Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Gasoline prices are through the roof. This is a good time to do a little backyard farming. I've been planting fruit trees and we have a few tomatoes plants as well as some strawberries. I've always been big on planting herbs like basil and parsley. I don't like having to pay two or three dollars for a handful of the stuff. I have also taken to planting lettuce. I got some heirloom arugula from a neighbor. The nice thing about heirloom varieties is that they reproduce unlike hybrids which are sterile . I have to pick them out of the lawn every spring and put them in my growing pot. But essentially it's free food. If the price of gas stays high things that need to be shipped cross country will become more and more expensive. Another option which I am considering is joining a local farm coop. For a substantial fee you get tons of fresh produce for the season. Doing the math, it seems like a good deal. I an apprehensive only because it would be something new. I think I may try it because the food is grown locally and the transport costs are minimal. I sometimes get my fruit and vegs from the discount bin at the supermarket. This can be tricky but can have huge payoffs. I get blood oranges which are pretty expensive for pennies. But check the fruit as carefully as possible. Never buy anything that is visibly spoiled. It's not worth the money. I only buy discount bananas if I plan to bake bread. My supermarket also discounts fish and meat which is even dicier to buy than fruit. If you do this be very, very careful. Use your nose and cook immediately that same day. I've had stuff turn green in the fridge. Can't eat that. Just throw it out. Better safe than sorry. Having said all this, I find expiration dates to be flexible. I've often bought expired food that was perfectly fine. Bread is something that generally holds up well. However, if you see even a speck of green on baked goods, you must throw the entire thing out. Be careful, but scan for discounts. It can be fun. My supermarket uses yellow stickers. I like nothing better than rolling down the aisle snapping up the bargains. Look for the manger's specials too. That is how I tried out Greek yogurt for the first time. It was great. Now I buy it whenever it's on sale.