Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thifty Thursday: To Everything There is a Season

Buy your produce in season. It tastes better & it is cheaper. Oh, it is "greener", too.

Buying produce can be tricky. Some stuff is priced per item. Some per pound. And, that varies from store to store. And, the prices can fluctuate by several dollars from place to place, month to month, week to week. You don't ever know if the price is good, just by looking at the weekly sale ad, if you don't know what a good price is. The apples are on "sale" for $1.99. Hmmm... in season they should only be around $1. So, that is a bad sale.
We aren't totally strict on localism & such. We still eat bananas. But, eating according to seasons can really aid your grocery budget.

Years ago, I was shopping with my mom at a nice produce stand in the county. I was living at home & did some of the cooking & shopping for the family. I think it must have been the dead of winter. But, I desired to make a peach pie. My mom didn't say much, but I think she let me know she didn't think the idea was that great. But I was stubborn & ignorant. When my mom saw that the price of peaches was $4.99 per lb. (!!!), I think she gasped. I still bought them anyway. Enough for a few pies. I was confident that they would be tasty. And, they were. But, I am not sure they tasted like $50. I learned something from that.
But, not everything. A few years later, as a young wife, I decided to make fresh spring pea soup as a starter for dinner. But, it wasn't spring. That little pot of soup was worth about $60. No joke.
Lesson - if you have very little concept of what something should cost, per lb., maybe you should weigh it. They have scales right there. For your convenience. Even though it looks like no one else is using them - go ahead - just do it. Weigh it. If you kids are tall enough, I bet they would love the job. It's kinda fun.
I think learning good produce prices mostly just takes experience. And I still have a lot to learn. Someone like my mom, who has been paying attention to produce prices on a weekly basis, for about 35 years, knows her stuff much better than I do.
Pay attention to prices & you will start learning what is a good deal. Pretty soon you'll have the "appropriate" prices memorized for all your regular purchases. I am fairly confident that the produce stand in Moss Landing, that I have been going to, has some of the best prices in my area. But, I don't have any hard core data on that. I should try to work on that.
I found this Oregonian's comparison chart* that may be helpful to you, or not. It is a few years old. I can't really find much of specifics on this subject on the web. But then, I am not a very good web surfer.

* a note to those who follow this link & read about the woody California strawberries. Those are NOT Well-Pict berries. And, it is not a problem of where they were grown. It is a breeding problem. Buy Well-Pict & you won't have the problem.

12 comments:

Krista said...

I agree with you about Moss Landing, although I don't have any data on it either. I just know I went there and to the grocery store in the same week, and it was almost comical the difference in prices! If you save all your produce shopping for one trip down there, I think *I* would even save money buying from them!

I still haven't checked out the produce mart that opened in Scotts Valley, I should give that a try.

Nicola S. said...

Erin, thanks for your prayer regarding the Klier fam. They're doing well. Lizzie is doing great! Jess (I'm not sure if you know, is expecting #5), but she's doing well too. They have a blog now:
www.klierkiddos.blogspot.com

emilie said...

Great point. Your $60 pot of soup made me laugh. Something about winter does make you want spring to hurry up and come though... especially in Ohio... ahhhh!

big hair betty said...

Okay, I will take a trip down to Moss Landing to see how good those prices are! I personally think that Shopper's Corner has great priced produce. I really need to start writing down how much things cost, in every department. It is just too much info to hold in my head. I need to get a little notebook and just start doing it!

Erin said...

I'm gonna stop at that produce stand today. I'll write down prices. But, the last 2 times I went there, I bought a lot of stuff & spent about $10.
Emily - I don't know if I could bear waiting for Spring Ohio. Californias have nothing to complain about, right?!!

Mrs. Schwager said...

i love moss landing.

and as a side note, mi pueblo is a very inexpensive place to buy fresh salsa. i'm not sure if everyone else eats salsa as frequently as i do, this may not be helpful advice...

Steph said...

So true and such a needed reminder! (for me :) I too need to really learn good prices for produce, as I have done the $60 type things too many times. - I should head back down to the Moss Landing market as well. Was there a few months back and got alot of good stuff as well.
This is getting me excited for the CSA's starting up again..!

Stef said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stef said...

I buy most of my produce at Winco *gasp* so I'm not sure I'd run up a bill like that... ever :)

Ethan loves to weigh stuff for me! Some of the scales are too high, which is a bummer, but most stores keep them lower for handicapped people.

Erin said...

Stef, the $60 on peas was from Savemart. Not a pricey place. It can happen, if you are buying a lot of something.

Stef said...

Wow!!! that must've been a ton of peas! That's amazing.

Stef said...

I buy most of my produce at Winco *gasp* so I'm not sure I'd run up a bill like that... ever :)

Ethan loves to weigh stuff for me! Some of the scales are too high, which is a bummer, but most stores keep them lower for handicapped people.