(Continued from Part 3. This concludes the article.)
As discussed previously, I followed two important principles in achieving a 7-year food supply using basic foods. First, let “everything from scratch” be your motto, avoiding processed and genetically modified foods. Second, buy in bulk. These two principles together will contribute to good health and definitely get you ahead of the steep inflation curve. Take the time to read the book, Nourishing Traditions, that I refer to as the “food Bible”. It will help you understand the real nutritional needs (“nutrient dense foods”) of adults and children, give you recipes, and help you avoid fad diets and food cravings.
In the following paragraphs, I give examples of the things I’ve purchased and their current cost that got me to the 7-year food storage plan for one person. If you wonder about why I purchased a certain quantity of this or that, my choices were dependent upon: the most protein and fiber per buck, and what I personally like. Your choices will be different.
Beans/Peas/Lentils (435 lbs) using ~17 food grade buckets:
5 lbs of organic black eyed peas (I am also going to plant some of these) – $12.89
25 lbs of black turtle beans – $27.74
25 lbs of garbanzo beans – $30.93
75 lbs of brown lentils – $24.65 x 3 = $73.95
25 lbs of green split peas – $18.38
25 lbs of whole green peas – $22.02
75 lbs of pinto beans – $35.39 x 3 = $106.17
75 lbs of red beans – $26.75 x 3 = $80.25
5 lbs of organic soybeans (I am also going to plant some of these). – $8.93
100 lbs of white navy beans – $24.45 x 4 = $97.80
Total cost of $479.06
By my personal calculations and habits, I would eat 1lb per week of my choice of the above with some extra in there for visiting family. Now, 1 lb doesn’t sound like a lot of food in a week, but it’s just a component of a larger meal plan that includes, dairy, grains, meat, broths, vegetables, seeds, and fruit. Now onto the grains.
Grains (650 lbs) using ~26 food grade buckets:
175 lbs Hard Red Wheat – $16.09 x 7 (25 lb bags) = $112.63
50 lbs Hard White Wheat – $23.90 x 2 (25 lb bags) = $47.80
75 lbs Soft White Wheat – $13.64 x 3 (25 lb bags) = $27.28
60 lbs Wheat Montana Flour – $7.57 x 6 (10 lb bags) = $45.42
75 lbs Pearl Barley – $17.79 x 3 (25 lb bags) = $53.37
100 lbs Oats – $24.92 x 4 (25 lb bags) = $99.68
40 lbs White Corn Masa – $58.63 x 1 (40 lb bag) = $58.63
25 lbs Corn Meal – $20.28 x 1 (25 lb bag) = $20.28
50 lbs of Rice – $19 x 2 (25 lb bags) = $38
Total cost of $503.09
By my personal calculations and habits, which includes slicing bread, rolls, cornbread, tortillas, oatmeal, granola, cookies, rice, and pearl barley as a soup and stew thickener, I would eat approximately 1.5-2lbs per week of my choice of the above. Remember that 1.5lb doesn’t sound like a lot of food, but it’s just one component. I try to avoid making cookies, LOL!, because I would eat every last one. It takes discipline to eat a bowl of delicious stew rather than stuff my face with homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies made with a splash of maple syrup!
I chose to buy a high producing family milk cow to meet all the dairy needs for my family because I have the acreage (2-3 acres for the cows) that is fenced and cross fenced with good grass, infrastructure (a medium sized barn with 3 stalls), and the ability to water, and feed hay when necessary. Whole milk provides copious butterfat. [As previous stated, fats and oils cannot be overlooked in your food production and storage programs.] The mid-sized bred Jersey heifer cost $3,000 plus a delivery fee. From the research I have done, this was a good deal. She is due to calve in 2 months and was artificially inseminated specifically for another heifer (female calf). If you want to get into the world of milk cows and understand the nutritional benefits of A2/A2 genetics, the book to read is Keeping a Family Cow by Joann S. Grohman. There are other good books and definitely the best education is a mentor, which I think I have found in the farmer I purchased from, and a good friend who has offered advice, in our own Avalanche Lily. There are online forums dedicated to the topic as well.
But, aside from a cow, which Ms. Grohman insists you can keep in your backyard, there are things you can do to stock up on dairy without breaking the bank. Full fat milk, butter, and cheese can be frozen, so if you have the freezer space and can locate good deals, that is an option. You can purchase low fat powdered milk relatively inexpensively for the pantry, but the taste is awful in my opinion – it would be a good option for recipes that require milk and could be mixed with full fat grocery store milk to stretch it – same goes for canned milk. Powdered cheeses and buttermilk are also options. If you can locate a dairy farmer who sells raw milk from the farm, and you can afford to buy it, you can make all your dairy products from fresh milk, but that’s an expensive option unless you own the cow and have milk to spare. Prices vary wildly across the country for fresh raw milk. In Idaho, I paid $14/gallon for fresh raw milk. Here in Tennessee, you can buy into a herd share (one time cost) for as low as $25 – $50, then pay $5 a gallon for the milk without ever having to get your hands dirty or step in cow dung. With soaring grocery store milk prices, it makes sense to purchase from a local dairy. Since you can freeze full-fat raw milk successfully, you could make a monthly trip out to that dairy farmer for milk.
