Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Clean Eating in Small Town Western PA

Its not easy bring green. - Kermit the Frog

Living in a small town, a solid hour away from the big city of Pittsburgh, it can be hard to procure all of the foods and cleaning products we'd like to lead a clean, green, lifestyle. It's not always easy but I have spent hours of my life scouring labels, searching through stores, and keeping my ears open for any real food I can find!

Our family of six tries our best to eat a Weston A. Price diet. In short, this means that we focus on eating unprocessed and organic foods with a focus on nutrient density. Here is a run through of some staples in our house, a few recipes, and where we buy the goods. I hope it helps you find some treasures you didn't even know you could get in town!

During the farmer's market season, you can buy all kinds of wonderful produce that's been grown locally, for this post, I discuss mostly grocery store options.


Soaked oatmeal: You can get organic oats in bulk at BTN Healthy Foods Store. Its a great price and they're locally milled by Frankferd Farms. You can also find organic, as well as certified gluten free oats, at Martin's. I have a recipe on my blog on how to prepare oats so that they're easily digestible for all. We don't want to miss out on any nutrients! Soaked Oatmeal

Nitrate free bacon and pastured eggs: We do have some great advantages over city living out here, one of them is having access to many wonderful local farmers. In the summer at our farmer's market (if you get there early) you can buy pastured eggs with rich yellow yolks from the Amish and several others. In the winter months it can be a little trickier. Your best bet is to make friends with a farmer and meet up with them when you can. We have a great relationship with our Amish friends who farm and in the summer I can pretty much pull up whenever and be met with a smile. They say it pays to have friends in high places but I say it pays to have friends who are farmers! I've never met a farmer I didn't immediately respect and like. As for bacon, in my experience, the local butchers process the meat with standard preservatives and nitrates. We just bought half of a pig and I am okay with making an allowance because it isn't a regular indulgence. Martin's sells delicious nitrate free hickory smoked bacon. Its under the Nature's Promise label and is sold with the other bacons. They also have a more expensive nitrate free bacon in the organic section.

Sourdough pancakes: You'll have to stop back for my pancake recipe but you can usually get some starter a friend, or your local WAPF group.

Cereal: Cereal is a food that I love and hate. I love it, in its box, so easy to prepare. All I need are some bowls and raw milk... But oh, cereal, its so nutritionally vapid, processed! There are granolas of course, but because of how we eat they need to be prepared by soaking the oats and I haven't found any of those locally. However (!!!) when I was at Martin's last week I found sprouted, gluten free, organic cereal! I actually yelled out loud I was so happy when I saw them. Sprouting the grains unlocks the nutrients and helps us to digest them. They will still be a treat for us, because they're rather expensive, but in a pinch, I feel good about feeding my kids eating sprouted brown cereal lightly sweetened with coconut palm sugar. (Can you see why I was so excited?!)


Fried egg with swiss chard: Martin's sells rainbow chard in the produce section and while many love kale, chard is my favorite green. I chop the chard up, heat some organic Spectrum Olive oil (also sold at Martin's), dice a carrot, slice some green onion, and fry it up with sea salt and pepper for less than ten minutes in my cast iron skillet. I like the edges of the chard to caramelize a bit. Then pull it out, drop in an egg, season that with more salt and pepper and you have lunch! Its fast, its nourishing, and it fills you up. All of the produce is available at Martin's.

Ham and Cheese Sandwiches: Giant Eagle sells several varieties of Applegate nitrate free and organic lunch meats. We like to make our sandwiches on the sprouted honey wheat bread in the freezer of Martin's organic section. Giant eagle and Martin's both sell Ezekiel sprouted breads and Martin's has a large selection of gluten free options in their organic freezer section. You can buy raw cheese at Martin's, and Giant Eagle carries Applegate cheese. We like to buy blocks of Your Family Farmer raw cheddar cheese. Its the most creamy, delicious cheddar that I've ever had. To make things a little more exciting we slice cucumber thin and put it on our sandwiches.

Annie's Organic Pizza: In a pinch this pizza is made with nitrate free pepperoni and pretty wholesome ingredients. Sold at Martin's. 

Gluten free pasta with meat and tomatoes: My husband makes amazing homemade pasta, but when he doesn't we eat gluten free Tinkyiada pasta from Martin's. As a quick dinner I cook 1 lb of grass fed ground beef, purchased through a local farm but Martin's also sells some grass fed beef, in a skillet, towards the end of cooking I add several chopped tomatoes, grated carrot, a few generous sprinkles of Italian seasoning, fresh garlic, and onion. The more tomatoes the better. Mix with the pasta when cooked and top with some parmesan or romano cheese.

Roast organic chicken and rice with beans: So easy, so delicious, so affordable. Season your chicken with fajita seasoning or whatever you like and roast until cooked. You can prepare beans in advance by soaking them and cooking for hours... which is best, or you can buy a can of Martin's organic black beans and heat them in a pot. We make our rice with lime juice and cilantro to taste. Then I cut up fresh tomato, onions, and more cilantro to serve as a side. It's just so good. Its hard to find organic sour cream in town so we often use Your Family Farmer organic cream top yogurt or fresh kefir if we have any on hand. Martin's also sells many organic Nature's Promise salsas. They're all good. You can even buy sprouted corn tortilla chips there! 


Bread pudding is a lovely comfort food that can be a nourishing treat for you and your littles. My kids and I made some sourdough spelt bread over the first polar vortex and what we didn't eat in the first 2 days became nice and stale. Bread pudding is essentially a custard that you make with chunks of bread in it. I made a rich egg custard with grass fed cream and milk from Your Family Farmer, pastured eggs from them as well, and vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup to sweeten then baked in a water bath.

As a family where 5 of us have lactose intolerance's we can only drink raw milk. It has the enzymes and bacteria that our bodies need to keep faces from breaking out into rashes and husbands from gagging profusely. We buy our raw milk through Your Family Farmer drop points. It can be hard to get to them, since they're not in town, so friends or family usually end up picking up for us. Hopefully, we'll be able to get enough locals who want the milk so that we can start our own drop point someday.

There are many more great finds in our small town, this only highlights a few of our family's favorites. What are your tips for finding organic and nutrient dense food locally?

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