3 Ways to Get Free Organic Food (Without Growing It Yourself)


It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceriesWanna learn how to get free organic food without having to grow it yourself?

Sorry. Stupid question… Of course you do:)

* * *

It’s no secret that organic food isn’t exactly the most affordable option when you’re purchasing it from the store. This is, of course, one of the main reasons we grow a lot of our own organic food at home, because growing our own means we have access to free* organic food all season long, and we’re able to preserve the excess to enjoy year-round.

* I say “free” because it’s free to harvest, however there are, obviously, some costs involved in producing said food, although the costs are significantly less than if we were buying everything from the store.

But what if you’re not able to grow a garden at home? What if you’re just too busy to keep up with a large garden or don’t have the space to produce much? 

For starters, I do think that everybody can grow at least a few things at home, regardless of time, space or experience. Herbs, for example, require very little time and effort and can be grown in pots on a small balcony or even in a window box.

But the reality is, if you don’t have a ton of space and time, then growing a large garden that will provide your family with an abundance of free organic food all summer and fall just might not be feasible for you. And while I do believe it’s worth a little extra money to buy organic, many people simply can’t fit store-bought organic food into their budget. 

Now, there are definitely some more affordable ways to get your hands on organic food when it’s in season, including purchasing from local farms and roadside farmstands, visiting your farmers market, going to a u-pick farm or signing up for a CSA, but today I want to talk to you specifically about how to get FREE organic food, even if you don’t have a garden. Because while affordable is good, free is even better:)

 

Foraging

First up on the list is foraging. There are so many wild foods that you can go out and harvest no matter where you live, and of course wild foods are inherently organic because they haven’t been tampered with by humans.

Now, what you’re able to forage for at any given time depends largely on where you live, what grows wild in your area and what time of year it is. But generally speaking, most areas have at least some wild foods that can be foraged. Here are just a few organic wild foods you might be able to forage in your area:

  • Weeds and greens (including dandelion greens, chickweed, purslane, chicory, sorrel, plantain, lamb’s quarters, Japanese knotweed and stinging nettles, to name but a few)
  • Wild asparagus and/or fiddleheads (young ferns)
  • Wild mushrooms (including morels, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, chicken of the woods, lion’s mane and many more!)
  • Wild onions
  • Seaweed (while I haven’t personally foraged seaweed, my understanding is that most if not all varieties are edible. If you know more about this please leave a comment as I would love to know more!)
  • Berries (including blackberries, wild strawberries and blueberries, huckleberries, saskatoon berries, elderberries, goose berries, mulberries and many more)
  • Wild apples, crabapples, plums, pears, persimmons, paw paws, etc.

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

Even cities offer opportunities for foraging. When I still lived in Vancouver, it was a summer tradition to go blackberry picking at the end of August in parks and along dikes where the Himalayan blackberries grow wild and are considered an invasive species. 

Just be sure when foraging that you…

  1. are able to positively identify the food that you are foraging for and you know for sure that it is edible and safe to eat (this is especially true with wild mushrooms and also berries)
  2. don’t forage for wild edibles from polluted areas like busy roadsides or potentially contaminated industrial complexes, etc. (because then it’s not really organic, is it?)
  3. respect local laws and regulations and only forage where you are allowed (check local bylaws to find out where you can and can’t forage. Often times designated public parks are off limits, although an exception is sometimes made for invasive plants like blackberries).
  4. don’t over-harvest. The general rule is to harvest no more than one third of a particular wild crop in any given area and leave the rest for wildlife, other foragers and to allow the crop to go to seed and replenish itself each year.

 

Trading

Another great way to get “free” organic food is to trade with others in your area. Now, technically this isn’t really totally free because you’re trading something for it, but you don’t necessarily have to spend money.

If you’re growing or raising some of your own food, (maybe you’ve got eggs or you raise meat, etc.), but you don’t have any fruit trees, for example, you can trade what you’re growing for what somebody else is growing in your area.

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

If you’re not growing anything, why not trade something homemade instead. Why not trade some homemade soaps or candles or bottles of homemade kombucha or SCOBYs or homemade bread or pastries for a box of organic apples or a basketful of organic garden produce from someone in your area?

Another idea is to barter with a neighbour or someone near you for free organic food and promise to make them something with that food in return. So, for example, if someone has an apple tree in your area, you could offer to bake them an apple pie or make them a few jars of applesauce, some fresh pressed juice or a package of dried cinnamon apple slices in exchange for a box of apples. 

