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Frequent your local produce market

There’s a tiny produce market in a former Amoco gas station about a mile from where I live. I’ve driven past it for years without ever so much as stopping in to see what they had.

I wasted a lot of money that way.I read in the excellent book Eat Healthy For $50 a Week that produce markets sell fruits and vegetables for less than grocery stores. Finally last weekend, my wife and I checked out that assertion.

What we found was that the selection wasn’t nearly as great as the produce section of a large grocery store–at least not in March–but the prices were good. They were never any higher than the grocery store, and often the prices were much lower. We got a head of lettuce for 25 cents, for instance. Prices vary. Lettuce was 25 cents on Sunday, and it was 98 cents today. I’m guessing on Sunday he was trying to sell down his inventory, so he cut the price. A bag of apples that usually costs a couple of dollars at the grocery store was a dollar.

It’s probably best to stop at a produce market a few times a week to get a feel for the best day to buy different things. But since I eat a couple of pounds of apples a week, that stand could easily save us a dollar or two a week. That’s $50 or $100 a year. Not exactly chump change. And that’s on a single item.

The other good thing about produce markets is they’re generally locally owned, so you’re supporting your neighbor, and while not everything sold there is going to be locally grown, you can bet anything that’s in season locally will be. Supporting your local economy is always a good thing.

Incidentally, that book has lots of other good ideas in it. My wife and I probably spend more than $50 a week on food, but the ideas in the book probably have saved us $10 a week, minimum, since we read it. That’s $500 a year. That’s half a house payment.

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