S3 E4 – Sourcing Vegetables w/ Tyler Boggs

Welcome to The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast Season 3: Real Food on a Budget. We’re dedicating this season to discussing an aspect of natural healing that often gets left out of the conversation: affordability. We’ll be chatting with experts and peers from the AIP community about how to best balance money with your health priorities.

This season is brought to you by our title sponsor, The Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA), a holistic nutrition school that trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants with an emphasis on bioindividual nutrition. Learn more about them by visiting NutritionalTherapy.com, or read about our experiences going through their NTP and NTC programs in our comparison article.

Season 3 Episode 4 is all about the best ways to source produce — veggies and fruit — with budget in mind. This is a deep dive into all things produce sourcing! We cover our personal sourcing tips and how we personally save money, and we chat with our guest, Tyler Boggs of Heart2Heart Farms, about the benefits of CSAs and how to source your fruits and veggies if you can’t afford organic. Scroll down for the full episode transcript!

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Full Transcript:

Mickey Trescott: Welcome to the Autoimmune Wellness podcast, a resource for those seeking to live well with chronic illness. I’m Mickey Trescott, a nutritional therapy practitioner living well with autoimmune disease in Oregon. I’m the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, and I’m using diet and lifestyle to best manage both Hashimoto’s and Celiac disease.

Angie Alt: And I’m Angie Alt. I’m a certified health coach and nutritional therapy consultant, also living well with autoimmune disease in Maryland. I’m the author of The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook, and I’m using diet and lifestyle to best manage my endometriosis, lichen sclerosis, and Celiac disease.

After recovering our health by combining the best of conventional medicine with effective and natural dietary and lifestyle interventions, Mickey and I started blogging at www.AutoimmuneWellness.com, where our collective mission is seeking wellness and building community.

We also wrote a book called The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook together that serves as a do-it-yourself guidebook to living well with chronic illness.

Mickey Trescott: If you’re looking for more information about the autoimmune protocol, make sure to sign up for our newsletter at autoimmunewellness.com, so we can send you our free quick start guide. It contains printable AIP food lists, a 2-week food plan, a 90-minute batch cooking video, a mindset video, and food reintroduction guides.

This season of the podcast, real food on a budget is brought to you by our title sponsor, The Nutritional Therapy Association.

Angie Alt: A quick disclaimer: The content in this podcast is intended as general information only, and is not to be substituted for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Onto the podcast!

 

Topics:

1. Budget friendly sourcing of produce [2:14]
2. Personal sourcing tips from Mickey and Angie [8:40]
3. Guest interview with Tyler Boggs of Heart2Heart Farms [14:22]
4. Personal approach to budgeting for produce [18:54]
5. Produce scoring stories [24:24]
6. Sourcing when you can’t afford organic [29:45]
7. Benefits of a CSA [34:01]

Angie Alt: Hi everyone! Angie here. Welcome back to the Autoimmune Wellness podcast season 3. How are you doing, Mickey?

Mickey Trescott: I’m doing great, how about you Angie?

Angie Alt: I’m good. I’ve been flying around to the West Coast a bunch, but I am home today and ready to chat about our next topic.

Mickey Trescott: I know, Angie’s been like a little ping-pong ball, back and forth.

Angie Alt: It’s been kind of crazy. I just traveled out to the West three times in three weeks, you guys. But I’m ready to do it. Anything for the cause. {laughs}

Mickey Trescott: {laughs}

1. Budget friendly sourcing of produce [2:14]

Angie Alt: Ok, so today we’re continuing our discussion related to the topic this season, real food on a budget. This episode is going to be about how to source produce. From veggies to fruit with a budget in mind.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, so we really wanted to take a deep dive into all things produce sourcing. Because there’s kind of a lot of nuance here. So if you guys have the Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, you will be familiar with the concept of good, better, and best that we talk about when it comes to food sourcing in general. But we kind of wanted to go over it in terms of produce.

So what this means is that you have a few different layers of quality that you can choose to buy your produce. So instead of saying everybody needs to buy the highest level, and this is the only way to heal. We’re kind of presenting a variety of ways that you guys can plan your sourcing. So that you can make the most use of the resources that you have.

So first category is good. This is for those of you who can’t get all organic fruits and vegetables. What we recommend doing is to start with the Environmental Working Groups list of dirtiest and cleanest produce. If you guys do a quick Google, type in EWG dirty dozen, and clean 15, you’ll come up with a cute little chart where the Environmental Working Group has tested all the fruits and vegetables in production in the US, and they’ve identified the ones that have the highest chemical residue of pesticides and stuff.