If you don’t personally know anybody who’s got anything organic to trade, Facebook marketplace is a great place to start your search, or you can create your own post advertising that you’re looking to trade with someone. There are also lots of Facebook groups dedicated to facilitating these types of trades between farmers, gardeners and other community members. 

In my area, I’m part of a self-reliance group and a bunch of buy, sell and trade groups where members regularly set up trades with each other. 

The possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to trading, and to be fair that’s how we used to do business with each other long before money was required for every transaction. Plus, learning to trade and barter with your neighbours and community members is an invaluable skill to have as a modern homesteader working toward self-reliance and freedom from dependency on grocery stores and the almighty dollar.

 

Gleaning

This is hands-down my favourite way to get free organic food, and it’s gaining popularity as both food waste and food shortages become an increasing problem.

So, what is gleaning?

In short, gleaning is the act of harvesting and collecting excess leftover or unwanted crops so that they don’t go to waste.

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

Historically, gleaning was actually considered a human right in parts of Europe and the middle east. In fact, the right to glean was even written into the Old Testament:

“’Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger.” – Leviticus 19:9-10

It was common practice to leave the excess crops in the field for the poor and peasant class to come glean, and in 18th century England it was the legal right of those without enough land of their own to grow food, to glean the fields of local farms after the majority of the crops were harvested. Similar laws existed in France too at the time.

Gleaning eventually fell out of fashion though when private property rights began to take precedence over charity for the benefit of all, and over time not only did it become illegal to waltz onto someone else’s property and pick over their excess harvest, but the volume of food waste in the west also began to climb.

Today an estimated 96 billion pounds of food is left in the fields and wasted before it even gets a chance to make it to market. And up to 50% of fruits and vegetables are discarded for being “ugly” or imperfect looking.

Luckily gleaning is making a comeback in communities across North America and the world, and community food recovery programs are popping up all over to facilitate the process. These programs typically donate large portions of the food to local food banks and initiatives, but volunteers usually get to keep a portion of the harvest for themselves too. 

So while you could certainly ask local farmers and neighbours with fruit trees and large gardens if you can come glean their properties when they’re done with their main harvest, you might have better luck finding and joining a gleaning organization in your area. Not only will you get some free organic food to take home, you’ll also be helping to provide fresh, healthy food to your community’s most vulnerable members.

Where we live, in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, there’s a program called the Lush Valley Food Action Society that we volunteer with (if you’re in the area then join us for a pick!). They organize “farm picks,” where volunteers help local farmers harvest their crops and are usually rewarded with a bag of organic produce to take home. Or they do “fruit picks,” where volunteers pick fruit from trees that landowners don’t want or are unable to pick themselves. In the case of fruit picks, ⅓ of the produce goes to the landowner (if they want it), ⅓ goes to local community organizations and food programs.

It’s a win-win-win!

It's no secret that organic food is expensive, and not everyone has the space to grow a garden at home. But did you know there are ways to get organic food that's not just cheap, but free? Read on to learn how to get free organic food (without having to beg, steal or grow it yourself!) #getfreeorganicfood #savemoneyongroceries #savemoneyonorganicgroceries

Yesterday my daughter, Evelyn and I helped pick garlic at a local farm and we got to take home a large bundle of organic garlic that was deemed too small for market (still larger than ours this year, sadly), along with a small bag of organic tomatoes.

Tonight our whole family helped pick apples at a local property and were gifted a large box of apples to take home for ourselves! Any guesses what I’m doing this weekend?

To find a gleaning organization in your local area,  you can either search Google, ask online in local community groups (like on Facebook), or check out this list of gleaning programs across North America to see if there’s an organization listed near you!

> North American Gleaning Programs*

*Please note that this is not a complete list of all programs currently operating.

 

Organic food doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Even if you can’t grow your own organic food, you can still get your hands on some for little more than the cost of some time spent foraging, bartering or volunteering in your local community. And that means you can still prepare and preserve organic food for you and your family to eat all year long!

On the flip side, if you have excess produce of your own, consider trading it or donating it to someone else in your community who could really use it. Contact your local gleaning program or food bank to learn how you can help!

Do you know of any other ways to get free organic food even if you don’t have a garden? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

 

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness:)

 

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

5 Comments

  1. Farmbox Direct

    Glad to know these less popular methods of getting free organic foods. I will try these for sure! 🙂

    Reply
  2. joyce

    Thank You! Good information. Well done!

