Sooner or later, the food storage path leads to Walton Feed. This Idaho company is the granddaddy of long-term food storage products and has been in business for 54 years. Their vast array of products are packaged in no-frills cans, bags and buckets and are reliably high in quality. Their huge selection of products and sizes is the only drawback. To new Preppers or anyone new to food storage, there are too many, confusing choices.
To simplify this for you, my terrific readers, I talked with Rick Lamb, the Assistant General Manager in Walton’s food division. We talked about setting priorities when buying food for storage. First, he highly recommends beginning with the basics: wheat, milk, salt, oil, yeast and beans. Stocking up on familiar foods is also important. He stated, “Some people think they’ll worry later about learning to like what they’ve stored. But if you don’t like peas now, you’re not going to like them later just because that’s what you have in your storage. You might as well buy what you like and are eating now.”
Here at SurvivalMom, we’ve talked about wheat before here, but for calculating how much you might want to have stored, consider how many adults you’ll be feeding. Generally, based on a 2000 calorie a day diet, 200 lbs. of wheat is recommended for one adult man for a year, 150 lbs. for an adult female. Hard red and hard white wheat will be the foundation of wheat storage for bread making.
Milk is used in most baking recipes and the calcium content is vital for children and pregnant women, especially. Dehydrated milk can be purchased in an, “instant”, form and, “non-instant.” Rick says that the only difference is, “instant”, milk mixes up quickly in cold water. If a richer taste is preferred, use less water and let the milk stand overnight for a better flavor.
For the most basic survival diet, beans will probably be the main source of protein. Rick suggests taking a look at lentils, since they cook up quickly, and pintos, as the most versatile of all beans. Beans will provide vitamins and proteins that wheat doesn’t have, helping to round out a survival diet. Figure on stocking up on 75 pounds of legumes for an adult man and 50 pounds for an adult woman. I’ve found it’s very easy to reach these figures as dried beans are usually cheap and plentiful. Walton carries bean varieties you may have never heard of: anasazi, adzuki, turtle, and mung. Chrystalyn likes to combine pinto and anasazi beans in her homemade refried beans. Buy what you’re familiar with, and then add a can of something different to try.
Once these basic ingredients are in place, expand your storage by adding rice, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and ingredients to add flavor and variety, such as bouillon and seasonings.
One of the most confusing parts about ordering from Walton is the various sizes of packaging. Most products come in #10 cans, #2.5 cans, and in bags and buckets of varying weights. Basically, a #10 can is about a gallon in size, and a #2.5 can is about a quart. Rick suggests buying sizes according to how quickly you think you’ll use it. A couple with no children at home, for example, might prefer stocking up on smaller containers.
Dehydrated, bulk foods, such as Walton Feed sells, are an important layer of your food storage because of their long shelf life and versatility. If you download Walton’s catalog, expect to spend some time deciphering the products and packaging sizes. To save money on shipping charges, see if others in your area are interested in placing an order, and combine them into one shipment. Chrystalyn is our resident Walton Feed expert, so feel free to send questions to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll forward them to her for answering.
Thanks, Rick, for this advice and for helping make food storage an easier reality for me and my readers.
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