The warmer months bring with them all kinds of wonderful produce to cook up fresh, colorful, healthy meals. You’ll want to get all the delicious, juicy fruit and vegetables you can without racking up too big of a grocery bill, so check out these tips for getting the best deals on produce this summer.
Buy what is in season
Shopping for seasonal produce is a no-brainer in the summer since so many fruits and vegetables grow in the warmer months, but make sure to stock up and save for the rest of the year too! Berries, stone-fruits like nectarines and apricots, melons, and tropical fruits are all abundant during the summer. With a little prep you can buy these in large quantities, prepare them and then freeze all your extras for later when they’re more expensive or not available at all. This goes for your veggies too!
Join a community supported agriculture (CSA)
A CSA is always a great idea to get affordable produce, as well as other items like free range meats. Joining a CSA means you’re sharing in a huge bounty with a group of people, so the cost for each food is way lower than heading to your local grocery store, plus you’re supporting local growers! The only issue some people have with a CSA is having less control over what produce you end up with, and sometimes having too much, so get creative with your recipes or swap some of your extras with your friends who have gardens or fruit trees.
Grow your own
Even if you’re not a natural green thumb, you can grow your own produce with not too much effort. If you don’t have the right soil or a big enough yard, try a small container garden. Some inexpensive seeds and fertilizer and a few tips from the people at the greenhouse and you’ll be growing your own fresh meals in no time. Start with some resilient options like carrots, herbs and spinach and you’re well on your way!
Scope out your local farmer’s market
Farmer’s markets are an amazing place to get your summer produce, not to mention a lovely way to spend a Saturday. Not only do these options usually have fewer preservatives and pesticides, the costs are lower because they don’t pay supermarkets or travel costs. Comparison shop the different booths to choose the produce that’s best for you, and get to know your favorite growers. They may have smaller crops they don’t sell at markets and the only way to find out is to ask! Another option is to wait until later in the market day when booths start to lower prices on their produce or bundle items together for a better deal. This is a calculated risk in case what you’re looking for has sold out, but it can pay off!
Find a U-pick
If you can’t make it to the market, why not head straight to the farm itself! Many berry farms have U-pick options where you can fill up basket loads of delicious produce, and you get to choose your own so you’re not wasting money on bruised or battered fruits. This is also an awesome way to spend a sunny summer day. Get out there, get dirty, and reap the delicious rewards.
Go for the ugly
Traditionally, big chain grocery stores only sell produce that is beautiful —think shiny, bright, perfectly shaped fruits and veg. The truth is that not all produce looks that great from the field, and you can get a better deal on those ugly duckling fruits and veggies if you know where to find them. Some stores are now bundling up those “ugly” fruits at a great deal. Find out if there is one near you and get your disfigured discount on! They taste just as delicious!