No Weekends Missed at the Market

Another farmer’s market trip on the weekend!

Kale, apples, rainbow carrots, raspberry jam, garlic, 1/2 lb. Bacon (buying less as I dont eat it and the kids themselves not been wanting any lately), micro greens, bean sprouts and corn shoots. The corn shoots are delicious!! Tgey have a sweet taste to them! The containers can be brought back for reuse and I can bring my own container which the lady will fill up at home and bring back to me the following week! I’m so happy with the options! I also bought some wheat grass. It is great for smoothies and great for cats to aid digestion and cope with hairballs. Sparta likes to eat our Christmas decorations and has hairballs now and then, but also gets sick once in a whike. I am hoping the wheat grass will help sooth her.

Since I started going to the farmer’s market well over a year ago, I have not missed one weekend! Dedication to support local, eat local and strive to zero waste!

Farmer’s Market Trip and a Little More

This weekends haul from Downtown Summerside.

    • Apples from Brady’s Farm. So good and juicy! I bring my own bag and refuse theirs. Although, the paper bag provided is welcomed to be returned for reuse!
    • Broccoli and carrots from Crystal Green Farms were bagged, but I asked for them unpacked and the farmer will reuse the bags. Actually, all veggies bagged can be unpacked or you could call/message them before market day to arrange the items packed in a paper bag for pick up.
    • BBQ sauce from High on the Hog. I have been wanting to make my own and have not yet, so here I am supporting local!
    • Eggs.
    • Micro greens from Our Old Island Market Farm has containers of micro greens which can be returned and/or I can give my own container to be filled for the following week! This is much their norm to cut waste and reuse.
    • Vinegar Hill Bakery will bring goods in paper bags instead of plastic bags if you ask for your order the day before the market!
    • One Stop Healing makes lotions for many uses and more. You can bring her a container which she can fill from the workshop and bring it back to the market the following weekend with the product you chose.
    • Turnip.

Coconut culture in the glass jar for making coconut yogurt. One step closer! From the health food store on Water street.

  • South Shore Soaps bar soap I bought from the Three Oaks Craft Fair.
  • A couple puzzles for Thomas and Chris to enjoy as well from LIL’ Buddy Puzzelz at the fair too.
  • 3 Pj sets to split up with the girls at home from Frenchy’s. Was looking for pj’s for Jack, no luck.

Great weekend supporting local!

Making Our Own Fresh Orange Juice

Nothing like having a glass of orange orange juice; freshly squeezed!  I feel like I’m not getting enough Vitamin C so I decided to start having fresh juice available.  Though, it reallymstarted when me and Chris were making drinks. Bahama Mama is my favorite alcoholic drink. I did not want to buy a jug of orange juice, a box of aluminum cans would be too much. So, making my own juice would work. I took the same idea with pineapple juice. Skip the cans and go straight for the fruit!

Peel and core and pop into the blender with a bit of water. After the fruit is blended, strain through a cheese cloth. Lots of yummy fresh juice! We did the pineapple first, and next was the oranges. Instead of adding water like above, we added some pineapple juice to the oranges. Blend, strain and taste. We thought the taste of orange and pineapple was pretty close to Five Alive!

This day, I peeled 6 oranges. Blend 2 at a time with 1/2 cup of water each time. Blend, strain with cheese cloth and stir in a container. At first I was storing the orange juice in a reused sunflower oil bottle, but Chris felt that the kids (Thomas) was too young to have a handle on it. If it dropped, lots of sharp pieces of glass. So, I found our juice jug and stored over a liter of orange juice in it.

The kids are not a fan, it does not have any added sugar of course. Thomas will have some and Jack is so-so. I want to experiment with adding other citrus fruits and see what flavors we can come up with!

 

Reuse Bags for Bread

Our one bread box does not seem to be enough to store our bread needs. Its fine to store the homemade bread and sub buns I make, but there is no room for bagels. Often I don’t buy bagels because there is no room at home. The other problem is that I don’t have enough counter space to give for another bread box. Today I decided to use cereal bags to store the over stocked bread items! Sometimes it is the simplest ideas that make great solutions!

I use cereal bags for litter picking when I’m outdoors. I also use them instead of  boxes for storing toys or packing donations.

Cereal we buy are Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerioes, and Corn Flakes. Recently Rice Crispies. I buy Bran Flakes and Shreddies from Bulk Barn. The kids do not eat much cereal lately, they have a lot of toast or buns instead. I like adding raisins, dried cran berries, dried blue berries and pumpkin seeds to bran Flakes for a wholesome snack.

When there is no room in the bread box for both bread loaves, the one being used will sit on top of the bread box, cut side down. It will stay fresh until it is gone or a couple days. The bread in the box will stay fresh for about 3 days after that. Normally I make bread 2 times a week, but I feel as of late, it’s been 3 times a week.

