Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Fridge


We joined a CSA this summer because it was something I really wanted to do--we were trying to move away from so many preprocessed foods and I figured that fresh, local produce was good for us, good for the economy, and good for the environment. I just didn't realize it would be good for our wallet as well.

Our CSA cost broke out to about $25/week, something that seemed like an awful lot since our produce buying habits were pretty much confined to apples and the occasional salad supply run. However, we were eating lots of processed food (prebagged meals for dinner on busy nights, frozen dinner for lunches, prepackaged snacks) which adds up in a big way. Joining a CSA helped us form eating habits that knocked our weekly grocery bill in half. Even once you add back in the money we spent for our membership, we were still coming out ahead.

Once the summer season ended, our new found shopping habits stuck. We aren't buying nearly as much produce as was in our CSA share, but we are buying more than we were and we've stayed away from preprepared food. Instead our shopping rotation now consists of staples (milk, butter, flour, sugar, bread), meat (steaks and ground turkey), and produce (fruits and veggies). I'm more likely to take a piece of fruit for a snack and I feel absolutely awesome looking at all the good stuff we have on the conveyor when we check out.

This week's groceries? A stop by the farmer's market (someplace I'd like to get to more often) for fruits and veggies:

Farmer's Market


And a quick run to the grocery store for staples:

Groceries


Eventually, I'd like to bake bread regularly enough and with enough variety that we don't need to buy bread at the market at all. I'd also love to learn how to can veggies so that we can put up sauces, beans, etc and not have to buy them.

6 comments:

  1. I'm impressed by people who do a weekly shopping.... What I do looks more like a daily shopping trip, even if it's only bread.

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  2. Is some of that regional? I know when my hubby was in France for a summer, they only had a tiny fridge and no real kitchen so you pretty much HAD to shop daily. And that seems to be the norm in Europe? Whereas here, very few people shop daily, almost everyone is weekly or biweekly.

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  3. Well, we have a tiny (and overfull) freezer, and we anyway almost never buy frozen food (the food in the freezer is meat from the farm and ice cream).
    I know it's not the norm here to go shopping daily, but most people shop more than once a week.
    We need fresh bread around every second day, I don't like stale bread. Toast is not that common here.
    Basically, what we cook when is most of the time spontaneously, so in the end there is always something missing. Especially vegetables, because the basics (flour, rice, pasta, canned tomatoes) we have at home.

    It's not that bad, because I pass several shops on my way home from work, so it adds maybe another 10 minutes to the commute.

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  4. We usually buy two loaves of bread or a loaf and rolls. We tend to buy soft breads, so they don't go stale as fast.

    We tend to buy things we know (from experience) we will eat, and then plan what to make the day of. Sometimes this doesn't work out, but most of the time, we can pull something together. We save the more laborious meals for weekends. : )

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  5. carolynn3:52 PM

    If you decide to can veggies it is easy and totally awesome! Gonzo and I have almost finished all the tomatoes that I canned this summer. I also attempted to can pickles last week but they need to sit for 4 to 6 weeks to develop the flavor, so I will see how well I did! But it was a lot easier than I thought.

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  6. I'll have to hit you up for tips! I so wanted to try pickles this summer but never quite got to them. : / Next summer for sure though. : D

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