Homestead Resources: Where I Buy and Why

Like any good consumer, I am selective where I spend my money. These decision have ethical implications at times, but most importantly are based on quality of the product and most often the variety. I’m a girl that likes a lot of choice, at least when it comes to what I grow. The best part of the Grow It Yourself culture is that it can be so much more colorful than the traditional Grocery Store Culture.

So, here is a short list of where I like to shop and why.

The Animals.

Ideal Poultry. I started buying from Ideal Poultry because they have a truly expansive list of breeds that they sell and they allow for small orders (something McMurray does not allow, and Meyer Hatchery will charge you through the teeth for). After a few conversations with the post office and a few orders, I have to add that the quality of the product Ideal Poultry sells is impressive. One postal employee told me they often receive boxes filled with dead baby chickens. Yech. In all my orders, I’ve only lost 1 little guy and they reimbursed me for it. Pretty good. All the birds I mention or scheme over on this blog, are birds I’ve picked out from Ideal Poultry.

Northwest Farm Supply. Doesn’t really help anyone outside of Walla Walla, but NW Farm Supply is where I pick up all my animal related whathaveyours. Feed, medicine, gadgets. No matter where you are, look for a local feed store—the kind that services the real Farmer John community—and you will find quality products at a reasonable price.

Solid Gold. Rupert eats Solid Gold brand dog food. We rotate through Barking at the Moon, Sundancer and Hund-n-Flocken. The first years I had him, it was all about Taste of the Wild. Turns out, it gives him seriously rank farts. I thought that was just part of being a dog. Switched his food, and suddenly I could breathe again.

Taste of the Wild. The cats eat Taste of the Wild. Because cats don’t fart.

The Garden.

Seed Savers. This is my first choice in seed sellers. One of the 3 big names in heritage seeds, they are who I started with and who I always check first. Their catalogues are so beautiful and colorful, they make me swoon every time.

Territorial Seed Company. I love their packaging, they are Oregon based and they have a good selection.

Raintree Nursery. Washington-based, they have an amazing selection of edibles and everything that I’ve planted successfully from them has lived and thrived and flourished. Also, as a Washington nursery shipping to Washington—there are a few plant restrictions I avoid. (Some plants cannot be shipped over certain state lines.)

The Kitchen.
My cooking blog preferences shift over time, but these are a handful I continue to love for their writing, recipes and photography.

Sprouted Kitchen. Such beautiful photography and simple but elegant recipes.

Well Preserved. Another couple passionate about canning, they’ve especially gotten interested in fermenting in the past year.

Smitten Kitchen. One of the first cooking blogs I’ve come across, I especially love her arugula, green bean and potato salad and her ribboned asparagus salad with lemon.

Food in Jars. Small-batch canning and preserves-in-action. One of my most popular preserves came from her recipe.

Hungry Tigress. Lots of canning, lots of asian-indian inspired foods.

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Reading.

In January I vacationed for a stretch in Portland, Ore. I spent my college years and a little more there, but that was over five years ago. It’s a different place. The same place it was and yet not. I am not (gasp) a fan of the series Portlandia—maybe because even without the clever skits, Portland has become a caricature of itself.

That said. It’s got its good points. The normal amenities of a city (Target, IKEA, Trader Joe’s) paired with the indulgences of a locavore and epicurean epicenter, and the added touch of my old stomping grounds.

I’m digressing. The story is: I’m in Portland, at Powell’s. wandering through the Agriculture section. And I’m there, looking at books about raising animals and I’m trying to figure out which one. I’m drawn to the ones that you know have been put together for hipster noobs—they have nice fonts and the kind of designs you see in letterpress cards and on Swiss Miss blog. More often than not, they’re fluff. A one-time read. Not a resource.

So for now, I’m still trying to sort out what is worth my money. I’m reading through my various homesteading books to see if any touch on animals and collecting tips, tricks and ideas along the way. I’ll provide some book reports as I make progress. Get excited!

In the meantime, any must-haves you have to share?