So, this is a really great way to kind of prioritize your fruit and veggie choices, right Angie?

Angie Alt: Yeah. Well, this is a way for you to kind of get the max out of the foods that you can afford to buy organic, and kind of be really strategic about those purchases, so you’re not having to spend so much money on totally organic and utilizing the research to do that.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So the 2017 dirty dozen list; I have it pulled up here. They don’t have the 2018 list out yet. I think it’s coming out soon. But the dirty dozen. These are the fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticides. Strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. We know you guys are probably not eating tomatoes and sweet bell peppers, if you’re on AIP. But those are going to be foods that have the highest pesticides. And you know, some of those are pretty surprising to me. Like cucumbers, I maybe wouldn’t have thought. But you know, those are the ones that were tested.

The clean 15 list has avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, sweet peas, onions, mangos, asparagus, papaya, kiwi, eggplant, honeydew, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. So these were the vegetables that were shown to have the least amount of pesticides. So they might be ok for you to get conventional.

So some things like cauliflower, or cabbage, or onions. These are vegetables that are AIP friendly. Avocado. I buy conventional avocados a lot just because they’re on the top of the clean 15 list, they don’t have a lot of pesticides, and also they have a nice thick skin. And organic avocados; super expensive.

Angie Alt: Super expensive. Yeah, I do totally the same thing. One thing I didn’t realize, though. I hadn’t realized that cauliflower was on the clean 15 list, and I’ve been buying organic. So I’ll probably switch up. Because I like to use a lot of different cauliflower in my cooking.

Mickey Trescott: Yep. Yeah, so in addition to the dirty dozen and the clean 15 and kind of being able to prioritize there; something else you can do is watch for some sales on organic local in-season produce. So it’s usually way more economical to buy this way and checking out frozen vegetables. A lot of times freezing preserves nutrients, and is also lower cost. So if you guys are just getting started with upping the quality of your food, some of those recommendations might work for you.

Angie Alt: Right. So moving onto the better category. So this is the next step up in terms of budgeting and sourcing. If you can avoid some organic produce, you can focus on organic versions of those on the dirty dozen list. And round out a variety with the non-organic fruits and vegetables from that clean 15 list that we talked about. And you can shop at your local farmer’s market, and look for great deals on organic local produce.

If you focus on the local produce, the idea here is that you might find that your budget actually accommodates more of the organic. Because you won’t have the shipping cost as part of the premium you’re paying at the store.

Mickey Trescott: And then the best. So if you’re going to go all out and get the best produce you possibly can, which we recommend over the long term the more you can shift that budget to kind of up the food quality all across the board, you would be getting all, or as much of your produce as possible, organic, local, and in season. A great way to do this is by joining a CSA, which stands for community supported agriculture. This is when you pay the share of a farmer’s produce at the beginning of the season, and then the farmer has that money to invest and creating that harvest. And then you pick it up weekly. Sometimes they’ll deliver it to you. And then filling in whatever you’re not getting there with a variety at the farmer’s market co-op, natural food store.

I would also add her that the very, very best is actually growing your own. Right? So if you have complete control over all aspects of producing your food, that’s the most sustainable and it’s going to be the freshest. It’s going to be, obviously, the most in-season because you don’t have all the tricks that all the industrial even organic food growers have up their sleeves. And it’s going to be really convenient; it’s going to be right at home.

2. Personal sourcing tips from Mickey and Angie [8:30]

Angie Alt: Right. So great option if you can do that. So maybe we should talk about how we source our produce, Mickey.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. So I live in Willamette Valley in Oregon. I live in an area where I can grow a lot. And actually something that I am striving to do better every single year is to become more self-reliant and grow my own food. So, we have a big herb garden that we use year-round. I grow lots of greens like kale, chard, lettuces, and zucchini.

Something that I learned, even when I lived in Seattle in the city when I really didn’t have a lot of food budget for good produce, was I actually found a chart online that said the most expensive produce per ounce from high to low. And actually, the highest cost that we pay in the store is actually herbs and greens. So things like cilantro, rosemary, thyme. And then the greens like the baby lettuces, spinach, kale, chard. And those are actually the easiest things to grow and they take the smallest amount of room. They don’t need a super deep bed. A lot of them can be grown in pots. So those are things that I prioritize growing just because of cost.