    Reply
  3. Robin

    I would love to learn how to forage…but how do you find a group of people who can be mentors?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Robin,

      Many communities do have foraging tours and organizations that you can join. We have local foraging tours for mushrooms and when I lived in the city I did a foraging tour for local greens, berries and seaweed. Otherwise you might be able to connect with others online, through Facebook community groups or Meetup.com and find others to go with who can show you the ropes:) Orherwise there is a lot of info online about plants that are easy to forage and identify. But for things like mushrooms I would recommend finding a local guide for sure just to be safe.

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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First of all, I just want to say a huge THANK YOU for all of the support during this difficult time.

(See my last post from yesterday if you're not sure what I'm talking about).

Second, despite the lows of the past week, it does bring me joy to announce that I've opened up the doors to my Yes, You CAN! home canning course once again, and for a limited time only, I'm offering an additional $20 discount off the total cost of the course.

(Just use code TAKE20 at checkout).

Over the course of 12 video lessons, I'll walk you through everything you need to get started canning food (safely) at home.

You'll learn about canning safety and equipment, how to operate a water bath canner and a pressure canner, and I'll show you in detail how to can everything from jams and pickles to stocks and vegetables.

You'll also get some pretty awesome bonuses, including my Jams and Jellies 4-Part Mini-Series, my brand new Home Canning Handbook (complete with 30 of my favourite canning recipes), and access to our private Facebook group, where you can ask questions and get ongoing support.

Plus, if you enroll before midnight tomorrow night, you'll also get a free copy of my Herbal Infusions Masterclass and eBook, so you can preserve your herbs by making your own extracts, tinctures, oils and herbal medicines.

I hope you'll join me in putting up the harvest this preserving season.
While we may not have control over most things in life, this is one area where we have complete control, and that's a good and comforting feeling.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/yesyoucan to learn more.

(Remember to use code TAKE20 at checkout to get your discount)

I hope you’ll join me in putting up the harvest this canning season.

While we may not have control over most things in life, this is one area where we have complete control, and that's a good and comforting feeling.
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We lost a baby last week.

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I still don’t have the words to describe what we’re going through, nor the heart to share everything right now. It’s tough to be a content creator whose job revolves around sharing your life with the world when your own world comes crashing down, over and over again.

While I’m in the very unlucky 1% of women who lose three or more pregnancies in a row, I know I’m not alone and that there are many more grieving mamas with broken hearts and unconditional love for their unborn babies.

We don’t talk enough about pregnancy loss and its impact on families. I hope to change that in my own small way as our own family continues to navigate this journey together, but right now we’re healing.

And today we’re celebrating our beautiful Earth Angel’s 5th birthday. I truly don’t know how or if I’d be able to cope with all of the losses without her, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

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I get a lot of questions about how to know if a canning recipe or method is safe.

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The fact is, many of the canning recipes and methods that our grandparents and even our parents used are no longer considered safe. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make them safe!

Join me this Saturday, July 24th for my free live training, How to Stock Your Pantry Like A Pro: 6 Simple Rules for Safe Home Canning.

I’ll teach you what you absolutely MUST know and do to ensure your home canned food is safe to eat, as well as how to safely adapt canning recipes and even how to take favourite recipes and make them safe for canning!

Plus I’ll be answering your canning questions live at the end of the training!

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/safecanning to save your seat!

In the meantime, leave your canning questions below👇 in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them all on Saturday!

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...

Sometimes when I look at our pantry full of home-canned food, even I find it hard to believe that I started canning just six years ago.

But while I’m 100% confident when it comes to canning food nowadays, I definitely didn’t start out that way.

When I canned my first batch of applesauce, I was so afraid that it would make my baby daughter sick that I refused to feed her a single spoonful, and I ate the rest with my fingers crossed that I’d live to tell the tale!

Then came my first batch of green beans. I hid around the corner as the pressure canner hissed and rattled, afraid it would blow up my kitchen. And after all was said and done, I was so scared to eat the beans that I had lovingly grown from seed and preserved that I ended up tossing every single jar in the garbage. Talk about a waste of food! (Not to mention time and effort).

After A LOT of time spent researching, learning and honing my canning skills, I now can HUNDREDS of jars of food each year, and I do so with absolute confidence knowing that each and every jar is safe to eat.

