In an ideal world, I would be the ultimate hunter gatherer. I’d grow all of my own fruit and vegetables. I’d preserve them lovingly and those rows and rows of jars would sustain us until next season. I’d raise chickens, cows, sheep and pigs with care and slaughter them with compassion. I’d go fishing and bring us home a tuna. I’d carry a kick-ass basket. I’d feed us with my skills and general awesomeness.
But that isn’t the real world. I work full time, with a long commute three days each week. I go to CrossFit. I have a family and friends and sometimes I like to have a moment to read a book or play with my dog or watch Buffy. So the vegie garden is neglected, the last time I went fishing I was wearing jelly sandals (apparently they are making a comeback – ew) and my poor chickens met their untimely end in December 2011. I can’t be a true hunter gatherer, so I have to do it the 21st century way.
On the long drive to work the other morning I was listening to my favourite podcast (Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor). I love those guys. They deliver good information in an accessible way … and they are bloody funny. Something that rang true for me in this particular podcast was the Caveman Doctor’s discussion on being a modern day hunter gatherer.
The essence of what he was saying was this. Rather than going to the closest grocery store or supermarket and buying stuff there, be selective. Be a hunter gatherer like your ancestors were. If you can’t get the organic, grass-fed butter that you want, don’t settle for margarine because it is all they have. Get on the Google and find out where you have to go to get the good stuff. Even if you have to spend a little more money or drive a little further to get it, it’s worth it. You are hunting your food like your ancestors did, admittedly, in a different way, but still a valid way.
I’m the hunter gatherer in this family. Tyson hates shopping with a passion, so I do it, because I don’t mind. When we first moved to Melbourne I’d hit the Preston Market. It is just around the corner and have everything I needed … in theory. They have carrots. I eat carrots. So I bought the carrots. Unfortunately, the carrots were crap. So was the meat. After one particularly bad experience, I decided that things had to change.
After a few (disappointing) trips to some other stores, I discovered Terra Madre in Westgarth, and that solved most of my problems. Fresh, organic produce, niche pantry staples, Istra smallgoods and high quality eggs and dairy available seven days a week. Easy.
The missing piece of the puzzle was MEAT. I firmly believe that if your food eats bad food, it in turn becomes bad food. I want my food to eat good, species appropriate, food. I don’t want my cows eating grain or my chickens eating soy. It’s just not natural. I also want to know that the food I eat didn’t die in a pile of poop and agony. If I eat that, I’m effectively taking that poop and agony into my body, and that is not what I want.
My sister, who knows about this kind of thing, recommended trying out meat from Koallah Farm, and when I checked out their website I noticed that one of their stores is about a 20 minute drive away. So I headed down to Rosanna and checked it out and have been shopping there ever since.
So I hunt. I arrange my spare time around getting to CrossFit, the butcher and Terra Madre. I gather what I need from the sources I have found to be reliable. It doesn’t take much to be a modern day hunter gatherer – armed with a little research and a desire to give yourself something better, you can be one in an afternoon. You don’t have to wrestle a mammoth or wait for some seeds to grow. It’s all out there waiting for you.
Just not at the supermarket.