How can someone eat healthy when a single green pepper costs $2.00 and you can buy a burger AND a small fry for the same $2.00?
The struggle is real folks, eating healthy is expensive! …….But- it doesn’t have to be.
If you want to eat healthy AND stay on budget- I have 10 easy ways to save money on fresh produce- even organic, that you will love.
10 Easy Ways to Save Money On Fresh Produce- Even Organic
#1 Way to Save on Produce- Grow Your Own
One organic cantaloupe will cost me around $5.00 at the grocery store. However, I can buy a pack of organic cantaloupe seeds for $1.98 and have enough cantaloupes to last me a lifetime.
In addition, a tiny little pack of cut herbs in a plastic container will cost me $1.99 + at the store. I can buy the same herb in a plant form for $4.00 from the local nursery and have fresh herbs for years to come.
Not only will growing your own food save you money, it will also provide food independence and freedom that you just can’t put a price on.
If you are new to gardening and don’t know where to start, we offer some wonderful resources in Gardening For Beginners- Everything You Need to Know.
#2 Know Your Farmer
Get to know your farmer/local produce stand owner.
Farmers (or Farmer Stands at the market) are more likely to offer a deal to someone they know and have a good relationship with.
#3 Join a CSA To Save Money On Fresh Produce
Join a CSA- Community Supported Agriculture.
Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Many CSA’s offer more bang for your buck and include some of the best produce money can buy.
Many CSA’s last 13 weeks depending on the growing season.
To find a CSA near you go to Local Harvest. and enter your zip code.
#4 Buy In Season To Help Save Money On Produce
Buying produce in season means the produce doesn’t have to travel far to reach its destination.
Therefore, seasonal produce has less cost involved in making it available to the public, not to mention it’s more sustainable.
If you buy a watermelon in the dead of winter, that joker will cost you almost $10.00 or more, but if you buy it in the summer you can find them as cheap as $2.00 each.
To read more about eating in season check out my article 5 Reasons To Eat Local & In Season.
#5 U-Pick Farms To Save Money On Fresh Produce
Enjoying an afternoon at a U-Pick farm will always save you money, you can’t get any fresher than eating right off the bush.
Picking your own food will always be cheaper than buying it at a store. As an added bonus, you are creating memories with your family.
Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are when my mother took me berry picking. She always joked that the farmer needed to weigh me before and after picking because I could eat my weight in fresh berries!
Farmers struggle with finding help during harvest season and may even offer to pay you to pick for them.
A local U-Pick Blueberry Farm always offers me free blueberries if I pick for them when I go out there.
So if I pick 10 lbs., I keep 5 lbs. free for me and give him 5 lbs. that he can sell.
What’s better than Free Food?
#6 You Can Save Money On Produce By Buying Damaged Goods
Buy bruised, damaged, or ugly produce will save you a ton of money.
Ask a farmer, market stand or even your local grocery store if they have any bruised, damaged, or ugly produce available at a discount.
The produce is completely edible and useful, especially for canning, pies, relishes, etc.
I buy big grocery bags of fresh tomatoes for $2.00 each. I can get most, if not all, of my canning accomplished for less than $10.00.
In fact, there is an entire business model that sells ‘ugly produce’. One option is called Misfits Market.
#7 Shop at Closing Time To Save Money On Groceries
The best time to save money on produce at a Farmers Market is the end of day.
Many vendors/farmers are willing to offer deals at the end of the day so they don’t have to pack their produce up and haul it back home.
Kindly ask the farmers/vendors if they have any end of the day specials.
#8 Way to Save on Produce- Gleaning the Fields
Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.
Many farmers will let you pick the fields at the end of their season for free or pennies on the dollar.
I have several farmer friends that have lost thousands in produce because they couldn’t find pickers- the food just rotted on the vine.
You can get an abundance of quality produce this way.
#9 Save Money on Produce By Buying In Bulk
Most commercial farmers are not going to get off their tractor and stop working to sell you $6.00 worth of tomatoes, but those same farmers would be happy to sell in bulk.
Get some friends or neighbors together to go in with you on a bulk purchase, split the order as well as the savings.
Bulk tomatoes come in 25 lb cases, bulk potatoes are 40 lbs. Other bulk produce is generally sold by the bushel or peck.
# Barter As A Way To Save Money On Fresh Produce
Everyone needs something. If you have a service to offer or can provide labor, ask if they would be willing to barter.
Farmers always need a helping hand. Produce stands may need help with deliveries, packaging, advertising, etc.
Bartering is a win-win for everyone involved. The farmer gets much needed help and you get fresh produce.
This tip brings a whole new meaning to “Will Work For Food”.
For those of us that do get it but struggle with finances, do you have any tips or suggestions you can offer the budget conscious to help save on buying fresh produce?