Nowadays I cringe when I see bad and even downright DANGEROUS canning advice floating around on the Internet (and sadly there’s A LOT of it out there). Because the last thing you want when you’re canning homegrown and/or homemade food for your family is to make them sick… or worse!

Luckily, canning food is 100% safe so long as you know the few simple rules you need to follow.

If you’re ready to start canning your own food at home so that you always have a pantry stocked with healthy, delicious and SAFE home-canned food to feed your family, ai’m hosting a free webinar this Saturday, July 24th where I’ll be teaching you the 6 simple rules for safe home canning, as well as how to safely tweak and adapt canning recipes, and even how you can take a favourite family recipe and make it safe to can.

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You may know him from his popular YouTube channel, @thejustinrhodesshow or like me, you may have first discovered him from his 2018 feature-length documentary, The Great American Farm Tour. Or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to have met him in person at one of the Homesteaders Of America conferences. Either way, odds are if you’ve been part of the modern homesteading world for any length of time, you’ve probably come across Justin Rhodes and his family before. And if you haven’t, then I'm thrilled to be the one to introduce you to the man of the hour!

A self-proclaimed "apron-wearing, permaculture chicken ninja-master," Justin opens up his permaculture homestead to almost one million people every week through his YouTube channel and inspires people to live a more sustainable and abundant life through homesteading, and specifically, through implementing permaculture principles and practices to their own homesteads in order to work smarter, not harder and produce more with less input.

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Have you ever gleaned food before??⁠

If you're not familiar with gleaning, it's basically the act of harvesting and collecting excess or unwanted crops so that they don’t go to waste. Historically, gleaning was actually considered a human right in parts of Europe and the middle east. In fact, the right to glean was even written into the Old Testament!⁠

It was common practice to leave the excess crops in the field for the poor and peasant class to come glean, and in 18th century England it was the legal right of those without enough land of their own to grow food, to glean the fields of local farms after the majority of the crops were harvested. Similar laws existed in France too at the time.⁠

Nowadays an estimated 96 BILLION pounds of food is left in the fields and wasted before it even gets a chance to make it to market. And up to 50% of fruits and vegetables are discarded for being “ugly” or imperfect looking.⁠

Luckily gleaning is making a comeback in communities across North America and the world, and community food recovery programs are popping up all over to facilitate the process. ⁠

Every summer our family teams up with one of our local food organizations (@lushvalley) to glean unwanted food from around our community. Farmers and private owners will call to say they have crops that they need help harvesting, or a fruit tree or a grapevine that's dropping fruit that they don't want, and then a team will come out to glean it. In the end, the gleaners keep a portion of the food, the owner keeps a portion (if they want it) and the rest goes to local food banks and to those in the community who need it most. ⁠

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It was the first thing I ever canned at home, and I was sure I was going to get botulism and die if I ate it, or worse, that I would feed it to my 6-month old daughter and she would get botulism and die and my life would be over. ⁠

This might sound a little crazy for a seasoned canner who knows what they’re doing, but it’s a legitimate fear for new home canners who don’t yet understand the process. ⁠

In the end I did eat it myself, and lived to tell the tale! But I was too scared to feed it to Evelyn until about a year later when I was confident in what I was doing.⁠

Nowadays we can hundreds of jars of food every year, both with our water bath canner and our pressure canner. But if you're just starting out, water bath canning is the way to go. It's easy, it doesn't require a lot of special equipment, and there are sooo many foods that can be water bath canned and preserved for the winter!⁠

Jams, jellies, pickles, pie fillings, sauces and salsas, fruits and fruit butters... The possibilities aren't exactly endless, but there are enough recipes to keep you going for a long time without ever getting bored.⁠

Now is the time to learn how to can if you haven't yet! I'll be opening the doors to my canning course next week, but in the meantime, click the ink in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/water-bath-canning-beginners/ to get started!
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🧺 I've heard some horror stories about homemade laundry detergent.

Many people claim that homemade laundry detergents are either bad for your clothes, bad for your washing machine, or both. I’ve read many articles that claim homemade laundry soaps and detergents either don’t work (ie. leave clothes looking and smelling dirty), have discoloured people’s clothes (leaving whites yellow and colours looking dull), or left soap residue in the fibres of clothes. Some say it even ruined their washing machines, specifically front loaders and HE washing machines.

