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KERRYG155's Photo KERRYG155 SparkPoints: (406,552)
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4/5/19 9:36 P

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You are really organized. I never managed that even when we lived in Nebraska. My husband and I were born and raised in Lincoln but when we married we lived in North Platte. I do freeze food here in Florida because of the hurricanes. It's good to be prepared.



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NEBRASKANNIE's Photo NEBRASKANNIE SparkPoints: (22,942)
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3/29/19 4:02 P

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We are rural also. We have a fridge w freezer upstairs for me (with wheelchair) and two freezers downstairs my husband manages.l I've always canned and frozen a lot, but the older I get, the more I dehydrate. I can store more where I can get to it that way.

We only buy a few things at the store and carry a cool bag in the car just in case. In Nebraska, we have occasional power outages, but not something that's been an issue so far. The canning room for storage is downstairs. By chance, because I'm in a wheelchair and can't do the stairs, I've had to learn how to prep ahead. I double cook, freeze meals ahead, and when we do get fresh produce from the store, it's prepped ahead into tupperwares for easy use. I have a list of emergency meals that don't take time or energy for those days I'm alone, or rushed. I think by asking myself how to make life easier for us, over time we've learned. Oh and I love the instant pot. I make gallons of yogurt, soup, and do a lot of canning prep.



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MTRANCHWOMAN's Photo MTRANCHWOMAN Posts: 522
3/19/19 8:38 A

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For those of us living on the edge of nowhere ( my husband says everybody lives in the middle of nowhere) I have created a team called Rural Living under the other category. Come join me.


I can do it with your help!


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SPICY23's Photo SPICY23 Posts: 314
3/18/19 8:07 P

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Just saw this thread. I am in a similar situation with similar responses: 48 miles to nearest cost effective grocers, 8 miles to a local store where most items are over a dollar more per unit than the ones farther away. Have to figure gas/fuel cost and time into the equation to know if it is worth it to make the trip.

Farmers market and local CSA farms work for a great many people here if they don't or can't garden for fresh veg during the growing season. If there is a grange in your community that might be a great resource to connect you with local growers who might sell 'shares' in their garden or direct you to nearby farm stands. We grow our own and can or freeze most of what we need and use; that way we know what has and hasn't gone into it (salt and other preservatives).

Protein other than beans comes from venison, elk, salmon, and sometimes shares of a cow or ocean caught tuna and halibut. Power outages usually only occur in winter so no threat to freezer items. Rural living has its challenges but the people have figured out how to address them and are tremendously generous and helpful, ask around.

Peace and Care

Life is too short to have a bad day.


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NITEMAN3D's Photo NITEMAN3D Posts: 17,316
3/14/19 1:38 P

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I've been hashing this over quite a bit. We live in a small town (20,000) that still has an active power plant, so outages are rare but do happen. We also have natural gas. Although I can't ever remember losing food to a power outage, frozen pipes are another concern. Our heat is steam-powered by a natural gas boiler which requires very little electricity. Enough for the ignitor now and then and the damper motor is all that's required. So I figure I should be able to power that, at least one fridge and some lights should be an easy task for even a smallish natural gas powered generator. Contemplating meshing grid power with battery stored solar and backed up by a generator at the lowest possible cost. It hurts my brain, but I still keep tossing it around just because it's fascinating.

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Dave A.- South Central PA, USA

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." - Mark Twain


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MTRANCHWOMAN's Photo MTRANCHWOMAN Posts: 522
3/14/19 7:41 A

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When we first moved to Melstone, we had a lot of power outages. We still get some but I have 2 chest freezers and the power is never out long enough for them to defrost. But we do have a generator if needed.

I can do it with your help!


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EABL81's Photo EABL81 SparkPoints: (213,100)
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3/14/19 2:50 A

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Good point, Dave! When I lived in the Appalachians, power outages were pretty frequent. I was lucky enough to live close to a store where I could buy ice and at least save some things. But for those who live way out that's not an option.

So far, I haven't had that issue in AZ.

Edited by: EABL81 at: 3/14/2019 (02:50)
Life is too short to eat cheap chocolate
NITEMAN3D's Photo NITEMAN3D Posts: 17,316
3/14/19 2:44 A

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Freezing brings up another thought. The farther out you live, the higher the risk of power outages can be. A backup power system can be a lifesaver.

