Friday, January 30, 2009

Hurry Vote For The White House Farmer by Jan 31

I found this to be a very interesting site White House Farmer.
Take a look at it. Read about the farmers and vote for your choice of the best farmer for the White House. Mine was, of course, an organic farmer.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Today's CSA Meat Delivery

This is what they put in the ice box today.

1. Ground Beef (3)
2. Ground Pork (1)
3. Whole Chicken (1)
4. Beef Boneless Shoulder Roast (1)
5. Pork Ham Roast (1)
6. New York Strip (2)
7. Spare Rib (1)
8. Pork Bratwurst (1) - a sausage composed of pork, beef, or veal. The name is German, derived from Old High German brätwurst, from brät- which is fine chopped meat and -wurst, sausage.
9. Smoked Bacon (1)
10. Beef Tail (1)
11. Fresh Bacon (1)

The first five types of meats and portion sizes of the meats will be filling however I prepare them. The rest of the meats.... I will either have to buy more meat at the grocery store to compensate, make these meats into stews (such as the beef tail) into rice dishes or serve big portions of side dishes. I may even have to combine them. If I were a better cook I would know exactly what to do.

I have posted pictures I've taken to demonstrate what I mean by portion size. Its hard to explain since there is no portion or weight labeling on the packages.

The last delivery of meat lasted about as long as I thought it would (though I still have the one pork rib and the liver), but as they explained in their reply it is suppose to get better. This time there is some improvement in portion. Still I'm not sure how long I can financially afford to do this. While my husband was here on R&R I realized what a big eater he is. Though the meat may be enough to feed my two little girls and I (I count my two girls as one adult for now), I found it hard to fill him up. I ended up having to buy more food, including meat. I did this for two reasons, because he is a big eater and because the CSA amount is meant to feed two people not three. I'd like to ask the farmers if I could sign up for more, I'm sure they wouldn't have an issue with it, but the question is....can I afford it? No I can't. It's hard to pay for this. I'm not sure how long I can afford to be a member. The financial situation may even be worse for us when he comes back home. I'll just have to wait and see and try it while I can.

Raw Bakery

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organic food, HEB, Kroger, and Brookeshire Brothers

The HEB where I live (in Spring) is shabby and small. Though the customer service there is great (sweet people) there isn't much food and product selection and the quality of the fresh food isn't great either so it doesn't matter that the prices are cheap. I don't want low quality food just because the food is cheap. They have very little organic food too. Instead I end up having to take multiple trips to different grocery stores. I go to Brookshire Brothers and Kroger’s for organic foods and fresh foods, but it's expensive. I go to HEB for the organic milk (love Central Market) and when my budget is tight and I'm in a hurry. It is the closest to my home. Lately the budget has been very tight so when I took my baby to the pediatrician this morning I decided to shop at the HEB right around the corner at that location (in the Woodlands). Wow! What a difference and wow! I'm shocked how much money I saved. The commercials are true. :) I saved money on organics foods. I found organic food products I didn't know existed. Regular food was of good quality. The place was clean. Staff was price checking to make sure prices were updated, my questions about products were answered...maybe I just went at a good time. I'll have to take notice of this next time I go there which unfortunately won’t be until the next doctor’s visit. The only thing lacking was the customer service. Employees didn't smile. That really bothers me wherever I go. I've worked customer service and I grew up with a businessman (my dad) so I know how important it is to smile and say hello. Instead they were kind of cold as if they see a lot of customers every day and they are sick of dealing with them. Sure they were still polite and still answered questions, but their faces showed boredom and irritation. If only the HEB near my home (Spring) could expand and improve... With their customer service I would shop there all the time. If Brookshire Brothers would lower prices and the baggers wouldn't show how irritated they are with reusable bags and if the organic milk were of a different brand (that brand is nasty) I would have continued loyally shopping there. If Kroger would lower prices.... I mean really lower them and not try to trick customers with their Kroger card deals I would shop there more often too. It’s always something isn't it? For now I'll just have to wait until doctors appointments to visit the HEB over there. I'll make sure to buy bulk items and pack up on items I rarely shop for, but always need. I could just drive the distance and spend the gas, but that isn't environmentally friendly. I am really trying to combine errands and use reusable bags and all that good stuff. It isn't easy though.

One more complaint about HEB- all of them.... the food deals are great, but I'd love to see more food deals for organic products as well. I don't drink soda or eat junk food often so buying "something" to get a soda or unhealthy food "free" or at a discount doesn’t appeal to me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

CSA Polish Sausage

I don't like sausage very much or at least I didn't use to. Yesterday I changed my mind. My husband smoked some meat yesterday, including the CSA polish sausage. When he cut a piece of the polish sausage and placed a piece up close to my nose I was about to say "I don't like sau..." but instead I said, "Wow! That smells good" and I ate it.It was great. After lunch my husband told me to post on my blog "The Sausage is Awesome!" He thought it was great too.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The CSA Bacon and CSA Sausage

A few days ago we had the bacon and my mouth waters still thinking about it. I've never had such good bacon. The texture, the smell, the was all so delicious. We had it with waffles and scrambled eggs. Today we had the Italian sausage. I cooked it. Set it aside. Made some Spanish rice with the sausage grease, which my husband said was so clear looking. Then I added the sausage and some peas to the rice. I served it with a spoon or two of refried beans on the side. It was all very delicious. My little girls had a bit of trouble eating it because the sausage was too spicy for them to continue eating, but they loved the flavor.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

CSA Response

The response I was waiting for came last week. Recent life changes have kept me from posting the response here sooner. I have altered the names out of respect for privacy.

"Hello, Gloria. This is G^&*.

H#$# has been under the weather and asked that I respond to your inquiry.

First let me say you should never hesitate to say so if our program does not fit your desires, OK? We will understand and you will not offend us. This meat is raised slowly and with great care not only for the creature's well-being and the nutritional qualities that it delivers but for sustainable agriculture and the environment. It's a completely different product and it does cost more.
That being said, we hit these rough spots every year following our hot dry summers. It always slows down our growth, especially in our cattle, which are mostly black and most vulnerable to hot conditions. So our beef has to have time to recover, and we are short on beef items temporarily. Thus the steak and pork chop instead of 2 of each. Sorry - in this program you live and die with your farmer. It will get better.

Also, regardless of the package mix, you will find that your supply will do as promised - feed 2 adults 3 times per week. That does assume that you are eating a balanced meal, but if you weighed everything out, you would find that you have more than 8 ounces per person per meal. My wife and I are not small people, and we easily stretch a package to 14-16 meals per week including leftovers from the roasts and chicken.

We hope you will stay with us long enough to go through a few cycles before you make a decision on our home delivery program.

Another email soon followed.

"One last note, Gloria. The cooler was 1 Sunday meal short of what we usually include. I think you will see that next month is a bit better.


The response was enough for me to decide to give it another shot. Since my email to them and their response I will say that the CSA meats I have tried have not been disappointing (the meat is fresh and tender) and the meals stretched (except for the whole chicken) farther than I thought they would.