I don’t have a green thumb. Several times, I’ve tried to grow my own organic vegetables. I always started with tomatoes and thought if they worked I would expand. For months I watch them grow in anticipation. As it gets closer to being ripe to pick, something always goes wrong. The first year, the deer enjoyed them. The next year, they just didn’t grow. Last year, they grew slowly and were still green when the first snow killed them. I will try again, but in the meantime I’ve had to find other ways to save on organic produce.
Here’s how I’ve been able to save:
- Shop the day old produce rack. I’ve found that regular chain grocery stores that sell organic produce often don’t sell much of it in time and end up putting it on the day old rack, marked down sometimes by up to 90%. If you see organic produce that hasn’t made it to the rack but looks like it should, you can always haggle with the produce manager for a lower price. If it’s bruised, I’ll cut around it and eat it that day or freeze it. If it’s overripe, I bake with it or freeze it for later use.
- Coupon. Many organic produce companies now offer coupons. Earthbound Farms often offers coupons signing up to be on their email list. Paired with a sale, this has made for free organic carrots and green onions and cheap organic lettuce. Driscoll’s periodically offers coupons on their organic produce. Local grocery stores often offer store coupons or store e-coupons on organic produce, as well.
- Shop loss leaders. Check the ads of your local grocery store for weekly sales on organic produce. Loss leaders are the items in the ad that are marked down in price that stores hope will bring you in to buy more regular priced groceries. Stick to just buying the loss leaders at 1-2 grocery stores each week, and you can save a bunch on organic produce.
- Shop local farmer’s markets and orchards. The best time to get a bargain at a farmer’s market is right before they pack up to head home. You can usually get the price down on produce, as they don’t want to have to pack up all of their unsold produce. Orchards are great to hit at the end of the season, usually saving 50% on the produce. Check the orchards website before heading out, often times there are coupons there.
- Soak to eliminate pesticides. If you can’t afford to eat all organic, you can always soak your fruits and veggies in a solution of 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide and distilled water in a large bowl for 15 minutes, then rinse. The hydrogen peroxide helps to eliminate much of the pesticide residue.
Buying organic produce doesn’t have to break the bank. What are some ways you save on organic produce?