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Dave A.- South Central PA, USA

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." - Mark Twain


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EABL81's Photo EABL81 SparkPoints: (213,100)
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3/14/19 2:36 A

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Great thread! I live in a small town too, but do have one grocery store close. Not the greatest, and sometimes the produce is iffy, but good for staples. There are better stores about 35 miles away, so I shop at those to buy things that aren't available or reliably good at the only grocery in my town. Here the issue is the weather in winter. We get some big storms (a 30 inches snow a couple of weeks ago) that make it hard to go shopping at times. I was planning to drive to the larger grocery stores today, but again, the weather didn't cooperate.

My strategy is to make sure that my freezer is stocked with frozen fruits and veggies (some of which I buy fresh, process, then freeze) and bread. My pantry always has cans of tomatoes, beans, spaghetti sauce, pastas, oatmeal, brown rice, etc. I can easily pull together a healthy meal even if the weather doesn't cooperate. I buy a surplus of things that aren't locally available and store them. As others have said, I use the perishables first and restock those at the local store when the quality looks good.

If I lived too far out, I'd probably buy a chest freezer, but since I do have one local grocery store, I haven't felt the need to do that. Since I live in the mountains in AZ, vegetable gardening is a challenge (dry, short growing season, and way too many deer), so that's not a reliable option, but between my freezer and my pantry, and the one local store, it's not a big problem for me.

Life is too short to eat cheap chocolate
MTRANCHWOMAN's Photo MTRANCHWOMAN Posts: 522
3/4/19 10:40 A

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Sounds like my place. Most of my meat is lean venison, elk, or antelope or lean grass fed beef raised locally. I buy some chicken and seafood but not much. I have a garden but I don't can. I eat the fresh stuff from the garden during the summer then I revert to things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and carrots that last a long time. I also have some great recipes for canned bean salad and salads with the above veggies. We are 90 minutes from Billings so getting to town in the winter can be a challenge. My challenge is exercise. At 67 years old I do not like to go walking on our property alone even though we have some awesome hikes. I have a stationary bike, resistance bands and a Wii plus I use exercise videos. It would be nice to have a club around. Anyway, I was just diagnosed with bursitis in my left hip and right arm, so I am limited in mobility. That said I am losing weight by eating less. I have started a team, Rural Living to talk about our lives and challenges. Come join us.

I can do it with your help!


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CASTAWEIGH19's Photo CASTAWEIGH19 Posts: 84
3/3/19 4:34 P

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Hello, and I just saw this thread. I live about 40-45 min from the bigger stores as well. I struggled with buying fresh vegetables. I stocked up on frozen vegetables, and picked and chose when to spend the extra money on fresh.

We are looking into a canning system I can do when I start my garden. I didn't move into my new place until it was already snowing, so this winter was really rough on the produce aspect.

I stock up on meats and fish when they are on sale. I have stopped buying many things that would take up room in my freezer and fridge that were unhealthy. So.. maybe I have the rural life figured out.. I will know better after a few more months here.

You get what you put into your goals. If you aren't happy with what you get; change what you are doing..


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MIRTAI4's Photo MIRTAI4 Posts: 63
2/24/19 5:19 A

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Thank you for all the suggestions.

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be." ~Groucho Marx


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MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,944)
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2/24/19 4:12 A

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I feel bad for you. I would buy a deep freezer and stock up on:

frozen veggies
frozen meats
butter
eggs
greek yogurt
cheese


to refrigerate:
apples
celery
cabbage
carrots
onions
oranges

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever exercises faith in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16


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MTRANCHWOMAN's Photo MTRANCHWOMAN Posts: 522
2/22/19 2:08 P

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I love this topic. I live 200 miles from the nearest Walmart, 50 miles from the nearest small town groceries. I have learned how to keep fresh produce dishes in the winter. Salads-broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower as these veggies keep well. Also canned bean salad. I am lucky that all my meat is local grass fed beef. My biggest issue,since I also live 11 miles outside of town population 96 with a school and a gym, is exercise. It requires me to be motivated to block some time out of my day to either do Wii exercises, video, walk, resistance bans or on my stationary bike. Spark People certainly helps me with that. I have been with SP since 2012. Haven't met my long term goal yet but I know I will if I keep trying.

