Hello garden gals and guys! My “No More Grocery Store” challenge is progressing quite nicely. I’m not where I want to be yet, but each day I move closer to my goal. Hey, do you mind if we chat for a minute? Real talk? Ok, good.

Do you know what it means to eat seasonally? You may or may not, but your grandparents did. It just means eating what’s ready for harvest based on what season it is. Now you may ask “what did they during the winter months?” The answer is really quite simple: whatever they preserved during the summer.

Okay, so maybe you are asking what is the point of that last paragraph. The point is that we need to get back to doing things the way our grandparents did. Is it possible? Absolutely! A little at a time. How? by growing your own food, shopping at farmers markets, and preserving and storing the harvest for the winter.

Okay, I have a confession to make. I have been wanting to can for years. I bought a pressure canner 3 years ago and it sat unused until this year because I was scared to try canning. I had these visions of my pressure canner exploding and blowing my face off. 🙂 Now I realize it was a totally irrational fear. Canning quickly became second nature to me. Now that I am doing it, I feel so silly that I wasted so many years waiting for someone to show me how.

So, if you want to start getting away from the grocery store, but you don’t have the time or the inclination to have a garden, you can still have fresh, healthy foods! It just takes a little extra effort on your part. If you are asking if it’s really worth it, let me ask you this: how much do you value your health?

Any goal can seem overwhelming and impossible, but if you break it down into smaller steps, you can accomplish anything. So, here is how you can start to make that move away from the grocery store. Think of one thing you really love to eat. It can be meat, cheese, a favorite fruit, or a delicious veggie.

Now, instead of going to the grocery store to buy it, go to Local Harvest and put in your zip code. It should come up with a list of farmers markets and farms near you that sell meat, veggies, etc. Call to confirm the market hasn’t changed their day, time, or location, and then make a visit. Buy your favorite item from a farmers market of your choice.

It’s that simple. Before you say that farmers markets are too expensive, I want you to try something for me. Buy an item, let’s say a tomato, from your grocery store. Then buy one from a farmers market. Take them both home and do a side-by-side taste test. When you notice how much better that local food tastes (and it will taste SO much better), ask yourself if it is worth the extra money.

Now, back to the canning. The winter months pretty much force you to go to the grocery store, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you can dedicate a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday to canning, dehydrating, or freezing, you can minimize your trips to the grocery store in the winter. If you’re really dedicated, you can eliminate having to shop for food all winter. That is the goal I am building towards.

If you are intrigued about this goal, but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at this video I did. It’s only ten minutes. That’s not a long time. I list some great books you can read that will answer a lot of questions you  may have.I also show you my journey to store up for the winter. If I can do it, so can you!

So you can see that I am not where I want to be….yet. But I am taking baby steps. Those baby steps have led to this:
What you see above are 20 quarts of green beans, 8 pints of pickles, 4 quarts of spaghetti sauce, 5 pints of red pepper relish, and 4 pints of salsa. See how the canned foods in my cabinet are slowly being replaced by my own canned goods? Pretty neat, right?
I also have this:
Those are frozen blueberries, blackberries, and broccoli.
Guess what? This is almost all from the farmers market! The only thing that came from my garden was cucumbers for the relish I made (and I didn’t have many because squash bugs destroyed my plants), two bulbs of garlic, and cilantro. That’s it. The rest of my garden isn’t ready to harvest yet.
So, see? You can eat farm-fresh foods without having a garden! You just have to change your routine a little bit. 
Well, I hope I have inspired you to begin your own food journey. Just remember, start small. If you need help, I’m here! Leave your questions in the comments below. Or if you have ideas to help me and other out on this journey, leave your suggestions! They are most welcome, here!
That’s all for now garden gals and guys. Until next time….
Happy gardening!