One of the big issues with eating healthy for people like me – that is to say, people who have a tight budget – is the cost of organic/grass-fed/all natural products.
Fortunately, there are some strategies that are easy to use to get quality produce for less. Especially this time of year.
- First and foremost, get to know you let local farmers. Often times, organic farmers, who can’t label their products as such due to labeling and certification laws, can sell their high quality products for less because they don’t have to pay the fees for the aforementioned certification. You just have to ask. Make sure you ask specific questions though, because unfortunately there are farmers out there who claim to grow organically, but don’t.
- Buy in bulk. This can often result in a hefty discount. If the farmer doesn’t offer, it can’t hurt to ask! Buying meat in bulk is also a fantastic way to save money.
- Ask for seconds. Many times farmers are more than happy to let less than perfect produce go for a big discount to keep it from wasting. Small, non-uniform peaches, tomatoes with ugly shoulders, curly cukes, broccoli shoots… we all have them.
- Take advantage of membership programs. CSA’s and similar programs can often result in great savings. A CSA which includes meat offers the benefits of buying in bulk, with the bonus that you don’t have to come up with freezer storage space.
- Barter. Do you make or grow something that you can trade with other local artisans/farmers? One of the aspects I’ve enjoyed most about farmers market vending this summer has been trading with other vendors. In our case it’s soap, meat, and veggies for things like organic bug spray and artisan bread.