As we slosh our way into summer (will I ever get to wear my cute summer skirts?), it’s the perfect time to talk about saving money on produce. If you are intentional with your spending and strategic with your timing, you can provide your family with high-quality produce at a bargain.
:: Buy in season. It’s Economics 101. The more supply, the lower the price. Strawberries are cheaper in June (and way more delicious) than in January. Bananas, grapes, lettuce and broccoli are items that usually don’t follow this rule as grocery stores usually price these at a loss year-round.
Focus variety as a year-round concept as opposed to a daily concept. God created our bodies to work well on a seasonal-growing schedule. An all-produce-available-at-all-times-because-it’s-trucked-in-from-miles-away schedule is not nutritionally necessary. Eat lots of berries in the summer, apples and pears in the fall and root vegetables in the winter. You get the picture.
:: Pick your own. We are so fortunate to live in an area that has many small farms that offer a U-pick option. You provide the labor and are able to get high quality, oftentimes pesticide-free produce at a discount from buying it in the grocery stores or farmer’s markets. My husband and I are planning to pick strawberries, peaches, raspberries and blueberries this summer. And free blackberries on the side of the road, of course.
Find a comprehensive list of U-pick farms at PickYourOwn.org. Don’t forget to search the Washington listings for Clark County farms!
:: Preserve. Canning or freezing produce, especially fruit, is a great way to enjoy the taste and savings of summertime deals. Growing up, my parents were mad-canners. I have a vivid memory of eating canned brussel sprouts, which may explain my gag-reflex when it comes to vegetables. Please, do not make your children eat canned brussel sprouts. Absolutely disgusting.
Check out our ever-growing Canning Guide series.
It may also make financial sense to get an extra freezer. My husband makes our family smoothies every morning, so he is absolutely jacked to freeze tons of fruit this summer. Hence the two freezers in our basement. Not sure how much money we’re saving on this one…
:: Shop produce markets. There are tons of these in the Portland Metro area. These are retail stores that sell primarily produce. And they often have fantastic prices.
My favorites on the eastside of Portland:
- Portland Fruit Company (SE 82nd & Foster Rd, Portland)
- Nature’s Produce Market, formerly Alice’s (Hwy 212 & Hwy 224 in Damascus)
- Morrow Brother’s Produce (SE 82nd in Clackamas)
- Everyday Deals (SE 174th & Division)
You can get awesome deals on a regular basis.
:: Shop the grocery store loss-leaders. A loss-leader is an item that the store sells at a loss to get you in the store, in hopes that you will buy the rest of your grocery list there. And most of the time, the loss-leaders are in-season and local. Double bonus.
How do you score a deal on produce at retail establishments? Leave a comment!
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