July Snapshot: How much did it cost?

CRAZY. That pretty much sums up our summer break.

A massive kitchen painting project and a monster load of food to tend to and preserve….I haven’t sat down much. ūüėČ

What makes it worth it?

As I plopped the 100th quart of diced tomatoes into a boiling water bath yesterday….I know that I have enough put up to last us until tomato season NEXT summer. Having started this challenge in January knowing we didn’t have enough to last us until harvest…this is HUGE. A handful of seeds have grown into an immense amount of nutrition for our family.

This is why I garden.

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Here is our July breakdown:

Farmer’s Market = $12.00 (Garlic & Onions)
Tennessee GrassFed & Jolly Barnyard = $215.00 (Beef)
Trading Post = $212.23 (Onions, Eggs, Bulk Spices, Potatoes, Gouda Cheese, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Nude Dough Bread, Schlabach’s granola)
Lasaters = $28.31 (Coffee)
Country Pantry = 85.59 (Wheat Berries, Bulk Spices, Maple Syrup)
Giving Thanks Farm = $180.75 (Chicken, Pork, Eggs)
Milk Share = $41.00 (10 gallons, yogurt)
Crossed Hearts Homestead = $15.00 (Eggs)
Grand Total for July = $789.88

You can find the information for each one of these sources under the Community Resource Guide.

Lisa

June Snapshot: How much did it cost?

We’re halfway through the Unchained Challenge!

I’ve waited all year for the ease of summer eating. We’re in the sweet spot of summer. We can consume what we pick each day….A basket of beans and cucumbers, a handful of tomatoes, an armload of kale.

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I bring in two baskets of vegetables each morning. In a month….I’ll measure that in buckets per day. Nothing could have prepared me more for summer canning than a winter without a grocery store. I understand the value in putting aside the time to preserve.

FullSizeRender-19I love this Pickled Beet recipe from the Prairie Homestead.

Here is our June breakdown:

Farmer’s Market¬†= $10.00 (Blueberries)
Bard-Roc Farm = $8.75 (Sweet Potatoes)
Tennessee GrassFed & Jolly Barnyard =  $215.00 (Beef) *      
Trading Post = $177.93 (Local Honey, Homemade jam, Oats, Bulk Spices, Potatoes, Gouda Cheese, Coconut & Olive Oil, Vinegar, Nude Dough Bread, Schlabach’s granola/cookies)
Lasaters = $28.31 (Coffee)
Giving Thanks Farm = $180.75 (Chicken, Pork, Eggs)
Dotson’s Produce¬†(Cliff’s drill weekend in Tullahoma) = $100.96 (10 quarts of honey)
Country View Market = 49.02 (Wheat Berries)
Milk Share = $42.00 (12 gallons)
Grand Total for June = $812.72

*We ran out of beef as soon as June began waiting for our half beef share to be processed through Jolly Barnyard. So, we ordered a quarter beef share ($399) through Tennessee Grassfed to hold us until processing could happen. Cliff picked up our Jolly Barnyard share last night, which totaled $1534.00. Together, (1933.00) they should last our family about 9 months which breaks down to $215.00 per month for grass-fed beef.

You can find the information for each one of these sources under the Community Resource Guide.

Have a great week!

Lisa

May Snapshot: How much did it cost?

Hey friends!

My garden is a little weedy and a few vegetables need to make it to my refrigerator after an intense week….Vacation Bible School and a home remodeling project happened simultaneously, but it is well.

Even when I’m exhausted from the busyness of life, a retreat outside usually gives me the perspective change that I need. There is serenity in tying up tomato plants covered in small green fruit while watching the bees flock to each bright yellow bloom, even pulling weeds is gratifying. I enjoy the business of food. ūüėČ

There are new surprises everyday……some challenges, mostly joy:

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This garlic flower is unique and dear to us.

My husband brought home a bulb from his grandmother’s garden a few years ago, long after she passed away. It had reseeded itself through the years in the rocky mountains of West Virginia. The beauty of this robust plant reminds me of her each time I pass by…..enduring and true.

