The Joy of Home grown, Free Range Food

I haven’t blogged for a while. Since my last blog entry nearly half a year ago, I have gotten married, moved to the big city in Minnesota, and started the end of my undergraduate career as a biochemistry student at the big university. It has seemed difficult to catch my breath with all of my new found responsibilities. I thought I would just catch my breath a little with a fast blog this evening.

I digress.

One of the worst parts of growing up, as it seemed at first, has been worrying about feeding myself. Now I have become a wife, and sharing the responsibility with a man that can cook well has been relieving. But I also feel the pressure; someone else has to like my cooking now!

Mastering the art of grocery shopping on a budget was the first challenge. I coupon; which helps some with the cost. Growing up on a farm, though, with fresh food, especially meats and vegetables, at my fingertips most of my childhood, has unfortunately left a sour taste in my mouth about a large part of purchasing groceries at the big store in the big city. Somewhere between the farm and the shelf, so much of the food out there changes a scary amount. A piece of the food improves through the processing that happens between farm to you (who could live without cheese, yogurt, butter, and of course the “staples”), but so much of it has to go through a lot in order to have a longer shelf life.

It feels difficult for me to enjoy so much of the food in the pretty packaging you find on your grocery store shelf (I know my husband disagrees, having always eaten food the way most Americans do).

But, this leads to the blessing in the story; my farming roots. Although I have left my family and moved out, it is always so incredible to get to visit the family farm in rural Minnesota; and I get to reap the benefits of my visit long afterward in the “grocery trip” I get to bring home. It is always such a blessing that my father still shares his farm labor with us. Although my father most likely will not read this, I would just like to say, “Thanks Dad!”

Just today, I got to enjoy free-range eggs for breakfast, free-range, organic chicken for dinner, with potatoes and veggies from the all-natural garden. Not only was this all delicious; it meant a lot that it all came from a farmer that put so much care into his work, that the chickens that give us fuel for the day were cared for properly by someone that loves to do what they do for the sake of the animals.

I know most people in this country do not come from farming backgrounds, and that is okay, but I would just like to encourage people out there to support a local farmer, and buy some of your groceries local. Visit your farmer’s market when that time of year rolls by again. Network with the hard-working people from your community that make your food. Tell them thanks for being dedicated to real food! Try gardening if you haven’t had the experience before (gardeners; shout out to those that have a bigger appreciation for the people that make real food 😉 ). And, thank a farmer.

And I would like to say thank you for all the farmers that stay in their occupation, working hard and providing food for the entire world. Thank you to the majority that respect the animals that feed us, and a special thank you to those that offer organic and free-range choices to eat.