Eating organic food appeals to me on many levels. I don't like the thought of all of the pesticides, synthetic hormones and antibiotics passing through to my family, especially my two young children. And have you ever eaten an organic, local, ripe strawberry?...heaven on earth. I have found that organic, local produce has such better flavor than non-local produce found regularly at my grocery store.
But sometimes eating organically can wreck havoc on the grocery budget, so I am always looking for ways to eat organic food and not blow our budget.
1. Community Supported Agriculture or CSA.
A CSA is a commitment between local farmer/s and community members who pay the farmer for a seasonal membership. We have been a member of a CSA for 8 years now. During the harvest season, which for us is May- November, we receive a weekly share of produce. Most of the produce that we consume during those months comes from the CSA and we supplement with produce we grow ourselves. I rarely need to buy produce at the grocery store during those months.
This year's price for a half-share comes to about $13.35 a week in organic produce. This picture is an example of what a weekly share looks like. The photo was taken in August 2009 when the box is full of high summer produce.
2. Consider your grocery store's private label organic brand.
Give it a try. In some cases, I have gone back to name brand, such as Stonyfield French Vanilla organic yogurt, but that is just my preference. My good friend loves our store's private label vanilla organic yogurt. I do buy the private label organic milk.
Here is a quick price comparison on a recent grocery trip:
- Name brand 32 oz. organic yogurt $2.99 vs. store brand 32 oz organic yogurt $2.53.
- Name brand half gallon of organic milk $4.05 vs. store brand half gallon organic milk $3.49
3. Compare price per unit and if the size makes sense go for the best price per unit.
- Stonyfield Organic yogurt, 32 oz @ $2.99 = $1.50/lb, 6 oz cups @ .79 cents = $2.11/lb.
- Horizon Organic Milk - half gallon @ $4.05, gallon @ $5.99
4. Look for organic or natural meat that has been marked down.
Marked down poultry or meat is safe as long as you use it or freeze immediately after you buy it. I wrote about marked down meat a little more in depth a few weeks ago and I regularly find this type of poultry or meat marked down at my store.
5. Local Farms and Farmer's Markets.
Do a little research to find out what is available to you locally. If organic is important to you, buying it locally could save you money as opposed to the grocery store's organic selection. I am currently looking for a CSA for poultry and meat.
6. Visit the websites of companies that you enjoy.
Recently I signed up for newsletters for Stonyfield and Horizon Dairy products and I received some coupons for those companies. The site, Organic Deals and Coupons has an extensive list of organic companies.
Is it important for you and your family to eat organically? Do you have any other cost-saving tips on organic food? Please let us know in the comments.
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