The good, the bad and the ugly

Hello 2013, so much for trying to post more often.  That’s one resolution out the window.

I’ve wanted to share so many things about my Christmas break (I had 10 days off work) but too much time has passed, too much wine was drunk and now I can’t remember all those things.  Perhaps editing via wine drinking is a good technique to spare you the boring details.  So I’m giving you a summary of some of the happenings of the last month.

The good:

The weather -thank you mother nature – although its been hot its been fantastic to have a non-raining summer. My little part of the world has come to life, the beaches are swarming with happy people, the BBQ’s have been getting a work out and its been so much fun.

Thank you santa for my new bike (yes I do sound like a child but my new bike is making me very happy)

my beautiful papillionaire bicycle

my beautiful papillionaire bicycle

The interesting

This year I got my Christmas ham in a somewhat unusual way.  No supermarket or butchers shop for me, I met with some fabulous organic pig farmers in the carpark of a train station – don’t believe me, check out this photo.  Faces were not shown, just bums (sorry Meg).  These are people who are passionate about food quality and animal welfare.  Their pigs get to spend alot of time foraging for food, eating the excess from their harvests, snuffling aorund in the dirt and simply enjoying life as a pig.  Time to maturity depends on many things – the quality of the crops, the natural cycle of growth of the animals, the weather etc.  Last year they didn’t have any hams for christmas as the pigs did not grow fast enough.  Not to worry, they sold easter hams.  This year the piggies were huge, much bigger than expected and the butchers had to get creative when cutting up sellable pieces of ham.  Thats nature and I love it.  The ham was amazing, beautiful texture, great flavour and I feel really lucky to enjoy such a special product.

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As we were driving off, the gorgeous M’s mini me asked ‘was that lady a real cowgirl?’

So now onto the The Bad

Food waste – sorry, close down now if you find this boring.  Last week new data indicated that half of the food produced in the world is thrown away!   Alot of produce simply doesn’t leave the farm because our multi national food companies have forced prices so low, the cost to the farmer is greater to get it to market than to trash it.  Just last year on the Sunshine coast hinterland my students visited a strawberry farm whilst in the process of trashing tonnes of strawberries.  It was a bumper crop year and the prices were so low that the farmers couldn’t make a profit by selling to large markets.  I remember one large multinational company selling strawberries last year  3 punnets for $5.  Okay so its great that a fruit is so affordable but its not great if its putting farmers out of business.  So what can we do – we can try to buy local and buy from farmers markets, roadside stalls or join a co-op that buys straight from farms.  Do some searching on the internet, there are so many ways to buy food and cut out the middle man. I got 10kg of grass fed beef delivered to my door over christmas from a mob called Bonnie Beef.These types of sellers are popping up all over the country.

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The second bad to this equation is food waste in the home.  2 out of every 6 bags of groceries bought is thrown away.  Thats your precious hard earned money going in the bin. So what can you do – try meal planning and maybe doing your shopping list at the same time.  Don’t impulsively buy a perishable (because its on sale ;-)) without considering if you will actually cook it or eat it.  Go through your vegetable crisper and make some meals to use up the vegetables that are starting to look sad.  Or juice them or make a big vegetable coup.  Or buy some chooks or learn how to compost properly or get a worm farm. I have a wise young friend who collects her childrens half eaten fruit (especially apples – you know what I’m talking about don’t you), cut off the bits they haven touched and freezes these scraps to use later.  You can stew the apples to put on porridge or through yoghurt etc.  I know, this is all boring and hard work but do you want to keep throwing your money away?  Think of all the pairs of shoes you could buy if you didn’t chuck 2 bags of food away each week/fortnight.

Sorry for being preachy, but its the big stuff that I care about.  Do you throw away alot of food or do you have some tricks that you use?