Real Food Fanatic

By: Angela Howard Email
By: Angela Howard Email

Tallahassee, FL - It's not uncommon for someone to wash, chop and cook carrots at home, but growing them too is a whole other story. While most people visit the produce section of the grocery story for their fruits and veggies, Stephanie Brandt Cornais grows them herself.

In her backyard garden, this wife and working mom fosters everything from tomatoes and peppers to parsley and basil.

Anything she can't grow herself is purchased from local farms at the weekly farmer's market or from local co-ops that carry natural, organic products.

"Food is very important to me and I think that the quality of the food we eat and what we put into our bodies directly correlates to our health level," Stephanie Brandt Cornais said.

So Stephanie makes the time to visit the market and select her items from organic growers like Turkey Hill Farm or drive out to Wacissa to pick her own berries at Blueberry Springs.

And she makes as much as she can from scratch, including jams, smoothies, soups and stocks and stores them in the freezer.

I asked if there was anything that really grossed her out about cooking like they did years ago, and Stephanie said that using the heads and feet of chickens for her stock definitely makes her squirm.

And as you may have guessed, she gets her poultry and red meat from local farms too.

"It's not the norm right now," she said. "What I'm doing was normal 50 years ago and that's what I like to think of. What I'm doing in my kitchen is what my great grandmother did."

Some of her 'natural' ways save Stephanie and her family money, like buying a quarter cow through the butcher. But overall, fresh, organic foods cost more.

"The milk that I buy, it's full double. It's 100 percent more expensive."

And preparing them takes time too.

"It's definitely more time than throwing in a frozen pizza, that's for sure."

Stephanie says her way of cooking is not for everybody. Eating real, fresh foods every day takes a lot of work. Something even she veers from now and then. She said she lives by the 80-20 rule, allowing herself leeway to relax and enjoy a cookie and a glass or two.

For links to some of the farms and Stephanie's personal blog, scroll down to the Related Links section of this story.


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