My shopping list

I just got home from the Famers Market so I thought this would be the perfect chance to give a general breakdown of how I approach my shopping.  I made the decision to buy as much local and seasonal as possible.  As I result I tend to do most of my shopping from these local farmers and ranchers.  I think this approach should be followed whenever possible.  Getting to know the farmers and ranchers makes a big difference.  It allows me to truly know where my meat, fish, and produce comes from.  It allows me to understand the methods used and also highlights the fact that a lot of foods are not and should not be available 365 days of the year.  For example, one of the ranchers I like to get pork from has been completely out for the past few weeks due to the extreme heat here in Dallas and it has directly affected the pigs.  As a result I know that I am not getting pork that has been shipped half way across the country and handled by countless number of people.  

Also its pretty awesome to go to the farmers market every week and get to know the farmers and ranchers. The better they get to know you the more helpful they will be with you.  What I mean by this is that they will know your typical order and make sure to keep some in stock.  One rancher knows I like to always get meaty soup bones to make bone broth and he keeps some in stock for when I stop by each weekend.  If you are unsure of how to cook certain cuts of meat the ranchers always provide answers that can help.  

I still use Whole Foods but purely to supplement with certain things I cannot find at the farmers market.  This includes things like coconut milk. coconut butter, kombucha, frozen vegetables (they are easy and make life easy when I need to cook something quickly), and various other small items.  If you are just using Whole Foods I respect that move.  I love Whole Foods.  They provide an awesome store for people who are conscious of their food.  I think the next step for you to take is to check out the farmers market.  As I have said before this whole process should been done in baby steps.  Don’t try to make a giant leap or you will find yourself so uncomfortable that you will give up and never give this lifestyle a legitimate chance.

On to what I typically buy.  I like to buy somewhere between 4-8 lbs of ground beef and lamb.  These are my go to cuts of meat because of the versatility and ease of preparation.  2 packages of pork sausage links.  A pack of beef stew meat and a pack of pork chops.  Maybe a pork roast of some sort (depends on what I am feeling like for the week).  This week I actually bought a package of lamb shanks which I have never had before but I am very excited to try this.  I normally try to do one or two different cuts of meat that I haven’t tried before so this week I fulfilled that with the lamb shanks.  That typically works for my meat.

I will buy 3 dozen eggs.  This week I actually bought one dozen from one rancher and then 2 dozen from another rancher.  I also bought a package of chicken sausage from the 2nd rancher.  I am not a huge chicken fan and really only eat eggs but I thought it would be good to give chicken sausage a chance.

From there I will make my way to the guy who sells fish.  My typical fish purchase will be a couple pounds of various white fish.  This will normally include at least a couple fillets of catfish.  I also like to buy some salmon and red fish.  From there I tend to try something new each week.  That can be an ahi tuna steak, swordfish, shark belly, or scallops.  I like to try for one meal a day of fish.  I also eat sardines on a daily basis but this typically supplements one of my meals.

Then I will pick up some produce.  This includes onions, peppers, squash, and tomatoes to name a few.  You will need to find what works best for you and make your purchases accordingly.  Today I bought onions, peppers, beets, and avocados.  Right now my schedule tends to be really tight due to my work schedule and how things have played out lately.  This tight schedule means that I have unfortunately been relying on some basic staple vegetables for meals such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans.  Nothing wrong with that list but I haven’t been able to use variety like I want.  

How do I rank which items to spend my money on?  I place a premium on my meats and fish.  I believe these are the most important items to spend money on.  I would rather eat grass-fed beef with some non-organic vegetables then eat conventionally raised beef with organic vegetables.  The harm that comes from conventional factory farmed meats far outweighs the risks that come from non-organic produce.  This premise applies with fish every bit as much as meats.  Factory farmed fish poses a far greater risk then non-organic produce.  Just take this one example regarding salmon.  Wild salmon has an orange color that allows virtually anybody to look at the fish and know they are eating salmon.  However, factory farmed salmon does not posses this orange color because of the food they are fed and they way they live.  BUT the factory farms figured out how to put a coloring agent into the food that artificially turns the salmon into that orange color.  The orange color in a factory farmed salmon does not come from the same sources as the orange found in wild caught salmon.  

I hope this was at least somewhat helpful.  I also highly recommend that you check out the documentary Food, Inc.  If you have netflix instant you can watch it there and it speaks to a lot of the issues I have just raised.  Also I know this post was nonexistent on pictures and meals but I will write another post later that looks at those things.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  And if you have time go and check out your local farmers market.  Start to build a relationship.  It pays off both for you and for the local farmers and ranchers.

Oh and go see The Dark Knight Rises.  This movie completely blew me away and I can’t wait to see it again.

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