There is no question that buying organic food costs more than buying food that is grown conventionally but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to fill your plate with organic options without breaking the bank. Here are some helpful tips that can help you make the most of your organic food shopping dollar and get the biggest organic bang for your buck.
Shop Farmers’ Markets
You can often get lower priced organic food options by visiting farmers’ markets and farm stands. By cutting out the middle man the farmers and ranchers can sometimes provide the same great product at a lower cost without impacting their ability to be profitable.
Join an Organic CSA
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it provides an alternative distribution channel for farmers and ranchers. Participants purchase a “share” for the season which entitles them to a certain amount of produce, meat, dairy, etc each week for the duration of the season. Although you cannot pick and choose what comes in your share with most CSAs, buying a share can be a cost effective way to get more organic foodoptions on your plate. And while it’s not always the most economical option, the amount of produce per share usually makes up for the unit price cost.
Join a Co-op
A natural or organic food co-op is different than a CSA. Co-ops are more like a grocery store than a farm stand and you can pick and choose from the products available. Many co-ops are able to offer lower prices on great local produce, meat, and dairy products because they have lower overhead costs. Joining a co-op is likely to cost you an annual fee and it may also require you to put in some volunteer hours to assist in running the operation.
Buy What’s In Season
You will always get the freshest food at the lowest price when you buy what is currently in season. This is just as true for organic food options as it is for conventionally grown products. If you aren’t sure what’s in season, check the Arizona Produce in Season section of Fill Your Plate.
Taking a little extra time to compare the prices of organic food options at various venues can save you money over the long haul. While prices are generally lower at the farmers’ market, check to make sure that this is true in your area. Shopping around for the highest quality at the lowest price is the best way to stretch your food dollar and fill your plate.