And now, here are my thoughts on two more specific questions. (I have many more, but I have to post my answers as I am able since I am still searching for normalcy in my life... and until then, I have to choose how I spend my time carefully.)
1. How does a large family afford to eat this way??? I followed a resource link and discovered delicious raw cheese for a mere $13.00 per pound!!!! With my large family of big eaters I would go bankrupt in no time!
Yes, some of the organic foods out there can be devastatingly pricey. Especially for big families. On one hand, I want to support all the local farmers who are keeping healthy food on the market. On the other hand, doing so is just not feasible if we want to eat every day. First, I suggest looking for affordable food resources (they exist!) and setting up a bulk food budget.
Second, do what you are able to do without bemoaning what you can't do. (Not that the dear friend who asked this question was bemoaning!) I just mean that we do need to be content with what we have. We do our very best to make our dollars buy as much as they can. And we do not fret over what is out of our control. If you are doing the very best you can, rest in that. Always look for better deals and better sources and better recipes. But do not fret. (It is not healthy!)
On cheese, I found that Morningland Dairy is the cheapest source for raw milk cheese. Orders must be called in, but the mild cheddar runs about $5.00 per pound (at least it was the last time I ordered).
We eat a lot of cheese! It freezes well when shredded and keeps several months in the fridge when kept sealed. So, we order in bulk from Minerva Dairy. This is not raw milk cheese, but it is made from Amish milk and is much healthier than commercial dairy. We consider it the best we can do within our means. And we are thankful.
For bulk orders, call for a current price list and then order by the case (which can be 10 pounds or 24 pounds depending on the cheese). I am on the email list and I keep my eye out for the sale on mellow cheddar cheese. It is on sale once or twice a year for less than $2.00 per pound. Then I buy A LOT. Their cheeses are normally priced between $3.75 and $4.25 per pound, except for sharp cheeses.
Minerva Diary Phone Number: (330) 868-4196.
Note: We also order our butter from Minerva and love it! If on sale, it can be as cheap as about $2.00 per pound too.
2. Do you have sources that you have found affordable for good quality ingredients?
Well, so much of what I buy is local (eggs, chicken, honey, beef, etc.). I mentioned buying grain from Walton Feed. Ordering with a group in order to get freight shipping makes a huge difference. And I mentioned baking goods, nuts and seeds from Country Life Natural Foods.
My produce comes from Global Organics. You could see if they deliver near you.
I used to order with a United Naturals Buying Club. You could see if there is one in your area.
I have found a great deal on maple syrup from Amazon Grocery before. And they occasionally have other really great deals if you search their organic deals from time to time. They offer free shipping on orders over $25... that's a plus.
But think local. Visit farmer's markets and talk with the farmers. Call the local high school's Future Farmers of America club and see if they have a listing of local farmers. Call some of the farms on LocalHarvest and see where those calls take you. It is the small local farms that produce great food, often at great prices, who are great conversationalists -- and who need our support. I love the billboard near here that says: "Got food. Thank a farmer."
Hope this list helps!