If you're like me, you've had good years and not so good years when it comes to keeping up with Food Storage. Its not like I haven't always been aware of the counsel to keep a food storage. Oh my goodness, since I was a little girl .....
In our early married years there were months that we almost completely depended on it. Many months that I supplemented it with only $100.00 for fresh produce and dairy. Those weren't altogether bad years - just a little challenging in their own way.
Having 5 children, I was used to shopping, canning, gardening, and cooking for a family of 7. But then slowly, those sleeping at our house started dwindling, and the only big meal of the week was Sunday when they all came home. Still I continued to shop, can, garden and cook for a family of 7. It was a tough transition - and apparently I'm a slow learner. My kids started making fun of the expired dates on things that surfaced from the food storage room. Anybody who knows me, knows that I don't have a sense of humour when it comes to laughing at myself. (I inherited that from my dad.) But they were right. Our food storage rotation began to fall badly behind about the same time we bought the Bookstore. (coincidence?)
Enter the Harvest 72 Food Rotation System (and the beginning of my long relationship with Shelf Reliance). We figured nothing could be more expensive than throwing out all the 'too-old' food that had seriously crossed the date-line. I hate wasting what I previously considered a good investment.
The Harvest 72 was the answer we wished we'd had 25 years before. It holds up to 600 cans and takes up less room on the floor than we were used to. It cleaned up our food storage area and made rotating a snap. We decided that the time we could have most benefitted from it, was when we could least afford it, so we bit the bullet and gave one to each of our married children that Christmas.
Our youngest son (the one who claimed we were trying to kill him by making him drink expired apple juice - brrrruther!) left for a mission to the Philippines on July 1 2009. We decided that from that day we would stop buying groceries until we had 'eaten-down' our food storage so that we could freshen it up. Wouldn't he be surprised when he came home! We gave our married kids cans of oats and other basics that we weren't using regularly enough. Our committment was to buy only fresh produce and fresh dairy, for as long as it took. It was sorta fun actually. Our Sunday family dinners transformed somewhat - time warped back to the days of our kids' childhoods. That was okay.
We did that for MONTHS! The following April we had a family of 5 adults move in with us for three months. We continued only buying fresh produce and dairy while eating down our existing food storage.
Thats two years of not having bought basics at the grocery store. One Sunday our Bishop announced a challenge to the ward: to go for one entire week living completely on what was stored in our home. HAH! Child's Play! Bring it ON! Our son comes home in only weeks, and we still haven't gone through it yet, (although there are significant bare spots now).
Somewhere in there, we started thinking that it was time to get back into the 'acquiring' mode of Food Storage, but we discovered that as difficult as it was to get out of the habit of shopping for the long term, it was just as difficult to get back into the habit, and we found ourselves in very unfamiliar territory - trying to re-start. Our food storage began to have seious gaps in it, and we knew we needed to fill them, but in our new habit of not grocery shopping, never got around to it. .... Food Storage shopping really is a habit. And so is Food Storage eating!
Shelf Reliance to the rescue again! Right about the time that we were most compelled to action, we discovered that SR's THRIVE 'Q' Program was coming to Canada. We had begun carrying THRIVE Freeze Dried Foods in our store in January 2010, and as we slowly became familiar with it, we were more and more impressed with the quality of each product. (My favorites are Spinach and Strawberries, or Mangoes, or Peaches, or Raspberries...) We had watched with mild interest from an arms length distance as it launched in the United States, but now - suddenly all that changed!
The NEW Q Program:
The purpose of the Q program - over the regular retail program of selling THRIVE only in stores like ours, is that it "Brings it HOME" - letting people taste it and learn how to use it in their own homes. It encourages friends to share with friends, and provides a whole new way of personalizing a product that simply must be tried to be appreciated.
Its specialty is the Freeze Dried Fruits and Vegetables - which have a shelf life of between 25 - 30 years!
Q. What is the difference between Freeze Dried and dehydrated food?
A. Freeze Drying is a much gentler process of preserving than dehydrating. Foods are dehydrated with the use of low heat, altering the appearance, texture, and unfortunately the food value. To be of use, the food most often must be rehydrated with water, time and occassionally heat. Freeze Dried foods are flash frozen to temperatures of between 50-80 degrees below zero. In that state their natural moisture is removed - creating a product of almost 0% moisture. This process locks in the natural colour, flavour, texture and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables better than any other method of food presevation. Because of the 0 moisture content, it has a sealed shelf life of between 20 - 30 years!