When we first moved, one of my lovely readers asked me to talk about how I find food that fits into my ethics, and I responded with An Introduction to Finding Your Food, talking about the ways to source good, local vegetables. With the holidays almost upon us, I thought I’d branch out from there and tell you a little how I’ve found the animal products that we eat on a regular basis. Because all regions are different, I’ll give you the low-down of what I did, and see if you can’t pick up a few pointers.
For starters, I looked in our local big box supermarket to see what kind of meats and cheeses they carried. If anything claimed to be natural or organic in any way, I wrote the name down and looked it up on my computer. I also kept an eye out for local foods, and stocked up on those in the mean time.
You can only get so far in supermarkets. Truth be told, fliers have been my greatest boon in the search for better foods. I’m talking about those annoying fliers you get in the mail, the ones you hardly ever glance at before tossing in the recycling bin and saying to yourself, “How in the HECK did they get my address?” Yeah, those. I peruse them like nobody’s business, sending the Rite Aid and Shaw’s fliers off to be recycled, while searching through the remaining materials for coupons to local stores, announcements about special winter farmer’s markets, and news from local businesses about how their raw milk industry is booming.
Well, not so much that last one.
But you get the picture. Where other people toss these things aside, I read through them for more information about the area I live in. That’s how I found a Whole Foods-like store near us that caters to local farmers. That’s how I found out about the winter farmer’s market that’s occurring this Saturday, and five other Saturdays throughout the season at a greenhouse not far away.
When I went to Not Whole Foods, I came across a free magazine called Taste of the Seacoast, which had tons and tons of ads from even more family farms in the area. Online research about these farms led me to take another look at Local Harvest — which I’d given up on at some point. If you haven’t heard, Local Harvest is a website that’s kind of like a phone book for local farmers. Oh, you’re looking for CSAs in your area? Here you go. Trying to figure out when the next farmer’s market is? No problem. It’s handy, but sometimes a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.
I was searching for local meats, and that’s how I came across a raw milk dairy farm not two miles away, that also sells meats, breads and pies occasionally. And when I went to visit them, there were fliers and business cards tacked up on their bulletin board, some of the advertising more local businesses. Jackpot!
They key here, as in my previous post, is to pay attention. Actively search for your local businesses, because they don’t have the advertising budget of bigger stores that knock you over the head with ads that say “Shop here!” It takes a little more effort, but the payoff is huge.
©2009 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where, in one of life’s beautiful coincidences, my friend Katie at Making This Home posted about something very similar today. First image courtesy of Chiot’s Run. Second image courtesy of parl.