I get asked this often.
And it is a question that I struggle with…
Just like so many of you, I want to provide my family with the best and most chemical-free produce I can – but I don’t want to add $100 to my grocery budget to do it.
So here are my top four ways to get cheap organic produce as we go into the summer season.
Plant a Garden.
The picture above is baby lettuce from my garden.
You don’t need acres of land to have a garden. We are able to grow lots of veggies with our three different plots – in front of our house (full-sun), side of the house (sun-shade) and back yard (sun-shade). Between these three plots we are able to harvest tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, snow peas, peppers, tomatoes, radishes, basil, cilantro, and beans. (And this year we are trying rutabagas and strawberries.) And since I’m the farmer, I know they are pesticide free.
Attend Farmer’s Markets AND get to know the Farmers.
It isn’t enough to just buy from a Farmer’s Markets anymore. More and more there are “farmers” who purchase wholesale fruits and vegetables from semi-trucks and repackage them as locally grown. And when that happens, you might as well just buy your produce at the grocery store.
Start going to the same Farmer’s Markets week after week and talk to the farmers. Introduce yourself. You will find out pretty quickly who is out in the fields with their crops and who is buying off the truck. (And if your tomatoes have stickers on them – they aren’t local or pesticide free.)
Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
I’ve talked about my love of Community Supported Agriculture before. I love it because it is local. I love it because of the quality. And I love it because the majority of the items are organic.
However, I encourage everyone to do their own due diligence and check out the various CSA programs available in the area to find one that is right for your family.
Sign Up for A Home Delivery Service.
If time is a precious commodity for you, look into a home deliver service. We utilize Door to Door Organics because the cost is up to 20% less than the grocery store, I can customize my order and it gets delivered to my door. What could be easier? (Plus, I have an exclusive Door to Door Organics Coupon Code for 50% off your first delivery – up to $30.)
Learn How to Freeze and Can.
When you freeze and can your local organic produce at its prime, you guarantee a superb tasting product. As as added benefit, you are usually purchasing the produce when it is its lowest price – so it is like stockpiling – only with fruits and veggies.
I know canning and freezing can seem intimidating, but it isn’t as hard as you think. I did several freezing and canning tutorials last year and I plan on doing more this year. And if I can do it, you can too.
(And on a side note…I still have one can of peaches left – yum.)
Like anything, you can do as much or as little as you would like. But even if you pick just one, you reduce your overall produce budget this year.
So who is with me? Anybody going to try a CSA, canning, or freezing this year? Let me know in the comments.
I love going to the farmer’s markets every weekend during the growing season. I’m interested in canning and freezing and look forward to some tutorials.
I’m ready to try the canning freezing thing!!!
I’ve always been interested in canning and freezing but havent tried it yet.
I live in a townhouse but am still able to grow a lot of fresh, organic veggies every year. People are always amazed!
And next winter I’m going to try growing some lettuce, radishes, spinach and patio pot tomatoes in my spare room (it gets a ton of sun)…at least then I could have fresh salad all winter long and not worry about how high the grocery prices are.
Ann B says
This is my first year growing lettuce and it is so easy and already ready to harvest some. It’s so easy, I can’t believe I’ve never tried it before. My gardening space is limited too, but it is amazing what you can fit in here and there. I have several pots of herbs mixed in with decorative flowers.
I have an upside down tomato with basil on the top (this is an experiment, we’ll see how it goes) Also, I have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, snap peas. I still have some space left too, so I’m going to add some squash plants.
This in addition to my CSA from New Roots and I should have plenty of produce for the summer