The shelves of supermarkets are stocked with both conventional and organic foods. In fact, there’re a wide variety of organic vegetables, fruit, cereals, snack foods, and even processed organic products – quite inspiring, especially considering that not so long ago, we could only find organic produce in natural food stores or at farmer’s markets. But as the demand for organic foods grows, so do prices.
Budget constraints sometimes lead us away from choosing the product we desire, but the situation doesn’t necessarily have to involve such sacrifices. Here are some great tips on how to buy the organic vegetables you desire.
1. Find CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farms Near You
Instead of buying your food from a large store, you can always buy shares in small independent farms that are part of a CSA system. Your contribution supports a local farmer and, in turn, they will deliver fresh, locally grown produce directly to your door. Such organic vegetable delivery boxes usually contain all the ingredients necessary for you to cook healthy meals and have a variety of snacks (organic vegetables, fruits, grains, milk, eggs and even meat).
Another great tip is to have friends and family (even co-workers) join in on the fun. Together, you can even form a co-op and have more produce delivered to the same address. CSA and local producers are known to use high-quality organic vegetable seeds, rotate crops and avoid GMO’s entirely, so you know that the food you’re eating is healthy and safe.
2. Visit Local Farmer’s Markets
Most small towns and even larger cities host weekly farmer’s markets where producers showcase their wares. More often than not, their prices are significantly lower than supermarket prices. Be open and friendly and even discuss the possibility of having food delivered with the farmers you meet.
Another option is to ask whether they offer discounts if you buy in bulk. If so, plan ahead and order the quantities of produce that you’d like to buy.
3. Buy in Bulk Whenever Possible
Of course, fresh fruit like strawberries can’t be bought in bulk. However, that shouldn’t deter you from attempting to reduce costs by buying larger quantities of organic vegetables that can be stored for longer periods of times. Potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, and apples can be bought in larger quantities.
Freezing fresh produce is another great option for foods that spoil easily. In fact, that’s a great way to enjoy out-of-season produce. Freeze strawberries, blueberries, cherries, sour cherries and use them later in smoothies, pies or frozen yogurts.
4. Learn to Properly Store Your Food
As you would expect, organic produce doesn’t contain harmful chemical substances (such as preservatives), and this means that they soil more easily than conventional produce. Consequently, you’ll want to avoid the costs of spoilt food by learning to properly store organic produce. Learn about food ripening and whether fruit emit gases that promote the ripening of other produce. Separate your fruits and veggies, learn about which organic vegetables should be stored in the fridge and which should not. This will save you a lot of money in the long run.
5. Shop in Season
Even if you decide to buy your produce from a large supermarket, try to only buy organic foods that are in season. Organic fruits and vegetables will be significantly cheaper when they’re in season. If you do want to enjoy a bit of summer bliss in the wintertime, learn about freezing and storing your produce.
6. Find Your Staple
One great way to reduce costs is to find a highly-nutritious type of food that can serve as the basis for most of the meals you cook. Potatoes, millet, brown rice, dried beans and sunflower seeds are just some of the foods that you can consider as staples. The advantages is that they’re inexpensive and can be stored for longer periods of time.
7. Plan Your Menu in Advance
Having a detailed shopping list and an idea about what you’re planning to cook in a week will significantly lower costs for some reasons. First of all, you won’t be sidetracked by produce and organic foods that aren’t on your shopping list. You’ll also be able to make clever yet inexpensive substitutions should specific items not be available.
8. Grow Your Own Herbs
A great way to save money is to grow your own organic produce. Granted, in apartment buildings or urban areas, it’s quite impossible to find the space or the time. Even so, a tiny organic herb garden is low-maintenance and will save you money on spices. In fact, there are some vegetables that can grow indoors (even in tiny spaces) if you feel up for the task.
9. Seek Out Buying Clubs
Another great way to reduce the costs or organic food (by as much as 30 to 40 percent less than their retail price) is to become a member of buying clubs. While members have to pay an annual fee to be a part of the club, they can purchase food and other products in bulk and then choose the items they wish.
That’s another reason to find friends, neighbors, and colleagues willing to purchase inexpensive organic products. Since most distributors have minimum order amounts, they rarely deliver to individuals. But if your order exceeds that minimum amount, you’re set.
10. Be on the Lookout for Sales and Discounts
Store discount fliers are particularly useful when you’re trying to reduce grocery costs. So is clipping coupons, so if your favorite organic products are on sale, stock up!
Finding high-quality, inexpensive produce may seem difficult at first, but with a bit of preparation, you’ll see that it’s manageable. More importantly, with so many people turning to organic agriculture, you’ll surely find someone to split the costs with. You can always find organic food delivery companies online and purchase affordable organic fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the cost. So shop wisely and stock up!