Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buying Local at the Peak of the Season Saves Money

Green Saves Green Day 7

I went to a local farm stand today because I missed the farmer's market on Saturday. I got really fabulous apples for 99 cents a pound. That's an awesome price. The price was so reasonable because it's the peak of the season for apples.

When fresh fruits and vegetables are at their peak, they are often the least expensive at the farmer's markets and farm stands. There is an abundance of them and that lowers the price. Simple economics. 

It makes sense that when produce is at its freshest and its least expensive to buy up a little extra and use it in several different dishes throughout the week. And if you've got a way to preserve some, even if it's just by freezing it, you can enjoy it even after its peak season has ended. 

Apples are in season in many regions of the U.S. and beyond right now. The ones I got were so good that my six year old ate two of them after school today. I bought some pie apples (apple pie tomorrow night!), some eating apples, and some apples to make into sauce. I'm going to freeze some of the applesauce I make. 

It makes sense to buy a lot of what is in season and eat it often, but it's not really something we're used to. We've become so accustomed to having a variety to choose from whenever we want. Eating two apples in one day seems unnecessary when you have a grocery store full of fruits to choose from. But not all of those fruits are local or in season. The strawberries I could get now would be very expensive and taste far less amazing than the strawberries I bought locally last June. I'm beginning to learn to eat more of one fruit or vegetable when its in season and when its not in season, forgo it. 

So when you're looking to stretch your food budget, find out what is in season and plentiful. Then get creative with the way you serve it.

For more Green Saves Green, check out Allison's post on Tapping the Tap.

Our regular Tuesday feature, 10 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable..., will return next month when Green Saves Green month is over.

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