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For some rural Oklahoma residents, living off the land is the best option

Donita Blackketter and her husband are examples of how some rural residents handle not having a grocery store near by. For beef, they slaughter one of the cows they raised on their 360 acres. For vegetables during the summer, they grow a garden.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: June 8, 2014
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Donita Blackketter and her husband, Lee, are examples of how some rural residents handle not having a grocery store near by.

For beef, they slaughter one of the cows they raised on their 360 acres.

For vegetables during the summer, they grow a garden.

Although they’re more than 30 miles from a supermarket, they can at least supplement that with some of their own efforts, she said.

About once a week, Blackketter gets the other groceries they need, buying frozen vegetables during the winter months.

“As a rule, you don’t forget because they probably don’t have it here in town,” she said.

Although her town of 433 has a small grocery store, it doesn’t have much variety and prices are higher than larger stores, she said.

Blackketter lives in an area where at least 500 people or one-third of the population lives farther than 10 miles from a supermarket.

There isn’t a nearby store where Blackketter can buy diapers or any other baby-related items, a frustration for a grandmother with three young grandchildren.

One weekend, she and her husband were watching their grandchildren and forgot to grab their formula. They had to drive more than 60 miles round-trip.

Since moving to Leedey about 10 years ago, Blackketter, a seasoned cook, has learned even more about improvising in the kitchen.

If she doesn’t have an ingredient, she doesn’t panic or hit the highway for the Walmart in Elk City.

“You go online and you Google, and you find a substitute,” she said.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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