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Patty's Pointers for Living Better & Spending Less

Posted 9/15/2014 9:05pm by Erick & Patty Taylor.

Patty’s Pointers for Living Better & Spending Less

How we do it... many of our customers have experienced the same results…

It’s easy to start living better by feeding your body well and with the right foods; it’s something most of us now understand. The problem is that it costs more… or does it? I’m not here to sell you on the health benefits of eating all-natural, chemical-free local food, if you’re getting this email, you’ve either joined our email list or already are one of our customers, which means you already care about the quality of the food you eat.

I’m writing to provide you with a real example of what you can do to dramatically save money and eat healthier than ever. It begins with the acquisition of a relatively small asset… a freezer!

But a Freezer is So Expensive? I would argue that it’s one of the best investments you can make!

•    Buying A freezer saves you money on LOTS of things! When my special all-natural, whole-grain, no high-fructose corn syrup bread goes on sale, I buy 10 loaves and store them in the freezer. I drive an extra 20 minutes to Marketbasket in Oxford, MA once a month and buy butter for almost half the price than at the local store, that goes for blocks of sliced American cheese, shredded cheese, burrito shells, orange juice, chicken stock in the cardboard containers, ice cream, frozen berries, and anything else I can buy and freeze. The amount I save in one bulk shopping trip more than pays for the entire year’s worth of added electricity from running the freezer!  

•    Buying A Freezer allows you to save your OWN Fresh Vegetables & Fruit, leftovers, and homemade baked goods! Our CSA members who are savvy savers, take an extra few minutes each week to process and store whatever vegetables they don’t finish… and if you’re not part of a CSA, you can SAVE extra food that is going bad in your fridge instead of throwing it out! It only take a few minutes to blanch and freeze green beans or other veggies, slice the kernels off of leftover corn, cut the tops off the strawberries that no one is eating in the fridge and place them in a Ziploc in the freezer. I take extra greens like kale, arugula or swiss chard, chop them up and seal them in a Ziploc, squishing all the air out and freezing them for later use in green smoothies or soups, stews, or in lasagna. I bake zucchini bread in summer, and wrap and freeze the loaves for a taste of summer in the middle of winter. Once you get used to having and using your freezer, you can buy less at the grocery store, waste less of what you do buy, and enjoy saving everything from leftovers to homemade baked goods.  

•    Here’s my math on freezer savings: A 5.8 cubic foot Sears Kenmore upright freezer (21”W x 22”D x 56”H) costs $231 to buy and $38 per year in electricity to run it. I would personally buy the next bigger size… a 12.1 cubic foot upright which costs $379 to buy and $62 per year to run. The average freezer lasts 16 years, so the cost of just the freezer is $85.68 per year when spread out over it’s lifetime… I can save that in just a few purchases… by buying frequently used items when they go on sale (like my expensive healthy bread) or buy buying meat in bulk (buy a whole or half all-natural animal from a farmer, rather than feedlot meat at the grocery store), or most importantly by just NOT WASTING what I’ve already invested in whether it be the vegetables from my CSA share, or items from the store.   Add to this, that food costs at grocery stores are rising exponentially in America. The Fiscal Times reports that regular grain-fed ground beef is up 11 percent, pork is up 9.4 percent and fruit & veg prices were up 7 percent in 2014. Why? Ongoing drought throughout most of America’s critical growing areas, and a gloomy forecast from scientists from UC Davis and other sources that there’s a 71 percent chance for next year to be drier than normal. Buying now, and buying in bulk, saves you money in the future!

Think about some of the things you’re already buying in bulk…toilet paper, laundry detergent, cereal, etc. Why do we do this? Because buying in bulk is always cheaper. And this same principle holds true for meat!

We all want meat that comes from animals that were raised humanely, lived in their natural habitats, fed only what nature intended… grass, never given antibiotics or hormones, and processed responsibly, but these kinds of meats can be expensive — especially for those who are feeding entire families. Fortunately, there are ways to make feeding your family natural & properly raised meats completely affordable… buy in bulk and buy a freezer!

When we talk about buying meat in bulk from a farm, we’re taking about purchasing a half animal or a sampler box. I know — it sounds intense. When people first learn about buying a half animal, they probably can’t help but imagine somehow trying to stuff half a cow or a whole pig into their freezer. But buying in bulk is nothing like that. The meat still looks exactly like the meat you usually get — packaged separately according to the cut. The only difference is the amount of it that you’ll be getting at once, which will be a lot more than you’re used to (hence the need for a freezer — and you’ll be surprised how quickly it pays for itself)!

By purchasing a half animal, your price per pound will be significantly less than if you were to purchase that same amount of meat over time in smaller amounts — savings that equate to over a thousand dollars on a half beef! The best part about buying meat in bulk? You and your family will be eating the best, most nutrient-dense, toxin-free meat available — and you’ll save money!

In addition to saving on cost, buying in bulk also offers the following additional benefits:

•    You get it all! Your beef half will come with everything from ground beef to fillet mignon. You’ll expand your culinary prowess by cooking/trying different cuts of meat that you may have never been exposed to otherwise. Who knows — you might even find a new favorite! Acclaimed butcher Tom Mylan says, “If you’re going to kill an animal, then it only seems polite to use the whole thing.” Buying in bulk allows you to do just that.â�¨  

•    Your connection to your food will be enriched. Buying from a local farm (and especially buying in bulk) will deepen your understanding of how the animal was raised, who raised it, and how it was processed. Your relationship with your meat will become more transparent and less opaque.

Not sure you can eat that much beef in a year? Try “Cowpooling”… it’s when you ask some friends, family or neighbors if they are interested in eating great, healthy meat and saving money at the same time! Go in on a half animal with family and friends!

Make the investment in a freezer and reap the dividends… nothing is more comforting than sitting by a warm fire knowing that you have all the food you need to make it to next Spring. This is something that is hard to put a value on, but I assure you it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of being a farmer… why shouldn’t you enjoy it too? I hope this idea saves you money and helps you live better. Best, Patty