Saturday, April 27, 2013

Trace and Budget This Food Route

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

Vehicle? No -- borrowed. Check. Seat moves forward to the pedals? Of course not. Cold torrential downpour. Check. Winds whipping at high speeds. Check. Illegal activity? Check. More on that later. I would say pedal to the metal, but I couldn't reach them. This is going to be a fun day!

Maybe you can improve my route. I'm finally in a sweet spot where I have options of organic/co-op delivery right to the doorstep, a farm club herd share program, a cheap produce outlet, and any extras like bulk buys and other grocery products from online and at a supermarket. Is all the trouble worth it to avoid processed binges? You decide. Share your tips. Remember this here is only one stage of the treasure hunt.

Cheap Produce Outlet

So Navigator Phone Lady got me to this incredibly inexpensive produce store I heard about. This is not the place to get organic, although it's possible. This is the place where I get "filler" foods, not necessarily staples, so that I don't use my entire month's budget on a week of a few organic bites, know what I mean? That's just the honest truth for me and a small step toward eating real food from home.

Go here to get safe-ish fresh foods, to avoid junk food (this option is way cheaper), to slash costs, encourage cooking, avoid wheat and other sensitivities, and get some good bulk deals. You don't want "appetite fatigue" by eating much less because it isn't perfect. That can also lead to binge-ing off the dollar menu. I've been there, it can be rough on the thyroid. Baby steps. Not advocating GMOs - whole 'nother story.


Targets Acquired:
  • Tons of sweet potatoes .29 per pound. I eat these a lot, sometimes by themselves as a meal. I get organic when available.
  • Grapes were 9 frickin' cents per pound. 9 cents per lb., people! Who is going to pass that up?
  • Care to crack nuts? Then you can steal them for $3.99 per lb. - it's been quite a few years since packaged nuts were at that price since grocery prices shot up.
  • Watermelon $1.99
  • Ginger, less than a dollar and tons more
I walked out with a cartload of stuff for $17 that could last 2 weeks - that feels pretty darn good (for a start). Kitchen looks like a jungle.

Tips:
  • Follow the Dirty Dozen list as a friendly guide and don't get fruit-guilt.
  • Wash the ones that are washable as best as possible using this guide.
  • It would be awesome and more nutritious to only get organic, but there are some things that don't have to make us fall on the floor writhing. Bananas, avocados, pineapples - you get the picture. 
  • Buy your lemons here for cleaning and cosmetic use.
  • Sign up for coupons or texts to know which days are best. Had I been there just 20 minutes later I could have bagged blackberries for 22 cents instead of of 49 - that's still $2-4 less than the supermarket. 
  • Plan to use this stuff soon - it could be cheap because it was overstock. Rinse, vinegar wash, and cut up when you get home if possible.
  • Don't want food waste. Freeze. Find ways to throw this stuff into recipes - use allrecipes.com. Use the scraps and leftovers for compost.
  • Organic still is the best value for each cent - highest nutrition content which makes it better than supplements and lowest amount of chemicals. You are fortunate if you find local low-price organic. 
Find your underground hubs Here

I'm working toward the day where I buy all organic, all the time, because it's the biggest bang for the buck and also a way to stop supporting Big Ag practices and the pesticide industries that are wiping the bees off the earth. Those options are not always available or in season (if you're going to markets and co-ops) -- but I'm striving towards it to transition completely away from the processed, junk, and fast food industries. It can be done. There are also options to grow, get together with my community garden friends and learn how to can and create more food from the kitchen. This less-than-ideal stop might be the stepping stone needed to make those greater leaps.

Next stop: Farm Club HerdShare Program, how it works and what you can get

Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.

Read other articles by Heather Callaghan


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