Let’s Go Shopping!

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Shopping for non-GMO, healthy foods means a deviation from most typical shopping trips.  You will find your shopping is greatly simplified, you can stock up on a lot more foods, and you will be using your freezer more (especially for breads).

Farmer’s Market

Gorgeous produce at Chester Sunday Market in Connecticut

Gorgeous produce at Chester Sunday Market in Connecticut

First and foremost, locate area farmer’s markets.  If you live in the south or in warmer climates you will have year-round markets.  If you live in the north you might be restricted to one or two indoor markets in your state or area.  During the summer months, enjoy that farmer’s market. Visit them weekly, get to know the “organic” and non-certified “organic” farmers.  Talk to them.  Ask them what varieties they grow, how they grow them, even how it is best to prepare them. Buy locally.  Support your local farmer’s.  There will be small, independent farms and possibly even corporate farms or importers represented there.  Stay away from the larger farms where they hire people to work their markets unless they have something you just can’t find anywhere else.  Don’t count on it being organic.  Don’t count on it even being grown in the US. 

Buy what is in season and eat fresh as much as possible.  Learn to adjust your menu to what is available.  I just love the idea that my carrots weren’t grown 3,000 miles away, harvested by a migrant worker who was given no bathroom facilities while working, and spent a few days on a truck spewing who knows how much emissions and burning who knows how much fuel.

Organic Italian Peppers

Organic Italian Peppers

What I found at my farmer’s market each week varied depending on the month, all organic:

  • carrots
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • kale
  • Swiss chard
  • garlic
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • peppers

Some organic produce was not available in my local farmer’s market, or only in limited amounts:

  • corn
  • peaches
  • pears
  • pumpkins

Now on to grocery shopping. I really do not enjoy shopping so when I discovered that my new non-GMO, organic diet required visits to more stores for specific items I wasn’t thrilled. What I have learned to do is streamline my shopping to one day every week or two, some stores only once a month. Here is what my regular shopping trip looks like:

Target

  • Archer Farms organic coffee and teas (mostly for kombucha and jun)
  • Archer Farms organic tortilla chips (love the blue corn and flaxseed)

Yes, that is all that I buy at Target, and only once a month.

Ocean State Job Lots

  • Mary’s Gone Crackers Organic, gluten-free crackers
  • Organic stock
  • Brad’s Organic Whole Tomatos (canned)
  • Organic agave
  • Newmann’s Own Organic cookies
  • Newmann’s Own Organic raisins
  • Organic black chia seeds

BJ’s Wholesale Club

Beautiful cut flower bouquets, many wildflowers

Beautiful cut flower bouquets, many wildflowers

  • Applegate deli meats (uncured, humanely-treated)
  • Applegate beef hot dogs (uncured)
  • Uncured Bacon
  • Meat: pork loin, sirloin steak, chuck steak, ground chuck, whole chickens, ground pork
  • Organic butter, milk, eggs, cheese
  • Organic juices for kombucha and water kefir
  • King Arthur Organic bread flour
  • Organic raw sugar
  • Organic herbs
  • Organic bread (keep in freezer)
  • Natural cat food (no gmo’s for my kitties)
  • Bell Peppers, variety, non-organic
  • Organic apples, lemons, limes, green beans
  • Olive Oil

Stop N Shop (chain grocery store)

  • Organic canned tomato paste (I try to keep 6-8 in my pantry at all times)
  • Organic lettuce, spinach, carrots, and celery
  • Organic potatoes, onions and garlic
  • Organic apples, oranges, raspberries
  • Potato chips – non-GMO (look for potatoes, salt, peanut, sunflower, safflower oils)
  • Organic milk, cheese and eggs

Food Co-op

Stoneyfield Raw Honey

Stoneyfield Raw Honey

  • Organic popcorn – bulk or Eden Foods
  • Organic wheat berries (mill my own flour)(bulk)
  • Organic ginger (brew my own raw ginger beer, add to kombucha and water kefir)
  • Organic red onions, garlic, potatoes
  • Bob’s Red Mill Corn Starch (non-gmo)
  • Sea salt
  • Organic corn meal
  • Organic mayonnaise
  • Pearled barley (bulk)
  • Organic brown rice (bulk)
  • Organic tamari
  • Organic coconut oil
  • Organic black beans

Yes, most of the foods that I buy are organic. Now do you see why people want GMOs labeled in food? The reason I go to so many different stores is that I am on a very tight budget and must make my food money stretch for a large family. Other than those crackers and the occasional package of organic cookies (and those are only $3 each, less than a package of Oreos), I make all of our food from scratch. If you are only shopping and cooking for one there are wonderful organic prepared foods available. Amy’s, Lundberg Farms, Eden Foods, and many other wonderful organic food preparers are available. Be prepared for expensive, though. It is so easy to make a pot of homemade soup and freeze half for another day, or put a stew in your slow cooker and just let it happen. Do not be discouraged. Make the transition slowly. Begin swapping out one brand of food for an organic alternative. Eat organic popcorn and fresh fruit instead of packaged foods. A dinner of organic crackers, cheddar cheese and apples with a delicious glass of chardonnay is such a treat. Think about food differently and the change will happen over time.

At this time I cannot afford grass-fed or organic meats. All mass-produced animals are fed GMO feed. This is a tragedy and something I struggle with, but it is what it is. I hope in the future to buy shares in a local farm where I can get decent meat, raised naturally, with few grains at all (cattle don’t naturally eat grain, they eat grass). Many people have given up meat because of this dilemma. Personally, I could live on beans, brown rice, cheese and grains, but my kids lose too much weight when we eat this way. There is a movement to encourage farmers to switch to non-GMO farming. It is gaining momentum. Let’s hope that in the near future farmer’s see the light, so to speak, and move away from growing GMOs.

I bought a share in my local food co-op and volunteer there once a week with one of my sons. On that day my purchases are discounted 15%. Or volunteer at your local community gardens, help others, give back, get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise and free produce for you and your family.

Eating healthy merely requires thinking about food differently. It is an adventure. You won’t waste as much food. You will appreciate your food. And you are supporting your local economy, not supporting big corporations like Monsanto and Dupont. It is all good!

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