You all know that I am probably not going to get to plant a garden this year, but I hope to help my mother-in-law with hers. Today’s post is a guest post from my friend Kelly.
Summer is almost here. And with it the chance to get great prices on organic produce.
Because 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.
Plant a Garden.
That’s baby lettuce from my garden.
Don’t think you need acres of land to have a garden. I am able to grow lots of veggies in 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 love Community Supported Agriculture. 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.
Every part of the country has CSAs available. Decided how involved you want to be – hanging out at the farm and picking weeds to show up on Saturday morning and get my bag of veggies. If you are interested, check out the CSA programs available in your area to find one that is right for your family.
Learn How to Freeze and Can.
Embrace those Home Econ classes. 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.
Kelly Snyder is the author of Kansas City Mamas – a website devoted to living well by saving more. She is married to her best friend (Hubs) and is the stay-at-home mama to DS (8) and DD (5). In addition, she believes that life is too short for bad coffee, wine or food (but not necessarily in that order).