I can do it with your help!


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LIFESGREAT2DAY's Photo LIFESGREAT2DAY Posts: 3,131
2/1/19 10:41 A

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Hello! I live about 40 minutes from the nearest big store with better cheaper produce. During the summer I go to farm markets and we also have an Amish community. So one of those has a store all summer and fall with fresh produce and I stop there once a week. Look around your community for these little places or ask neighbors to purchase some of their produce from their gardens during these times of the year. I try and use up the things that go bad the fastest first. Then I go to longer lasting items like grapefruit, oranges, apples, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and squash. I like to buy frozen broccoli, it's good many ways including roasted in the oven. Food prepping once a week also saves time during the week if no one wants to do the cooking. This makes things easier and you can google food prep ideas.

Hello, I'm Rosie!

Greetings from Northern Minnesota!
(Central time zone)

Search to find something WONDERFUL in every day!

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TOWHEE's Photo TOWHEE Posts: 6,674
1/28/19 5:54 P

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I live in a semi-rural area. We're a 10 minute drive to the grocery stores (we have 3, lucky us). We used to have a fresh produce stand that was about 5 minutes farther out. I loved to go there and went every week. In addition to what the local farmers brought in, she would have "seconds" (i.e. blemished or small produce). Unfortunately, she closed down about 3 years ago. I really loved the "seconds" fruit, they were the right size for one serving instead of the three to four servings that the national chains offer. Since there are only two of us, we either eat the same fruit for lunch and dinner or it goes bad.



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ENGINEERMOM's Photo ENGINEERMOM Posts: 1,067
1/28/19 4:24 P

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My aunt and uncle used to live in an area like that - 1.5-2 hours to the nearest grocery store that was bigger than a gas station.

Her approach was to get a lot of frozen items, and "durable" fresh (and to bring a cooler when grocery shopping once a month!), and then to supplement with fresh produce from neighbors and local farmers she found by word-of-mouth and road-side stands, and she'd just make sure to use up the more perishable items earlier (so eating fresh green beans the week she shopped, then frozen the other 3 weeks, for example)

"Durable" fresh items include:
winter squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc.)
Potatoes (sweet, regular)
onions
apples
oranges
broccoli
carrots
peppers (these will keep for a couple of weeks in a fridge if stored properly)
Pears (when purchased in season and a little green, these typically take a week to ripen on the counter, then can be stored up to another week in the fridge)
Avocados - purchase when green and rock-hard - they take about a week to ripen on the counter in a brown paper bag, and then can be stored in the fridge for up to another week, or mashed with some lime juice and then frozen in a ziploc with all the air removed
cabbage - a great stand-in for lettuce on things like tacos, and lasts a lot longer in the fridge

Frozen items I typically keep on hand:
Blueberries
Mixed berries
Strawberries
Corn
Mixed vegetables
Peas
Green beans

I live in an area where I could shop daily, but I don't - I don't want to spend that much time at the store. I shop once per week on Saturdays, and plan my meals around what needs to be used first (either left from last week, or just more perishable).

I don't make a lot of lettuce salads - instead I do things like kale or a salad made from peppers and cucumbers, all of which last longer than lettuce.

Take life one day at a time - enjoy today before you worry about tomorrow.


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JAZZYGF's Photo JAZZYGF Posts: 3,963
1/28/19 3:57 P

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rural area also
no pizza delivery so thats a good thing
20 min to grocery like krogers
use aldies alos and meijers produce
today I did u tube exercises a variety ended up with yoga need to di this more emoticon

small goal 160


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PAINTS5555's Photo PAINTS5555 Posts: 6,825
1/28/19 1:00 P

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I also live in rural area, although not quite as far out as you are. The town I live in only has 1 store and the produce can be good but at other times be iffy. The prices are so-so so I stock up when I can.

Some of the things that I do to help extend the time I have fresh fruits and veggies around is to pick from items that tend to keep longer (apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower instead of lettuce, spinach, etc). Buy and use the shorter shelf-life items right away and then use the other items once those are gone. I also second the suggestion for a chest freezer. Frozen vegetables can have a better nutritional profile than some fresh ones as they are frozen very quickly after they are harvested from the fields. Use your local store just to fill in where necessary or to curb a craving for a fresh salad.

