Another Year, Another Food Plan

Good or bad, 2021 is almost to an official end. Most people start a new year with resolutions or a set of goals to do and be better.

While I don’t tend to follow that trend, I am making a plan. About food.

It’s not a goal to do better with food, but a plan to manage food differently.

Whether it will be ultimately achieved in 2022 (which I highly doubt) remains to be seen, but the food plan of 2022 will direct us staunchly and determinedly on a certain path.

How It Started

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’re aware of my love affair with ordering from Azure Standard. This has been my bulk (and organic) food supplier for several years. I’ve been ordering from them as often as I can get away with, which is usually every month.

Every day, we collect eggs from our laying flock. Having laying hens has always been a top homesteading priority for me. (Plus our eggs are so incredibly delicious. And that deep orange yolk color…!)

You might remember this past fall, we raised 33 of our own meat birds to processing day (three of them over nine pounds, and only one was under six pounds – those suckers were fat and happy!).

They are also incredibly delicious. Home-grown chickens are the way to go.

I might be the only person you know who geeks out over meat, but buying local and as infrequently as possible is a plan I started a couple of years ago.

And then there was the garden.

This year the garden was a humble beginning. Our super hot, super dry weather was not ideal for growing, and our slow start to transplanting outside was not conducive for successful gardening, either. We did manage to grow several bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and green beans, however.

The 2022 Food Plan

In short, the plan for next year is as follows.

Rather than ordering monthly from Azure Standard, I will reduce my frequency to ordering quarterly. This will help me put my grains to good use, and force me to be more intentional about what I buy and in what amounts.

We will continue to raise our laying hen flock and once again be raising meat birds.

…and don’t tell Hubs, but we’ll also be raising a handful of our own turkeys. This serves two purposes: 1) to fill our freezer with plump, domestic turkey meat in the fall and 2) to lure wild turkeys onto our property again in hopes of a successful wild turkey hunt.

I intend to buy beef and pork once in the coming year. One time. Again, we’ll follow suit of ordering from our local butcher and purchasing locally raised meat. It’s the only way to go, in my book.

In addition, if time and circumstances allow, I hope we can hunt both deer and pheasant in the coming fall. Pheasant is delicious, and hunting/skinning/cooking deer are all great skills to master.

The garden will be more robust and have more variety. Hopefully we can put up a fence around the large flat plateau on our hilltop where our raised beds are, and expand our growing area. With four raised beds and a large, fenced-in plot, we should be able to grow and manage most all of our vegetable and leafy green needs for most of the year, but for the summer and fall for sure.

The Ultimate Goal

Essentially, I want to raise and grow as much of our own food as we can. Whatever we can’t produce, I’ll order once a year (beef and pork) or quarterly (Azure Standard), or throughout the year as supply and needs align (MyFruitTruck).

The daily needs like milk, heavy cream, Zevia (yes, it’s a need), etc. will be the only things we’ll need to purchase from the grocery store.

(Until Hubs relents and we finally get those jersey cows we can milk ourselves… hallelujah and amen.)

This goal or course serves our financial situation and fiscal responsibilities. By producing most of our own food and sourcing what we eat as infrequently as possible, we’re avoiding impulse buys, poor food (“convenience”) choices, and therefore, saving money.

More than that, however, we’re being more responsible with our time, energy, and resources here on our hilltop. We’re learning (and teaching our children as we learn ourselves) about permaculture, foraging, gardening, hunting, animal husbandry – everything possible in maintaining both a connection and a balance with nature. With creation. With our Creator.

The food plan of 2022 is more than eating certain foods or menu planning or re-learning how to bake bread. (My attempt at homemade bread today was by most all accounts a total failure…)

The food plan of 2022 is about learning our ability, exercising responsibility, and practicing intentionality.

Ultimately, the food plan of 2022 is to feed our brains as well as we feed our bodies. To nurture our lives as intentionally as we consume home-grown nutrition. To spend more time as producers, and less time as consumers.

I suppose, simply put: The food plan of 2022 is to give God the glory for all he created, taught, and provided.

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