It does not matter if you buy in bulk at the farmers market, buy in bulk from your local farmer or be a homesteader, old or new at the living off the land, one of the big challenges is food glut and the pantry woes it can bring with it.
Let me give you a few examples,
Spring- Eggs, O my after a lean winter of egg laying your new and older hens start laying and the eggs are flowing, for the first few weeks, its a delight to see more an more eggs coming in, that the extra bowl of eggs on the counter, that you can make a dish that calls for a dozen at a time while you hum.. but come fall and winter.. that egg glut is going to become lean.. o yes it will.. very very lean.. you can do everything right and unless you overwinter and feed a large amount of perfectly timed new hens, its going to go down in hard winter
Summer- O that first bean or tomato.. the first bowls that come in are a delight and served with pride and little groans of pleasure.. come sept, and you are 6 bushels in and you think.. while ducking your own head in shame at the thought.. can I please get a killing frost and just get it done with!
Fall- Root cellar stuff, potato squash and so forth.. it seems like a huge amount that we are putting away, and it is but come spring.. it will be a very different story.
Winter- Milk, most of us with time under our belts that have barns to be able to do so, have our little ones come when its still frozen and cold outside, there is a solid reason for it, it means that the babies get a much better start at life without all the extra bugs that spring will bring.. they will be healthy and well started when the first push of grass comes in. that means we start milking in winter, the first buckets are such a high, but as the fridge fills as you have yogurt, cheese and so much more made and you start putting it away, you get to the point where at some point, you will milk, and just feed it out to the critters..
Pantry woes- you did not want to waste those green tomatos, so you made 50 pints of this awesome recipe you found, and you can serve it with this or that way.. seven years later, it gets it top popped and feed to the pigs.. Just cause you can it, does not mean that you will end up eating it!
The above are great examples but the one I really want to focus on today is butcher time. If you buy your meat in bulk by a half or a whole you will have the same issues as the homesteader or the hunter for that matter.. a sudden glut of meat, it fills our freezers, it fills canning jars and its wonderful.. if we raised the animal, if its a larger critter, we realize that it takes months to years to raise that meat and it has high value to you.
The best cuts are brought out for special times, and the uncommon require work to find ways to create delightful meals but the big ones the ground, you can easily get use to using it and in larger amounts then normal..
Its a trick and then some to figure out what you need.. You have to do some meal planning and then you will need to redo that meal planning over and over again..
Farmgal tip of the day- If you figure out that you want one chicken per week for your family, 52 per year.. add 10 percent to your order, if you end up a with few extras great but it will give you the buffer on losses. If you are planning on raising one large critter, example a pig, plan to need a min of 20 percent of your meat needs to be other to lower food fatigue both in cooking, and eating.
How many times a day do you eat meat, what meats are you going to eat, are you growing only one kind mainly, will you get food fatigue, its a real thing.. one I am currently struggling with myself.. We have beef and pork.. and beef and pork, and that is it.
Its been about six weeks since our last white meat was eaten in the house, and unless I want to go buy meat (NOT), until I butcher, I will have beef and pork..
I will soon have rabbit, chicken, duck, goose, lamb to add to the list and my winter breeding of the does will take place this week for more rabbit in mid winter. I have been gifted a bit of deer and moose.
Its certainly not a hardship on the outside to be looking at your freezer or pantry full of meat, but working with a limited amounts of choice cuts, (I sigh, when I hear and read you folks that are putting up 30 or 40 pounds of chicken breasts or 50 pounds of pork loin) a glut of minx or stew and figuring out how to eat nose to tail makes it much more of a challenge then folks not living on the land would expect.
We not only can have food fatigue in terms of meat, root veggies, but we have to plan and budget, hubby knows that certain milk crate colors in the freezer are NO TOUCH without permission, because they are filled with things that are planned 3, 6, or 9 months in advance.
how do you manage the issue above at your house? Do you find yourself running short? if so, do you buy at the store? do you add in more meatless meals? Do you raise small critters to give multi bouts of fresh meat in your year plan? If so, what do you raise?