By Pam Denholm
Have you ever attended a South Shore Locavores evening? It is held on the third Thursday of every month at the Senior Center in Kingston and the range of topics is enlightening – one topic is at the heart of it all: local food! Most recently the featured speaker was Paula Marcoux on her outstanding book ‘Cooking With Fire’ – a MUST read that we will be covering in a future newsletter. But a while back, SSL hosted Kristi Marsh – Kristi is a cancer survivor, a mom of three, author of a book titled ‘Little Changes’ and founder of the website ‘Choose Wiser’. She was entertaining to listen to and I really liked her message, which was simple: do what you can, when you can. Organic choices are often not the most cost effective choices, and in today’s economic climate, many homes are on a tight budget and have to justify each purchase. We are one of them. Running a small business and we know all about tight budgets, juggling finances and justifying choices we have to make. Here are a few tips Kristi had to help make organic choices more affordable:
- If you can’t buy all your fruits and vegetables under the organic label, just buy those that are on the ‘dirty dozen’ most contaminated list (tree fruit, berries, greens, cucumbers, peppers and celery)
- Process your own food. Don’t reach for the baby peeled carrots for lunchbox snacks, or the chopped salad. Peel your own carrots, stick some in a jar of water in the fridge, throw some in the freezer. This applies to many fruits and vegetables and can be made especially easy if you get yourself a really good food processor. You pay for the convenience
- Buy snacks like popcorn in bulk, and use a pot instead of the microwave. Microwave popcorn is double the price of a bag of popcorn seeds (by weight)
- Reduce, reuse, recycle. Save leftovers for another meal and use as much of the food you prepare as you can. Pumpkin and squash seeds roasted make a great snack, so do baked potato skins. If you have something in your fridge nearing its ‘throw out’ date, freeze it or make a soup then freeze it. Try to reduce your food waste as much as possible. This will reduce how much food you have to buy, giving you a little more wiggle room to buy organic
- Which brings us to our next point, invest in a chest freezer.
- Don’t buy something you can make yourself. And no, we don’t have to go back to ‘the little house on the prairie’ days she reassures, but some things are super, super easy, like taco seasoning, tartare sauce, salad dressings – and then you know what goes into them!
- Keep baking soda and vinegar in your house, and use them whenever you can – you’ll save a bunch on natural and organic cleaners
- And then obviously, look out for sales and special deals and coupons
One good decision leads to another, do one thing at a time and in a year from now you will look at your pantry and realize how many products you have managed to ‘convert’ to healthy, chemical free or organic. Kristi also noted that it is easier to make these choices if you are raised with awareness than it is to transition, and so by being mindful of our food (cleaning product and cosmetic) decisions, we gift this ability and skill to our children.