In Blog, Cooking Tips


Leslie in Apppllo's organic Garden

Buying the Best and Spending the Least

Grow your own organic garden, or even herbs on a window sill.

Join a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture Invest in your local organic farmer. Buy a share in the farm. Costs vary round the world.  My CSA costs about $550 or $23 a week for all organic fruits and vegetables, which more than feeds a family of 4-6. Plus most CSAs also sell local organic breads, cheeses, yogurt, miso, maple syrup, honey, and more at below retail prices. Half shares are also available. In fact, I have a half share for $300 for 6 months or $12.50/week, which more than feeds me and my friends. You can can or freeze your extra produce and buy extra for canning, freezing, or catering big parties for wholesale prices. 

Pick Your Own. Many organic farms let you pick your own produce, such as apples and strawberries. It’s fun and cheaper to pick your own.

Leslie picking Fresh Basil

Farmers Markets Buy direct from the farmers in your communities. Supports the local economy and knowing your farmers also can get you great deals. Going to the farmers market in the final minutes, before farmers are packing up can also get you great discounts, if they are not sold out.

Shop at Farmers Markets

Buy locally grown fruits and vegetables in season. They are the most flavorful and least expensive.

Save money with bulk buying. Many natural food stores, coops, buying clubs, and supermarkets sell beans, grains, pasta, flour, oil, herbs, spices, sweeteners, laundry soap…in bulk and prepackaged. Bulk foods are generally, cheaper than packaged items. For produce, you can buy large quantities, bushels of tomatoes for making your own tomato sauce, etc.

Bulk buying is more ecological. Bring your own bags, baskets, and refillable containers. Reduce solid wastes by eliminating unnecessary packaging. It saves trees and fuel. Bulk packaging weighs less and takes up less room when being transported.

Join a co-op or buying club.Co-ops and buying clubs have very little mark-ups on food. Generally, prices are lower than supermarkets.

Buy by the case. It is cheaper.

Take advantage of special sales. Stock up on items that keep, or ask neighbors and friends to split the case with you.

Comparison Shop. Have more than one source for all your staples: CSAs, food co-op, farmers markets, natural supermarket.

Freshness. Shop in stores with a quick turnover. It makes a difference in flavor and freshness.

Deliveries. If possible, plan your shopping days and times around your CSA shop day, farmers markets or the produce delivery schedule of your local market.

Satisfaction Guaranteed. Buy the best and the freshest by asking for it. If you do not see what you want or you suspect there are fresher produce in the back, ask for it. Befriend your local organic farmer and the produce salespeople. They may even cut you a better deal.

Copyright Leslie Cerier, The Organic Gourmet 2014

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