Source foods from trusted local, small scale operators:
The incredible reason to trust local, small scale operators is they have personal skin-in-the-game with reputation risk for any rewards.
These are systemic circumstances where individual owners must pay attention to details. They also often put great care and pride in their craft. These are the folks I choose to trust in obtaining the highest quality Grade A & B foods in my local area and region. They are also the establishments I look online when I search for specialty items (e.g. hand-harvested Dulse and Nori sea weeds from Maine).
Additionally, small scale operators have incredible domain expertise, these are not cashiers or summer high school help loitering around in a grocery. Proprietors have interesting, deep insights from their proven veteran expertise to share about our highest quality foods.
They are also often entertaining, quirky people whom I enjoy learning from in mutually supportive relationships and community. And they are our last defense in a rapidly expanding, industrially consolidated global food supply system.
Unfortunately, the quality of all our global foods being supplied everywhere is rapidly degrading precisely because of industrial scale economies and profit efficiencies – not all foods are what they seem (or should be) in your world.
Industrial scale producers and suppliers constantly seek ways to extract profits from all they sell (especially organics) and decrease the risks and costs they bear. Avoiding these behemoths and their nutritionally denuded crap food offerings is more and more challenging:
The only way to be smart with your health is to give your money to local operators with faces and names behind their highest quality products. Support people who accept daily risk and have personal skin in the game – if their products are not authentic, or hurt someone, they are also harmed and professionally suffer. This is never true for the industrial giants, who at best consider consumer health liabilities an acceptable cost of business in their accounting.
I place my trust and money into small scale operators. Their foods might seem more expensive when compared to industrial crap food prices per pound, but they deliver far higher grade quality nutrition than anyone can buy from global food producers.
Especially feel confident on your challenge when you find local, small scale operators with foods that don't look perfect – real foods are usually smaller in size, have irregular variations, blemishes and rarely look like the overstuffed, genetically modified cardboard commodities we're sold daily by national brands.
Small scale operators are truly the only way to build your supply network of the highest Grade A & B foods available.
Use my universal list of small scale producers to identify your local providers you can trust for the highest quality nutrition sources available:
Ideally choose self and/or friends
Well, if you trust yourself and your friends! I do. My most enjoyable Naturally Edible Whole Raw Foods are those I'm growing.
Anyone can learn how to steward rich soils, practice animal husbandry, ranch, or even just have two chickens in an urban backyard for eggs. When your passionate about your own wellness there's surprisingly easy joys in making the highest quality foods possible.
If not you, then seek out your passionate friends and neighbors who enjoy being a community source for wholesome foods:
Whoa! Reality check...
For most of us and our friends, growing, husbanding and harvesting our own food is just not going to ever happen.
That's fine. Your choices don't need to roll that way:
Farmer's markets and community supported agriculture (CSAs) are your next best local options in these situations.
Farmer's markets & CSAs
Farmer's markets and CSAs have the added advantages of bringing you fresh items in season, AND a greater variety of foods in tune with your local terroir (the land where you're living), or at least within a reasonably close region to it.
They also offer other intangibles of giving you deeper knowledge about high grade quality foods, expanding your networks for sourcing a greater variety of foods and enjoyable, real community.
If growing your own foods, finding friends doing it for you, or being within reach of a farmer's market is not an option, then find reputable high grade quality, small scale food purveyors, butchers and fish mongers in other local markets.
These folks will often ship their heritage breeds and wild comestible options we're unlikely to find locally or in mainstream, national chains.
At the very least, source trusted specialty vendors who exclude GMO and all otherwise corrupted foodstuffs while sustaining the minimum level of high grade quality provisions.
NOTE: Specialty producers are in a low profit margin business for the love of it (if not also for the inherited circumstance of being born into it as an indentured servant to their family) – give them some love, recognition and credit for their accomplishments and don't be surprised if you get a free box of goodies every now and then.
If we can't have a knowledgeable conversation about high grade quality foods with the folks handling your food, then you're talking to the wrong person or shopping in the wrong place!
Challenge #2 check-in with Rob
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