food sourcing.

Huzzah! A blog post!

I was not having a good week last week. I've been burning the candle at both ends and was feeling really, really run down. My sister, A, happened to call which was very exciting in and of itself, since she currently lives in Melbourne and the time difference makes it hard for us to talk much. When I told her how I was feeling, she didn't really respond with the usual, you have to take care of yourself and work less etc., she asked me if I was eating properly. I realized that I wasn't really eating properly. Apparently, sometimes it takes your YOUNGER sister to take care of you!

Though it doesn't take just eating better to make life better, she totally had a point and so in the last few days, we've been eating better. Instead of toast and crackers for every meal: Homemade fish tacos! Mushroom and broccoli pasta! Stir fry! Actual breakfast! And I'll be darned if I don't feel better.

The crazy thing about A's suggestion is that lately, I've had sourcing good food down to an art these days, so it was weird that I wasn't taking advantage. And that's the real point of this rambling post: acquiring good food. Back when I wasn't running my own business and N's wasn't as busy as it is now, we never worried about what was for dinner much. We'd decided what we wanted between the two of us through texts and either N or I would pick up what we didn't already have to make dinner happen. Fast forward to a few months ago: it's no secret that going back to school and starting your own businesses mean budgeting. But, especially because N is in food industry and because we're sorta tree huggers around here, we want to get food from the best places we can.

About two years ago we started buying an eighth of a cow at once from a farmer outside Vancouver with a group of other people. The quality, and might I add price (in a good way), of the meat was unparalleled. We'd also pilfer my parents' freezer on trips back to the motherland for any venison they didn't need. (This year, there's been no venison because my poor dad spent much of the autumn sick and eventually in the hospital, but I digress and he's well on the way to getting back to his regular hockey playing, deer hunting self.) N's mom would also help us out by bringing bacon and other delicious pork products when she came to visit from the local butcher near their cabin. All that meant that we had to buy an apartment-sized deep freeze a couple years back, but I think in the money we've saved from buying/acquiring meat this way has paid for it already. We still haven't found a great source for chicken, but a friend recently mentioned that she's found someone so that may change soon.

That left the rest of our food. (I'm a good Albertan: meat first.) As our budget has gotten tighter, we've taken to buying a large amount of groceries less often. We found that that ultimately brought our grocery bill down because we were planning our purchases a bit better. It also meant that we didn't have to go to the grocery store often, a place I really hate. A few weeks ago, we signed up for Green Earth Organics, a service that delivers produce to us once per week. N had GEO back when he lived with five other dudes in a house, and though it seemed a little bit decadent to me to have someone bring us produce, I'm now totally sold. Unpacking that box is definitely the highlight of my Thursday (unless, you know, I have actual plans on Thursday night other than watching reruns of Star Trek on Netflix or, gulp, working). One of the best things about having produce delivered is that I don't have to go to the grocery store very often now at all AND, more importantly, I think we're saving money because we're more aware of the food we have and because it's fresher, it lasts longer, so way less gets wasted. I'm a total convert.

Having a freezer full of meat and produce taken care of has turned me a little bit into one of those extreme couponing people, except without the coupons. Now I'm all about putting a grocery list together throughout the month (yes, the month) and then shopping for the rest of our stuff on 10% off Tuesday (including, OceanWise fish, just in case you were wondering if I'd forgotten that other, other white meat). That's right, me and the old ladies, with their orthopedic shoes and grocery trolleys, battle it out on the first Tuesday of the month to fill our pantry. Life is better when I don't have to worry about what's happening for dinner.* We just open the freezer, pantry and fridge and make something, because we know what we have good stuff. I think our system has saved us some decent cash and has definitely saved me annoying trips to the grocery store. We run out of eggs, milk and cheese more often than monthly, but that's all available at the drug store two blocks from our place, so it works out to be a pretty good system. So, just in case ya wanted to know, there is the way we do groceries.** Got any tips yourself?

*Truth be told, I've never worried much about what we're having for dinner, since N is the cook in our household. When I'm by myself though, I do worry and since N does a lot of the coking, I don't really mind being the grocery scout.

**I always feel weird writing posts like these ... like who cares about how anyone gets groceries, but I care! For some reason I LOVE reading other people's tricks for this kind of stuff, so I figured, why not? Now that I'm not blogging here more often, but am updating my professional website pretty frequently, I figure that this blog is going to become more of a diary for me anyway, so you may get more and more stuff like this.

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