It just occurred to me that when most people shop for groceries, they go to the local store and buy whatever they need or want. But when I want meat, it means planning months in advance. At the moment, I'm thinking of buying some day-old cockerels to raise for meat. My chicken experiment yielded us five live mutant chickens, and of the eight heritage chicks I purchased, only two are roosters. We do have plenty of stew hens in the freezer, but there are some recipes where young chickens are needed. If we get chicks now, we'll have chicken in three to four months.
This past spring, I was talking about trying a new breed of pig -- Gloucester Old Spots. I am perfectly happy with the Tamworths that we raise, but I thought it would be fun to try a different breed. From weaning to processing pigs, you're looking at six to eight months. The GOS are more expensive than Tamworths, and unfortunately, I took a little too long thinking about it, and the piglets were all sold.
In January, I decided what vegetables we wanted to grow this year. Some were started in my basement and transplanted, and others were direct-seeded into the garden. We are still planting seeds, in fact. Just yesterday, I had the first fresh peas, which are heaven to the taste buds. I always hated those mushy things in cans, but peas fresh from the pod -- eaten right there in the garden -- are one of my favorite foods. And they're more special because they're only available this time of year. This morning, I was reading on another blog about mindful eating, and I think one of the things that makes me more mindful about eating is that we eat seasonally. When you haven't had a favorite food for six months or 11 months, you are completely present when you finally get to eat it!
Although this type of "grocery shopping" might seem like a lot of work -- and why bother? -- it makes life simpler. It is easier to eat healthy. Rather than having to think about our food a lot when we're ready to eat it -- is it organic; how many calories; how much fat -- we think about it ahead of time. In addition to knowing that the meat was raised in a healthy environment, we are also not tempted to over-indulge. Since a pig only produces about 12-15 pounds of bacon, that's all the bacon we have for a year. We're not eating it every day. It's one of those special occasion foods, usually reserved for birthdays or other breakfast celebrations. Our freezers are full of all sorts of meat, fruit, and vegetables, so when we're ready to fix dinner, we have what we need readily available. Big food corporations have deluded us into thinking that they've made our lives easier. But have they really? Yes, we can eat whenever and whatever we want, but unless we put a lot of thought into the consumption, we can wind up paying for that convenience with our health.