My children appreciate the added flavor present in organic fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
Unfortunately, organic products, which are grown and packaged without pesticides, artificial coloring or preservatives, are expensive. The following strategies have helped us to purchase organic products while staying on a tight budget.
• Follow the loss-leaders. Grocery stores and specialty chains typically offer several heavily discounted items each week. These promotional items are called loss leaders because stores are willing to take a financial hit on these items in order to lead or lure consumers into the store. Stock up on sale items in the organic section and build menus around those loss leaders.
• Stay local. In-season and locally produced fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper than out-of-season items that have been imported from other regions.
• Wash it yourself. We pay a premium for veggies that are pre-washed, peeled or pre-cut. When time allows, I save money with do-it-yourself triple-washing, peeling and chopping of fruits and veggies. The savings are significant.
• Hit the freezer. I love organic blueberries, which I mix into yogurt as a breakfast treat. But when the out-of-season price spikes to $6.99 for six ounces, I go to the freezer aisle. That’s where I pick up a 10-ounce package of organic berries for about $4. The freezer section offers a variety of frozen organic fruits at reasonable prices. Frozen fruits are great for snacking or baking.
• Join an organic co-op. Before we let our membership lag, we were part of an organic food co-op in our neighborhood for more than a year. We have since joined another group and are pleased with the savings. My husband, Avi, estimates that our produce bill has dropped by 30 percent due to the co-op, which purchases fruits and vegetables in bulk from local, organic farmers.