Here is our May breakdown:

Nature’s Promise Farm = $23.50 (Asparagus, Mushrooms, Broccoli)
Bard-Roc Farm = $20.50 (Honey, Sweet Potatoes)
Country Pantry = $58.02 (Oats, Spices, Local Beef)
Trading Post = $187.26 (Local Honey, Homemade jam, Oats, Bulk Spices, Asparagus, Sweet Potatoes, Gouda Cheese, Coconut Oil, Beef)
Lasaters = $28.31 (Coffee)
Giving Thanks Farm = $325.77 (Chicken, Beef, Pork, Eggs)
Food Initiative = $12.00 (Strawberries)
No. 9 Farm = 106.50 (A whole lot of Strawberries!)
My Neighbor = $18.00 (Eggs)
Milk Share = $21.00 (6 gallons)
Grand Total for May = $800.86

This was our biggest month of the year thus far and for good reason – STRAWBERRIES! We’d been looking forward to this harvest for months. I froze a reasonable amount for the winter months and ate the rest leaning over the counter with 4¬†other happy faces nearby…May was sweet!

You can find the information for each one of these sources under the Community Resource Guide.

Have a great week!

Lisa

April Snapshot: How much did it cost?

Hello friends!

Building relationships with local farmers has been a huge blessing of going Unchained. We are beginning to know their stories and learn of their triumphs and challenges by investing in a small piece of their lives….the struggle of unsuspecting temperatures with little rain, the perfect time to harvest bee pollen, or even walking through how to send a photo message on a new phone. I didn’t have those experiences in the Publix check-out lane. ūüėČ ¬†Investing into our local community has truly been a learning experience that we have treasured….a glimpse into a slower way of life that has been long forgotten in our fast-paced culture.

Mr. Don Walker ~ Bard-Roc Farm

Mr. Don Walker ~ Bard-Roc Farm

The Clarksville Downtown Market is kicking off this Saturday. I encourage you to visit your local farmers this weekend. Ask about their growing practices and their favorite way to cook the produce they offer. Pick up some bright asparagus, crisp greens and sweet strawberries while they are abundant!

Here is our April breakdown:

Nature’s Promise Farm = $28.00 (Asparagus, Mushrooms, Eggs)
Bard-Roc Farm = $48.00 (Honey, Cabbage, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots)
Country Pantry = $34.73 (Wheat Berries)
Trading Post = $109.00 (Local Honey, Homemade jam, Oats, Bulk Spices, Asparagus, Gouda Cheese, Coconut Oil)
Lasaters = $28.31 (Coffee)
Tennessee Grass-Fed = $265.00 (1/4 cow divided by 3 months)
Giving Thanks Farm = $173.90 (Chicken, Pork, Eggs)
My Neighbor = $18.00 (Eggs)
Milk Share = $42.00 (13 gallons)
Grand Total for April = $746.94

You can find the information for each one of these sources under the Community Resource Guide.

Have a great week!

Lisa

March Snapshot: How much did it cost?

Happy Resurrection Day!!

This post is a little late…but the planting season is here! I’ve spent much less time indoors over the past few weeks tending¬†to our bottle lamb, our new puppy Annie, as well as, planting for spring and tending to warm-weather vegetables indoors. It’s a dawn-to-dusk scramble….in an enjoyable kind of way!

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We’re a few days into our 4th month without shopping at a grocery store for our¬†Unchained Challenge. We’re harvesting greens from our own cold-frame and our hens are in full-swing after a winter of rest. However, I am struggling to find a balance between meal prep and outdoor responsibilities during such a busy season. I don’t see this easing much as planting moves to weeding/harvesting, but I am looking forward to expanding our menu options.

4-week-old heirloom tomato starts

Repotting a 4-week-old heirloom tomato start

Here is our March breakdown:

Nature’s Promise Farm = $40.00 (Baby Kale, Mushrooms, Eggs)
Country Pantry = $47.86 (Wheat Berries, Honey, Spices)
Trading Post = $102.73 (Local Honey, Homemade jam, Schlabach’s whole wheat noodles, Oats, Bulk Spices, Butternut Squash)
Lasaters = $22.08 (Coffee)
Tennessee Grass-Fed = $265.00 (1/4 cow divided by 3 months)
Giving Thanks Farm = $173.90 (Chicken, Pork, Eggs)
Tiffany, My Neighbor ūüôā¬†= $6.00 (Eggs)
Milk Share = $47.50 (13 gallons, yogurt)
Grand Total for March = $705.07

You can find the information for each one of these sources under the Community Resource Guide.

Have a great week!

