7.17.2008

Thrifty Oreganic Thursday

Well, technically it's still Thursday! I am going to start a weekly feature with the aforementioned title, and it's simply a snippit in keeping with the priciples of this blog. I will share something Thrifty that I think might be helpful to others striving to live in this ever-more-expensive world.

I try to eliminate the "middle-man" as much as possible; I find that is saves the most money. Whether that's buying farm-direct, or through buying clubs (watch for more on these on future Thursdays), I find it's not as complicated as one might think, and it saves bundles.

Another way I've saved money on the summer's bounty of produce is to find "U-Pick" farms. Even though I love to go the the farmer's market, there is often a bit of a mark-up there to cover the cost of transport, set-up, and operation. For instance, I used to work at a farmer's market and we had to be there at 6 am, and the farmers were there even earlier! All that is to say that going directly to the farm often affords much savings. Many farms have "farm stores" or stands at which they sell their bounty, and those are almost always cheaper than farmer's market prices.

I have found that the BEST deal, however, is U-Pick farms. Most U-pick farms that I know of feature berries and tree fruit, but there are those out there that offer the full spectrum of summer produce available for picking. And if your favorite farmer's market farm doesn't advertise U-Pick, you might try asking about it anyway. If you are the picker, that's one less person they need to pay for labor! If it's fresh milk or eggs you're after, why not offer to barter work for food? It's worth a try, anyway! I know some farmers pay their workers partially in food to ensure that they are getting healhty nutrition.

Anyway, in this spirit, I found a very helpful website called Pick Your Own. It's a very helpful resource (and a dot org) that lists U-Pick farms by state. I was surprised to find many farms right in my backyard that I was not familiar with! I found a place right around the corner practically that sells pastured eggs (and delivers them!) for cheaper than I was paying! It even lists the farms by county, so you can really hone in on the local farm scene near you.

Read about The Foodbank Farm that's doing great things for the hungry, and that offers a U-Pick CSA. I don't doubt that there are others around the country with similar programs.

Not only is U-pick more affordable, it's totally a fun family activity. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old, and I "drag" them out about once a week for picking and they love it! It's amazing how much you can get in just an hour's time. I have done mostly different types of berries in hopes that I'll have a nice freezer stash for smoothies. It's an incredible savings, considering what a flat of berries will cost you at the store or farmer's market.

Have fun visiting the Pick Your Own website. It's packed with info. But don't delay! Fruit/veggies don't last forever (like they do at the grocery store) so you need to get those blueberries while they're here!

1 comment:

Iconography Girl said...

Thanks for the links! I love the idea of this and have not had the most success researching it on my own. Although I haven't been able to work out the logistics of going to a U-pick farm with all the kids in tow this summer, I hope to be able to do it one of these days.