Top Ten Reasons for Farm Share Joy
Buying a Farm Share has changed our lives, saving us time, money and making healthy eating more fun.
Here are my top 10 reasons for Farm Share Joy…
1. In Week 9 I’m in love with peaches, cantaloupe and apricots, so much so that I forgot about the blueberries, one of my favorite fruits to put on my cereal. The peaches are so juicy that I’m drinking the juice that lands on the plate or bowl, while in the process of trying to eat the peach without slurping it all over. There’s no neat way to do this other than to just enjoy the sticky mess! I would have missed that joy had I not discovered the bliss of peaches right off the tree in my local area. I really didn’t even think about where peaches were grown before this and to have them fresher than I’ve ever experienced before and realizing that I actually love peaches fresh, and not just in a cobbler or pie or perhaps just from a can, is something well worth discovering.
2. I have just experienced fresh Apricots and realized I love them, too. Who knew? I don’t ever remember eating a fresh Apricot ever in my life and I did not know they are available locally in Northeast Ohio! The only way I remember eating an apricot is dried. Check out how nutritious they are at this site. Get some today, they’re in season! And what’s neat about Apricots is that if you don’t enjoy them fresh, you can dry your own in a dehydrator so easily to mix in cereal or trail mix later.
3. Since breakfast is such an important meal, I’ve learned to love it by changing up what I have based on what’s locally available. It has taken some training to get into the habit of eating first thing in the morning so I have fuel to carry through on my morning tasks. What has truly made my breakfasts more memorable is to include some type of fruit. For those who are surrounded by glazed donuts and sweet treats at work, take some fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth and it will help you resist those high-calorie, high-fat competitors. Need dessert at night? Grab some fruit like one of those juicy peaches! I enjoy bread (especially sweet breads), cookies and ice cream just like everyone else and fruit is the one way I deal with my cravings, so I hope it helps you, too. Instead of my normal oatmeal with bananas and/or blueberries every morning, I’ve incorporated a variety of breakfasts including spelt wheat puffed cereal, wheat toast with farm fresh butter and fruit, scrambled eggs with fresh tomato slices or eggs with leftover veggies, french toast and blueberries, even Berry Eggos topped with blueberries and bananas drizzled with some farm fresh honey on top — the variety is endless once I started thinking about it.
4. Something else I’ve noticed is that we rarely go to the grocery store and if we do, it’s quick. I avoid big grocery stores now for fear I’ll overbuy what we don’t need, so I use my tiny neighborhood grocery to buy one or two pieces of meat, some milk or cheese, maybe a loaf of bread, plus, usually some slicing tomatoes and a bunch of celery. Now that the tomatoes are ripening in my own garden, I won’t buy tomatoes again until October or November. When we first started the farm share, I was still shopping and had a lot of waste that made me sad, so I’ve curbed my tendency to over-shop during this 9 weeks, although I’m still a work in progress. I’ve been fixing one piece of meat like a roast or a couple chicken breasts in foil packs and stretching those out over the week for the two of us. We’re really not eating that much meat these days because we’re full from all the vegetables.
5. Less eating out and more using what we have so we save money. Of course, we still eat out and sometimes we eat really bad things that we don’t get at home, but when Mr. Carnivore suggests we go out to eat because I seem tired, then sometimes I give in to temptation. We’re trying to make our eating out an experience, too, by choosing places like this Mediterranean restaurant in Kent, Ohio, to experience things like pickled turnips, Tabouli, Falafel or eggplant puree that we’ve never tried before. But, there are other days when I con Mr. Carnivore into cutting up some vegetables with me so we can eat at home. It’s always easier with two in the kitchen, so grab a volunteer family member and train yourself a prep cook. It might take more time, at first, because you’re teaching them, but in the long run, it’s always more fun to cook together. I keep hoping to make this a pleasant experience for both of us because I have learned to enjoy the company in the kitchen instead of feeling like I need complete silence and no interruptions in order to concentrate.
