On Monday I will be giving a talk at St. Andrew’s Preschool in Lacey about ways to save money on healthy, whole food. The discussion will be at 9am and you are welcome to join us. Until then, here are three of my favorite tips.
1. Plant a Garden / join a CSA
The best way to save money on organic produce is to grow some of it yourself. Not only is this economical but it give your family a better understanding of where food comes from and what it is supposed to look and taste like. As an added bonus, kids enjoy eating what they have helped to grow. My children eat twice as many vegetables when they go out and harvest their dinner. They also tell me that digging up potatoes is like digging for pirate treasure.
Purchasing a Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA) share is another fantastic way to get high-quality produce at a reasonable price. Once a week you will pick up a box of produce fresh from the farm. Most communities have several options. A quick search at Local Harvest revealed 15 local farms in Thurston County. Not only do you get a box of delicious fruits and vegetables, you are directly supporting the farmers who grew it.
2. Shop in bulk or online
Warehouse stores, such as Costco, are a great place to purchase non-food items. They are also a good place to look for organic produce and meat, coconut oil, almond/coconut flour and pastured cheese (Kerry-gold). Increasingly, Costco is stocking these and other healthy food options. Other favorites in our house include a quinoa and wild rice blend, dried (unsweetened) fruit and nuts.
Spices are also much less expensive in bulk than they are in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. This is especially if you are looking for organic spices.
3. Buy the whole animal
Most of us know that buying a whole chicken is less expensive than buying just the breasts. Did you know that you can apply the same principle to pork and beef? Local ranchers are often happy to sell you (or you and a few friends) part or all of an animal ready for butcher. If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry there is very little work involved. The rancher will send the animal to a butcher who will call you to ask what cuts you would like. When it is ready, you pick up the meat (all wrapped and neatly labeled) and fill your freezer.
Again, by doing this you are supporting local agriculture. You also have meat in the freezer for months at a time. No more running to the grocery store or scanning the ad every weekend looking for a sale on meat. Simply take what you want out of the freezer. This saves time and money.
To stretch this farther, you can use the bones to make homemade stock in you slow cooker.
Broth: Combine bones, 1T cider vinegar, herbs and pepper of choice, vegetables (onion, carrot, celery ends can be saved in the freezer until you have enough) and filtered water. Leave on high until boiling then reduce to low for 24 hours.
Bonus Tip: Plan your meals after you have purchased your groceries or picked up your CSA rather than before. Look at what you have that it fresh and get creative.