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The Things That Make Me Smile

I’m so excited.  I found a “buying club,” and I picked up my first order today.

What’s a buying club, you may be asking.  I know, a month ago, I’d have asked too.

Buying clubs are popping up everywhere, basically to fulfill the demand for farm fresh, traditional meat and dairy products.  Since it’s inconvenient and sometimes down right impossible for people living in urban and suburban areas to access farm fresh products, the products are coming to us!

I found my buying club on FarmFreshPhilly.org.  Several farmers in the Lancaster area have combined forces to provide our buying club with fresh organic beef, pork, poultry, dairy and other miscellaneous products including but not limited to ketchup (made with locally grown tomatoes and no preservatives), raw honey, maple syrup, fermented veggies, and breads.

We place our orders via email, and once a week the delivery truck takes the food from the farm to various drop-off locations throughout the suburbs.  We drive to the closest drop-off location and pick up our order and bring it home.  Cool, huh??

Today I brought home a half gallon of raw milk, a pound of natural Jersey butter, local raw honey, whole milk cottage cheese, and a chicken and some chicken breasts from pastured chickens.

I also got a quart of lard from a pastured pig (I can not WAIT to try my pie crust recipe with it!!) as well as a pork shoulder roast, chipped ham, and scrapple made with no nitrates or preservatives.

What’s scrapple?  I thought you’d never ask.  Scrapple is a Pennsylvania Dutch delight that takes scraps of pig meat left over from butchering (to avoid waste) and combines them with cornmeal, flour, and spices to make a delightful breakfast treat that is generally served with eggs as a substitution for bacon or sausage.

Ordinarily, the idea of a food product made from the craps of a butchered pig would skeeve me out, but the scrapple from my buying club is made with only meat, corn meal, wheat flour, seasoning (and no nitrates, thankyouverymuch.)  I’m not even gonna THINK about which parts of the pig the “meat” may be harvested from.  Some things are better left a mystery.

Tonight I already have a new batch of no-knead homemade bread rising, the grains soaking with which to make a breakfast cake when we get up in the morning, and plans to make homemade granola and granola bars later tonight.  So far I’m having fun with our back-to-traditional-foods eating habits.  I’m sure it will eventually get old and I’ll mellow out, but for now I’m still going strong.

Have you made any changes to your diet and food habits recently?  Which are the most rewarding?  What’s the biggest challenge?  Do you think I’ve lost my marbles?  Wait, don’t answer that.

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36 thoughts on “The Things That Make Me Smile

  1. OK- I am proud of you for really going after and LIVING what you believe- not just talking about it. I’m probably not going for any scrapple myself anytime soon (especially with that piggie staring at me in the face), but I will be happy for you. And I will partake in all your yummy food if only you will send some down to AL. 🙂

  2. I would never eat from the craps of a butchered anything but that sure made me smile. And feel better. 🙂

  3. That is awesome. My boss had a cow and a pig butchered earlier this year and he gave us some of the meat. It was so good. It makes me want to buy my own next year and just load my freezer up with it.

  4. Change #1: I’m buying only whole milk 🙂 Otherwise, not much, b/c we really can’t afford to shop anywhere but Walmart (I’m sorry to say), so we are rather stuck. However, tomorrow morning I’m going to our local farmer’s market in town. I’m dead-dog determined to find some farm fresh eggs if it’s the last thing I do! I’ve been able to locate some in most places we live, except here.

    BTW, you probably already know about this, but I used to have a friend who would buy her oats as “groats” – the whole, unpressed oat kernel. She had a little machine that squashed her groats into oats, and boy were they tasty!! They were so much better than even the whole oats you buy in the store. Maybe you could get such a little machine (hers was hand-run) to make your own oats?

  5. Hi there Jo-Lynne
    Delighted that you have found a way to bring the farm to the suburbs. Go you.
    It’s amazing how different the body feels when it gets wholesome nutrition. I recently found out that I am dairy intolerant and have begun to eliminate it from my diet. I feel much better for it and a whole new world of food has openend up to me. I’ve found talking with friends who are ‘dairy free’ to be really helpful. It’s interesting how much the ‘wrong’ kind of food impacts our body, irritate us and slow us down.
    Enjoy the scrapple!!!

  6. Awesome, I’m working on that. It should not be this hard in Northern CA to find a farm for meat and dairy. I made the homemade granola and granola bars last night, yummy! So thank you so much for the link to those recipes. Could not bring myself to pay for raw milk, yet, but we’ve switched to whole milk and yogurt, and with all the bacon and butter and higher fat meat I still managed to lose a few pounds, so yeah!

