• http://www.moneyinthe20s.com Dave

    Starting a garden (if you are able to) is definitely a great way to save on produce. It’s also fun! I started a garden for the first time about 4 years ago and have been hooked ever since. It saves a lot of money and is good exercise (tilling, weeding, watering, etc..).

    I completely agree that if you are new to gardening stick to some easy to grow crops such as tomatoes, beans, squash, and peas.

  • Kira Botkin

    Good point on the frozen vegetables! I have a friend who sticks peas in many of her dishes to add a veggie serving, such as pasta, since they don’t alter the taste much and picky eaters cannot get them all out. :)

  • http://doablefinance.com/ Doable Finance

    As far as frozen vegetables, you are right. They are no less nutritious. Most of the time, I buy frozen and stock up when they go on sale..

  • Run Lola Run

    Don’t forget that there are plenty of community gardens out there. One to two days a week of maintenance after the initial 1-3 hours of planting will give you amazing bounty out of a community garden. Plus they do all the watering for you! They are usually low cost ($10 or so) or free. Worth a try.

  • Sean

    I try and buy for recipes that I have planned or I risk forgetting about the produce in my drawer and it going bad. I also have read a few different articles about frozen vegetables, they are practically identical in nutrition to fresh food, and in some aspects such as Vit C… better!

    Just my two cents :)

  • Olivia

    I heard of someone putting a container garden on wheels and tracking the sun with it. That might work in your situation. We do raised beds in the one sunny area of our yard. Our soil is also quite poor. As the raised bed soil is now quite enriched and constantly being augmented (compost, natural fertilizers) , the plants can be placed closer together, thus increasing yields.

  • Matt Breed

    Thanks Olivia! That is a great idea that is definitely worth a shot.

  • Greg

    Not to be overly negative, but I’ve never seen a farmers market that didn’t charge at least 50% more than my local grocery store on almost every item they sold. And I’ve lived in six different cities, 4 of which were fairly rural. One thing that was always cheap when I lived in Iowa was corn, but that’s a given and little else was cheaper than in the super market.

    • Desiree

      Hi Greg,

      It’s true that sometimes the produce at farmer’s markets can be more expensive than what you can find in the grocery store on sale. I am a honey vendor at a farmer’s market and work 5-6 a week in three counties all summer, I can/freeze/dehydrate and cook from scratch all of our food for a family of four, and am always on the lookout for good prices, so I know of which I speak. If you’re looking at dollar alone, you can sometimes get better prices at a grocery store or bargain food outlet store, but you’ll almost always pay for it in quality and shelf life.

      I live in California where we grow crazy amounts of everything, and still, you’ll find lots of imported produce at the grocery store. The produce is picked before it’s ripe in order to withstand the rigors of shipping and the time it needs to sit in the store before it’s sold. This effects the quality and taste, and how long it’s going to last once it makes it to your crisper.

      If you’re not that concerned about taste, and to you a tomato is a tomato, AND you’re going to eat it right away, then the store is definetly the way to go. If, however, you want more taste bang for your buck and don’t want to waste money composting fruits and veggies in your crisper because they were on death’s door to begin with, you should spend a few cents more and go to a farmer’s market.

      • Providence2010

        I guess my point is, this is an article aimed at states like California (a.k.a. none of the states I’ve lived in). In Iowa it’s incredibly easy to grow almost anything that can survive the climate because of how incredibly fertile the soil was there. It just takes a little bit of time and effort in the back yard (which is probably huge enough to have a small farm). But no one bothers growing anything except soy and corn there, because it’s a waste of their time and money to do otherwise.

        Also, isn’t freezing and dehydrating another way of saying “processing”. I thought the whole point of buying organic is avoiding any sort of processing that would diminish the nutritional value of the food. When you do that to something you bought at a farmers market, you’re immediately undoing any health benefit you would’ve had over buying something cheaper.

        I am very picky about taste though, and I do recognize that farm fresh foods are way better. I tend to buy produce from the farmers market as a special reward, since it’s normally a pain to even get to the nearest one.

        I’m not sure what you mean by “If you’re looking at dollar alone, you can sometimes get better prices at a grocery store or bargain food outlet store”. I don’t know what a “bargain food outlet store” is. I actually tend to shop at nicer grocery stores because their produce is better. It’s still always cheaper than the farmers market.

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