Alternative Food Sources


#1

The groceries thread and the fruits and veggies thread, got me wondering if anyone else is in the predicament I am.

I CAN"T FIND DECENT FOOD!!!

I live in South East Wisconsin, about 25 miles from Milwaukee in a medium sized suburb. We have 2 grocery stores; Sentry and Pick 'n Save. Both stores have scant selection, nothing really out of the ho hum bland American diet type stuff. Processed cheeses, sugary cereals, cold cuts and hot dogs, lots of frozen. When it comes to fresh meats, dairy, and especially produce, forget it. One Sentry I actually reported to the health department after I had bought BAD nasty chicken from there 3 times in a row. The beef is obviously injected with that new red food dye they use when it starts to turn brown. It looks like they colored it with a magic marker.

Not only is the selection horrible, the prices are high. Way high, in comparison to what I’m used to in Chicago and PA/NY. Dairy is especially high surprisingly since we are the dairy state. Shouldn’t it be cheaper??:confused: :frowning:

I find myself buying things I wouldn’t normally, simply because we need to eat something! I’ve tried exploring suburbs as far as 40 miles from here and still no real deviation from those two stores, and no better selection or quality.

So, I’ve been looking into other ways to get food.

So far I’ve come up with farm shares for dairy and fruit and veg, and I’m looking into buying a years worth of organic meat and chicken from a farm up north.

I cook a lot. I just want to be able to find fresh edible wholesome unadulterated food. Meat and chicken,fresh veg and fruit, and quality oils and other staples. I buy ingredients for meals, not too much processed stuff,and like to make it simple and nutritious, but I also like different and unusual ingredients, which are all but impossible to find here.

Anyone else in this boat and find any creative solutions?


#2

Shannon, you are scaring me when you say that about the beef. How can one tell if ground beef has been injected? I hate to think about what I am eating here at College.


#3

OK Shanny, I looked at the map, because it is early and “southeast” just didn’t jump out at me.

Have you been to Tenuta’s? Talk to the meat manager. if he can’t get it to you, he will tell you where you can get it.

There is a Whole Foods in Madison, near UW Madison. There’s a Trader Joe’s in Madison, too.

If you are near Highway 50, you can truck down it and hit I-90/94, then jump over the border to Mundelein. Take along an Igloo or those bags that keep things frozen.

Dairy is high because of ethanol gas, among other factors. it’s high in the Chicago market, too.


#4

Have you been to Tenuta’s? Talk to the meat manager. if he can’t get it to you, he will tell you where you can get it.

There is a Whole Foods in Madison, near UW Madison. There’s a Trader Joe’s in Madison, too.

Wow thanks no I had never heard of Tenuta’s…I will look into that.

Going to Madison is a good idea I think, but I’ve avoided it because it’s a good 50 miles from me. Maybe I am just going to have to come up with a shopping strategy that includes a bi monthly road trip somewhere to get decent food.

Yeah now that I think of it last time I was down in Wilmette visiting grandparents, the milk was pretty high there too. Even at Aldi here it’s 4.00/gallon. Thankfully we don’t drink a lot of milk. But to buy our yogurt and kefir here is insane. 4.50 for a quart container :eek:


#5

$4 a gallon for milk?

Wow… well yes, I think what you need to do is look into getting an err, what do you call them, coffin-type freezer (sick but I can’t remember what they are called) and get that year’s worth of meat.

My parents paid $600 for a year’s (actually lasted more like 2) worth of meat. They actually bought half a cow, and when it got old enough they slaughtered it and gave them half. It was honestly the tastiest beef I’ve ever had, the ribs were sooo good when they cooked them up for me.

ps- are you a transplant or have you always lived in Wisconsin?


#6

We buy all of our beef and pork locally from the Amish. No steroids, growth hormone or antibiotics in our meat! We usually get 1/2 or a whole hog, and anywhere from 1/4, 1/2 or once even a whole (young and small) cow. Yes, we have a big upright deep freeze, and that whole cow filled it up! But it’s cheaper per pound, healthier because it’s grass fed, and we don’t run out for months! :thumbsup:


#7

are there Amish communities around, or local farmers that sell freezer beef and poultry? farm markets? schools have Market Day fundraisers? does schwann’s deliver in your area? is there a local on-line family chat place where people share their sources for organics & local grown? co-op

would it be worth driving to Milwaukee or big city once a month to stock up?


#8

Another thing to remember, frozen fruit and veg are many times better quality than the “fresh”. They are frozen when harvested from ripe, where much of the fresh stuff is harvested before it is ripe and shipped to you. Most times it is less expensive, like bell peppers - I cannot get a yellow bell pepper for less than 1.60, but, can buy them frozen for far less.


#9

If you like veggies that have the texture of soggy socks, yeah. :rolleyes:


#10

Never had that problem! We do have to learn how to cook with frozen veg - they have to be cooked from frozen. Peppers and onions, right into the skillet can be cooked just a little if we want them to be “crispy” or they can be sweated and softened just like fresh. Steaming works great with frozen veg, for those who want that crunch.

