So one of the things my husband and I find ourselves doing often is pet sitting. We don’t have any animals of our own but we both love our puppy snuggles. This past two weeks whilst pet sitting I have had a noticeable change in my diet due to not having all of my staples. It is not reasonable to bring my whole pantry or buy all new things for such a short period of time. This shock to my routine has got me thinking about the importance of having quality whole foods in your kitchen.
When you’re doing your grocery shop, do you meal plan so you know what you are going to buy ahead of time or do you buy things that are on sale once you are looking. Honestly it can be hard to meal plan every week and stick to it so I do a bit of both but mostly I just buy things when they go on sale and meal plan/prep with what I already have in the kitchen. With the prices of food increasing I do what I can to keep the cost of eating heathy down, we all know that it can be pricey.
Below is a list of the foods that I try to keep in my home, keeping in mind that I also try to mostly eat seasonally and locally. When I buy produce I try my best to buy items on the Dirty Dozen list from the organic section or from a local farmer. The Dirty Dozen is a list created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG test the most common foods for chemical residues that have been absorbed while it was growing. The dirty dozen is a list of the most chemically contaminated produce you can buy at the grocery stores. Another way to ensure clean produce is to grow your own, I grow vegetables in small containers and a book shelf I made into a raised bed. I have lots of herbs growing in containers, 6 fruiting apple trees, 2 pear trees and a few nut trees. In the fall I am busy harvesting and preparing it all for storage throughout the winter months.
Here is a bit of an idea of what I keep I keep in my kitchen
Here on Vancouver Island we are so lucky as we are surrounded by agriculture land, this means local food. Most cities and districts have at least one local farmers market or farm stand near by.
I am lucky and have Prince Acres farm up the road from me in Lantzville; which provides us with leafy greens, root vegetables, squash, fruit, eggs and sourdough bread – 8 months of the year. Prince Acres is a bug friendly farm avoiding all use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. If you stop in here make sure to try Farmer Brian’s Jalapeño Blue Cheese Sourdough or the Chocolate Croissants.
In Nanoose, there are two farms that my husband Brandon and I also frequent for local food. Nanoose Edibles on Stewart Road is one of the Farm stands we stop in at. Throughout the seasons it has a variety of fruit; berries, apples, pears, figs, quince, loads of herbs, greens, potatoes, peppers and squash. Nanoose Edibles also hires local youth giving them opportunities learning how to grow sustainable foods and reconnect with the land.
Springford Farm on Northwest Bay Road is a small family operated cattle farm with a lovely farm store where you can buy their beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, and corn year round. They also sell local produce, baked goods and local artisan food products. One thing I love about Springford Farm is their cattle is grass-fed and finished giving the beef a higher quality nutrient content and well rounded natural flavour. These are truly happy animals on this farm.
A farm that we often visit in the Qualicum Beach area is the family run Sloping Hill Farm where they have the best oats hands down. Their small farm stand on the corner of their property off whiskey creek road is usually full of pork, eggs, ground flour and oats. The pigs on this farm are the luckiest pigs getting to live a free roam lifestyle socializing with everyone, eating a hearty vegetarian diet without GMO content, antibiotics, growth enhancers or hormones. The oats are just incredible if kept refrigerated they are so creamy without needing to add milks or sugars.
Its great to have all sown, grown, harvested, cleaned, milled, rolled grains all done on their property! They have Spelt flour, HRS Wheat flour and their fabulous Oats.
There are so many more happy farms here on Vancouver Island and when you are supporting them you are support local economical growth, food security and sustainability and you are supporting a family’s livelihood.