Grocery Trip This Week

Now and then I like to share our shopping products. This time around, I did buy multiples of items as they were on sale, such as the flour, we go through quite a bit. The first picture is our most wasteful trip, regular grocery store. Not everybody in this house has cut back all plastic waste packaging. Together we are working on it, I can not control everything. Just like we as individuals are on a slightly different path on the zero waste journey, so are our family members. I got to give respect and patience to those, as they do great in other areas of the zero waste practice.

Sobey’s trip. I started to purchase Nutella again, unhappily.  But I found it available in glass jars. We reuse the jars for drinking glasses or for starting new plants from our Christmas Cactus. Still looking for the right recipe!
Flour was on sale, grabbed a couple bags.
The Summerside Butcher Shop. Everything wrapped in paper as requested.
Superstore trip. Dishwasher detergent in box. Sandwich meat in my own container and some casseroles in my own containers to take to a family potluck.
Bulk Barn trip. Lots of goodies in the pic. I did pick up some peanut free chocolates for Halloween, wrapped in foil; better than wrapped in plastic (no to new/recycled plastics).
The Summerside Farmer’s Market trip. Barnsoap and lip balm in a tin can from The Farmer’s Wife. Apples and carrots. Bacon and hot dogs. Eggs and an Aloe Vera Plant! Also stopped at Staples for white paper, wrapped in paper.

Latly I have been thinking about how Bulk Barn recieves their products. For example, cornstarch. I can buy it in compostable packaging at the grocery store. Does Bulk Barn get it in paper bags or plastic bags? There are some unknown factors that I want to get to the bottom of. I realize that even though I can get cornstarch in a box at the grocery store, the pallet of that item is probably wrapped up in plastic anyways. Food for thought!

 

Summerside Farmer’s Market

I love going the The Summerside Farmer’s Market! I have been going every Saturday for over a year now, supporting local businesses. I try to spread out and reach as many vendors as I can. There are so many options of goods and the people are so friendly.

This past weekend I brought home a great haul of goods. When I go shopping I buy plastic free options or try my best. I bring my own produce bags and containers. Our family has been going plastic free as much as possible for over a year. You can read all about it on my website, Rachel.Willcock.ca. You can also follow me on Facebook at Managing Our Waste at Home.

I wish there was more support for the vendors to offer plastic free options. Some options off the top of my head:

  • Sell in paper bags or paper containers (I for one won’t mind the price going up a tad to stop single use plastics!)
  • customers bring their own bag/containers
  • vendors could sell their goods from a large bin using tongs to select the amount purchased. Have a scale available to weigh the products.
  • Have a bring back a reusable container/bag program

In this picture is a lovely selection of the goods I picked up for my family to enjoy.

  • I got some Vesta Bella and August apples from Brady’s Farm using my own produce cloth bags. Brady has paper bags he sells his apples in and he does want them returned when possible. Reuse!!
  • There are strawberries and blue berries from East Isle Farms. The wooden crates are compostable on PEI and the paper containers are recyclable like egg cartons.
  • Some lovely Peas from J&L Farms, using my own white cloth produce bag.
  • Clohossey Farms was selling brocolli and cauliflower package free, score!
  • The best bacon I have ever had is from Pleasant Pork. Sometimes we get back bacon, kolbalssa, salami and pepperoni. Ham is on my list this coming weekend! They also sell free range eggs. The eggs are the best ones I have ever seen too! Nothing like free range!
  • I also bought some lovely snack bags from Inspire Essential Heatable Bags. They are great for back to school! Natural fabric with a water proof fabric inside, keeping the snacks fresh all day. They are also washable in the washing machine. Less containers for me to wash after school!
  • I buy our cleaning needs from The Farmer’s Wife. Bar soap, Shampoo bar, Cleaning soap, Laundry Soap and Wool dryer balls. This list is short compared to what is available! I will add, the cleaning and laundry soap containers are returnable with a small discount, Reducing the container waste. Awesome!

I also visit other vendors for string beans, carrots, peppers, croissants, honey, leafy greens and garlic.

Some pictures of past trips to the Summerside Farmer’s Market
Croissant, wrong beans,now as, carrots, English cucumbers plastic free, bacon and garlic.
Free range eggs, lettuce, laundry soap, berries, bar soap, english cucumbers plastic free, kolbassa and bacon.
Free range local eggs, bacon, back bacon, laundry soap, bar soap, fresh greens, pepperoni and salami.
Snack bags
Reusable cloth snack bags
String beans and peas, apples, eggs, bar soap, shampoo bar and croissant.
Carrots, laundry soap, free range eggs, peppers, bacon, garlic, croissant, and peas.
Lettuce in cloth produce bag, carrots, peas, eggs, English cucumbers plastic free, string beans, bar soap, croissant and bacon.
Shopping local has many benefits!
  • Keeping money in local communities
  • Helping local families
  • Products come from familiar people
  • Much less carbon footprint for travelling
  • Products are fresher
  • Usually less packaging
  • Creates more demand for local products in turn creating local jobs
  • And many more!

Check out this post about my Shopping Routine and seasonings! It will show more about why I have changed our shopping and consuming habits and how! It was published in early June, and already we have made more changes!

