Now that summer is quite obviously over, I will be having to make the transition to organic produce exclusively, since local produce is on its way out of here. My favorite local farm Annie's Acres has things like potatoes and yams and even some greens from the greenhouse right now, and I am sure some of the other local farms have those items as well, but the bulk of what I am going to be buying going into the fall and winter will be from the grocery store. I have increased my food budget accordingly to absorb this cost as well as the cost for organic and/or humanely raised meats.
I went out to Annie's Acres yesterday to pick up my first meat and cheese order from her. She puts out an order form every couple of weeks for meats, yogurts, and cheeses that she then goes to pick up for her customers down in Lancaster County. Yesterday, I picked up some ground beef and pork, some center cut pork chops, some raw milk cheese, and some whole milk yogurt made with milk from grass fed Jersey cows. All of the farms that Annie gets these items from have been checked out by her and her husband to make sure that they feel good about the way the animals are being treated there. I trust her 100% to have the same standards I would have if I were visiting such a farm. The meat is more expensive than most meat you would find in a grocery store, but it fits right into my desire to buy only humanely raised meats. I am pretty excited about continuing to get meat and cheese this way throughout the fall and winter!
I have to rave about one of the items that I picked up from Annie's, and that is the Pequea Valley Farm yogurt that she is selling. It comes from a farm in Ronks, PA, which is in Lancaster County, and it is an Amish farm. This is a whole milk yogurt, made, as I mentioned, from the milk of grass-fed Jersey cows. It is the most amazing yogurt I have ever tasted. So far, I have had the maple (150 calories) and the black cherry (210 calories), and I can't stop thinking about the final container I have to my refrigerator (peach - 200 calories), but I am going to attempt to hold off on eating that until tomorrow. I also have in my fridge my previously loved Chobani Greek yogurt in several flavors, but I am afraid that nothing will ever taste as good as this new-to-me yogurt. It's a bit more expensive, of course, than yogurt in the grocery store ($1.85 for a 6 oz. container or $6.75 for a quart, which is actually in the neighborhood of the cost of the pricey Fage Greek yogurt or the Siggi's Icelandic skyr that I sometimes buy at Wegmans). And it is not as high in protein as Greek yogurt, which is kind of a trade off. However, it is a trade off I am willing to make because it is SO good, and it comes from a farm right here in my home state. It's a win-win!
One of the next items on my list that I want to buy is a chest freezer to put down in our basement. I just want a small one (5 cubic feet), as it's just me and the hubs here, but I want to be able to buy meat in bulk when it's available to me and to be able to stockpile it somewhere. I used to buy club packs and chicken breast and pork chops and stock our freezer up. I don't buy those factory farm-raised meats anymore, but I do need some space for freezing items. I am looking forward to adding a freezer to the house sometime before the end of the year, hopefully!
Although I never go to the gym this early, I think I am going to go ahead and head over there now, as this has the possibility of being a busy day. And tonight for dinner, I plan to cook up some Organic Prairie Italian sausage with some jarred spaghetti sauce to serve with some of Wegmans new Super Pasta. It's pretty nice out here during the day right now, but it gets cold at night, so that will be a nice, comforting dinner. Actually, before I head out to the gym, I have to clean out the freezer. I have some frozen diet meals from the last century that I need to get rid of to make room for all this good stuff!
Make it a great day, everyone!