Another thing that I do is I pick my own in the summer. In the summer, there’s a crazy bounty of things like berries. My husband and I will go to the farm and we’ll pick pounds and pounds of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and then we’ll freeze them. And like right now, it’s the middle of winter, and we still have a bunch of frozen berries from the summer. Something else we do is we harvest persimmons from a persimmon tree in the winter, and so kind of the flip side.

And then I have different produce sourcing depending on if it’s summer or if it’s winter. Because even though we live somewhere that food grows, it’s not totally year-round. So in the summer, that’s when it’s amazing bounty all the time. I like to go to the farmer’s market. I haven’t been doing a CSA the last couple of years because I’ve been traveling so much that it’s a little complicated trying to figure out what to do with that food. I’m considering it this year because I’m not traveling as much.

In the winter, I fill in the gaps with like a Fred Myers, which for those of you who don’t live in the Northwest, it’s kind of like a Walmart. I don’t actually have a great specialty grocer where I live. I don’t have a Whole Foods, or even a Sprouts or Trader Joe’s. So actually surprisingly, they have a pretty good selection of organic produce in the winter. It’s the same industrial organic stuff that you find at Whole Foods. Honestly, it’s a lot cheaper because it’s not in a fancy store. But that’s where I kind of round out my produce when I have to.

Angie Alt: Awesome. So, I also have a mix, depending on the season. In the summertime, I get 100% organic CSA from my local farmer. The same farmer that I get most of my meat from. And she grows a bunch of different herbs, greens, onions, some fruits. Honestly, there’s a lot of nightshades in that CSA, but my husband and daughter can enjoy some of that. or we share it with neighbors or friends.

Even when I travel, I like having the weekly CSA. I usually arrange with a friend of mine who also enjoys this quality of food and have her pick up my CSA, and basically share it with her family. Like a little gift to her when I’m traveling.

And then in the winter, I mostly use Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and I get a combination of organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables. Usually based on that Environmental Working Groups guide. I don’t grow a lot of my own, because I live in a pretty urban/suburban area and I don’t really have a space for that. I have done a little bit of pot gardening in the past. Growing some greens in pots and stuff on our balcony. Mostly I stick to purchasing from my local farms, or the Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods combo. So that’s it. That’s my produce sourcing.

Mickey Trescott: Awesome. I think it’s good to just share with people the different ways that we get our hands on this stuff. I am blessed to live kind of in farm country, but I also don’t have a good grocery store right by me. So by necessity, I’m forced to be a little more self-reliant. And Angie, I know you have a lot of options as far as stores around you, and you can actually leverage that and shop around. It’s more convenient for you to kind of see where you can get for the best price.

Angie Alt: Right. Right. Ok, so that’s it for the first half of this episode, you guys. We’ll be back after the break with a guest who is going to help us expand these ideas. He’s kind of amazing. We can’t wait to share.

Mickey Trescott: A quick word from our title sponsor this season, the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA empowers it’s graduates to source, prepare, and integrate a variety of well-sourced plant foods as part of a nutrient dense diet. For example, did you know that the betaine in beets aids digestion? Chromium in romaine lettuce can help regulate blood sugar? And that brussels sprouts have been found to boost beneficial gut bacteria? Through their nutritional therapy practitioner training program, which I took in 2012, and the nutritional therapy consultant program, which Angie took in 2015, the NTA teaches students to use foods therapeutically and focuses on building foundational health by integrating customized diets based on everybody’s unique needs.

For more information on the NTA’s nutritional therapy programs, and to access their free 7-day 101 course, check out their website at www.NutritionalTherapy.com.

3. Guest interview with Tyler Boggs of Heart2Heart Farms [14:22]

Mickey Trescott: Alright guys, onto our interview for today. It’s just Mickey for this segment. Today we are speaking with Tyler Boggs, one half of the duo behind the incredible Heart2Heart Farms here in Oregon, with his wife, Elizabeth. Tyler and Elizabeth started raising animals and growing food after they converted to a real food lifestyle, but found that it was difficult to afford it. Not only did they start their farm to produce food for themselves, but they passionately developed a barter and work-trade systems to allow those in need to feed those they love.

A few short years later, Tyler has never been happier, sharing what he has and providing a sanctuary where people can nourish their bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. Other than being a good husband and father, there is no higher caller in the world to him than that. Thank you so much, Tyler, for joining us from Sherwood, Oregon. Your neighbor! As you know, we’re just kicking off a very focused podcast season dedicated to helping people making a healing diet and lifestyle fit into their budget. We know this is an area that you have a ton of expertise in, and I’m really excited to get started talking to you today.

