With all of this silly red cup nonsense going around, a great discussion came out of the zillions of posts that I didn’t bother reading. A friend made the stronger argument that she could care less about the red cup itself, but that there are several other larger reasons why their family doesn’t support the folks who started the red cup movement (if you will).
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start if you want to make a difference with your dollar. It’s easy to start feeling the struggle of wanting to remove support for most companies if we pick them apart to meet our standards.
Ultimately, tho’, we can’t boycott everything, especially things like, say, a grocery store… Or can we? Below I’ve listed the places that we usually supply our family’s food needs (disclaimer: we have definitely slacked on in the last year and a half big time). Because they are not all viable for you to put on your own table (tho’ we do sell many of the things we produce), I will follow up with a list of farms that you can purchase similar products from.
Our pork, chicken, duck, goose come from our homestead. Salmon & tuna from fisherman out of Astoria, as well as some friends & family, when we’re so lucky. We buy beef “on the hoof” from friends who raise beef. We’ve always bought rabbit from our good friend up north, but will need to find someone else when we need more as he has moved.
Dairy & Eggs
We milked 2 of our ewes for 7 months last year (more next). They supply us with enough milk during those months. We sacrifice only enough freezer space for an additional month of milk. We made our cultured dairy when our girls were “fresh”, including ricotta, mozarella, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, and feta to last us a year. Our poultry lay enough for us to enjoy quail, duck, goose & chicken eggs most of the year, otherwise we buy from friends. We buy cheddar & butter in bulk through a cooperative group that works together locally.
Vegetables & Fruits & Berries
In the past, we grew a lot ourselves and preserved for winter. We heavily supplement with other local farmers’ goods, as well as nearby small markets. We also forage for many greens. This is one area that I anticipate doing better with next year since we’ve fallen a little off the wagon since last spring. We buy many varieties of mushrooms straight from wild foragers. We pick a lot of our fruits & berries nearby. But never enough.
Grains & Legumes
We purchase most of our grains & legumes from Washington & Oregon farmers, both directly and cooperatively. We make bread, but also purchase from local bakeries (and on the fly from the grocer or outlet). We make noodles, but like different kinds that we haven’t mastered. Hey! Did you read my recent post about turning cattail into flour?!
We use a lot of butter & lard.
We purchase our coconut oil from a small company online in 5 gallon buckets.
We grow minimal amounts of stevia. We purchase local raw honey by the gallon from our dear friends that are beekeepers. We buy maple syrup by the 6-gallon bucket from a third generational farmer in Maine. We do purchase cane sugars still.
Coffee & Tea & Spices
We blend our own teas from wild-foraged, locally grown, or ingredients from a company in Oregon that carefully source their items. We also obtain most of our dried herbs & spices from there. Our fresh herbs from ours and others’ gardens. We buy green or already-roasted coffee beans in bulk from a company in Portland, the owner who works diligently to buy directly (travels) from farmers who are using high quality practices both for the production, and the labor of their coffee. More often than not, we’ll buy bag by bag from stands because we don’t make it into Portland for this purchase often, etc. Over the years, we have bought several bags from a girlfriend who has a coffee tree in her back yard in Battle Ground!
We make kombucha, water kefir… and are on a decent binge of making a lot of homemade (medicinal – with herbs – like root beer & rosehip!) sodas. We have a plethora of locally wineries to patronize if we are needing most types of spirits. In reality, our family mostly drinks water and tea when there’s not fresh milk (our #1 when there is!).
These are the things we have have struggled to get away from a big box store (tho’ some can be purchased through cooperatives, we just haven’t well): juice, tortillas, favorite cold cereals, nuts, off/distant season veggies, chips, chartucherie, chocolate, shapely noodles… I’m sure I’m missing several items, as we tend to drop into a grocer weekly for “needs.” Tho’ in reality, we could easily eat off of our regional production most of the year. It just might not look like we all have come to expect. It’s where people go wrong when they argue there’s “not enough food” to sustain everyone. Perhaps not the way you’ve been accustomed to. But perhaps in a much healthier way (seasonally, wild, etc). Chew on that.
I think the most important part is moderation. In theory, we do the best we can do, but not at the expense of our marbles, our family, or God. We eat fast food sometimes. We love white bread and sugar. We don’t judge others. But we also know what’s better. And try to make consistent and decent choices most of the time.
To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin. James 4:17
Ultimately, though, as a friend said – and I agree with completely – “I believe God will call us to account for our stewardship of His resources.” That could go for a lot of areas of our life – not just our bodies – and is the reason we farm/live the way we do. Leave everything better than you started with it.