Edited by: PAINTS5555 at: 1/28/2019 (13:00)
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MIRTAI4's Photo MIRTAI4 Posts: 63
1/28/19 6:33 A

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Thank you for the response.

I live about an hour & a half to 2 hours, depending on the time of year from our nearest grocery with more reasonably priced produce and food in general. And we do shop there once to twice a month, again depending on the time of year.

My children just purchased a house (we live with them and help them out with house & new baby) and there is a nice garden we are looking forward to planting. We are also wanting to get a small green house for herbs and stuff.

Thank you for the input!

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be." ~Groucho Marx


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SLIMMERKIWI's Photo SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (290,836)
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1/28/19 5:38 A



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How far away (time/distance) are you from a large supermarket that sells food a lot cheaper? Perhaps you may be able to do a monthly or every second month shop.

Do you have access to fairly cheap frozen fruit/vege? If so then that is a great option, and often healthier than so-called 'fresh'.

Are you storing your fresh correctly? A lot of people don't use the refrigerator for fruits and most veges, but I find that doing so works wonderfully, so long as you don't just put them into the fridge without protection. I only shop weekly.I keep mine in plastic bags, and create a little humidifying effect by twisting it shut but leaving air in there. I have also used a damp tea towel or paper towel which works well, too. I know a lot of people will have a fit, but once my bananas have ripened to the point that there is only a little bit of green left on the skin, I keep them in the fridge in a plastic bag. They keep in very good condition a lot longer than if they are left on the counter top. The same with apples. If I don't want to eat them 'fridge cold' I just give them a very quick zap in the microwave - about 12 seconds for a whole banana - just enough to take the chill off them.

It may not be the time of year at the moment for growing/freezing your own fruit/veges, but that can save a lot of money, too. I used to have a good sized vege garden but can't manage one now, and I am also on my own now, but I do have a pot with climbing beans in it, 2 pots with tomatoes - one for cherry tomatoes and the other for big tomatoes. I have a courgette plant, and a few Swiss Chard plants, along with Rhubarb. Parsley and mint and rosemary is also growing in pots. I have a few fruit trees that I lightly cook the fruit from some and freeze, and the other I just put into the freezer as is for my crumbles or smoothies at another time. Next year I am considering putting a couple more pots of tomatoes in as well as more courgette, because they both freeze really well.

Do you have a big freezer? If so, you could buy your meat in bulk from an outlet that sells it cheaper, and freeze. Also, don't forget that lentils, beans (think black beans, cannellini beans, red kidney beans) split peas, chia, quinoa, brown rice, etc. are all great, cheap sources of food that can extend your protein and provide fibre at the same time and can be bought in bulk.

Kris



Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 1/28/2019 (05:39)
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NITEMAN3D's Photo NITEMAN3D Posts: 17,316
1/28/19 3:39 A

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Meal delivery is very efficient and everything we've ever received was fresh... however, doing that for four and a child is going to get pretty expensive. The best suggestions I can make are low sodium canned goods or do your own canning. Sounds like you'll have to get into meal prep and storage to best overcome your situation. Learn home canning and buy a freezer. Have prep days and make your own "TV" dinners to grab from the freezer as needed. Instant Pot is your friend. Also, check out Amazon's 'pantry' option. You've discovered the hidden costs of being away from population centers. Good luck!

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Dave A.- South Central PA, USA

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." - Mark Twain


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MIRTAI4's Photo MIRTAI4 Posts: 63
1/28/19 1:52 A

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I live in a very small town. There are 2 grocery stores that cost an arm & a leg for some things and are ok on other but have very limited selections. The biggest problem I am coming across is find access to quick but healthy foods. Fruits and veggies are great but go bad too quickly or having trouble finding quality ingredients that are not processed. I'm looking for advice on how to overcome this issue. I have been thinking of the different box subscription options, but am concerned about how fresh they will be after shipping.

I live with my husband, and my adult daughter and her spouse a brand new grand-baby. I want us all to eat healthier. And to get quality ingredients to cook with. All 4 of us work and rarely want to cook, but have found that Instant pot and Airfryers make cooking quicker and somewhat healthier options.

"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be." ~Groucho Marx


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