Today, Shayne and I picked up a bulk package of meat from Jaworski's, a local meat market. Unfortunately, not all their meat is from local farms, but it's fresher and of significantly higher quality than, say, Meijer's meat. I guess that's not really a good comparison, so suffice it to say they are one of the best butcher shops in our area. The package we bought contained ~43 lbs of various meats. There are whole chickens, boneless skinless chicken breasts, sausage, bacon, pork chops, steaks (sirloin and new york strip), stew beef, ground beef, roasts, and more. Dividing the cost by weight, it comes out to $3 per pound. This is definitely the way to buy your meat.
In addition to the meat, our little freezer is stuffed with frozen veggies. I froze my own broccoli, corn, sugar snap peas, green beans, carrots, and peaches. There might be some blueberries in there too. Next year I'll make a chart of what I have and how much. It'll make things a little easier to keep track of when it gets crowded in there!
I also have extra canned goods (veggies, fruits, tomato sauce, soups, and some pouches of chicken), pastas, rice, baking mix, cereals, instant puddings, and a few cans of freeze dried entrees (mostly for backpacking, but I'd obviously eat them in an emergency too). I also have the staples: flour, sugar, brown sugar, oil, and other baking essentials. Out in the garage I have a half-bushel of apples, and I plan to add potatoes and onions.
I don't think I realized how much food I had until I just listed it.
Once I buy my onions and potatoes, I won't really need to shop this winter except for lettuce/spinach greens (which I'll buy out-of-season for the sake of variety and nutrition), dairy products, eggs, lunch meat, and crackers. Seriously.
It's a strange feeling. I almost feel like I'm going to hibernate this year, since we have most everything we need already bought and ready to go. It's also an adjustment in my way of thinking. I'm used to planning out a meal, then going to the store to buy what I need. Now it has to be the opposite. The "store" is in my basement now. And I'll be looking at what's available before deciding what to make. It's certainly a different approach than most people today use.
In addition to the food, we also have about 15 gallons of drinking water, kerosene for the portable heater we currently use in the garage, propane for the grill and camp stove, and all my backpacking gear (tent, sleeping bags, water filter, headlamps). If we were to be without power for an extended period, we would still be able to stay in our home, eat decent meals, and sleep in relative comfort - even in the dead of winter. The only major lack I see is a large light source. Without going overboard into the land of paranoia, I feel that we have prepared reasonably for the disasters that may threaten us in our area.
We could probably live for a minimum of 60 days off of the supplies we have in our home, excepting water. I had originally wanted to have 3 month's worth of food on hand, but I didn't realize the space it would take up. Plus, I know that if I'm going to rotate it properly, I have to use it. In the summer, I don't want to have to eat frozen broccoli when I can buy it fresh. By having about 2 month's worth of food we actually eat and use, I don't think any will go to waste, and by next summer, my freezer will be empty again for the next round of food storage. The shelved items are a little easier, and I'll just replace what I use.
Wish me luck! This winter will be a big experiment...!