Monday, April 26, 2010


Thought it would be nice to share how we currently prioritize the where, what and how of our food shopping. Doing this will also help me see where I can make changes/improvements.

Meat, poultry: Organic and/or local. We purchase a minimal amount of meat and buy it from the farmers' market or Whole Foods. Holding Ranch is the farm we buy from at our farmers' market and Whole Foods offers meat and poultry from farms in places like Sonora and Sonoma.

"We still do meat and poultry the old-fashioned way, when people cared where their meat came from, how it was raised and how it was processed. This is from the Whole Foods site, I liked it and wanted to share. You can read the entire section here. I know Whole Foods has its faults and has become a little bit of a giant but it's one of the better choices we have.

Dairy, Eggs: We buy Clover Stornetta brand milk, yogurt and eggs from Whole Foods. We don't buy the organic because that's one place we've decided to compromise for budget sake. I trust Clover's farming practices enough to skip the organic. A note about eggs: I would love to buy farm fresh eggs but at $6 a dozen we can't swing it right now.

Cheese: Is that considered dairy too? Yeah but I'm giving it its own section anyhow. We buy cheese from Trader Joe's because of price and they claim no hormones, etc. I'm still researching what companies TJ's uses to produce their food. I stopped buying meat from there a long time ago because one, I got a package of chicken that was horribly bad well before the sell by date and two, they won't disclose where they get their meat and poultry from due to "confidentiality." Not acceptable. Now with that in mind, what about the cheese I'm buying? Could be from lousy producers I know but I still have some faith in their organization and feel comfortable for the time being getting it from them.

Produce: Organic or pesticide free preferably local. Again, we buy from the farmers' market or Whole Foods. The farmers' market is usually a better value unless WF is having a sale.

Bread: This is an item that I flip flop on. I prefer the bread from Great Harvest at the farmers' market but it's $5.50 a loaf. With us not compromising on meat, poultry and produce, we can't afford it on a regular basis. Next in line is Rudi's Organic brand at $4.39, still pricey. Then there's Organic Whole Wheat from TJ's at $2.99, which is the right price and decent but I triple check the date and the loaf itself for mold as I've had freshness issues more than a few times with their bread.

Boxed food, canned goods: Yes, there's still a good amount of this stuff in our pantry. I do my best to pick items with a decent ingredient list and high nutritional value. I buy at WF and TJ's.

I will go into more details on the specific items we buy and prices at a later time. So how do you prioritize your grocery shopping? Feel free to share your method.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Medium Food?

I originally called my blog Slow Food Small Budget but as I was creating content, I kept finding myself unable to be as "slow" as I had intended and unable to eliminate all processed foods. I have two young children, a three year old and a nine month old, which makes it particularly challenging.

The other part of my challenge was/is budget. It's just a fact, real food costs more. Over the past few years, my husband and I have learned to prioritize how we purchase our food. And even more so since I've been out of work. As we eliminated packaged foods, convenience meals, started buying only local meat and produce and only eating "treats" we made ourselves, our grocery budget was busted.

The budget restrictions coupled with the feeling of failure to eat perfectly slow was frustrating and a feeling of defeat was creeping in. After some sulking, I became determined to find a happy medium. I would do my best to buy only locally produced, high quality food, reduce processed foods and make the majority of our meals from scratch. And that's when "medium food" was termed.

Here's a couple of definitions for you.

Slow Food (from Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Fast Food (from of, relating to, or specializing in food that can be prepared and served quickly; designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and with little consideration given to quality or significance.

"...and with little consideration given to quality or significance." Love that, pretty sobering way to put it. Anyhow, slow food is a movement I respect and do my best to contribute to. Fast food is a thing of the past. I've recovered from the denial that it was decent food and perfectly acceptable in a pinch.

As my journey continues, I will keep updating. This subject has become a passion of mine and my desire to build a healthy foundation for my boys is certainly going to keep me determined to find solutions to the challenges I'll inevitably face.