Frugal Living 

How to Save on Organic Vegetables

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Vegetable MarketOrganic vegetables may be healthier for you as you avoid many of the pesticides used on traditionally grown vegetables.  In addition, I find that organic vegetables just taste better, which makes us want to eat more vegetables.  However, paying for organic produce can be tough on the wallet.  Luckily, there are several ways you can reduce the cost of paying for organic vegetables.

Join a CSA.  CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it gives you a chance to buy a share of produce from a local organic farmer.  You pay several hundred dollars upfront (depending on the size of your share and the farm you buy from), and then you have fresh organic produce delivered to you weekly from June through October.  The cost per week can be significantly less than you would pay at an organic grocery store.

Volunteer for a CSA Farm.  A few organic farms offer a barter arrangement—you work a few hours a week on the farm or at the farmer’s market, and in return, you get your CSA produce box for free each week.  Even if this arrangement is not specifically stated, contacting the farm to see if they offer bartering is well worthwhile because many are quite open to this arrangement.

Join a National Food Co-op.  Bountiful Baskets services 19 states, mostly in the West and offers organic produce at a significant discount.  In California, you can join Abundant Harvest.  The discounts are significant such as 15 pounds of less than perfect stone fruit for $10.

Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market.  Farmer’s markets offer the freshest organic produce, often picked at the farm and brought to you within 24 hours.  The larger the market, the more choices you will have.  Frequenting the farmer’s market may help you determine which farms you enjoy for future CSA subscriptions.

Scan the Supermarket Ads.  Many supermarkets are offering more and more organic produce.  When organic produce is on sale as a loss leader, it can often be less expensive than the conventionally grown counterpart.  However, buying from your chain grocery store often means that the produce is not locally grown, if that is important to you.

Grow Your Own Garden.  If you have the time and energy, consider growing your own garden.  You will know exactly how your food was grown, and it doesn’t get any fresher than right from the vine to your plate.  If you grow your vegetables from seed, your investment to set up your garden can be well under $100, more likely less than $50.

Visit the Farm Directly.  Go to a u-pick organic farm and pick the vegetables that are in season.  Not only will you see significant savings, but you can buy in bulk and preserve the food for the winter either through canning or freezing.

Many of us believe that organic produce is not affordable, but by using some creativity and exploring other options besides large organic grocery chains, you can buy affordable, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables.

(Photo: alight)

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4 Responses to “How to Save on Organic Vegetables”

  1. Wilma says:

    I find that if you look around the farmers market, especially in the afternoon, you’ll find not so perfect fruits and vegies real cheap. I like these for my juicer. You don’t need perfect stuff for the juicer. I try to grow as much of my own in my limited space as I can. Again, without pesticides or herbicides. I also visit a few Amish or Mennonite farms for my produce. I am blessed to live in a farming type community.

  2. Melissa says:

    Great idea about the farmer’s market! I tend to go in the morning when everything is fresh. I’ll have to try to go in the afternoon.

  3. Charlotte says:

    You can also save a lot of money by either freezing your own organic vegetables, or buying frozen ones on the off-season, as organic produce can be especially expensive when it isn’t the right season for it!

  4. ed says:

    See the price tags in the organic veggies photo?
    Certainly not English!

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