Alternative Grocery Shopping

This year we became involved in a fresh vegetable co-op. Each week I email my order to the farmer and receive fresh-from-the-garden organic produce. I have loved it. It is the next best thing to picking it out of my own garden, which currently consists of two tomato plants filled with unripe tomatoes. Today, I picked up extra produce at our local farmers market as well as some fresh grass-fed beef and pork. Then off to Costco, for which I buy basics that I can’t find anywhere else but wonder if it is possible to live without a Costco or Sams????
I have been more convicted about changing the way I purchase food and returning to a more holistic approach when it comes to buying food. Our fast paced modern lifestyle has relegated groceries to Walmart or Albertsons, Costco or Sams, however, there are a wide variety of ways to purchase our groceries instead of feeding the corporate monsters our hard earned money. Some prefer the one stop supercenters, but I find them too busy and impersonal for my blood and supporting a corporate giant is too much for me to swallow.
You may ask, “Why all the worry over groceries? It’s just food?” Yes, your right. It is just food and maybe it doesn’t matter to most. However, I believe that we need to start being a little more aware of where our food comes from and commit ourselves to supporting our communities.
For me, my desire to buy the majority of my food locally was stirred again a while back with an incident with a bottle of apple juice. I remember reading the label. It said, “May contain apple juice from China, Argentina and the United States.” I became a bit irritated at that. As if there isn’t enough from China…Now the Apple juice is from China? or maybe it is from Argentina? Who knows?
To add to that : I recently watched SuperSize Me and was completely disgusted. The part about “one burger may contain meat from a 1000 different animals”…. Ok..that is just plain sickening.
But you see the trend… corporate companies, mass marketing, mass product, mass consumers. Major Centralization even in the food industry.
No thanks, I want apple juice from one source, preferably in my own country….and my hamburger… I want the beef in my hamburger from one – normal – cow.
So we have made an effort to support our local community and take small steps to avoid the power hungry mega-business monsters. Being where we are, it is a little easier as we are surrounded with food gathering alternatives like pick-your-own farms and orchards, produce co-ops, family fruit and vegetable stands and businesses or family farms raising meat.
In our local community, we have a couple of family owned businesses that sell flowers, fruits, vegetables and honey. We try to support these businesses as much as we can. From the Taylor family, I like to buy pumpkins, apples and sweet potatoes in the Fall. Not only can I buy a bushel of apples at a time, but they are much cheaper than the store and not coated with a dozen layers of wax and chemicals and … not from China. While I was recovering from having my wisdom teeth out, my husband took the children to the Taylors to buy some fireworks for the 4th of July and Mrs. Taylor sent home a bag of peaches just for me. That made my day! These “hometown” relationships are becoming few and far between, but something that we have come to love and cherish.
A few more miles away, the farmers market is a gathering place for Tennessee farmers to sell their produce to the local community. One way we support our local farmers is buying produce from them. Although I do not purchase all of my food locally, one of my goals is what I do not grow myself, to purchase from local farmers or at least a large amount of our food. Although there will always be purchases that will not fall into the “local” category, the point is to become more aware of our community family farmers and support the work they do.
Support your local farmers. You can search here for your state and local farms in your area:
Pick Your Own – Find a local farm near you to buy farm fresh produce, or even to go pick berries or fruit. – This site is a great resource for finding things like grassfed beef, poultry, fresh eggs, milk and cheese.
Pick Tennessee – We have great support here in Tennessee for bringing awareness to Tennessee products in the stores. We see these “Pick Tennessee” stickers on Tennessee grown products in local grocery stores and it identifies those products that are grown in our home state.

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