Tyler Boggs: Thank you, Mickey. We’re super excited as well.

Mickey Trescott: Awesome. So, first we know that your farm was born out of a personal struggle to afford this high-quality food. We know a lot of other people struggle with this, too, and they might resonate with your story. So can you tell us a little bit about how those circumstances lead to the creation of Heart2Heart farms?

Tyler Boggs: Yeah. Tight budget leads to necessity. So when we decided to eat organic; it started with just becoming jaded with the food industry in general and deciding enough is enough. And we needed to get the chemicals out of our food.

And when we did that, our food bill went up to over $1400 a month. Almost immediately. And that just wasn’t sustainable. So we immediately just started to get creative. And the first thing that we thought of; I mean, a seed packet was $2. And we didn’t really know anything. I mean, I grew up on a farm. but I deployed very early and spent a bunch of years overseas. So I didn’t have much experience personally farming. So we just got on Google. We bought some seed packets and got on Google, and started planting and failing miserably. But at $2 a seed packet, you can have a lot of failure and still produce a bunch of food.

And the result was, we actually ended up producing more than we needed in many areas, and giving that away. and then people would request. Once we started doing that, people would say; I’d like something of this, and I’d like some of this. And it grew, no pun intended, organically. And then we started the farm just through that. So believe it or not, it was seed packets and Google.

Mickey Trescott: Wow.

Tyler Boggs: Desperation. We made the commitment that we were done with the food industry. And we would do whatever it takes. You would be surprised at what $20 in seed will buy. A weekly grocery budget for us would produce a whole season full of food.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I think a lot of people aren’t really even familiar with those seed packets. But what would you even ballpark estimate one of those $2 packets of seeds; for something even as expensive at the store as like kale or lettuce or something. What’s the dollar value ballpark for something like that?

Tyler Boggs: You’re looking at probably 1000%.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah.

Tyler Boggs: It’s 100 times. It’s super, super; at retail prices, that $2 seed packet will produce hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of produce at a retail rate. Especially if you’re talking about organic produce.

And for us, it was really just the scary piece was that we’d never done it and we didn’t want to mess it up. And not having the basic foundation really prevented us, for a long time, from just starting to put seeds in the ground. But really, that’s it. It’s just starting to put seeds in the ground.

My wife is a part of all of these wonderful Facebook groups where she can just take a picture of the plant, and post it to this group, and they can tell her what it needs. At the very beginning, that was critical. They’d say; it needs more water. The soil doesn’t have enough nitrogen. And these plant experts were just willing to give all their incredible advice. I mean, it really didn’t take much. It was just the getting started and overcoming that fear of messing it up.

4. Personal approach to budgeting for produce [18:54]

Mickey Trescott: I love that. that’s so cool. So, can you tell me a little bit about your family’s personal approach to stretching your food budget, especially in terms of produce. How do you make the most of what you’ve got?

Tyler Boggs: That’s a super great question. And that was probably the biggest challenge up front. Number one was self-reliance. Really deciding that we were going to be the beginning and end. We were going to take whatever action we needed to to make sure that our family was eating chemical free. So self-reliance, and then that action step. We were going to act, even if we didn’t have all the information. We were just going to get started.

But the other piece that was really important, was seasonal abundance and eating seasonally. One of the things that we’ve found is, whether it’s a farmer or somebody who just has a garden in their back yard. There are crops that over produce. Whether it’s tomatoes in the late summer, or whether it’s zucchini in the early fall. It doesn’t take; one bush will provide more than a family needs. So there are lots and lots and lots of people. As long as you’re willing to eat what’s available seasonally and search that stuff out. In the summer you’ve got pears and apple trees all down the highway and the roads. It’s just a matter of finding them. And they’ll drop far more fruit than anybody generally uses. So if we’re willing to shift our diet and eat what’s in season, and what’s abundant; that really helped immensely, as well. Just looking for those opportunities. Finding out what gets ripe and when.

I remember, every time we’d go for a walk or go for a drive, we’d write down where apple trees, and pear trees, and fruit trees were on the sides of the road. Because inevitably, all you’ve got to know is when they get ripe, and they just drop the fruit. 90% of it rots on the ground. So self-reliance, seasonal eating.

Preserving; preservation. Liz is a fermentationist. So preservation is a huge piece of what she does in fermentation. But also drying and dehydrating. And then pressure canning, and even water bath canning. So, preserve, preserve, preserve. When those things are in abundance, and you get 100 pounds of apples, obviously we can’t eat those before they go bad. So finding a way to make sure that they last. Even if you can get them to last a couple of months. But ideally, last until the next harvest. So increasing our knowledge in preservation.