6. Hope for your delegation to become a volunteer position preferred by another family member. Mr. Carnivore has taken on lunch or breakfast as his contribution more often which is a welcome surprise. He makes the best scrambled eggs filled with all sorts of leftover veggies and cheese. I’ll share his magic sometime in the future because he is far better at it than I am, so I stay out of the kitchen when he’s being the Egg King. He also makes the best toasted grilled sandwich that’s low fat and I’ll share that with you in the future as well. We love grilled sandwiches or paninis but this method is faster and less messy with less fat. Recipe coming soon!
7. We’re not wasting much at all in comparison to when we bought all our produce at a grocery store. These veggies from the farms are fresher, more organic and last longer. I’m learning to use up every scrap or freeze it. Like the other night, we had one or two stalks of Curly Kale left and I cut it up to put into the Stir Fry Steam (a recipe I’ll share with you later). Thanks to Mel’s reminder, I’ve got my stock pot bag in the freezer going with all the scrappy bits we’re not using each day. Tonight a little more Kale, Garlic Scapes and Celery bits went in there. I’ve passed that tip on to my mom and she’s working on hers as well. We’re going to have some great soup pots going this winter!
8. The other thing that is a benefit is the time I save not shopping. I used to spend a huge amount of time going from store to store, as many as five a month, to find the freshest vegetables and fruit for our meal planning. Now, I simply show up at the location of my choice and pick up my bag for the week. I don’t necessarily know exactly what we’re getting, but that’s part of the fun and we plan for that indecision by not shopping for anything else until we have our farm share in hand. We often take an ice chest with us so we can stop at a store or a farmers’ market on the way home to pick up anything we need to complete our plan for the week. This shopping trip takes 15 minutes in comparison to the hours I was spending in the store previously.
9. If you’re thinking about trying a farm share, I highly recommend it as an unforgettable experience. Of course, you might have to change your lifestyle a bit at first to become acclimated to cooking what’s available instead of cooking whatever you want at the moment, but the nutrition and taste gained is worth it. Just make it a game and keep track of everything you’ve brought in and what lands in the garbage. I promise you that with perseverance, you’ll get really good at this and waste less, plus be less tired from trying to do that each week that passes. By week 9, I feel like this can be a permanent lifestyle change that I crave, rather than one I feel like I have to do because I made a commitment. It’s also such a blessing to share this experience with my parents. What can be better than sharing a healthy lifestyle with those you love? We encourage each other when we’re feeling overwhelmed and share ideas to make things easier. We cook together and discover new recipes and foods we may not have tried if we didn’t have the challenge to use what we receive each week. I’ve loved that part of this experience. Last night was a Kale and Quinoa dish that started out as a recipe shared by a family member and then we added our two cents to make something we ate until it was gone. We’re now Quinoa and Kale devotees. The Kale Quinoa was paired with Salmon patties and Cucumbers with a Dill Yogurt sauce.
10. Locally fresh is empowering. Have there been moments when I’m about to give up? You bet. Are there moments when I question my sanity? Pretty much every week when we bring the full bag of veggies home and I try to get them all in the fridge! I’ve had more than one person look in our fridge and be amazed that it’s almost completely full of fruit and vegetables. But, it’s a cabinet-depth refrigerator in a small kitchen and there’s not a lot of room in there to begin with so if I can do it, so can you! We have both bins full and one to two more shelves but it’s working. It’s a zestful experience to challenge yourself to a new way of thinking and succeed, if given the amount of time to make a lifestyle change a habit. It’s so empowering to know that you’re eating in the way God intended, from the fruits of the earth, loved and tended by others who love the land as much as you do. What’s better than allowing someone else to work the land they love by being financially responsible in helping them do that with your participation? It’s a community of food lovers working together so that we all win in the end. That is a lifestyle change that empowers not just yourself, but the rest of the chain that got you here. I am forever grateful for that chain of people and land that brought us to this zestful moment.
Are you ready for a zestful lifestyle change that a Farm Share provides?