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It's enough to scare you away from ever trying to make your own laundry detergent at home 😱

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That being said, if you do decide to make your own, this is a great recipe! Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-recipe/
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I sent a pretty vulnerable email out to my readers last weekend…

(Post 1/2)

I admitted that I spent my Sunday morning “crying in my coffee” because I feel like I’m really struggling in the garden this year; Moreso than any other year.

Our beans have been decimated multiple times by pill bugs (they even outsmarted my Diatomaceous Earth AND peppermint oil applications by resorting to eating the bean sprouts underground before they even had a chance to sprout!). Our cucumbers and squash are growing at a snail’s pace, and I’m still troubleshooting to figure out why. We’ve just overcome blossom end rot on our zucchinis and have yet to even taste one (normally they’re big enough to beat someone over the head with already). And I suspect the heatwave put a stop to our broccoli production, because we’ve got big leafy plants with no offshoots, and heads that were smaller than my fist this year.

We’ve had more plants eaten and ravaged by soil problems, disease and extreme temperature fluctuations than we’ve ever had before. The weeds were worse than they’ve ever been this spring (we finally got those under control with a lot of cardboard and mulch), and we’ve yet to really see a decent harvest from any of our vegetable crops.

BUT, the challenges we’ve faced this year have forced me to grow as a gardener, try new and innovative ways of dealing with problems, learn more about soil health, how to fix the issues we’re dealing with now and how to hopefully prevent these issues from being a problem in the future.

They’ve also made me grateful for what is working and for the crops that have produced. Many nearby farmers and gardeners lost their berry crops in the heatwave this year, but miraculously our strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are doing better this year than even before. Our herbs have done great and will provide us with more than we need for the year. Our peas were slow to start but did well in the end, basil and greens are going strong and we’ve got the most beautiful echinacea flowers in bloom right now from seeds we planted last year.

We also have our own compost for the first time ever.

(Continued in comments).
...

*** CONTEST CLOSED ***

Congratulations to our winner @suzi.mayhem !!! Check your DMs for a message from me on how to claim your prize!

🍀Are you feeling lucky???

Because it’s time for a GIVEAWAY!!!

To celebrate Modern Homesteading Magazine’s upcoming two-year milestone, and in appreciation of our current sponsor @planttherapy (my favourite essential oils company in the world), we’re giving away a one-year membership level subscription to Modern Homesteading Magazine, which includes unlimited access to our entire digital library of issues, PLUS a 7&7 Set of essential oils from Plant Therapy.

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✨Like this post
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Contest ends Wednesday, July 14th at midnight PST. Winner will be announced on July 15th.

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Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour!
...

🍒 July is synonymous with cherries, and that means CHERRY PIE!!!

But there’s only so much cherry pie one can eat on hot summer days. So instead, why not preserve some cherry pie filling to enjoy all year long!

This recipe for cherry pie filling includes full waterbath canning instructions so you can have your pie and eat it too, at any time of year!

Recipe link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/can-homemade-cherry-pie-filling/

Summer pie season (and canning season) has officially arrived 😉
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🍔 It took me 33 years to try making my own hamburgers from scratch.

I know, I know… I preach about making everything from scratch, and burger patties are like, entry level.

But if I’m being really honest, I never liked homemade burgers patties growing up. They were always dry and flavourless. My mom would bulk hers up with breads crumbs and huge chunks of onion, hardly any seasoning and then she’d cook them until they were charred and very well done. So when I grew up I found a grocery store brand that I liked and we always just bought those, along with some store-bought buns and called it good.

But as I started making my own mayo and BBQ sauce and pickles and relish and started topping our burgers with homegrown tomatoes and lettuce, I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was using store-bought buns and patties.

Now, don’t get me wrong: we use store-bought burgers as they’re good in a pinch, but we’ve also perfected our homemade burger game, from the patties to the buns to the condiments and everything else in between!

The secret to our homemade patties is using grass fed beef and BACON. And no extra filler, other than seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and Worcestershire sauce).

But what really makes these next level are freshly made homemade hamburger buns! There is nothing like homemade bread of any kind, and hamburger buns are no exception. Plus they’re quicker and easier than you might think to whip together!

Click the link in my bio to get the full recipes for both my homemade Beef & Bacon Burger Patties AND my Homemade Hamburger Buns. You’ll also find links to my Homemade Mayo and Homemade Rhubarbecue Sauce to top your burgers with:)

To BBQ season! And to replacing store-bought everything, one simple recipe at a time;)
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