J4 Organic Challenge 1

J4 issued a 24 hour eat organic only challenge, and this is what we learned:

  • Most of us have some organic things in our kitchens, but not enough to make complete or typical meals.
  • Our drink rituals-be it coffee, tea, or soda-can be our biggest downfall.
  • A trip to the local grocery store to fill out the planned meals in organic fashion resulted in sticker shock and non-availability.

From Jan:

The challenge was on – I had to eat only organic foods for the next 24 hours. Piece of cake! Well, maybe not cake but I was already mentally taking an inventory of my cupboards. Whole grains, beans, fresh fruit and veggies, granola – healthy food, right? Upon opening the cupboard doors I realized the quinoa was non-GMO, gluten-free, 100% whole grain but not organic. The whole grain kaniwa “superfood” touted the same labels but not organic. Neither was the heart-healthy whole grain pasta, or the natural granola. Okay, on the beans that I soak and simmer before eating. No luck. I was going to have to work harder at this. Yes! Finally, an organic banana was lurking on top of the microwave. Breakfast was in the bag but I’d better get ready for caffeine withdrawal because the coffee did not qualify. Nor did the tea. So on to lunch … a large container of organic spring greens would make a lovely salad and after rummaging through my freezer I found some dehydrated cherry tomatoes from last summer’s garden. Score! Dinner was looking a bit dismal. The yummy pumpkin soup I’d made from a volunteer pumpkin in my garden was disqualified by the chicken broth base that certainly was not organic. A frozen package of squash emerged from the depths of the freezer. Yes, this was a gift from a friend who belonged to an organic CSA last fall. Things were looking up. Then I remembered the venison steak my brother-in-law gave me. Hmmmm – local but I wonder what was on that corn that deer raided from the farm fields. It will have to do. I know this deer only ate grass! Now there are some black raspberries from the wild and the jar of dried mushrooms from last fall’s walk in the woods. Whew! I will survive but I think there is a trip to a different store in my future and I am starting to plan my 2015 garden!

Tip of the Challenge: Choose wisely where you shop.

  • Join the Iowa Valley Food Coop to get good prices on local, organically-raised meats. Shopping on-line at the co-op saves time hunting at the grocery store. http://www.iowavalleyfoodcoop.com
  • Fill in the gaps at New Pioneer Food Coop. Almost everything is organic and prices are close to the typical prices of non-organic items at conventional stores. As it is a further drive for all of us, a bit of planning is essential.  www.newpi.coop
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Staying warm when it is below zero

A fun way to stay warm in the winter is to build small, all-natural structures that block the wind. That way, whenever you’re out hiking and exploring, you have a cozy den as a destination to snug up inside. This quinzee is easy to find if you’re at the Indian Creek Nature Center. The leaf tipi is also at the Nature Center-you’ll just have to go on a longer adventure to discover it.

Leaf tipi
Leaf tipi
The quinzee mound is made, the door dug
The quinzee mound is made in the shape of a turtle, and the doorway is carved out
Nancy going inside
Nancy goes inside
And digs out a bit more space for us, so a few people can fit inside
And digs out a bit more space for us, so a few people can gather in the turtle