Friday, October 24, 2008
Rawsources, or How to Get the Raw Booty.
I'm so happy.
Why, you may ask (all three people who are aware this blog exists)? Because today, I found a source for raw cacao beans.
If you go online to buy whole beans, or even the nibs, you'll pay a decent amount for them. About $12-15 for a pound. So today I went into a little artisanal chocolate shop near my job and asked if they had raw beans. The owner, a very cool guy, sold me 2 pounds for $6. He also cracked them for me. So I have 2 whole pounds of raw cacao nibs, that he actually bought in Costa Rica and brought back. Glorious. I will be making a chocolate/almond butter pie next. Don't be hatin' -- I'll save some for you.
This led me to think about resources. Or rawsources, as I like to call them. Being raw means investing not only in your health, but in your food, too. Organics aren't always the cheapest game in town, and some of the superfoods we like to eat are downright pricey. But there are ways around it, as I found today. So here are a few ideas on how to save some coin.
Farmers Markets. Duh, right? But a lot of people don't take advantage of their farmers market. Don't know where they are? Try http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets/ and enter your location. FMs are great for fresh, local produce at a low cost. Now, not all of the farmers are organic, but you can talk to them and find out which ones are. Some farms have organic practices but haven't earned their certification yet. Develop relationships with your favorite farm vendors and you'll find they're happy to tell you what's fresh, what's coming up, etc.
CSA. Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a great idea. Local farms sell families a season's pass of fresh produce. Each week, a box or bag of veggies, fruits, and other yummy goodness is delivered, usually to a drop-off point. I've been buying arugula from a local farm through a CSA, and it's ruined all other arugula for me.
To find a local CSA, go to: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/.
Ask and You Shall Receive. Next time you go to the Asian market with a jonesing for young coconut, ask for a case. They'll pull it from the back, it will be fresher coconuts, and you'll get a good price for buying the case. Think about other ways to save, too. Like my serendipitous cacao find today, using your imagination can yield some great deals. If you have a big family and need to buy in bulk, talk to your local produce person in a Whole Foods or other grocery store with organic stuff. They may be able to give you a deal on quantity.
Online. Yep, it's not always easy to find raw food products, especially if you live in a more remote area. Going online will allow you to compare prices at different sites. Check out some of my links for various raw stores. I sometimes buy certain things from one place, and others from another, just because of the price difference.
Swap Work for Booty. No, I'm not suggesting you resort to illegal and questionable activities. I mean booty like the pirates. Aaarrrrrr. A lot of small farms need help during the harvesting seasons. Some of them may be willing to trade your labor for some produce. And it may be the very produce you helped to reap that ends up on your plate.
I'm sure you crafty kids have all kinds of ideas for keeping raw resources at a reasonable cost. Let me know your tips and tricks. I'm going to go huff some raw cacao nibs.