And then building community I think is the next step. Because it’s challenging to go this road alone. So we started with one other family. As soon as we got really excited about it, we found a really close friend that was in the same boat. Hurting financially but really wanted to improve their health and change their lifestyle. It’s amazing how much more energy you have working with one other couple. And instead of doing it just for yourself, which can become monotonous and tiresome; now all of a sudden, you’re kind of the champion and cheerleader for somebody else who you know is hurting as well. And it makes it much harder to quit.

And then ultimately building a network. Three, four, five families where we can all keep our eyes out for trees that are going into harvest and abundances becoming available. And then, eventually reaching out and developing a gleaning network with farmers. Where, when you’ve got a team of three or four or five families; now all of a sudden you can be super useful to a farmer when they have abundance, either gather that or get it to families in need.

So I would say, if I were to really boil it down as far as our personal approach, it would be just those five areas. Self-reliance, eating seasonally and taking advantage of seasonal abundance that’s wasted, preservation, building community, and then ultimately developing a larger network that can keep their eyes open for stuff that’s going to waste.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. I love that, Tyler. And something that I’m noticing. There’s a really strong theme in personal responsibility. It really sounds like you guys didn’t allow yourselves to be victim to not having enough money to afford what you want. You really were willing to go out and figure out a system in some very unconventional ways to make this work for you. And I think that’s really interesting.

A lot of people go to the store, and we have everything in all seasons. So we’re kind of lulled into thinking we can get whatever we want whenever we want. And we don’t really realize how against nature that is, right? Zucchini in January is just like; when you see things grow in the ground, you just realize how unusual that is. So I think that’s really awesome advice. And I would really encourage people to just kind of start thinking about seasonally. And how much extra there is at certain times of the year, and how they could take advantage of that. that is really smart thinking.

Tyler Boggs: And being easy on yourself. This desperation was born out of a victim mindset that had been in place for years. And so just because; so we took action once. It doesn’t mean we always took action. I think we were just kind of fed up. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired, we knew we needed to make a change, and nobody else was going to make it for us.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah.

Tyler Boggs: It just takes that one decision to go from that mindset of; we can’t afford it. To.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. What am I going to do to fix it?

Tyler Boggs: How can we figure this out.

5. Produce scoring stories [24:24]

Mickey Trescott: I love that. that’s so empowering. That’s what we’re all about. So we know that you specialize in some really creative food sourcing, and you have some opportunities for people in our community. Can you share an interesting story of scoring some delicious food for very little or no money?

Tyler Boggs: {laughs} I could bore you with probably hours of stories. When it comes to; I think as you build a network and community, and really develop the mindset. Or as we developed the mindset that we were going to do this no matter what, doors started opening. And we started talking about sharing abundance with the community. And that was inspirational to many people.

So I had a gentleman call me and say; hey, I’ve got a guy and he works in sales for this company and they sell produce. There’s a bunch of waste, and here’s his name. And when we gave him a call, that developed into a relationship with our first wholesaler, which was Nasdaq produce.

We just gave him a call and said; hey, this is what we’re doing. We’ve got a farm. we’re feeding the community. We’re upcycling and gleaning, so if there’s anything that you guys ever have that goes to waste. And this was our first wholesale account. So we would pick up 55-gallon drums. We provided them with 55-gallon drums, and they would fill them with scraps and produce that they were throwing away. and we would bring it back to the farm, and the community would sort through them and pick out anything that was good.

And that ultimately; it started in a pickup truck, and then it went to a pickup truck and horse trailer, and it eventually went to a box truck. But that was thousands and thousands of pounds, just because we made the commitment that anything we had in abundance we were going to share with the community first. And that was a 3-year relationship, which actually opened the door to most of our other relationships.

And we had a similar story where a friend had a plum tree. Or a friend of a friend of a friend was actually I think how it went. But once people heard that we were sharing; gleaning and sharing with the community. Plum trees are one of those things that are super obnoxious to people in their backyard. Because when they fall, the yellow jackets get all over, and then their kids get stung with bees. So I’ve found everybody with pear and plum trees; everybody wants you to help with because they drop massive amounts in a very short period of time, because the bees go crazy and their kids get stung.

