June 17, 2016
How to Meal Prep: On the Farm With Barb Webb
A busy life isn't always lived in the hustle and bustle of the city. Barb Webb, the woman behind popular country living blog Rural Mom, is a testament to just how much anyone, no matter where they live or what they do, can benefit from the meal prepping capabilities made possible with a meal management bag! Barb was gracious enough to lend us some of her insights into life on the farm and how to meal prep, Rural-Mom style.
Eat seasonally.When it comes to how to meal prep on the farm, Barb pointed to one major component immediately: eating seasonally. This is just easier to do on the farm in general, as you're already growing a good deal of the food yourself, but you can also shop around the neighborhood, trade with other farmers, and go to farmer's markets in the area, which just makes it easier to stay on top of seasonal foods. Container gardening is another tremendous help, especially during the winter months when growing capabilities are limited. Some foods in season right now in Kentucky, where Barb is based out of, include strawberries, blackberries, herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, grains, root vegetables, beets, radishes, and carrots.
Meal prep beyond the city.6 Pack Bags have so many more unique uses than previously imagined, one of which Barb pointed out: on a large acreage farm, the bags are a convenient way to keep your food on hand out in the field! Not only that, but the bags are good for picnicking and hiking as well. Barb and her family particularly enjoy hiking in the national forests that surround their home; they fill up their 6 Pack and four people have satisfied appetites within the beauty of nature.
Typical day of meals on the farm.Barb took us through what a typical day of food would look like for her and her family on the farm, most of which is relatively attainable even if you don't live on a farm. Get inspired to create your own farm-style meal prep!
Breakfast:Barb's family raises chickens, so a lot of eggs and egg dishes are for breakfast.
Mid-morning snack:Barb loves smoothies for a mid-morning snack. Strawberry and spinach is her current favorite – and so easy to carry with her using her 6 Pack!
Lunch:Salad is a lunch staple, especially with the amount of produce to be had in the summer. Barb likes to get creative with her recipe for cucumber and green bean salad, generously shared with us below! But her main piece of advice is to take produce that tends to be prolific and make it a part of lunchtime during heavy growing season. For example, her autumn salad includes root veggies, potatoes, apples, ginger root, with some jerk chicken in it for protein. They also utilize the lake nearby for some seafood options, as well as black walnut trees on their farm for nuts.
Mid-afternoon snack:Yogurt and granola is a classic mid-morning choice, with another smoothie to chase it down. Another one of Barb's recent favorites includes grapefruit topped with mint from her garden. Apples and natural peanut butter are also a staple, easy to pack and carry in your bag.
Dinner:Dinner is a big event on the farm. You spend all day working in the field, so coming home to dinner is family time. The main protein source is typically some type of meat, usually steak, chicken, or fish, with a vegetable side and a fruit side, such as applesauce or strawberry dip, for a well-rounded and well-balanced meal. They often make their own bread and pastas, although they buy the grain themselves – even on the farm, you don't have to grow EVERYTHING yourself. They don't do dessert often, but when they do, fresh fruit is the name of the game.
Make use of canning, dehydrating, and freezing.Barb and her family are avid canners. They start the process in October-November and preserve as much food as possible this way to last them through the winner; garlic is a big one. They also dehydrate a lot of foods, which make for excellent snacks throughout the year. Fruit and sweet potatoes are some of her favorites. Some foods can be dehydrated in the sun – strawberries, apples, and tomatoes – though it's not usually optimal due to the intruding presence of insects. It's also a commitment and quite a process, so Barb tends to use a dehydrating device instead. Freezing is the easiest method for preserving and works particularly well for meat.
Try not to waste anything.Doing their best not to waste anything is just another part of the everyday for Barb and her family. In fact, it's a way of life that she's been living since age 5, and one that she would like to see everyone incorporate. If food doesn't get eaten by her or her family, then it gets fed to the chickens, composted, or preserved. You can always find a use for something. But she's lived in the city as well as the country, so she understands the difficulty. Even so, incorporating methods like container gardening and items like table-top composters do make it possible in the city as well as on the farm.
"You do the best with what you can. Maybe you can incorporate 25%, and that's good enough. It brings you that much closer to being fully sustainable."