By: Ryan Saul
Our motto in “Caught not Bought” has always been, “whatever makes the best story.” the best story is rarely developed through the safe and sensible route.
The heart behind Caught not Bought is simple, be self-sufficient and question everything. Your reason for doing things should never be because, “that’s just how it’s done”. There are processes sure, but there are always other ways – better ways.
Your reason for doing things should be that you’ve put in the time and the due diligence and this is how you’ve decided that you’ll do it. You don’t have to fall in line with the status quo; don’t assume the woods and the water are off limits. Go get in the woods and in the water, look at your options and do whatever makes the best story!
As of today I am 49 days into a 365 day challenge of which I’ll only eat food that I’ve foraged, hunted, or caught. I’m not doing this challenge to see if it’s possible – of course, it’s possible, people have lived this way for thousands of years.
I’m doing this challenge because I’m excited to personally eat my way through what’s in season and grow in my understanding and appreciation of what God has provided here in this small part of west central Florida. In just a few months I’ve seen blueberries and blackberries come into season, took advantage of the end of stone crab season and I am ready for grouper season and the very generous and logical three day red snapper season.
Soon, there will be ripe mangos, longans, starfruit and it will also be scallop season (you could say scallops are a fruit of the sea)! When you are dependent on the seasons and knowledge of those seasons, it really molds your perspective of food and strengthens your gratitude every time you sit down with a plate and fork in front of you.
Something I’ve come to learn through this challenge is the importance of preparation. If I want to eat tomorrow I need to start thinking about it today. I have some chickens in the backyard and a good garden started but that won’t suffice. If I want variety I need to go get variety.
Thankfully we live in a beautiful state where food is remarkably abundant and available. I’m a quarter mile walk from Tampa Bay where I can find a couple of blue crabs or mullet in ten minutes guaranteed. If I wanted to spend an hour, nine out of ten times I’ll bring home a redfish big enough to feed my family.
We have beautiful parks with literally hundreds of varieties of edible plants, and of course the Gulf of Mexico! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then you aren’t going to find it. All of this requires knowledge, thought and preparation.
Yesterday I decided to make dinner for my wife and myself with whatever I could gather in a day. Below is an example and recipe of a pretty typical meal on the Caught not Bought Challenge:
-The first thing you need to do is gather your ingredients. I went spearfishing with a buddy and we loaded up on slipper lobsters, hogfish, a few mangrove snappers and a bonus flounder. Before I even pulled the trigger on the flounder I knew exactly what he was going to be used for.
Afterwards I stopped by a park by the water and picked a bag of sea purslane.
I have a newly planted garden that needs thinning so I harvested all of the microgreens from the garden for a salad.
*We are allowed to use basic seasonings and butter/oil on the challenge. We are not allowed to use anything that adds substance.
-slipper lobster tail meat (cut in 8-10 pieces)
-one filleted flounder
-3 cups sea purslane
-a salad worth of microgreens
Wherever you live there is more than likely an overabundance of edible potential. All it takes is a little time with your feet in the dirt or in the water and you’ll find it. You’re only limited by what you allow yourself to believe you are limited by.
Caught Not Bought