My favorite produce stand will be closing down for the winter in about 2 weeks. You know what that means right? Pay double the price to get my organic produce from my local stores. Well that's what most people think but its not true. There are still ways to get around having to pay these prices.
1. Collect and store. What I mean by that is try to collect as much produce as you can when it's cheap and prepare it for storage so you can store it and eat it later. Whether its canning, freezing or dehydrating. One thing I did this year was not to refuse anything given to me for free or I took advantage of something free. Blackberries grow like weeds here so when they were yummy and ripe I picked like crazy. I froze them for smoothies and made the yummiest jelly for my girls. Since freezing is the easiest , it was my preference. Once I made my jelly I simply labeled it and put it all in the freezer.
Several time's my neighbors would give me things from their gardens (I did this as well) and I would use it or store it for later. I giant zucchini given to me by neighbor (thanks Jessica!) was shredded and put in the freezer. This will be used in muffins all year long. Oyster mushrooms I found for $1 a pound was taken home and dehydrated. I even put the dried mushrooms in a blender and made mushroom powder. Lemon balm and mint growing in my yard was dehydrated and I use to make my own tea.
Its funny, anytime I talk about doing all this it reminds me of the story of these squirrels. The main character was having fun and playing all the time. The other squirrels were looking for nuts and fixing their shelters. All along this main squirrel was doing nothing. Well guess who froze and didn't have any food? Moral of the story is all work and no play keeps the hunger pains away.
2. Buy seasonal. I usually do this anyways. Usually in season produce is cheap. But a good deal would distract me sometimes. Oops my bad. But now I will have no options. So here's my plan. I'm kind of a store snob now. I stick to Whole Foods (1st choice) and then Trader Joe's (2nd choice). I can avoid plastic much better at Whole Foods but sometimes I save more money at Trader Joe's. I think I will go to Whole Foods and buy whats on sale. If its cabbage then our dinners will have cabbage in it. Carrots on sale then i'm hunting for good carrot recipes. I will buy what I can on sale and get creative. I think this is a great way to try new things. I will try my best to buy local during this time as well. Whole Foods is pretty good about getting products and food from local businesses and farmers.
Now you know my plan. I'm not sure how well it will work but at least I have a plan. Wish me luck.
What do you do when your fresh produce stands close down for the season? How to you afford to keep buying organic?