and find new recipes to use up everything you have. Many people also generally enjoy building their meal plans around what’s in the box, which gives a lot of direction for the week’s dinners. The ability to tag recipes with their ingredients like in the Plan to Eat software would be an easy way to find the recipes you have that fit your CSA box. (Hop in the giveaway for 3 Plan to Eat memberships before Wednesday night!)
If you’re unsure you’d be able to use it all, splitting with a friend or neighbor is a fabulous alternative.
Coming from a lifelong brown thumb, you do not want gardening tips from me. Aware of my weakness, I asked Renee of Budget Saving Mom to run a series of guest posts last summer on her family’s amazing garden.
You can find the entire series here: Organic Gardening (it lists posts in reverse order though).
The first in the series was on the benefits of traditional gardening, and then Renee details other forms, including raised bed gardening (link no longer available), landscape gardening (link no longer available), and container gardening. You’ll also learn about natural pest and weed control, how and when to plant, harvest and preserve many vegetables, and a few notes from me about ants and tomatoes.
So…where are you getting your veggies this summer?
Speaking of Summer…
Last year I did a pretty in-depth series on sunshine,, and sun protection (and the opposite), so as you’re gearing up for the beach in a month or two, you might want to check out these resources:
- What’s the deal with sunscreen and cancer? Does the sun cause cancer, or the sunscreen?
- What’s the best safe sunscreen if you can’t stay out of the midday sun? I reviewed 28 all natural sunscreens!
- Check out my sun protection reviews if you prefer to grab a swim hat or shirt for your little ones for a long day at the beach.
New Grain-Free Resource
Kate from Modern Alternative Mama and author of In the Kitchen: Real Food Basics has come out with a new eBook today that may help those of you who are cutting down on or cutting out grains for a variety of reasons:
Against the Grain: Delicious Recipes for the Whole Food and Grain-Free Diet
55 pages, 30 recipes, $7.95
Coupon codes this week for launch: GRAINFREE40 for 40% off the first 40 books; GRAINFREE30 for 30% off through Tuesday, April 19th; GRAINFREE25 for 25% off through Friday, April 22nd.
I’ll be coming back to wrap up our Lenten grain-free/gluten-free experiences in two weeks, spending at least a full week on the subject, and at that time I get to give away one copy, but I’m sure Kate would refund your purchase price if you want to snatch up these coupon codes and happen to be the lucky winner.
Need Some Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and made a printable checklist so you can track your progress.
Sign up to get the checklist and weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.