Vegetables and Fruit (unlimited)
I spent about $300 on canned goods in the fall since I had just moved and did not have the benefit of a garden or orchard to draw on. I purchased during a “case lot sale”, as I described earlier, and paid about 50 – 98 cents per can. That purchase yielded over 500 cans of vegetables and fruits. The goal was to hold me over until gardening season. The garden will be approximately 1/4 acre because I have the room. I spent $200 on seeds from www.rareseeds.com, which was overkill but I like to have lots of seeds to share. I will be seed saving once the garden vegetables are spent. I will purchase a few fruit trees to get an orchard started, but fruit trees do not bear fruit for several years after planting. And several-year-old fruit tree sapling will cost some money, but consider that you will be producing fruit sooner.
Certain canned fruits are delicious, so don’t turn your nose up if you haven’t tried it. Children seem to love canned peaches and pears. I love canned pineapple. If you want the most bang for your buck on canned fruit, definitely stock up during fall sales, and avoid the little convenient lunch-sized packages since they cost more per ounce. The same can be said about frozen fruit – most of which go on sale during the time those fruits are available fresh, so keep your eyes open! Even if you live on a tiny lot or in an apartment, it is possible to grow a lot of food in small places, on a balcony, or under lights indoors. Seek out all the growers on YouTube and study their methods. If you’re desperate, you can buy “microgreen” seed mixes in bulk and grow greens in a jar on the kitchen counter! I love microgreens on salads, in soups, and on sandwiches!
The first thing I did when I moved here is go to the local farmers market and meet local producers. I met a local Angus beef rancher and purchased a few cuts. They were delicious, so I put in an order for a side of beef. That side cost approximately $1,300 + $100 delivery fee. That is inexpensive for 250+ lbs. of good beef. I have paid a lot more for quality beef in Idaho and in Nevada, so I was pleasantly surprised. The beef purchase was probably my biggest hedge against inflation. I purchased baby chics as a first priority and grew out laying hens and meat birds. By the way, you can still get organic whole chicken at Costco for less than you can raise them yourself. Whole chickens are still the least expensive way of buying chicken. I have mostly weaned myself off of specific cuts due to the cost. Initially, I spent $400 at Costco on whole chickens, specific chicken cuts, and pork for the freezer until I could get into the “raise your own” groove. Since I purchased a bred cow, who by the very virtue of being a milk cow must calve every year (or two) in order to produce milk, there will be unlimited beef until such time as she can no longer calve. In which case, I will be learning about the life of cows for milk and meat.
Miscellaneous Pantry Items
I buy spices, baking supplies, herbal teas, coffee, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in bulk. Everyone will have a different list, so I’ll share where I purchased from instead. Costco is excellent for bulk baking soda, baking powder, spices, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and coffee. You can’t beat the price per ounce. Walmart is also an excellent source of baking supplies in their Great Value brand. If you’re a purist, you can buy all your baking supplies from Azure Standard. Some people won’t buy spices in bulk due to the fear of loss of flavor over time. However, if you keep those spices well packaged in a cool, dark, dry space, they last for a very long time. Starwest Botannicals is an excellent source for herbs, teas, and spices of all kinds. There is even a chocolate tasting herbal tea that tastes like chocolate coffee if you’re trying to quit caffeine and/or coffee altogether. Frontier Co-op is another source. I purchase “medicinal” herbs in bulk and make my own tea blends according to my health needs. It sure beats the cost of those little boxes of tea bags in the grocery store. Other miscellaneous items include a variety of dried chili’s because I have a penchant for Mexican food and like to make the sauces myself. I have bottles of vodka for making medicinal tinctures (wild cherry bark syrup for one example) and extracts (vanilla extract in particular). Each family will have their own “extras” category.
The Basic Principles of a 7-year Food Supply in Review
- Commit to making Everything from scratch
- Purchase basic foods in bulk
- Purchase from local ranchers and farmers wherever possible
- Grow and raise as much as you can
Thus concludes my rationale for why and how I elected to do a 7-year food plan. As you look at your family’s nutritional needs and start thinking differently about food, don’t waste money on specialty products. Focus on basic foods, learn to put it all together for tasty meals and snacks, and think of food as your medicine.