  7. Ok, I’m not exactly a fan of margarines either but I really, really want to see you and your husbands complete lipid profile from last year and then in about 4 months after you guys have been on whole milk and pig lard. I’m all about whole cooking and I can even buy into the butter thing, but whole milk daily and cooking with lard just isn’t a good thing IMO BUT I’m open for convincing! Get those lipids drawn around Christmastime and then post them in comparison to your bloodwork from the old days.

  8. Change #1: I have changed to buying whole milk from a local dairy..the cows are pastured and the nutrient levels are much higher..but it is homogenized and pasteurized though 🙁 …they also sell butter, cheese and fresh eggs.

    Change #2: Not buying packaged pre-made food for dinner or snacks….as I grocery shop, I look for items with as few ingredients as possible…it is kinda neat to look at the ingredients and see 1 or two items listed.

    Change #3: No veggie oil…butter, olive oil and coconut oil…cannot find lard that is not hydrogenated.

    That’s what I have been up to! And my grocery bill has not increased…those processed foods really cost a lot of money!

  9. I did end up making granola bars and granola last weekend. Have loved them both. I think I am going to try them with peanut butter or almond butter next time. I did add flax meal and ground wheat germ along with some spelt to them. My girls have eaten them up. I think I’m going to try yogurt this weekend. We eat a lot of plain yogurt in our house with granola and dried fruit on top. Thanks for all your great finds out there!

  10. Nope…you definitely haven’t lost your marbles! I think it’s great! We get our meat, dairy, & grains all from buying clubs, as well as veggies for part of the year. We also buy honey by the gallon locally (that reminds me…I need to call them…I’m low) We laugh because my dh is in mgmt at a large grocery store & we buy more from other sources than we do there! The scrapple sounds interesting & tasty! You’re doing a wonderful thing for your family!

  11. lucky you.. that you have got such a nice buying club… now what i will do is combine my forces and look after such club in my neighborhood and scrapple sounds like a helluva recepie 🙂

  12. That’s really awesome! I live in the country, so I can literally get my fresh eggs from church on Sunday 🙂

    Thanks for the links to the granola and granola bars recipes!

  13. Funny you should mention the buying club. We live in NC and found a farm in PA that delivers the goods here once a month. We did it last month and the food is SO much better! It’s probably time to place another order! Great job Jo-Lynne!

  14. Jennifer, too funny! I just ordered a half a cow. I’m splitting it with a neighbor. I got to even pick the cuts we wanted. How cool is that!?

  15. mary kathryn – interesting on the oats! I have not done that. I still buy Quaker. I wonder if it’s cheaper to do the groats?

  16. Nicole, yay you! that’s awesome. And you’ve lost weight? Amazing. I still haven’t lost any (I have a few pesky pounds from last winter I’d love to drop), but I’m much more satisfied and have not been yo-yo-ing like I tend to do.

  17. Maddy, wow, that’s a lot! And I’m impressed with your grocery bill. I’ve been keeping receipts and I’m going to add them up after a month. I want to see if my bill has gone up substantially or not. I’m hoping not, since like you, I’m saving a lot on processed foods I no longer buy.

  18. The buying club sounds awesome. This year I’ve been part of a meat CSA here in the Atlanta area through Natures Harmony Farm (www.naturesharmonyfarm.com). After being on a “real food” diet for most of this year, I’m really disgusted by most grocery store faux foods now, including the factory farmed meat (which I gave up a long time ago and was vegetarian for a while). Even the produce department is such a disappointment when I compare it to what I get from my veggie CSA or the farmer’s market.

    I am making pickles today, just another pursuit in my desire to return to the old way 🙂 My enthusiasm has not dampened yet!

  19. Looking for something like this in NC. Stef from above just told me about the one from PA but I really would love something local. I did find one just outside of Raleigh but, holy chickens! Eggs are $4 a carton. That is about $3 more than I am paying now. Everything was at least double what I am paying now, some things even more, plus I have to drive to pick it up and it is an hour away.

    Found a veggie co-op that will drop off fresh local veggies and fruit for $27 a week but you have to find 10 people in your neighborhood to do it with you and it is only seasonal stuff, so I’d still have to buy my un-seasonal veggies and fruits that I need.

    BUT, I am not giving up. I will find affordable, fresh, good local food! I will!

