Today, I’m doing a multi-post series chronicling how I actually eat (everything from what I typical feed my family during the day to how I maintain a garden). You can read more on From Scratch Club and Eat Local.
I thought I would talk about the places that I shop and source from. Even though I live in a small town (population: 377), I have a bevy of options when it comes to groceries.
In the warmer months (and with stuff that can be over-wintered), I love “shopping” in my backyard. Having sustenance from one’s own efforts is a luxury I wish more people had. I’m talking about my garden over on the Eat Local blog.
I get a lot of produce and cheeses from Mildred’s, which is run by Jessica. It’s right in town and I try to go over once a week. Some of the items I buy at Mildred’s include cheese, berries, tomatoes, onion, potatoes, seeds and plants. I even get my Christmas tree, topsoil, and mulch here. Jessica is great and I know I can shoot her a message on Facebook anytime and she’ll do her best to accommodate my requests.
Echo Pond Farm
My neighbors own Echo Pond Farm and run a small farm stand at the end of their driveway. I get delicious sweet corn, peppers, squash, grapes, and pumpkins. I have great neighbors who are always happy to help me with gardening advice, and even gave the kids a giant pumpkin last year for Halloween (same neighbor with the great homebrewing advice!). It’s great to see much of what I eat grown just up the road, too.
I get my spices and many baking supplies here (and sometimes junky stuff like candy and chips and such). Rice, pasta, local honey are also available. They now offer freshly milled local flour – score!
I run here to get milk and ice cream as needed, and that’s about it (and my favorite flavor of ice cream, Dark Chocolate, just won the top prize at the 2012 World Dairy Expo!)
I get deli items and meats here, especially sustainably-raised beef from just up the road. Local sausages are available, as is the most delicious hamburger, named after our town.
I don’t buy much pre-packaged food, but I do still buy “essentials” (vinegars, oil, salt, baking products, hummus, milk, any prescriptions (when needed)) from my local grocery store (Hannaford). They also have racecar shopping carts, which make the kids super-happy.
Since I also do a lot of home preservation (aka: Canning and “putting up”), I can typically turn to my pantry to find lots of jams, jellies, sauces, relishes, and other items to build meals from.
If I’m in that neck of the woods, I’ll stop into the Fresh Market or Honest Weight Food Co-Op for gourmet or specialty items. I try to hit up the farmers market when I can, but because I can get most of what I need locally or from my own backyard, I don’t need to visit as often as others might. Sometimes I'll hit-up the little liquor store in town or grab take-out from the small restaurants in town.
Where do you grocery shop? Are you a “one-stop-shopper” or do you go to several smaller markets? Share your “shopping strategy” in the comments, if you’d like!