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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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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.

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TOWHEE's Photo TOWHEE Posts: 6,610
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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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)
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:
Mixed berries
Mixed vegetables
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: 3,789
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

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PAINTS5555's Photo PAINTS5555 Posts: 6,702
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: 62
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: (284,203)
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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.


Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 1/28/2019 (05:39)
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NITEMAN3D's Photo NITEMAN3D Posts: 16,383
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!


Dave A.- South Central PA, USA

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MIRTAI4's Photo MIRTAI4 Posts: 62
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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