    My changes: Not sure if you talked about this here but we did recently stop using canola and vege oil. I am ordering the Coconut oil that you suggested because I did not know what to replace it with.

    Whole milk – my kids like it so much better!

    Getting ready to make that granola and bars.

    Getting rid of any processed foods I have left in this house which was not a lot but still – getting rid of what I have.

    I’ve been reading labels for years and eliminated so much already but it was so good for me to re-vamp some things, go back to some old habits and start implementing some new ones.

    And cooking more! That’s new these days. 😉

    Thanks very much for all you are putting into this and sharing with us.

  20. “Looking for something like this in NC. Stef from above just told me about the one from PA but I really would love something local. I did find one just outside of Raleigh but, holy chickens! Eggs are $4 a carton. That is about $3 more than I am paying now. Everything was at least double what I am paying now, some things even more, plus I have to drive to pick it up and it is an hour away.”

    I was born and raised just east of Greensboro in Alamance County. We had TONS of farmers markets in our area all over the place. Moving to this giant cornfield they call Iowa has made me miss that terribly! Get in touch with your local Ag culture dept and they can probably get you in touch with someone who could help you find a group/farm who’s offering something like this. Also check with the Farm Bureau (sp?). We’re still members since we still own a home there. If anyone would know, they would.

    Hope this helps.

  21. Oh my goodness scrapple!! DH & I grew up eating it in different areas of West Virginia I haven’t seen the really good, mostly meat version, in ages. We get our dairy & eggs from the local Mennonites. They don’t have any co-ops around here but do have several sources for meat & a weekly farm market which is pretty decent

  22. Your buying club sounds awesome! I’m tryin out the breakfast cake Monday morning as well, it looks so good! I also wanted to tell you, I used the EatWild.com site and found a few places near by that sell 1/4 of organic pastured beef and we’ll be picking ours up in about a month! That will be 100 lbs of different cuts that we can freeze and put away for winter 🙂 Since my husbands business (Tile Contractor) will be slow to non existant this winter, we’re stocking up! It was a lot less expensive than I would have thought, and it’s healthy to boot! I’m so glad you’ve kept us all in the loop on your journey into good foods, it has made it MUCH easier on me 😉

  23. I’ve wanted to do one of these food co-op deals for a while, I just haven’t gotten around to doing it. I think I just have to bite the bullet and DO it already. The food sounds mouth-watering.

  24. Awesome! I have heard about farm co-op where you buy into a share of the farm and get a set amount of produce throughout the year. Sounds like a fabulous idea. I have not seen a “buying club” but the idea is very cool.

    I think I will pass on the scrapple though!

  25. such buying club seems like a real amazing thing because you can get some easy to get fresh stuff… which we miss in the main city.. i must say you are really fortunate to find the one.

  26. LOL, Rachel, I’m not entirely sure. I haven’t bought any. I know that fermentation helps with digestion and vitamin absorption and the like. But I’m not quite there yet. I’m not sure I ever will be, but then I never thought I’d be soaking my grains and making my own bread either so… 🙂

  27. I have a friend with a small farm and for the past 2 years she has raised a cow and a pig for us. I have 2 large freezers in my basement that get filled each fall. I also buy Maine wild blueberries in bulk so we have these at our fingertips year round. I can vegetables from our garden as well. I have not made the switch from low fat milk or yogurt though…

  28. Wow! You’re starting to sound like a crunchy mama! LOL I’d love to get my hands on some of that stuff you mentioned! (although I doubt I’d know what to do with it – I’m not the greatest baker/cook…)

    You’re posts lately have started making me pay more attention to what I’m buying in the store – I can’t afford to go all natural/organic, but I have been buying whole milk, more fruits and veggies and trying to stick to the rule “the less ingredients, the better.”

    Surprisingly, my boys are actually inhaling the healthier options I’m offering – I’m a little shocked!

  29. I have been inspired by the changes you have made. I bought the book you suggested (Real Food) and I really like it. Unfortunately we don’t have much for farms or access to much organic, can’t by raw milk. We did switch from 1% to the full fat milk and I’ve started making more things from scratch. I did switch from margarine to butter. Down the road we want to buy some property and raise our own meat and get our own raw milk. I can’t wait!

  30. I have a package of scrapple in my freezer right now and I don’t know what in the world to do with it! Haha! We live in Mississippi and our neighbor brought this back to us from PA. Do you just fry it up like sausage and bacon? My husbnd is dying to try it.

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