Don’t forget the important R’s
  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repair
  • Recycle
  • Rot

Mustard Pickles

Iingredients

12 cups of cucumber (peeled and seeds removed), about 8 good sized ones
6 cups diced onion
3 red peppers
3/4 cup salt
4 cups of vinegar
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dry mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp celery seed

When I made this recipe I used what I had. I did not have 6 cups of onions. I used a very large red onion and a medium yellow onion and also I had 1 1/2 orange pepper and a bit of red pepper. Also, I did not have the whole 1/4 cup of dry mustard powder. My mustard pickles still turned out great and yummy! Me and Thomas are the only ones who will eat it, so 7 jars should last until next year.

This recipe came from my mom.

In a large pot add 12 cups of chopped cucumber, 6 cups diced onion and 3 red peppers. Add 3/4 cup of salt. Cover with cold water for 2 hours. Drain well and do not rinse. Add 4 cups of vinegar and cook on stove top for 20 minutes, do not boil and keep veggies crunchy.
In a bowl mix 4 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup dry mustard powder, 1 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 Tbsp of celery seed. Add to cooked veggies and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes, no boil. Add to clean canning jars and seal. Makes about 8 jars.

Veggies in place
Vinegar and cooking for 20 minutes
All ingredients are in
Canned. Not so bright a yellow as I did not have all the dry mustard powder. Tastes great anyways!

Compostable Items

I just got off the phone with our Island Waste Management asking about two items I have been wondering about for disposal.

Coffee cups, like Tim Horton’s. In lots of news feed I see that they are lined with plastic. When I look at these cups, yes there is a shiny material coating the inside, but the cup rips easily. I was once told by IWMC that if the item rips, compost it. Plastic does not too easily, take a produce sticker for example or cling wrap. On PEI, coffee cups are compostable. It’s the lid that is the main problem. (Also, in my opinion any material single use is a problem, but at least the cup is compostable). I wonder if facilities across the country have a harder time composting them, hence the bad feedback about “plastic lined cups”.

Ice cream containers. ADL and Scotsburn for example, used to come in plastic recyclable containers. They have switched to cardboard a while ago. I always thought it strange because of the shiny coating, I put it in waste. I asked IWMC about these containers, as the other day out of curiosity, I ripped it! According to IWMC, these are compostable too. Though, the cover has a plastic ring which must go to waste. I take the time (20 seconds or less) to remove the cardboard off the ring and compost as much as I can. I’m actually keeping the rings (some at least) for the kids to craft with or use as a stencil. I imagine there will be other uses to come up with too.

All Summer we have been saving ice cream at home for needed days so we do not go through a bunch of wasteful containers. Can I go back in time with this knowledge? 😂

Update: Kate commented the rings should be cut before placed into the waste bin, which is absolutely correct in case an animal gets stuck in it. Thanks for pointing that out Kate!

It is very important to contact your Waste Management Team about proper disposal.

Last Berry Pickup From a Local Farm

We never did make it to a strawberry u-pick farm this year. Time flies so fast and I have a hard time to just plan and go.  Also, I don’t really have the space to store/freeze a bunch of berries. I have not planned on making jam this year either. It will be easier next year I imagine when the little people are another year older. Thomas is still in cloth diapers, there seems to always be housework to do and so much fun outdoors doing other things. I can not imagine bringing Thomas to a u-pick either. I would just be chasing him and not picking. lol.

On Saturday, Daniel, Jack and I went to Compton’s Vegetable stand to get some more berries to snack on at home. I brought my own bowl, as last time I was in, they allowed me to dump there crates into my bowl and they could reuse the crate.  They were very happy to do it again. I found out today was the last day for the u-pick. Deep inside, I really did want to go and at least get enough for snacks during the week and also just take the older 4 kids. But, I missed my chance, and that is okay. I bought 4 crates and used my bowl.

A Waste Free Snack

Popcorn is a great snack to have at our house! Popcorn maker, package free kernels,and margarine wrapped in paper (I can not find butter not wrapped in plastic).

It used to be we bought popcorn kernels in bags and used the popcorn machine. Then we switched to prepackaged popcorn, individually wrapped, microwavable. It was convenient and more “tasty”. Then we started to cut back on plastic, and popcorn was one of the first switches after I started to go to Bulk Barn. 

We brought out the machine again! I did buy a cloth popcorn bag at the Farmer’s Market awhile back, but it did not serve us long. It did not pop the kernels well, some burnt while there were half not popped yet. It seemed to take a long while before we had enough popcorn for everyone, and the bag got super hot from microwaving so long. I was worried about a fire. We used  about a dozen times until I retired it. The machine was certainly the best option! The cloth bag, in my opinion, would be good for a single person, or single use. Not for making a big amount, for like 5 people.

So now, we use the machine popper. I melt butter in a dish in the microwave, covered with a cloth (that will be washed and reused). No garbage, no waste! I always try to eat what they don’t, later.