Organic Food For the Family

By Derek Ratcliffe, husband, father, cook, grower of vegetables, healthy food provider.

Organic Food For My Family

I take care of all the grocery shopping and food preparation in my house. I buy a lot of organic fruits and vegetables for my family, and keep canned products and white sugar out of my kitchen. I do my utmost to keep growth hormones, GMOs, preservatives, emulsifiers, and other laboratory made things out of my house too. I do my best to learn more about our food system so I can create healthy meals to feed my family.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of this is easy. While the demand for organic products continues to grow, my local grocer is still limited in their supply. One of the easiest ways I have found to get 100% organic food into my home, at a reasonable cost, has been through a food box company. I have tried just about every food box delivery service in my city, plus a CSA.

Making my Produce Box Count

Adapting my life to a food box took some getting used to. Firstly, and most importantly, I was allowing someone else to choose my produce for me. I was giving up the inspiration I received from the produce I would see and touch at my local grocery store and the menu planning that came from it.

I got over that by looking at quality, availability and price. If I could find a service that had great quality organic produce at a comparable price then I would source as many groceries as I could from them. As long as the quality of the produce was excellent I had all the inspiration I needed when I opened the box. If the quality was not there, I contacted the company and figured out a solution that was good for both of us. Most of the time it was money off the next box.

Another benefit of a food box is that I get to concentrate on finding the best quality ingredients to compliment the beautiful produce I get with my box. Things like organic grains that I use for flour, organic meat and fish (though less and less these days), superb cheese (my addiction), and specialty tea and spices.

Now that I have a consistent amount of produce coming into my house every week I have been able to look at other ways of getting my kids involved in the kitchen. We customize the food box together the week before it comes and discuss recipes that we’ll make from those ingredients. When the box arrives we open it together and plan how we’re going to cook the groceries we have received. We almost always try a piece of one of our favourites. For my daughters it’s the peaches and for me it’s the oranges. Organic produce tastes so much better, and the experience of watching my girls get excited about fresh food is priceless.

Home Cooking Inspiration

My children are truly my inspiration when it comes to cooking. The menu that we plan out helps them look forward to their favourite meals or dishes and understand how to prepare them. Though my daughters are just five and three and their help is limited, our time in the kitchen together is fun and encourages them to try everything; even brussels sprouts.

I try to cook a lot on the weekends to fill up my freezer. This also allows me to have quick, on hand meals for the week days that take no more than  20 minutes to heat up. I try to focus on vegetarian or vegan meals but we do consume some meat as well, focusing on meat that’s been raised in accordance with our values. For dishes that my kids love that take a little longer to prepare, I am always on the look out for faster methods.

The time spent around the dinner table is always quality time in my house. We get to talk about our day and connect as a family. Yes it takes more time to cook from scratch sometimes, but I am feeding my family good, clean food and I feel good about that. My wife and I have become healthier as a result of cleaner eating, and we definitely see the doctor a lot less.

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