Frozen peas have that wonderful snap to them, carrots the same - and good frozen shoepeg corn has that right off the cob bite.


#11

I feel your pain!!

Moving to WI from MO was so hard. The meat just isn’t that good here! The best I’ve found is at Sam’s or at a Sendick’s (many available in Milwaukee). Have you tried a butcher? Get a freezer and buy 1/2 a cow! We’ve stocked up on meat when we’ve gone home to visit family (freeze it in my parents freezer and kept it in a cooler on the drive home).

Milk is also cheaper at Sam’s, but sometimes wal-mart will beat the price. Pick n Save will also have periodic sales on milk ~ 2 gallons for $5, and skim milk is the cheapest.

We have a great selection of cheeses here. One Sendick’s even has a walk in refrigerator dedicated to the many cheeses available, and my oh my are they good (some are even made there)

Small towns tend to charge more, so traveling may be cheaper if you buy in bulk (to cut your gas cost)

good luck!!


#12

ps- are you a transplant or have you always lived in Wisconsin?

Transplant. Born and lived on the north side of Chicago and it’s north shore suburbs (save for one miserable year in far north eastern Pennsylvania) all my life. Been a cheese head for 2 1/2 years. Needless to say I miss Chicago.

Everyone has great ideas. :thumbsup: Thanks:)

I think a big freezer is in order. That and making 1 or 2 big shopping trips a month further distances from home. Definitely want to do the meat thing now that I hear good things about it from others here. I guess I am spoiled and wish I could have my pick of stores to run out too quickly when need like I used to:( I also love to cook as a hobby, so sometimes I just get inspired by a recipe and want to go out and get the ingredients and make it. More often than not I can’t find what I need.

Market Day is something I should consider too as DD’s school has that and I never order.

MomaMary I do so love the Sendik’s cheese selection. I guess it’s not really that far from Waukesha…but how far is one to drive and spend on gas to get decent food? I wonder if there is a way I could get another store to want to do business here. One Sentry just closed and is sitting empty. Could be a nice big People’s Market, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods…ah to dream…


#13

Frozen peas have that wonderful snap to them, carrots the same - and good frozen shoepeg corn has that right off the cob bite.

I agree and I do use frozen. Especially Brussels sprouts and spinach. Canned veg I just can’t stand though…

I find frozen berries to be indispensable as the fresh ones here aren’t so fresh. Frozen berries in smoothies for the kids are a favorite here.


#14

Shanny- wow, that is quite a downgrade. You went from the North Side to what us urbanites call “flyover country”…

Was this due to a job relocation? Because, I mean, wow… no offense but I couldn’t imagine such deprivation!


#15

I’m so glad someone can sympathize. Truly. You have no idea how badly I miss my old place in Evanston, the lake, my old neighborhood…we walked to the beach every day in the spring and summer. Oh woe is meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee:(

BTW thanks for rubbing it in:p

I moved here because my mom lives here and was very sick at the time. I’ve attemped moving back but I can’t seem to coordinate everything so that it’s do able. Plus, kids are settled in school etc…you know how it goes.

Wave to Chicago for me please? Give the lake a kiss for me?:frowning:


#16

If you want the best and healthiest meats, and probably much cheaper, get your husband a rifle, or shotgun depending on the laws in your area, and send him out during hunting season. Venison…yummy!!! Elk…mmmmmmmm!!! Wild Turkey…nothing better!!! Whatever game you have in your area can’t be beat at the store!!!


#17

I visited Chicago once years back and liked it. But I can relate to what you are saying. While I live here in NB (East Coast of Canada) I am forever a Mississauga boy (Mississauga is right next to Toronto) where I grew up.


#18

Definitely do try Trader Joes. They are gourmet/healthy on the cheap. There is no better place to buy milk, eggs, juice, bread, small amounts of nice meat, butter (they have all kinds of imported butter too – Irish Butter is my favorite), olive oil, pasta (69cents a package), and pasta sauce, and of course wine and beer. Their frozen foods are close to homemade quality. The frozen pizza might be from Italy. The frozen creme brulee from France. The prices on what they carry are hard to beat.


#19

Don’t give up Shanny! You can still come back!

Evanston is nice, I live on the far south side.


#20

A good idea and I do agree it’s cheaper and healthier, but, it would require a husband which I do not have. Maybe I should hunt for husband? Fresh, cheap…nutritious???:blush: :shrug: Maybe Trader Joe’s has them?:stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

dulcissima Definitely do try Trader Joes. They are gourmet/healthy on the cheap. There is no better place to buy milk, eggs, juice, bread, small amounts of nice meat, butter (they have all kinds of imported butter too – Irish Butter is my favorite), olive oil, pasta (69cents a package), and pasta sauce, and of course wine and beer. Their frozen foods are close to homemade quality. The frozen pizza might be from Italy. The frozen creme brulee from France. The prices on what they carry are hard to beat.

I’m defintiely going to go there. Thanks!:slight_smile:


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