How to Grocery Shop at Local Farms Without Going Crazy
This is part of my Thursday series, Life Check. Each post I’ll honestly evaluate how things are going right now, sharing the good, the bad, and the moldy.
Does visiting farms sound fun to you, but you’re not sure how to fit it in to your already busy schedule? Not sure what to buy? How do we do this?
I don’t have time to visit all the farms all the time, or even every week. Most sit about 45 minutes from my house. Most farms specialize and don’t have all the foods I need for a week. Shopping at farms takes planning.
I handle these would-be problems in a few ways.
1. Track the basics.
First, I keep track of the basic foods I need, and about how often I need them. How many eggs, gallons of milk, cuts of meat, pounds of cheese, and bushels of veggies do I need in a week or a month?
2. Track their lifespans.
Next, I buy these items from farms and see how long they last me. Do we use what I think we use? How long do these super fresh eggs, milk, and veggies last in the fridge?
3. Group up your visits.
Then I start to work out a shopping schedule. Thankfully, while farms might not be right by me, they’re often grouped by each other. When I visit farms to shop, I try to visit two or three at a time if I can.
4. Store with ❤️
Lastly, store your food carefully. Keep dairy cold. Keep greens dry. (and cold) Make tomato sauce in large batches and freeze or can. Don’t waste this bounty!
A few findings
I’ve found that the items I buy from farms keep fresh a lot longer than typical grocery store foods. So I buy what we’ll need for about a month at a time when I buy eggs, dairy, meat, and hardier veggies.
Just a note, meat from farms typically comes frozen. Meat animals can’t be picked like lettuce, but need to be raised. Think about that, and think about all that fresh (“fresh”?) pink shiny meat at the grocery store. Maybe it’s time you get to know where your meat is coming from?
For fresh greens and other delicate veggies or fruits, shopping at farmers markets or stores that carry local food works really well since they need to be bought and used more often.
You tell me! Have you ever shopped at a farm? Do you have any tips?