skipping the supermarket Feed

Introducing Foraging Friday

Foraged roadside apples

I get a buzz out of foraging for food. I love that foraged food is free, has super low food miles, and provides yet another alternative to buying food from the supermarket. It also seems absurd to ignore these local food sources.

Foraging for blackberries

I believe there’s more to ‘the buzz’ than simply knowing the advantages of foraged food. I sense an almost primal urge to gather and forage.

Foraged Purslane

There are a number of foods I’m comfortable foraging, like Purslane (shown above), New Zealand Spinach (shown below), Blackberries and fruit from abandoned trees, but I’d like to expand the foods I forage. I’m particularly keen to learn more about foraging for native foods - bush tucker.

Picking warrigal greens

As part of my quest to learn more about foraging I’ll be sharing a Foraging Friday post each fortnight – on the second and fourth Friday of each month.

Each fortnight I’ll share what I have learnt about how to forage, prepare, and cook a particular foraged food.

Foraging for prickly pear fruit

I’ll be back next Friday to share what I have learnt about foraging for Prickly Pear.

Do you forage? Would you like to join me in learning more about foraging? At the end of each Foraging Friday post I’ll invite you to join me by sharing a recent foraging experience in the comment section or by leaving a link to your own Foraging Friday post.


Are you shopping at the supermarket less these days?

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The Little Eco Footprints family is now four and a half months into the skipping the supermarket challenge - skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains.

Until a month or so ago the challenge was a bit of a non-issue and was a restriction we hardly noticed. We've continued to get a weekly veggie box through a Community Supported Agriculture farm and regularly pop into our local greengrocer for dairy and fruit. I get pantry staples like nuts, dried fruit, pulses and rice through a local mum-run bulk-buying club (who orders from Honest to Goodness) and we can usually find anything else we need at either the farmer’s markets or one of the local organic food stores in our neighbourhood.

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I've even started buying goats milk in recycled bottles direct from a local farm.

But everything went down-hill the morning after one particularly tough training walk. At 6am the following morning I pleaded with Daddy Eco to pop into the supermarket to buy some bacon, orange juice and epsom salts. He spotted an opportunity and returned shortly after with my requests, along with almost 100 rolls of toilet paper, a couple of HUGE boxes of weet bix and a jar of vegemite. The check-out girl asked him if he was having a party. That would be one weird party!?

I've also broken the 'shopping malls' and 'super chains' bit of the challenge too. All Little Eco wanted for her recent birthday was a mermaid outfit. I couldn't find any suitable fabric in my stash nor at the couple of op shops I visited. So I popped into Spotlight and Little Eco chose some suitably sparkly material. Fast forward to the day before her birthday and I still hadn't found the time or energy to make the costume. So I sent my Mum off to a super chain toy store in a nearby shopping mall to buy a mass-produced and branded mermaid outfit. Definitely a low point!

Since then we've given in to the supermarket urge a couple of times, but we're determined to get back on track from now on.

How about you? Are you skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super-chains? Or are you shopping less at the supermarket these days?

Feel free to leave a link to any posts you have written about changing the way you shop or the skipping the supermarket challenge in the comments section so that we can pop over and read about how you are going.

There's only one day left to enter the Australian made sock giveaway. Entries close midnight wednesday.


Easy and healthy alternatives to packaged breakfast cereal

The Little Eco Footprints household is avoiding packaged breakfast cereals in an effort to save money, reduce packaging and minimise food miles. We used to buy weet-bix, rice bubbles or muesli every now and then, but now that we're skipping the supermarket that's not an option. There's some packaged cereals at our local organic food store, but they are super expensive and many are imported.

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Little Eco has been relatively easy to cater for. I’ve built up a long list of kid friendly alternatives to packaged breakfast cereals. I shared my top ten easy and healthy breakfast choices for kids over at Childhood 101 today. I even admitted that I serve desserts, like the above chocolate avocado pudding and my chocolate banana ice-cream, for breakfast. 

Me - I mostly eat porridge or steamed vegetables topped with a poached egg.

Daddy Eco has been much harder to cater for and i'm starting to realise I need to take his grumblings seriously. He used to eat store-bought muesli, but this year he has been eating home-made natural muesli. We simply toss some nuts, dried fruit and seeds in with some rolled oats. We make a new batch every few weeks. But he's getting a bit bored with that so i'm going to make a batch of toasted muesli/granola this weekend. Do you make your own muesli? Or do you know of any other types of home made cereal? I think i'll try something similar to this granola or this nut and seed granola?

Head on over to Childhood 101 for my top ten easy and healthy alternatives to packaged breakfast cereal for kids


Skipping the supermarket and thoughts on 'outsourcing working mums' and 'DIY punk housewives'

Quick week day vegetarian meal. Zucchini and corn patties.

Skipping the Supermarket Challenge Update

We thankfully breezed through our first month of the skipping the supermarket challenge. I thought I needed something from the supermarket a few times, but then found I could do without, make it myself, or use a substitute.

I've been trying to remember to take photos of our meals to proove that we're not missing anything. I hope to share them all at some stage. The above is zucchini fritters, with local olives bought from Organic Feast, home made tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes from a friends garden (thanks Monique!), and cucumbers and onion from our Purple Pear CSA box. The zucchini fritters have become a new weekday favourite.

Speaking of weekday favourites, have you been following Linda's Tuesday Night Vego Challenge? I've been loving all the super fast seasonal vegetarian recipes being shared each week.

