No matter your intentions to cook, eat and serve Real Food, it is difficult. The grocery store is full of products labeled "real", "wholesome", "natural" and "organic". You have to decide what messaging you can trust when making choices for your family. When do you choose organic? How many ingredients on the label are too many? As a guide, we use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen as a rough guide for when to choose organic vs. conventional produce (because, let's be honest, organic food is expensive). We also roughly stick to the "no more than 5 ingredients" rule set forth by 100 Days of Real Food. Beyond this, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite ways to ensure our family eats Real Food that you can try as well.
My number one tip is to join a CSA. What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of fruits and vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.Reasons I love being a CSA member:
It allows us to support local farmers
We know EXACTLY where our food is coming from
We know the produce is fresh, organic and local
It gets us experimenting in the kitchen
When I say we know exactly where the food is coming from, I mean it. As a CSA member, you often have the opportunity to visit the farm. Being able to tour the place where your food is grown makes you even more invested in eating healthy, local food.
One of the best side effects of becoming a CSA member (besides playing with chickens and baby lambs) has been that it pushed us outside our comfort zone when it comes to the ingredients we cook with. While our household is a fruit and veggie loving one, we still tend to get into a rut, turning to the same go-to options.
With a CSA you don't choose what comes in the box each week—that's up to Mother Nature. When that gnarly looking celery root stares up at you from the box, what do you do? Why, you hop on the Internet (or our favorite, Pinterest) and research recipes. When the result is a creamy, rich alternative to mashed potatoes that is packed with fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, all is right in the world.
Trust me, we know we are spoiled in California when it comes to the accessibility of amazing produce year round. And depending on where you live, you may not have the option to join a CSA. But there are other ways to enjoy fresh, local produce. There are also larger-scale CSAs throughout the national similar to Farm Fresh to You. Here are 10 to check out.
Also, look for a farmers market near you and make it fun for the kids by letting them choose a new fruit or vegetable each trip that they want to try. Just make sure they know one of the rules is that once you cook it, they have to actually try it. :)
Whether you have a windowsill, a porch, a small area in your yard, or an acre, you can take advantage of that space and grow your own herbs and produce. It doesn't get any more local than that. Check out our Farm to Pouch board on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration for growing your own produce.
Tell us: What are your favorite ways to eat farm-to-table?
© Copyright 2017 Copyright Little Green Pouch. All Rights Reserved. Ecommerce Software by Shopify