Buying specifically organic produce nowadays, especially at big chains like Whole Foods, can be a stressful, expensive and tiring process; we’ve all been there and done that. With these issues in mind, here are nine quick tips on purchasing fresh, local, organic produce on a budget.
1. Shop at farmers’ markets instead of your local grocery store.
Farmers markets are always a great source of fresh, local, raw and delicious produce. Instead of a 1-month-old tomato that has green grown with chemicals, fed with chemicals and sprayed with preservatives that have traveled thousands of miles (or across the seas) you’re buying a handpicked tomato, fresh off the vine, no more than one or two days old. Not only that, but you know the background of the company you’re purchasing from, and you know everything about it’s growing process; plus, to add onto that, you’re supporting a small local business, which is always a good idea.
2. Do your research!
Unbeknownst to you, you may just have a lot more choices for fresh and organic produce near you than you might think. Look around for local farms, weekly farmers markets, and other green pro-organic organizations.
3. Buy a share or two in a local, green, community supported joint agriculture program.
Purchase a share in a CSA program means that you pay a portion of the local farms operating expenses, keeping it open and letting it continue to provide the community with fresh, wholesome organic produce. It also means that you get boxes and crates of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs delivered to your door either once, twice a week or however many times a week or month the program offers. You’re also supporting a local business! For instance, the more you buy from a CSA say in Worcester MA, they less they have worry about trash hauling services in Worcester for unsold items that can’t be easily composted or dealt with at the farm locally.
4. Buy when it’s most popular, during the big-time season.
The best time to purchase your local organic produce is during the big season; this is when the most kinds of vegetables and fruits are offered, and they are as fresh as can be.
5. Buy in Bulk!
Buying (anything) fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk is a good way to stretch your monthly food paycheck a long way. Individually priced items are always more expensive than just purchasing bigger volumes of one particular item.
6. Use your freezer more!
Aside from what TV ads may be telling you, your freezer is better than just frozen pizza and TV dinners. If you just bought three crates of fresh organic fruits and vegetables at bargain prices, your best bet would be to freeze the majority of it; unless, somehow, you plan on eating all of that in one week.
7. Grow your own! Why not?
If you are entirely dedicated to consuming and purchasing fresh, local, organic produce on a weekly or daily basis, would it not also be a good idea to consider growing your own? Of course, it would be a fair bit of work, but nothing you shouldn’t be able to handle. It’ll take some time for it to get up and running, but it would certainly be a good learning experience and would help to cut down on costs.
Not to mention that you could grow anything you’d want to, and could go from having a fresh yam buried a foot under the ground to your plate in less than 30 minutes; that’s pretty sweet if you ask me.
8. Join a buying club.
A buying club is a great way to get fresh organic fruits and vegetables at great prices. By talking to your local co-op or farmers market organizations, you can join a buyers club and save up to 30 or 40 percent on your bulk purchases. If you’re dedicated to consistently having fresh food in your home, that 30 or 40 percent that you save can go quite a long way regarding how much money you spend every month.
9. Shop online.
If you can’t find any local farmers markets or any of the other markets or organizations listed above, don’t lose hope! There are other ways of obtaining fresh organic food that isn’t directly from your supermarket, which is neither fresh nor organic most of the time. (And when it is, it’s overpriced.)
The GreenPeople Directory from the OCA (Organic Consumer Association) is a great place to begin your online search for obtainable online foods. There are a surprising amount of businesses that capitalize on shipping out and mailing fresh food and ingredients as their business.
You should look into subscribing to one of these businesses, even if you have your sustainable network of organic produce because it could save you a couple of bucks. If not that, it would at least serve as a convenient way to get the same delicious and organic foods.
There we have it! Our top 9 tips on obtaining healthy, fresh, delicious, organic foods at great prices. The importance of having fresh organic food cannot be stressed enough. They are (95%) free of most of the gross chemicals that are found in other ‘organic’ foods, such as FDA certified foods. Not to mention it’s fresher and tastier, and supporting local farms and businesses can help the community. Good luck!
And buy for cheap?