Sunday, July 29, 2012

Like a merchant ship...

On Mondays I do a quick weekly shop now as it fits into my week better than a Saturday morning. Over the last 4 years I have gone down from having a "two-trolley" monthly shop to a 1/4 trolley weekly shop. I never noticed the reduced amount in it until this past Monday and was quite surprised and pleased. I wrote an article a couple of months ago entitled "Does Your Grocery Trolley Reflect Your Green Values?" and I didn't feel like a hypocrit pushing my trolley around Pick 'n Pay.

Our chickens, we have 10 and delight in them.
In the book of Proverbs in the Bible a wife of noble character is described as being and doing many things. But verse 14 says: "She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from afar." This is not talking about "food miles" but rather the ability to source the best she can for her family. So as I was pushing my trolley the Lord brought this verse to mind.

Broad beans about to come into full swing

A few days ago I shared that we eat free range pasture fed meat, chicken and pork so for those in Cape Town I thought I would share a little bit about these sources and then for those elsewhere you may be inspired to try and reduce how much you buy from the store but rather get straight to the source of your foodstuffs and build a relationship with the local farmers. I am also going to briefly touch on how else you can reduce your dependence on shops, so if I ramble a little, forgive me and enjoy the rabbit trails :-)

Food can be broken down into a few places for our household. The first is fresh foods. My first place to "shop" is obviously the vegetable garden. I see what is in and plan to use it that week. So for this week we have cauliflower, spinach, peas, Asian greens and herbs. Whatever else I need in the fresh department I get from the veggie man who comes to my door each Tuesday. When I pop into Woolworths for their specials and our drinking milk I will pick up any other seasonal veg we need. I do not buy at Fruit & Veg as their stuff is generally below standard and goes off quickly. Of course our chicken's give us lovely eggs - about 15 a week but we need more.

I drive to fetch milk (from 10 - 20 liters) from Lou Docker in Noordhoek every second week to make into yoghurt and soft cheeses. It's a lovely drive and I use it for thinking time if alone or take along a kiddo or two for company. I don't like to use this milk in tea and coffee, not because there is any wrong with it, but it does taste quite wild due to their feeding on the marshy land and scrub. For baking and yoghurt it is wonderful.

Our beef and lamb is ordered and delivered monthly via Alicia at Go Natural and have for the past 3 or so years. You can go to their website and subscribe to their newsletter and be notified of the dates for ordering by email.  All the regular cuts of beef and lamb are offered. We have found the beef mince to be superb and knowing that this is grass fed beef/lamb and that we are supporting a local farmer gives us peace of mind when we enjoy the meals made with it. We also get our nuts, seeds, sprouting seeds, honey, spelt grain and toothpaste from them.

The happy hogs

Pork comes to us monthly from Happy Hog Farm. Either my folks bring it through for us when they visit as they travel past the farm from their home on the Garden Route or we get a courier to bring it to us. Linda at Happy Hog is a gracious lovely woman who is passionate about her pigs and as we have been to visit the farm we know exactly what the conditions are for the pigs - and they are good! No sloppy pens and rubbish for food, really the best living conditions she can give them. As I write this blog post, one of her deboned shoulder roasts is slowly cooking away in a sage and garlic rub, filling our home with the most delicious aromas.

One of the chickens my son supplies. You pay for what you get, no brine, no fat.

Chicken is also eaten with relish and while we used to buy either the Woolworth or Elgin free range chickens we now only use my son's chickens which he gets from a farm on the Garden Route. I buy whole chickens from him and joint them for casseroles and use the carcasses for stocks and soups. He also sells bulk chicken breasts which we use a lot of. We also buy the eggs from him as and when we need them.

Indigenous Boschveld Laying Hens eggs.
I don't cook a lot of fish due to my sons allergies but when I do we try to get from The Little Fisherman always choosing sustainable species.

Our other basic staples are the dry foods which we get around the corner from us at Health Connections and we buy our supplements and oats, organic dry beans and a few other spices from them. These kind ladies are down to earth and appreciate our approach to eating food as close to it's natural state as possible and don't push weird esoterical philosphies on us.

We don't each much bread these days - maybe 3 loaves a week - but that I make myself from the spelt or Eureka Flours.
50% rye load made for lunch today.

As for the rest of the trolley, well we make our own cleaners now with the exception of dishwashing liquid. So I buy Earth Sap for our dishes, and we use soap nuts in the dishwasher. I must still write about soap nuts but I want to see if I can sort out some of the problems we are finding with them first. 

We make our own soap so I miss that isle, but I do buy Earth Sap shampoo and conditioner.

The lavender soap I made in May. We just started using it - rich and creamy.

We have a lady who delivers 100 toilet paper rolls to us straight from the factory and we don't use other paper products, so I miss that isle too.

So what fills my trolley at the end of the shop? A few speciality items, the few toiletries we need, some stationary sometimes, if my one daughter is with me she will sneak a small sushi tray in that I will pretend not to notice! There are some products which I buy that are not organic like tomato sauce to feed one child's addiction, mayonnaise as my children don't like my attempts, coconut milk, rice and some good red wine :-), obviously vinegar, bicarb, Sunlight soap and other things needed for cleaning, but that is pretty much it.

Lucky doing her daily garden inspection

As they too are part of the family, our dogs are also given the best we can and that is a raw diet. We did cook for them for 3 years but Zeus just got thinner and thinner. In January we switched them to Dog Matters which is premade raw dog mince, raw carcasses and pork bones. The mince is either chicken, beef, ostrich or venison in season. For breakfast they get 3 and 1 chicken caracesses each, at lunch Zeus gets a pork bone, Lucky finishes it off for him, and then at supper Zeus gets 2/3 of a mince pack and Lucky the other 3rd. This is delivered to our door every 2 weeks and stored in the freezer. We defrost as we go and it is super simple to implement. 
Newlands Spring

Lastly, this is not possible for everyone, but it is for Capetonians...we do not cook with tap water and distilled water is too pricey to use. Weekly my son and I, sometimes Superman, will go to the Newlands Spring for 75l of water...this is for drinking, mainly cooking...and its FREE!


Ali said...

It is amazing to see how far you have come on your green, self sufficient journey, Wendy! Hats off to you - baby steps all adding up to big progress :)

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Thanks Ali it has not been without its downs but we are pleased with what we have achieved so far!

Joy-Mari said...

I loved reading your article! Have you thought of ditching toilet paper yet? You could use a 'family cloth' instead. I just use face cloths; other people cut up old, worn clothing into squares.

And I'm in Cape Town too!

Joy-Mari said...

oooo! And I forgot to mention that I make my own toothpaste: coconut oil, salt and bicarb. I'm also considering ditching the conditioner for my hair and only using egg yolks.