Natural Food, and: This Smells GoodSunday, May 20, 2007
Last July, I mentioned that Av and I share in getting a box every week from a group of organic farmers - they're all either USDA certified organic or working towards getting their certification. The other nice thing is that about 100% of the items in the box come from Alabama farmers, whereas, according to their website, less than 5% of the fresh produce in local stores comes from Alabama.
This is the pic I took of what was in one of our July boxes:
Lately, we have been getting a lot of beans, cherry tomatoes, garden tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, potatoes, squash, and some other things.
This is a carrot that was in one of our boxes last year:
Have you ever seen such a thing??
Our state farmers market authority has a website that shows markets in each county, plus roadside stands, and U-Pick operations. I think the blueberries start late next month, and then later in the summer the muscadines and scuppernongs. In Baldwin county there's a place where you can pick mayhaws (I think we're at the end of the mayhaw season right now), and those make my favorite jelly. Yum.
Thanks to a lot of competition with the grocery stores around here, organic and natural options are a lot more available than they were even a couple of years ago. About 80-90% of what we are buying right now - fruits/vegetables/fresh fish, chicken, beef/milk and eggs are natural (meaning no growth hormones and antibiotics, buying meat of animals that weren't fed animal by-products, and choosing companies who treat their animals...more humanely).
Of course, we still eat out at restaurants where we don't have the slightest idea where anything came from, but at home we're doing really good!
There are some really, really great websites about eating locally (and/or more organically) and the nice thing is, they're most all like "here's where you can get things" without getting being at all preachy. One is Local Harvest and another is Eat Well Guide. There's also Eat Better America, Slow Food, 100 Mile Diet, and even Consumer Reports has a list of their organic and conventional recommendations.
Since I'm really getting into all this now, I've tried to start thinking about the chemicals that we use in the house...Whole Foods has a PDF about making homes healthier for babies, and one of the ideas is to switch over to more natural household cleaners and products. I thought I would give it a try, so I bought a (on the left) sample pack of Mrs. Meyers cleaning items in the honeysuckle scent - there's a countertop spray (works really, really well), a window cleaner (unfortunately it isn't anywhere as good as Windex), an all-purpose cleaner (haven't tried it yet) and a liquid dish soap (haven't tried that yet either - almost everything we have goes in the dishwasher except our best china and crystal). I'll get a full-size countertop spray the next time I go shopping - the honeysuckle scent makes the kitchen smell *so* good.
What I am really, really in love with (if you can be in love with laundry products) is the Mrs. Meyers fabric softener in lavender. All the laundry products are biodegradable and phosphate free, and made with essential oil - so the lavender makes the clothes smell like lavender after they come out of the dryer and even days and days after. It's not a strong smell, it's just nice. I have to admit, I'm so crazy about it I even ordered a six-pack of it from Amazon!