SOS Mom Saver: Saving Money on Fresh Produce

Most of us have heard that the best way to save money on produce is to buy in season.

But what does that mean?

How do I know what's in season when?  Does that mean in season here or in season in another state?  Well...Yes.

The closer to the source of the produce, the cheaper it will be.  If you're in California or Florida where they grow oranges, then they're going to be cheaper for you than if you're in Michigan.  If gas costs are up, then those oranges are going to be even MORE expensive in Michigan.

The oranges are going to be cheaper for everyone when those oranges are in season because they grow with less assistance and in greater quantities when in season.

There are a lot of variables that can affect produce prices.  A hurricane that wipes out the citrus crop in Florida is going to affect us all by raising prices or causing a shortage as would a flood, drought, or fire that destroys crops in California.

The bottom line, though, is that all other factors aside, buying when the produce is in season will save you the most money.

I couldn't possibly list what is in season in every area of the country every month.  I could tell you some general guidelines to go by.  For example, oranges and other citrus fruits will be in season in the winter, melons and berries will be in season in the summer, and apples and different squashes will be in season in the fall.  Your BEST bet, though is finding out what produce is in season in your area.  If nothing is currently in season in your area, find the state closest to you with in season produce and know that those items will be your cheapest buys.

Epicurious and Sustainable Table will give you a general idea of what is in season in your area each month.  Local Harvest goes one better, though.  It will direct you to farms in your area.  Many of those farms list what they grow each season on Local Harvest.  Even better, many will let you buy directly from them to save even more money.  Plus, you'll be getting the produce directly from the source which is ALWAYS best!

If you can't buy directly from a farm in your area, check your grocery store sale ads.  Typically, the produce that is currently in season will be the cheapest!  In the summer, we stock up on berries when they're $.99 for 6oz to 1lb (depending on the berry) and freeze enough to get us through the winter.

This was our first cucumber ever!!!

And of course the BEST way to save money on fresh produce is to grow it yourself!  I'm excited about learning the ins & outs of gardening in Vegas this year.  It's always a little scary at first to start gardening; especially if you've never done it before.  I promise you, when you see the fruits (literally) of your labor, the hard work will have all been worth it!

1 comment:

all in the family said...

You haven't planted your garden yet in LV? I am about to do my potatoes soon :)