As the weather warms up, we tend to think about adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to our meals. With the rising cost of living it can be tough to incorporate fresh produce into your budget, and it’s even harder to purchase organic items. A good way to save money is to buy items that are in season. Stores buy in bulk because it is less expensive for them to do so, so they can pass this savings on to the consumer. Plus, the seasonal fruit and vegetables will be what your local farmer’s market is selling.

Garden

Another way to save at the grocery store is to plant a small garden of your own. If you keep it small and simple, and plant according to your area’s weather, you will not need to spend a lot of time working in the garden. Fill it with your absolute favorite vegetables or go big and plant a variety of produce. Either way you will get to reap the rewards of the freshest produce you can get.

Herbs

Every dish tastes better with fresh herbs and there’s no better way to get them than from your own small herb garden.  Try growing herbs like tarragon, cilantro, dill, basil, chives, garlic, oregano or mint.  These can be grown in a small planter box right outside your door, in pots outside your window, or even right along that flower bed down your driveway. If you have absolutely no space outdoors you can plant herbs indoors – just as long as you put them in at least 6 hours of sunlight without the afternoon heat (think southern exposure) and keep the plants at 70-75 degrees.  Just choose the right windowsill or be creative on a blank wall using plastic containers.

Baskets/Bags

There are several organizations/farmers markets that now put together a basket of fruits and vegetables for you. One such non-profit organization is Bountiful Baskets – who operate out of 20 states. Each week, Bountiful Baskets, puts together “baskets” of 50% fruit and 50% vegetables and distributes these to specific pick-up places throughout the states.  Since this is a non-profit organization using all volunteers, they can get the produce to you at rock bottom prices. All you pay is $15.00. We are frequent customers and I’ve priced out several of the baskets compared to the stores, and they come in at $4 under value!

Food trucks deliver the “baskets” to pick-up sites where volunteers sort the produce equally. You then go during a specific window of time and pick up your fresh fruits and vegetables.  People started bringing laundry baskets to put their produce in, hence the term basket.  You never know what you are going to get and sometimes there is something so strange in the basket that you have trouble figuring out what it is.  Getting your healthy produce this way can be fun and sure can get you to try new foods!

Other local farmer’s markets have similar packages that you can order.  Look for something like this in your area and experiment with produce you would not otherwise buy.

This is the time of the year where all fruits and vegetables taste better.  You just can’t beat fresh, fresh produce.