We actually were able to go and harvest hundreds and hundreds of pounds of these plums. We did it a separate time with pear trees, as well. And we just bring it back. We dry a bunch. We gave a bunch out fresh. The ones that weren’t super pretty we dried and dehydrated. And the ones that were even less pretty, we ended up pressing. We made the apples into apple cider vinegar, and the pears into… it’s amazing what you can do with a backyard and a couple of fruit trees.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. I love that. the Pacific Northwest, especially. It kind of depends where people live. But I feel like we live in this climate that produces a bounty whether or not someone is tending or not. So between the blackberries and all the fruit trees. Even some of the greens, like dandelion greens and miner’s lettuce. Just the stuff that kind of grows as weeds everywhere. We have a bounty, whether or not we even put it there, you know?

Tyler Boggs: Absolutely. And the same is true, believe it or not, for livestock. We were talking about seasonal eating earlier. I think one of the things that happened early on for us is that I got a call from somebody that had pigs. And in the winter, pigs become super challenging. Especially if people aren’t prepared. And this person had had a couple of litters of pigs, and they weren’t prepared. And then in the middle of winter they needed to get rid of them. So they had four pigs. And they asked if we could take them. And I said; well we don’t really have room for them but I could probably find somebody that does.

So we created a relationship where if we found homes for three we would get one for free. And for us, that was a huge deal. So it just took some leg work to find homes for three pigs. Find three people that wanted; essentially they were selling them for half of what the market was selling at. So all we had to do was do a little bit of leg work, and to get a free pig out of the deal was just super incredible. And that’s hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of meat.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, totally. Actually, Tyler, I don’t know if you know this, but we got a pig from you last year. My mom did. And she bred it, and now we have 9 pigs.

Tyler Boggs: {laughs} It happens quickly!

Mickey Trescott: She paid for the pig, but all of a sudden we’ve got all this meat running around. And she’s going to sell most of them. But what ended up as a couple-hundred dollar investment has turned into thousands of dollars. And they’re eating all of our waste. All of the scraps. Running around the farm, kind of taking over. So it’s kind of fun.

Tyler Boggs: That’s so good to hear. And I love that. the whole goal is to help people get self-sufficient. And it’s amazing how little it takes. People were so intimidated by it. But if we just decide that we’re going to do it, and then seek out the information. It really is simple. So great job; that’s super exciting to hear.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah! Well, I’ll tell you how it is on the other side when we’re all done with the pig experiment. But right now, it’s at peak cute. They’re really fun to have around.

Tyler Boggs: That’s awesome.

6. Sourcing when you can’t afford organic [29:45]

Mickey Trescott: So if people can’t afford only organic fruits and vegetables; this is a big topic in our community. What are your tips for sourcing?

Tyler Boggs: Oh wow. Well, sourcing. Specifically. I would say; I mean, we made a list of the top 20. You get the top 20 most toxic, and you just make sure that no matter what, those are 100% organic. And the good news is almost all of them grow incredibly well here. In your backyard. Like strawberries, and spinach, and apples, and peaches, and pears, grapes, and celery and tomatoes are on there. And potatoes. But all those things are really simple to grow and they grow really, really well here. So just making sure, whatever you do, the sourcing of those is super, super careful.

And then from there, I just really go back to question number two. Focusing on seasonal abundance. Preserving. Building community. Buying seed for those things first. Those are the most toxic. So if those are things that you’re committed to being part of your diet, go get an apple tree.

Better yet, here’s an idea. You can go get a willow branch, and soak it in water, and make willow tea. And then you can take a cutting off of an apple tree, cut a branch off, soak it in the tea for 24 hours and root it in the ground and make your own apple tree. You can make hundreds. We actually just did our starts for grapes and for figs this year. And for trimming, we found one gentleman that was pruning a fig tree. This was a couple of years back. And he just hated throwing it all on the burn pile. So we developed a relationship with him. So he would prune his fig trees. And we would come on pruning days, and we’d help him a little bit. And we’d pick up all the starts. And we just made over 800 fig trees from his pruning of his one tree this year.

Mickey Trescott: I love that. that’s super creative.

Tyler Boggs: The total cost; if you don’t’ want to make willow bark tea, you can actually buy rooting compound at a store. A bottle of it is like $6. So for $6 you create 600 trees. And it will feed hundreds of families. Anyway. That would be my recommendation, is start with the top 20. Make sure you get seeds for those.

Start talking to somebody that’s doing it so that you can get a coach, you can get a mentor. Or join a couple of Facebook groups. And really just put some seeds in the ground. Get some stuff started. The most important part is taking a step.

