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  • Writer's pictureCarol

Challenges and tips - rural living and food shopping

Updated: Aug 6, 2022

There is nothing better than rural green living - the peace and quiet, time to think, fresh air, big stars and especially no sitting in traffic. For previous city slickers, not being able to pop out to the “mother ship” (supermarket) or local corner store for a missing ingredient takes some getting used to.

We try to plan trips to the local village on a day when the fresh produce truck has just delivered. One of the wonderful things about living rurally or in a small town is having the local store owner or manager on WhatsApp or messenger. A quick message can save an unnecessary trip to town. It's often a wasted trip when you arrive at the grocery store for your fresh product, only to find that the truck is arriving the next day!

Long lasting items such as potatos, butternuts, onions, potatos, cabbage, apples, and carrots are usually fairly readily available, and they last well. Variety is not always available, and and fresh dairy products such as milk, is often sour because of supply chain difficulties - this was especially the case during the dreaded covid lockdowns.

A well-stocked cupboard

Most rural dwellers are magicians when it comes to creating something from nothing, especially as fresh produce in the fridge runs out. It helps to stockpile staples such as dried and tinned pulses, flour, rice, coconut/olive oil, soya, almond or long-life milk, and coffee creamer. Absolutely never-to-be-run-out-of items such as coffee, sugar, hot chocolate, and tea need to be stockpiled a little. Essential tinned goods include tomatoes, beans and creamed corn.

Shop fortnightly or monthly

Shopping is a mission when distances are long and time is short. With the price of fuel now at record high, it is best to venture out as little as possible. We leave early in the morning, and make sure there is a shopping list, phone, and money (lots of it).

Taking healthy snacks and drinks helps if there is no time to stop for food. It is too easy to grab a chocolate, or fast food for sustainance, so it is best to take something quick and easy - like fruit or a sandwich - and of course water. Trips to the big smoke are usually fraught because there are so many things on the list, and it is quite normal to get home exhausted and much later than originally planned. Driving and refuelling time also needs to be factored in.

Buy local

We try to support local as much as possible. This reduces environmental footprint - no imports from faraway lands, and less travel as its local. We make every effort try to make sure that the meat we buy has been grown kindly. It is also great to support local businesses - food security is something we should all be worried about. People who grow food are national treasures!

Grow your own

Provided you have a properly enclosed area against wildlife, growing your own food is rewarding (albeit a lot of work). If you only have a small safe area, try growing easy things like spinach, rocket, radishes, herbs, and baby beetroot. These can be grown directly in the ground, or in pots or raised beds, which are easier on the knees after a certain age. There is nothing nicer than a salad made from fresh leaves and herbs straight from the garden. Herbs such as rosemary and thyme are robust, evergreen and hardy, and can be enjoyed all year round. They also withstand heat and wind, of which there is an abundance here.

Green living in action.

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