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Decrease Yo' Waste!

November 7, 2020

Hey everybody! Thank you for checking in. 

I read a statistic a few weeks ago that threw me for a loop. Do you know on average 40% of food bought in a grocery store in this country is thrown away? That’s 80 billion pounds of food and more than $161 billion. On average each person in America is responsible for throwing away 219 pounds of food a year. Each person!! (https://www.rts.com/resources/guides/food-waste-america/)

That shocked me. So I started researching it – why we are so disposable and what we can do about it. Here on the farm we are blessed with the sweetest animals in the world and between the pigs and chickens we have very little food waste but I know we’re in the minority. It’s just not feasible for most families to have a pig out back. The question then becomes, what can we do about all this waste?

One thing I would say is that we need to understand labeling better. In America we have labels that read “sell by” or “best by” or “packed on” or “best before”. Wanting to provide the safest food to their loved ones many well intentioned folks throw away very good food to eliminate the risk of illness. When you purchase food just read the label and see what the label actually says. If you’re in doubt, google it. Most companies and food industry leaders will tell you exactly what your label means and how long the product will be safe. For instance, a “use by” label applies to a highly perishable food product that will become unsafe after a period of time. “Best if used by” generally indicated the product may not perform as well after the expiratory date (for example popcorn). If you’ve got a box of Twinkies on hand you’re good. No worry about expiration because they’re not really food anyway. (No judging! My grandfather loved Twinkies so much and he lived to be 96. Maybe the preservatives in those little cakes kept him alive and healthy.) Here’s a link for information: https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food-poisoning/understanding-food-labels

Another way to decrease waste is to learn how to prepare leftovers. If you’re not quite sure how to do this follow me on Instagram or call me with questions. I post lots of ideas on leftovers. Yesterday I fixed brisket nachos with the last of a smoked brisket, homemade potato chips and the last of my barbecue sauces. I can also show you how to get every single bite out of a whole chicken – including a nutritious broth from the bones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JxcWA2ZwUQ&t=1s (Then the soft bones will be safe for your dogs to gnaw on.) My fried rice is amazing and uses leftovers for the entire meal.  The point is this – if you’re willing, flexible and creative you can use your whole foods in lots of different and creative ways to make meals for your loved ones. 

Freeze foods that you’re not going to consume right away. My bread recipe makes 2 loaves. We eat one and freeze one. Same with my pizza dough. We freeze 1 every time and they’re really easy to work with once thawed. Pancakes, waffles, extra loaf of meatloaf, pesto, lasagna, soup, broth – frozen. If I know we won’t eat it in the next few days I freeze it and then on days when the cattle get out or the pigs need extra back rubs we can pull it out of the freezer and have a quick meal. 

And in that vein I would say be mindful of what you’re eating. How much, the origins of the food and how often you eat the food. Grapes? Awesome! Grapes in February shipped from Chile? Maybe that’s a pass. I mean, I love grapes but realized seasonal produce eaten out of season and shipped from another continent is going to be 1) crazy expensive and 2) probably not the freshest or best. So I skip the winter grapes and enjoy them in season locally. I try to buy my produce from local producers which means super fresh food with more nutrients and usually the producer does a little dance when I leave. (Just kidding on the dance part but when you spend your money locally instead of globally it makes a big difference! Especially to the farmer or business owner. Also when your sweet little Johnny needs a sponsor for his tee ball team I doubt Amazon is going to pony up. But your local business owner sure will. So please, shop local when you can. It matters.)

Bring leftovers home from the restaurant. Less waste and another amazing meal you don’t have to prepare! Plus a reminder of your fabulous date night which will remind you of your fabulous sweetie which will put you in a fabulous mood! And then everybody’s happy. 

So there. My plug for reducing waste. I can step off my soap box for now I think. 

Aliceson Bales

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