Buying Organic on a Budget

photo by Skyclad

photo by Skyclad

Today we would like to bring you a guest post from Shannon at For The Mommas. Shannon lives in the middle of farm country and knows all about buying organic.  She has generously offered to guest post for us to answer your questions about buying organic on a budget.

Just a few short years ago, buying Organic food was not only very expensive, but you had to go to specialty stores to buy it.  In the past few years, organic food has become more main stream. With this, has come decreased pricing and increased availability.  Organic food doesn’t have to be a budget breaker. While you should expect to pay a small premium, you can find ways to reduce the costs.

  1. Use coupons-  Often people believe there are no coupons available for organic foods.  Here are some great sources for organic coupons. Some brands such as Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen and Amy’s frequently have coupons in their packaging.  Some great sites for coupons. 
    Organic Valley
    Delicious
    Earthsbest
    Horizon Organic
    Morning star farms
    Mambo sprouts 
    Apple gate farms

    EBFarms
    Back to Nature Foods
    Kashi
    Brown cow farm
    Stoneyfield farms 
  2. Check out your local Farmers Market- Often local farmers markets grow their produce right in the town the farmers market is in.  They don’t have the traditional overhead of a grocery store and can offer better pricing. If you don’t see a sign that says organic, ask the farmer.  I tend to find if you talk to a local farmer and ask about their process, you may find even though there is no sign, they grow organic. Also, ask at the stand if they sell the produce at the end of the farmers market for a discount. Some farmers only sell their produce on the weekends at these markets and some payment is better than putting them in the trash.
     
  3. Join a CSA – This is a community supported agricultural group. You pay a portion of the farmer’s expenses and each week you get a box full of fresh produce. It doesn’t get better than this.  Many farmers will allow you to come to the farm and see the produce as it is growing. You can make sure you are truly getting organic produce. The growing season is usually about 20-30 weeks, depending on what part of the country you are in.
     
  4. Buy at surplus, discount scratch and dent grocery stores – Stores that get surplus of stock often carry organic cereal and snacks.  Many stores will send their surplus organic items to these stores. They can be bought at a fraction of the retail cost. The selection changes frequently at these stores, so what you buy one week will not necessarily be available the next week.
     
  5. Grow your own produce – You don’t have to grow everything! Pick a few items that grow well in your climate.  You can find great tips on organic growing at organickitchen.com
     
  6. Shop outside of your grocery stores- Your grocery store isle may be the most expensive place to buy organic.  There are many options available. Try your local health food store,  shop online – check the Organic Kitchen for a list of online merchants,
     
  7. Consider Antibiotic or Hormone Free Meats – Organic meat can be very expensive.  The organic feed for the animals is more costly, thus increasing the cost of the meat. Buy antibiotic and hormone free meats instead. These animals were fed regular food, but meet the other organic requirements.
     
  8. Buy store brand generics – Many stores are now offering generic organic foods that are comparable to brand name regular food.  Check your supermarkets for these brands.  Often they will offer coupons for these brands as well.

 

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