From the MRCOG Agriculture Blog, By KT Labadie
You won’t find coupons for local food in the Sunday paper or weekly coupon mailings, but there are other ways to eat local and save money. Whether you shop at a farmers’ market or local grocery store, here are 6 simple ways to stretch you local food dollars.
Buy when in season, preserve for when it’s not
Some fresh foods can be very expensive to buy when they are not in season here, and let’s face it- tomatoes shipped from Florida or Mexico don’t even compare to the tomatoes grown right here in our valley. Keep that fresh flavor year round and save money by dehydrating, canning, or freezing your favorite local foods.
Buy in bulk
Imagine having a freezer full of local meats to last you the year or a pantry stocked with local flour, dried herbs and other preserved local goods. While buying in bulk requires more money upfront, it’s cheaper over the long run and can reduce the number of grocery store trips you have to make.
- Save big bucks by purchasing beef, lamb, chicken and other local meats in bulk- and even more by going in on a large order with friends and family. Note: Although many producers sell year round, now (early summer) is a great time to order certain meats for fall availability. View a listing of local meat producers
- Do you need 20 pounds of tomatoes to make salsa for the year, or 10 pounds of fruit for making jam? Luckily, many farmers are willing to make a deal if you buy produce from them in bulk. It never hurts to ask next time you are at the farmers market.
- Need local honey, pinto beans or other shelf stable products to last the year? Instead of purchasing small amounts every few months, purchase a case or large bag from the farmers market or grocery store.