Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Cash Diet

With the recent floods in the Midwest and gas prices through the roof, you are going to see your food prices creep up. The floods have swelled the cost of corn to an all time high and it's going to effect the price of meat and all other mass produced products that contain corn or corn additives (try and find more than 3 things in your cupboard that don't have a corn product in them such as Corn syrup etc. - if you can do it, then you are a better eater, then I). 
So why am I going off on something you likely already realize? Well, to try and offer a few solutions. Since I really only need to feed myself, which is just about the most inefficient way to purchase food,  I try and use a few tricks:

1. Hit the Farmer's Market or get on board with a CSA. You typically get fresh, healthy food here that hasn't been treated with all sorts of chemicals etc. You miss the retail mark ups and everything is grown local so your shipping costs are wiped out. Plus, you'll get to try new things. I think I'll hit the Melon Vine Farm in Grantsburg on the way to the cabin this weekend, and maybe hit the dairy co-op for my dairy needs - The Burnett County Co-op has incredible cheese -

2.) Tear up your back yard. That's right, use a little bit of good old fashioned elbow grease and plant and herb or salad garden in the corner of your yard - or just purchase some large terra cotta planters. I'm going with a hybrid this year. I' should have all my herbs (Basil, thyme, oregano and parsley) in the ground yet this week. I'm hoping to get tomatoes and peppers in the ground soon too. It's a fun hobby, rewarding and super cheap.

3.) Change up the routine. Americans love them some red meat. With the cost of corn sky rocketing, you can plan on seeing an increase in the price of beef. To avoid the pinch try ordering in bulk direct from the producer, or reduce read meat from your diet. Try looking for new recipes that are packed with non-animal based proteins. If you've got a huge hankering for some beef then purchase it in bulk when it is on sale and freeze it for later use. I just loaded up on Thousand Hills grass-fed ground beef at the Linden Hills co-op when it was on sale the other day. Saved a buck a pound and will have enough to get me through the next few weeks no problem. Burgers, tacos and pasta with e sweet smell of savings and none of the additives.

Just because food prices are increasing doesn't mean you need to buy the lowest common denominator. Try finding new and innovative ways to cook with your local bounty. Rely on yourself to grow more sustainable and healthy foods, and look for new ways to freshen up your diet, especially with all the fun summer produce that is popping up.

Happy Eating,

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