I'm thrilled to see a number of families joining us in the challenge. So far we have Baudains family from Ordinary Eco, Cooper family from The Organic Gypsy, Sarah from Fig nut mum, Kate and Mark from Purple Pear Organics, Tara from MUMedia, Kim from The Little Black Cow Blog, Kirby, Shae from Yay for home, Sara from Star-bright gulls, Kylie from Mealy and I, Kim from The Little Black Cow Blog, and Stacey from the Domestic artisan.

Some are joining for a month, and most for the entire year. I don't mind how long people join in, even if It's just for a week. I remember a time when I was at the supermarket every second day. Leave a comment here if you would like to join us.

Inspiring reads

Have you visited my inspiring reads page recently? I added some great reads there during January.

Calamity Jane's post on Why are we doing this? has been on my mind.

“Right now we need to figure out how to sustainably keep large populations happy and healthy in cities where their concentration is most efficient, we need to come down off of the drug of convenience slowly and explore the genuine possibility of change.…

..If I believe that massive-scale agriculture is defiling our land, and corporate food products are defiling our bodies, I can base our diet instead on whole foods from local farms.

If I believe that using fossil fuels supports global bullying and violence, not to mention environmental degradation, I can make the time to walk and bike whenever possible.

If I believe that the immense resources sucked down and shit out for every piece of plastic crap we think we deserve is inexcusable, I can mend broken things, reuse materials, buy second hand, do without."

You can read the rest of the post here.

I’m in awe at Calamity Jane’s ‘DIY punk housewifery’. But I also want busy working mums like me to feel like the ‘radical political action’ Calamity Jane speaks of is achievable by us too.

Despite being a busy working mum, I manage to achieve much of what Calamity Jane speaks of by outsourcing.

We pay someone to clean our house once a week so that I have time on the weekend to visit the farmers markets and make sauce or jam or yoghurt and so on. We pay someone to grow our food locally so that I don’t have to worry about not having time to get our garden up and running again. I buy ‘handmade by someone else’s hands’ more often than I make myself.

I don’t feel guilty for any of this outsourcing, nor do I think my life is any less sustainable than someone who makes everything themselves and grows their own food.

As I’ve said before (here and here), it’s important that I find 'my sustainable sustainable life'.

The beauty of this journey is that there are many different routes to the same sustainable outcome.

How are you going finding your sustainable sustainable life?

How are the other Skipping the Supermarket challenge participants going with the challenge?


Where to buy real milk at a fair price in Australia

Udder Farm products including milk in glass bottle

Do the milk wars bother you? Are you frustrated by the way supermarkets treat dairy farmers and milk processors? Would you like your milk to be free of additives and dilution? Do you want to buy real milk but do not know where to buy it?

Thankfully, there are an increasing number of small dairies taking back control from the supermarkets and going out on their own.

You most likely won’t find this milk on supermarket shelves.

If you like the taste of old-fashioned, full-cream milk that hasn’t been homogenised, or you’d prefer milk from cows that have been treated more kindly than usual, you’re more likely to find it as organic milk that has been produced by a small local dairy.Choice, Milk Products Review

Wondering where you can buy this kinder more sustainable milk?

FlavourCrusader maintain a helpful directory of Australian organic, family-owned or independent dairies.

Is there one near you? Are you willing to pay a fair price for your milk?

Those of us in the Hunter Valley can even buy real milk in recyclable glass bottles

Udder Farm non homogenised milk in glass bottle

Local family owned dairy Udder Farm recently started selling its delicious non homogenised full cream milk in glass bottles.

I was excited when I first spotted the glass bottles, thinking that perhaps I'd be able to return the empties for re-using. I spoke to Jamie from Udder Farm about whether they had plans to collect the empties and reuse or recycle them. They do! Udder Farm will shortly start collecting the empties from place of purchase and will return them to the bottle manufacturer for recycling. Unfortunately, the equipment required to wash and sterilise the bottles for re-use (rather than recycling) is cost prohibitive at this stage. But perhaps if we all started buying milk in glass bottles that wouldn't be the case.

Buying in glass is currently more expensive than plastic. Its early days for the glass bottles and production costs are higher. I want to show my support and indicate that I like the glass bottles so each time I buy milk I buy a plastic bottle and a glass bottle. I won't be returning my glass bottles for recycling and instead will reuse them myself. I've found them to be perfect bottles for homemade tomato sauce.

Where to buy Udder Farm milk

{The Fresh Ingredient, Georgetown} {Hunter Valley Growers Market, Charlestown} {Fernleigh Café, Adamstown} {Hunter Organics, Merewether} {Mac's IGA, West Wallsend} (Greenhill's Fresh Fruit, Greenhill's} {Organic Feast, East Maitland} {Tenambit Food Works, Tenambit} {Morpeth Friendly Grocer, Morpeth} {Woodville Store, Woodville} {Seaham Shop, Seaham} {Paterson Friendly Grocer, Paterson} {Soul Foods, Lorn} {Dine & Away, Lochinvar} {Four Stores in Greta} {Branxton IGA, Branxton} {Tommy Tucker, Singleton} {Broke Village Store, Broke} {Not just Apple & Oranges, west Cessnock} {Pk's Old General Store, Cessnock} {Pearson Meats, Weston} {Kurri Hot Bread, Kurri Kurri}

Cafes that use Udder Farm milk

{Estabar} {Juicy Beans} {Austin's Coffee} {Glee Coffee} {Muse restaurant} {Bacuss} {Cracked Pepper} {Momo Wholefood Cafe}

This post is one of a series that will help you skip the supermarket. Perhaps you’ll consider joining the Little Eco Footprints household in skipping supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains? The envionment, your local economy, and Australian farmers will be grateful.

Don't forget to enter the 4MyEarth giveaway. It's open to international entries and closes Monday evening.