Some of us have never moved outside the town in which we were raised (but maybe wish we had!). Others possibly moved away for college or training, relocated for a job and then settled down to start ‘adult life.’ But if you’re like my family, moving is a routine factor in our (military) lifestyle.
Moving every two to three years is both difficult and exciting. It is full of bittersweet farewells and anticipated adventure. Add the ‘real food factor’ to the mix, and temporarily things seem more overwhelming.
‘What? We have to step away from our current suppliers and, and, and . . . find new ones?! Help!’
If you’re not moving, but have recently kicked conventional, processed foods to the curb, you also may be feeling overwhelmed by the quest ahead of you. Or, perhaps you’ve been buying whole food for a while, but feel it’s time to reevaluate your sources. I hope what I share here will help all of you.
I know we all look with a smile of inspiration at Wardee and other dedicated contributing writers in the way they raise, grow, tend to and enjoy their own real food. What a gift! Truly — from the land, to the table! Though our family would love to be more self-sustaining (especially with five kids available for farm work), our current lifestyle dictates getting whole food from others.
By the way, my definition of ‘real food’ is getting our food in its most natural state, just as God intended. That, and getting to know our suppliers, is our aim at each location in which we live. If that is your goal as well, the following four suggestions will help you source your whole food table.
Word of Mouth
In my experience, and in sorting through responses from other frequently moving real food families, nothing is more helpful than word of mouth recommendations. Conversations with other whole-food-minded people, and suppliers, in your current city will help you survey your destination.
We moved cross-country a couple years ago and couldn’t believe a local co-op acquaintance in the Southwest had a daughter already set up with whole food suppliers at the exact place in which we were moving! Having that contact helped us immensely before we left the West.
Talk to farmers at local farmers' markets if you frequent them. Continue this conversation with real food focused people when you arrive at your new residence. You will find yourself quickly set up with sources for real food simply through word of mouth.
We have lived in six geographically diverse locations over the last thirteen years. This presents a wonderful opportunity, yet an inevitable challenge.
For example, we found local pastured beef less accessible in Southern California than we have out in Virginia. However, produce availability and quality was exceptional in California. Western Washington allowed us to indulge in fresh, wild, delightful, very affordable salmon. Boy, do we miss that! The Amish influence in our current location has allowed us to enjoy farm fresh products year-round.
The geography of your residence and surrounding area will dictate what is readily available and fresh, versus what you might have to seek out elsewhere. Keep this in mind when you’re searching local sources.
Use the Internet
Yes, the Internet is full of a lot of misinformation. However, it can be a great repository of helpful information on sources for real food. Here are two websites at which to start your search: Eat Wild and Real Milk.
Usually with sites like these, one click leads to another click which leads to another click. And soon, you have more information than you know what to do with!
Meet Your Potential Suppliers
After you’ve pulled together as much information as possible, it’s time to put a “Farm Day” on your family calendar. Make an effort to visit the farms and/or ranches from which you plan to regularly buy your food. You will feel excitement and will rest easy after visiting. Or, you might feel uneasy and choose to find another farm. (Sadly, we have visited an unkempt farm and chosen not to purchase from it.)
Upon moving to our current location, our entire family was thrilled to meet the Amish farmers (and animals) from which we now get food. It was memorable to quietly interact with these families, observing their simple ways. That experience confirmed our decision to regularly order real food from them.
My heart goes out to those who have a move on the horizon, especially when trying to make a real food transition. There are many challenges indeed. But take heart. God has a new food adventure waiting for you. Adventures can be a lot of fun!
For those just starting in on whole food, or for those feeling it’s time to reevaluate — yes, it can be overwhelming. But after having engaged in thorough research and helpful conversation, you will become confident in your ability to source these delicious foods. You will enjoy the fruit of your labor right at your own real food dinner table.
What other resources or strategies would you employ to source real foods after a move? Please share!
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