How to Save 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.
This post is part of a series on How to Save Money on Real Food where we cover how to save money on meat, produce, grains, and dairy.
Here are some tips to help you save money on produce:
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.
Grow your own
Gardening can help you reduce your grocery budget, especially if you focus on the food that grows well in your region without a lot of extra water. Do some research and you could save quite a bit of money, especially on vegetables.
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.
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.
It may also make financial sense to get an extra freezer if you’re going to freeze a lot of fruit, meat, and other prepared foods.
Shop produce and discount markets.
There are tons of these in the Portland Metro area. These are retail stores that sell primarily produce. overstock dairy, and close-to-expired food. And they often have fantastic prices. 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.
We tend to see the most consistent loss leader deals on bananas, grapes, apples, pears, broccoli, lettuce, and potatoes through the year.
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