Mickey Trescott: I love that. Super awesome. It really shows you what you can do with a little creativity and a little work, starting to plant stuff. I know a lot of people are probably really intimidated. And I would say to any of you guys listening that has some space to grow stuff and you’re still feeling intimidated. Think of maybe how you felt before changing your diet. It was scary and unknown, and you did it, and now it’s not that hard. And I feel it’s really similar with growing things, you know. You might even start with just some herbs in a window sill before you kind of dip your toes into something like growing some of your greens or lettuces or planting a tree.

Tyler Boggs: And calling a friend, I think, is really important, as well. Every one of us knows somebody that gardens. And I felt kind of stupid calling. But just saying; hey look. Just putting it out there, and making a phone call. And saying; I’m committed to growing food for my family, but I’m really nervous about this. And I want to be transparent about my feelings. If I have questions, can I call you? And chances are great they’re going to be super excited for you and super willing to help.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah, this is a lot of people’s hobby, you know. My grandma, that’s her hobby.

Tyler Boggs: Yeah. And that support system is important.

Mickey Trescott: Yeah. I love that.

Tyler Boggs: Whether it’s in nutrition and diet, and health, or whether it’s in gardening and growing food. Having somebody that’s a mentor that you can call when you get frustrated I think is really, really wonderful.

7. Benefits of a CSA [34:01]

Mickey Trescott: I love that. So Tyler, can you talk to us about the unique opportunities that CSAs present for both farmer’s and customers? We’d like to help people understand the risk and reward trust that goes into this arrangement. So with a CSA, people are paying a lot of money up front, and that actually helps the farmers be able to produce that harvest for the rest of the year.

Tyler Boggs: Yeah, the CSA, the community supported agriculture concept is super phenomenal. My experience is that risk is pretty minimal as long as you’re dealing with somebody that has been farming for a while. Risk is that I will get less broccoli and I will get more cabbage. So if that’s the risk to you, then maybe that’s something to take into consideration.

But the opportunity is really for people to save money. Generally speaking, CSAs are a fraction of what it would be to buy at the farmer’s market, or even buy local organic. Huge increase in quality, because you’re getting stuff that’s fresh from the land. Usually it’s picked that morning, and there’s no preservation methods. No shipping. So your quality is through the roof. And then you really get to eat seasonally. You get to eat what the land is producing.

Especially if you pick a farm that’s really doing soil building and regenerative farming. If they’re focused on vermiculture and increasing mycelium mycorrhizal cultures. The organic matter in the soil is really important. Then you’re getting a higher nutritional value. Because plant can’t create nutrients out of nothing. So if you’re really careful about the soil that’s being built underneath it and the farmer’s practices, then you’re getting, in your head of lettuce, up to 5-10 times more nutrients than you would be getting even in organic commercial products. Because it’s grown consciously, and the farmer is focused on soil building.

So there’s a big difference. With the CSA specifically, the farmer gets to plan their crops. Plan in advance. People don’t realize how expensive and how time-consuming farmer’s markets are. When we did; I don’t know, our first year we did farmer’s markets I think we did 6 or 8 of them. And it was amazing in talking to the other farmers; almost all of them, their goal was to break even. And it was really scary.

Because it was so expensive and so time consuming, that their goal was just to get the word out for their farm. and they literally didn’t make any money. So people are spending tons. They’re really paying top dollar at these farmer’s markets, not realizing that the farmer is not getting any of it. Because the cost to the farmer is so expensive.

So the CSA allows the farmer to do what a farmer does. Which is farm. He gets to focus on growing his food. He doesn’t have to go to the farmer’s market. He doesn’t have to stress about low-producing crops. He can focus on what’s really doing well that season. And really do what he does best, which is nourish the soil and grow crops and healthy livestock. As opposed to marketing.

Mickey Trescott: I love that. that’s really great, Tyler. Thank you so much for that, and thank you so much for this conversation. I think that this has been really eye opening for me. I feel really excited to get some more plants in the ground this year. And renewed in my excitement to just kind of support the local food system and kind of what you’re doing.

Will you let our listeners know what you and Elizabeth are working on right now, and kind of where they can find you guys, and how they can support you?

Tyler Boggs: OH, yeah, that would be wonderful. So we’ve got the food pantry, which is for everybody in need. There is no restriction. And that’s Good Neighbor Family Pantry. And that’s at www. GoodNeighborFamilyPantry.org. Or obviously on Facebook. Just Good Neighbor Family Pantry. And then the farm is Heart2Heart Farms. And that’s again on Facebook and on the web.

