Sunday, September 18, 2011

Grocery Shopping in Season: Our Food Life Calendar

Summer bade farewell to the Rose City this past week (judging by the weather, if not the autumnal equinox), and with the appearance of fall comes the influx of ripened tomatoes, the returning allure of the oven, and a reminder of the until-recently too-hot-to-cook stash of pastured meat in the back of the freezer...tangible reminders of our seasonal food life.

Over the past years of experimenting and learning to purchase and cook in ways informed by natural cycles of "springtime and harvest," I've transitioned to conceptualizing my household food budget as spread out over the entirety of the four seasons rather than isolated to individual weeks or months.

{ Our Yearly Food Life Calendar }

Purchasing and preserving according to rhythms of the seasons rather than regularity of the paychecks takes a bit of planning, but I've experienced firsthand the the payoff in terms of quality, sustainability, and satisfaction at the dinner table.

Paying for our annual CSA membership takes a chunk of change at the beginning of the year, but it frees me up from paying for vegetables once the bountiful spring and summer and autumn months are underway.
Spending money on canning supplies at the onset of preservation season means shopping for "free" from my pantry stash all during the winter months instead of picking up cans of tomatoes at Trader Joes in December and January.

Writing a check for large amounts of honey and maple syrup all at once means a price savings on high quality supplies now on hand for easily sweetening morning meals of steel cut oats or a favorite brownie recipe.

Buying foods in bulk means a $50 minimum order for Azure Standard (that I could always split with friends), but cheaper prices per pound and less trips to the grocery store to refill the flour, spices, beans, and nuts throughout the following months.

{ A Few Favorite Opportunities for East-Side Portland Bulk Buys }

Thanks to Chris at Lost Arts Kitchen for coordinating these upcoming buys:

Freddy Guy's Hazelnuts (Orders due 9/26/11)
Organic Maple Syrup (Orders due 9/26/11)
Larson's Creamery Butter (Orders due 10/3/11)

For info on other related east-side Portland buys, check out one of my favorites:
The Montavilla Food Buying Club

Or check out the helpful list from our April meeting:
Food Group Re-cap: Buying Foods in Bulk

{ What About You? }

Any changes in your buying patterns over the past few years?
Any of them harder (or easier) than others?
Any favorite sources?


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