Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Who's Having Seconds?

A local farm has a fruit market out of which they sell mostly their produce, a small amount of produce from other farms (near and far), their baked goods, and some housewares.  There are three things I LOVE about this place:
  1. They have the best peaches ever.  My mom makes peach cake out of them.  Drool...
  2. They have a snowball stand in their parking lot.  It's a ridiculous cup full of shaved ice and chemicals, but it reminds me of my childhood.  It is different from a sno-cone in that it is mostly sugary chemicals, not mostly ice.
  3. They have an amazing section full of #2 grade produce.
*B* and I decided to go visit them today, which is about a 25 minute drive from our house.  It was totally worth it.  He bought me a snowball as a treat (he doesn't like them).  It might have been my last snowball ever.  They were exactly what I remember, but no longer as appealing as they used to be.  All I could think of was the names of the artificial colors that went into it.

This is the produce we bought.  None of it was full price.  We got 11 bags of produce from the 50 cent rack. 
In those bags, we got 7 heads of cauliflower, 3 ears of corn, 2 green peppers, 1 head of lettuce, 4 celery bunches, 3 bags of carrots, 5 onions, 3 lemons, and 2 large bags of apples that weigh almost 15 pounds.  All of that food cost $5.50.  The onions, carrots, peppers, and celery will be chopped up and frozen.  The cauliflower will be blanched and frozen for vegetable curries in the future.  Apples will become applesauce and apple butter.  I'll can them for use in the future.  The corn, lettuce, and lemons will be used in food in the next week.

There are four five pound bags of potatoes on the right front corner of the table.  Each of those five pound bags cost $0.99.  I'll be cutting, blanching, and freezing those in the next couple of days.

On top of all of that, we also bought 2 half-pecks of #2 grade peaches (white plastic bags).  They were the most expensive at $4.95 per half-peck.  But that is much cheaper than their normal peaches.  The girl at the counter dropped the peaches when trying to get them into the bag (oops) so they were more than badly bruised.  I had to deal with them right away.  So I peeled them and sliced them as best I could.  I have three bowls:  peach flesh, peach skins, and inedible parts.  Out of the peach flesh, I'll make pie filling and other tasty treats.  Out of the skins, I'm going to try to make peach skin jam.  And the inedible bits go out in the compost.

My back was starting to hurt from standing over the sink about halfway through the peaches, so I took a break (ha) and chopped onions instead.  I put all of the onions in a rough flat layer on a cookie sheet.  It went into the freezer tonight, and will be transferred into a jar in the morning.

Grand total for all of this food:  less than $20.  Our total bill was $28 after buying a ton of no-sugar pectin (to fix the strawberry jam I made a month ago), a knife for Miss F, and a treat for *B* since he didn't like snowballs.  The knife was a little bit of an impulse buy.  It's a small, blunt, crinkle cut knife with a black handle.  I saw it just today on How We Montessori.  There was only one there, and I had never seen it before, so we decided to pick it up.

So...wasn't your goal for the month to not buy groceries?
I'm learning a lot out of this month's project.  If I were still buying groceries every week (or more often) as I had been, I probably would have stopped to think about it.  *B* and I have talked about it, and we've determined this:  we want to market as people used to do in "the old days."

Weekly, we'll purchase fresh produce.  We're determining whether or not milk falls into this category.  We consider this the same thing as going to the market.  

Monthly, we'll go to the grocery store for sale items.  Our grocery store has sales that last a month instead of a week.  For the month, we'll make up a list of items we need that are on sale.  When we go, we stock up for our pantry.  We think of it as going to the general store to fill our larder.  Our first trip there at the end of July will include things that are not on sale to help fill voids we've discovered in our pantry, but we will then stick to sales-only in August.

Bi-monthly (or longer term), we'll go to Costco to get big bulk items like kitty litter and toilet paper.  And even then - toilet paper?  Talk of family cloth has been bandied about, but we'll see what happens with that later.

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