Organic food is grown or produced without the use of chemical additives or pesticides. Many people want to switch to organic but are reluctant to do so because they believe it will be far more expensive than eating the food they are used to. However, if you want to eat organic, you shouldn’t let financial concerns get in the way. There are ways you can eat organic food cheaply and even save money on your food purchases.
Frequent Local Farmer’s Markets
If you’re looking for organic food, your first stop should be your local farmer’s market. Local farmers set up stands in these markets to sell their produce, often on the weekends. When you shop at a farmer’s market rather than your local supermarket, you usually get food more cheaply because it doesn’t have to be transported from across the city or country. By supporting local farmers, you also help ensure that they can stay in business and put money into your local economy.
Not all produce sold at farmer’s markets is organic, however, so you’ll have to ask each farmer you are dealing with how he or she grows crops. Most farmers are happy to talk about their trade with customers and will answer your questions honestly. Avoid any farmer that is angered by your questions or treats you suspiciously because of them.
Another advantage of farmer’s markets is that you may be able to negotiate the price a little. Don’t haggle over every item, but if you’re interested in fruits and vegetables that have bruises or other imperfections, the farmer might be happy to give it to you at a discounted rate.
Join Co-ops, Buying Programs, or Community Agriculture Programs
It’s more expensive to buy organic food as an individual than as a member of a group. If you are interested in getting group discounts on organic food, you have several options available.
- Community-supported agriculture programs. These programs allow residents of an area to buy shares in local farms. In exchange for the financial support of the farms, you get boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables when the farms harvest their crops. Choose a program that supports organic farming to ensure that you get organic fruits and vegetables.
- Join a co-op. Co-ops are jointly owned markets in which only owners of the market are allowed to shop. When you join a co-op, you pay dues and become a partial member of the co-op. You can then purchase organic produce from the co-op at a discounted price.
- Buying clubs. Buying clubs such as Costco or Sam’s Club allow members to buy food more cheaply than they would at a regular supermarket. You often have to buy organic fruits and vegetables in bulk in order to take advantage of discounts. Membership in most buying clubs is free.
Buy Produce In Season
Prices are often cheaper towards the end of an item’s growing season. Farmers need to get rid of excess produce towards the end of the season so that they can prepare to grow new crops and clear space for storage. The closer it is to the end of the growing season, the lower the price tends to be. You can negotiate extremely cheap prices at your local farmer’s market towards the end of an item’s growing season.
Buy In Bulk
It’s often cheaper to buy items in bulk than to buy them in small amounts. Don’t worry about organic produce going bad. Although organic food doesn’t contain preservatives, you can protect it from spoiling if you make liberal use of your freezer. Just freeze fruits and vegetables that you don’t plan to use right away and take them out when you are ready to eat them. Organic grains and nuts can be kept for long periods of time in air-tight containers.
If you aren’t finding organic food at decent prices at your local market, try looking online. You can often find organic food at discounted prices online. Just as you choose local markets over supermarkets to save money, you should choose websites dedicated specifically to selling organic food rather than shopping at superstores online if you want to save money.