Recently I made a huge list, placed an order and proceeded to spend a huge amount of money at our local Coop. It was bulk buying month and bulk buy I did. My dad went with me on the pick up and was astounded not only at my total, but my organizational ability. He is a bachelor and as he puts it, ‘has no ability to think ahead while in a market’. He claims he is just European at heart and I love that too. If I lived in a city where going to market daily was a way of life, I would embrace it fully. Strap the baby on, meander through the markets filling my baskets with fresh Morels, artisan cheeses, olives, fruits..Stop for a cappuccino or two….oh yes, you bet I would!!!!
But alas, our life is a bit different, but happily, by choice. We live far enough out that I only go to town once a week and spending my time in the market isn’t always my idea of a good time. My son is not a fan of the constant in and of the car that town errands demand, so I had to shift things. No more ‘get it all done in one day’, here there and everywhere town trips…no not anymore, and though old habits die hard, I don’t miss it, not one bit. If I can get out of the car once and stay out on foot we are good.
And I have decided, I simply don’t want to spend such a huge percentage of my town time in the super market. Our coop is great, don’t get me wrong, but it ain’t no open air market. There is just something I just don’t like about the American grocery shopping experience, maybe it is the lighting, or all the packaging, or just all the ALL of it. Maybe deep down I wish I was just growing all our food, or maybe it is simply the perpetually shocking total I always manage to obtain, even when I think I am being so economically savvy.
So all that said, I decided to stock up. Not something so odd or interesting, but my dad suggested I write about it, he is kind of mystified by me sometimes, so dad, let me explain, it is not that I am preparing for the end of the world, or plan on feeding an army, I just want to have a well stocked kitchen, save myself so time and money, you know get it over with.
Stocking up does take planning, budgeting and prioritizing. It can only be done with dry goods and freezer goods, but I know what we eat and what I cook, and now I will watch more closely, when the Quinoa runs out and the butter disappears. I too am new at all this home economics stuff, but I know how much everything cost me, and thanks to the coops awesomely organized receipts it is even easier to keep track. This year I will learn a lot about our consumption and nutrition and I am sure every year it will become more and more second nature. I want to see how much we need to buy, how much we can grow and really how much, or little that is, we can manage to spend and still eat well and buy locally and responsibly. In addition to the co-op, we also bought a quarter cow of CO grass fed beef this fall (best animal I think I have ever had the honor of eating) and when we ordered the turkey this year form the farm up north for Thanksgiving, we went ahead and bought three!! We can only do this because we got a Sunfrost Freezer off Craigslist, which will be going solar powered this spring!! (Thanks Joel!!) We also bought over 50lbs of roots from the good old Gemini boys at harvest time and put them in our root cellar/well house. Still eating on those!! Thanks boys!!
Also I have an abundant resource, something lots of other don’t have..time at home. With baby I am here, a lot, which means we live off one income, but time I do have. And with that time I managed to put up over 80lbs of tomatoes this year, as well as Peach jam, Apricot preserves, 1 gallon of honey (that was all the bees work, not me) as well as dry herbs & freeze veggies. (Soon I will be tally all that for the year too) I completely recognize that it is a luxury to have so much and that sometimes it ironically takes a lot to live on a little. But hopefully our initial investments will save resources, time, money, stress and consumption in the future which hopefully will be better for us and for the world.
In addition to reduce consumption I am also trying to change myself, or at least the way I feel. By not going to market every week, I avoid impulse purchases, baby breakdowns and aborted missions and I am more free to see my lovely friends, wander in the library, parks, and other inspiring places out town is known for. I also don’t feel like I just come to town to consume, I was starting to feel, well, like I was noting BUT a CONSUMER. Changing my relationship to our place, changes how I experience it and thus how I feel about it and about myself. I have moved from dragging along in traffic, stopping and going at stop lights, over stimulation and too much stress..to walking, visiting, getting to know the cute neighborhoods, watch the spring come alive in old gardens, seeing Santa Fe the way the millions of tourist see it, lovely, quaint, charming……something a little more…European. So dad, stocking up is an attempt to pare down, to essentialize, to simplify and to simply enjoy what I do enjoy. Truth be told, dad, it would be silly for you to do, daily market trips are easy, even fun for you, and where would you be without that daily cappuccino!!