Eating organic food is often thought to be more expensive, but it’s actually possible to enjoy the wonders of organic food on a budget as long as you know where to shop. I’ve been buying organic for over a year now and I’m happy to say that I’ve actually lowered my grocery bill. My entire family is healthier and there is more fresh food in the house – which makes all the meals taste even better, too.
I discovered farmer’s markets not that long ago. I had always heard of them but never bothered to actually go to them. Low and behold, there is a ton of organic vegetables there that have been locally grown. Depending on the area of the market, there are also eggs and some great jams to take advantage of, too. These are much cheaper than what you’d buy in a grocery store because there is little to no overhead of being at the market.
I’ve also learned to buy what’s in season in bulk. The hard way to learn is to wait until the vegetables and fruits are out of season and then decide you want them. They’ll cost double or triple because now they have to be shipped in from other parts of the country. I buy when the produce is in season and then cube it or dice it and put them away in plastic freezer bags until I’m ready.
A few neighbors got me started on a garden. This is to most affordable way to grow anything because you just start with a few seeds and, if you take care of it, the garden can produce plenty for you all year long. I started with herbs and then slowly worked my way up to tomatoes and eggplants. This year I’m even going to start experimenting with some of the root vegetables.
Some areas of the country have CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. I pay a local farmer a few hundred dollars at the beginning of the season to help get his crop started. Then, for the next six months, I get two bags of produce with a wide variety of crop. The only money I pay is the money at the beginning of the season and then I get to feed the family beautiful fruit and vegetables for the next few months basically for free.
I’ve also learned to be more flexible. If it’s not on sale or I can’t buy avocados to make guacamole, I buy tomatoes and cilantro and make salsa. Learning to be flexible has also taught me to plan ahead and buy those avocadoes earlier in the season so that I have them when I want them.
Organic food on a budget is a possible but only if you know where to look. If you try to go organic at the grocery store, you’ll go broke. It’s all about shopping through the local avenues to get the best variety and the lowest prices.