I beg you to read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It really changed my idea about HOW we eat. I would like to point out that I am not a vegetarian at all, but I do pay attention to where my meat comes from. It's a tough trade off... because I'm still a very busy mom who is not rolling in money so that I could buy the best of everything. If my kids want grapes in the dead of winter, I buy them. I buy bananas 52 weeks out of the year and eat fruit flown in from who-knows-where all winter long. We eat hot dogs and mac n cheese like every other family. I am no where near the poster child for this cause!! But I do try and make as many small changes as I can!
I love that Michael Pollan says "eat all the junk food you want but cook it yourself." This is so true!! It is so easy to make your kids chicken nuggets, and I rather deep fry it myself with controlled ingredients then the ones from the frozen section. Don't misunderstand me... we go to McDonalds and I have a bag of frozen nuggets in the freezer for when I'm in a pinch... but I've realized how easy and cheap it is to make things like this.
If you live in the area here are some local resources to think about.
- Join your local CSA!! Great Country Farms offers a great one and the sign up starts NOW! I split a half share with a girlfriend last year and that kept it affordable. Local, fresh vegetables AND fruits were delivered to our doorstep weekly. The best part is the CSA includes membership to the farm so that you can bring your kids for FREE to pick the local produce and really show them that strawberries grow outside on vines and are actually no bigger than my thumb unless they are stuffed with hormones!! And of course GCF is a great place to take the kids to play!
- There is a fantastic butcher in Middleburg that sells LOCAL organic, hormone-free, vegetarian or grass fed MEAT! It is called the Home Farm Store. You can buy your chicken, beef and pork fresh or FROZEN (I do this and stock up). They also sell eggs there!
- Fields of Athenry, off Snickersville Turnpike is a great place to take your kids and buy your meat locally when the weather changes. They have Open Farm Fridays where you can walk among the roaming chickens and pigs with your kids and pick out your eggs or meat for the week. I thought it was really cool to teach the kids that this is where our meat comes from... not magically appearing boneless in cellophane wrap at the grocery store.
- Fields of Athenry provides the local meat for our very own Leesburg/South Riding establishments, Vintage 50 and 51! American Flatbread in Ashburn is a local pizza place that serves meat from local farms as well.
- Grow your own garden! It is so much simpler than I ever thought. I literally threw seeds in the ground last year and watered them about once every two weeks and reaped enough of a harvest that I had enough to keep us fed on a night when the fridge was empty. People prepare their gardens around here in April, so keep that in mind in the upcoming months!