The farm has the work for livestock and work for meats program, where we allow people to show up. We set aside about 50% of everything that we produce for people to work-trade for and low-income families. We also do bartering for people that have old things they’re not using. Whether it’s tools or firearms and ammunition. Anything we can use out here on the farm. Just bartering.

We currently just launched a meat buyers club, which was previously a meat CSA. I’m not even sure if the website is up to date on it yet. But it allows people to have a 6-month subscription. And it saves them as much as 70% off of retail rates when it comes to meat. Which is really, really wonderful for a lot of folks that are hurting financially. And we’re finally delivering. We’re delivering all along the I-5 corridor. So all the way up to Olympia and all the way down to Roseburg, which is really kind of neat.

But the goal, everything that we do is really to help create self-sufficiency. We had a client that just reached out. He was buying rabbits every week. So I just asked him; I pulled him aside and said; look, you’re spending a bunch of money on rabbit every week. And he said, well it’s the only meat that doesn’t make me sick. We had a wonderful conversation about his health and about his goals. And I said; look. If you just spent what you would spend in two weeks on rabbits, I could get you a breeding trio, and I’ll teach you how to breed them. Because a lot of what we do is consultation. My goal is really to help people get self-sufficient.

So he bought a trio of rabbits, and I taught him how to breed. He just had his first litter of babies. So now he’s able to supply his family and his community with chemical-free meats from his backyard. And he’s no longer purchasing meat on a regular basis.

So that’s the other piece. If people are really serious about this, don’t be afraid to reach out to us. Send me a message on Facebook, or send us a message on the website. We do a lot of consultation. We do basic farm tours for people that are really serious about creating this lifestyle and want to come out and kind of see what we’re doing.

And then, of course, we try to provide resources that equip people. Everything from super foods and tuberose starch like Yukon and sunchoke, to even trailer rental and livestock hauling and helping people get established with breeding stock.

And then our foster pig program and birthday parties are super popular if you just want to support us. But go to the website, check us out. More than anything else, I would say just get started. This is simpler than you think it is, and feeing yourself chemical free; there’s been nothing that’s been more life changing for me.

Mickey Trescott: I love it so much, Tyler. Your passion really comes through. And I can’t believe I’m sitting here. And you’re like; “And then we do this food gleaning program. And then the meat.” It’s like, you guys are incredible. You can tell that your fires are lit, and you and Elizabeth really care about your community and spreading this information far and wide. So thank you so much for what you do and agreeing to have this conversation.

Everybody else, we’ll be back next week. I hope you guys are super inspired. Take care.

Angie Alt: Thanks for joining us on this episode of the Autoimmune Wellness podcast. We’re honored to have you as a listener, and we hope that you’ve gained some useful information.

Mickey Trescott: Did you know that we have dozens of informative articles about living well with autoimmune disease, and over 250 elimination phase compliant recipes on our website, updated multiple times per week? Make sure to click on over to AutoimmuneWellness.com. Follow us on social media. And sign up for our newsletter to find out about all of this new content.

We’re either at Autoimmune Paleo, or at Autoimmune Wellness on any of these channels. You can sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of any page on our website. Don’t forget to connect with the AIP community by using the hashtag #AutoimmuneWellness.

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About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a cook and one of the bloggers behind Autoimmune Wellness. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is the author of The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, a guide and recipe book for the autoimmune protocol, and AIP Batch Cook, a video-based batch cooking program. You also can find her on Instagram.

3 comments

  • Donna says

    I LOVE this podcast-I am all about chemical free foods and a highly sustainable lifestyle. I adore how this family farm is a living example of “be the change.” We too have been homesteading now for 17 years in rural farm country in SW Michigan. I am always gleaning where I can. I have found that state owned land (that once housed an old farmstead) is a great source of tree fruit in season. The farm itself may be long gone but the trees (and the fruit) often lives on. These farms can also be a great source of elderberrries for elberberry syrup. I personally often have more black raspberries than I can eat fresh or even freeze, so I am always happy to share berries with a friend. I have so many blackberries in the freezer, my dog now eats black raspberries every morning and my chickens too. Our chickens use the blackberry patch as shade in the summer months and in return they scratch and cultivate and poop in there and the berries canes thrive as a result. My hens eat also the berries fresh off the canes (and the ground) and we eat their eggs and we also share the berries with the songs birds. It’s a great symbiotic system!!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Love all of this Donna! Thanks for sharing!

  • […] by The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast episode on sourcing produce, I signed up for a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery service […]

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