Lisa

February Snapshot: How much did it cost?

Native Americans have long deemed February’s full moon as the¬†“Hunger Moon.” We’ll refer to this month as the “Hungry Month.”

We are not starving….but the variety is minimal. The robust inspiration and colorful pictures of a bountiful garden harvest is not the reality of local and seasonal eating in winter, especially not this winter.

We’ve considered moving. Talked about the weather in Alabama or Hawaii….or even farther, Italy, just for the cheese and olives. This is the lack of bananas talking.

We press on. Get more creative with meal planning. Look forward to rising soil temperatures and longer days.

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We’re hopeful. Anticipating the changing season like never before….

I’ve talked to farmers all over Middle Tennessee this month inquiring about current offerings with the standard answer: “We’re growing icicles.” “We’re frozen but hope to get something harvested in the next month.”

We have met a few true farmer gems.

Nature’s Promise Farm is about 10 miles from our home. We pulled into Farmer Steve’s driveway with a mission in early February….He had baby kale and mushrooms. It was perfect timing, we’d get snow in the following weeks, which would eliminate any potential harvest. We bought 5 pounds of baby kale. (I blanched and froze the kale into meal-sized portions.) The shitake mushrooms deserve accolades….the best we’ve ever had!

Here is our February breakdown:

Nature’s Promise Farm¬†= $50.00 (Baby Kale *5 pounds, Mushrooms, Eggs)
Country Pantry = $49.57 (Wheat Berries, JDs yogurt, Spices)
Country View Mennonite Market = $29.00 (Honey, Freshly-Ground Peanut Butter, Homemade Bread)
Lasaters = $24.03 (Coffee)
Bloomy Rind = $43.49 (Cheese, Nashville Jam, Local Ketchup)
Tennessee Grass-Fed = $265.00 (1/4 cow divided by 3 months)
Giving Thanks Farm = $194.00 (Chicken, Pork, Eggs)
Crossed Hearts Homestead = $11.25 (Eggs)
The Turnip Truck = $77.51 (Olive Oil, Locally-Roasted Coffee, KY Maple Syrup, Sweetwater Valley Farm Cheese, Nashville Jam)
Milk Share = $45.50 (13 gallons)
Grand Total for January = $789.35

You can find the information for each one of these sources under the Community Resource Guide.

Have a great week!

Lisa

 

 

January Snapshot: How much did it cost?

Our year unchained is already 1/12th complete! If you are just checking in, you can read the initial post  and guidelines for the challenge here:

http://www.libertystarfarms.com/unchained/a-year-unchained/

The fruits of this endeavor can already be seen throughout our home. Our kids are happily devouring every meal that I serve them.¬†We have always fed them whole and well, but they still have their favorites.¬†I have been looking for pushback mostly from¬†our youngest (8). Would she pick the collards out of her stew or choose to just eat around them? No. Every drop…then seconds. They happily declare where each ingredient came from…remembering when Aimee dropped off the sausage or the bitter cold day that we packed the refrigerator full of freshly harvested cabbage before the impending freeze. They remember.¬†This commitment is changing them as much as it is stretching me.

We didn’t really know what this year would look like financially. We knew we would spend less…but quality, local, organic ingredients cost more and for good reason.

Here is our January breakdown:

Mennonite Farm = $49.00 (Milk & Butter)
No. 9 Farm = $17.00 (Greens, Squash, Herbs)
Charlotte Mennonite Market = $54.00 (Wheat Berries & Jam)
Country Pantry = $35.34 (Local Pecans, Honey, Eggs, Spices and Olive Oil <—although, not local…a predetermined concession)
Sweetwater Valley Farm Cheese = $37.33
Lasater’s Coffee = $28.90
Lewis Johnson = $60.00 (Amazing Smoked Sausage!)
Green Door Gourmet Farm = $17.40 (Collards and Habanero Ketchup made in Lebanon, TN)
Tennessee Grassfed = $265.00 (1/4 cow divided by 3 months)
Giving Thanks Farm = $194.00 (eggs, chicken, pork)
Grand Total for January: $757.97

You can find the information for each one of these sources under the Community Resource Guide.

We expect the first 3 months of the year to be the heaviest financially….until the weather warms and¬†our own garden harvest begins.

Meet Duke. He is just as excited for green pastures….

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 Lisa