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vegetable shopping

With careful shopping, you can fit a lot of vegetables and fruits into your budget. Here are some tips to maximize the value for your money!

When shopping for vegetables, the first step is to select fresh and high-quality produce. Lower quality veggies tend to have lower nutritional value, less flavor and are more likely to get wasted.

Buying in Season

Shopping during peak season is the best way to maximize your produce. Prices will be lower and quality superior when you buy in season, saving you money in the long run.

Vegetables in season are at their tastiest and freshest; this is because they haven’t had time to ripen or lose any nutritional benefits. Eating in season fruits and veggies also supports local farmers while reducing your carbon footprint by supporting local businesses.

Chefs and tastemakers often recommend that we purchase vegetables in season. Not only are they healthier for us, but they have a lower carbon footprint than out-of-season produce.

You can tell if a fruit or vegetable is in season by checking the sales flyer of your grocery store. Often, in-season produce coincides with common holidays like fresh berries for summer gatherings, corn for Labor Day barbeques and hearty potatoes for winter holiday dinners.

When purchasing food in season, the biggest advantage is knowing its provenance and cultivation. This is especially crucial for nutrient-rich items like dark leafy greens and red or orange veggies as they contain more essential vitamins when at their peak production levels.

Additionally, your purchase will support both local businesses and your community. Supporting small businesses helps create economic vitality in the area while giving a voice to those often overlooked by consumers.

Finally, buying in season helps to reduce your carbon footprint since it is less damaging to the environment than producing out-of-season produce. When fruits and vegetables are out of season, they have to be grown elsewhere, meaning they must be shipped a long distance before reaching your grocery store.

Shopping during peak seasons not only helps you stay within budget, but it reduces your carbon footprint as well. This is especially helpful if you plan on signing up for a CSA box or other produce delivery service.

Buying Whole

When it comes to vegetables, nothing beats a homegrown garden. Not only will this save you money on produce, but it is an opportunity for kids to learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits. If your local supermarket doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of farmers markets, community CSAs and other options available as well.

When shopping for groceries, make a conscious decision to spend your dollars on quality ingredients and nutrients that support health, weight loss or athletic performance. Fiber is especially important and found in whole grains; additionally, look out for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, provitamins and phytochemicals your body requires; beta carotene and lutein for eyesight, respectively.

Buying Seconds

Bulking up on vegetables that have been marked down is an economical way to save money. Many farmers will be more than happy to sell you a large quantity of their produce at a reduced rate if you have some plans for the food, like freezing or canning it for later use. This tip also works great for those with livestock since it could save the farmer time and effort in times of shortage.

For further information, Michigan State University Extension offers produce fact sheets. Furthermore, asking your farmer about their “seconds” likely won’t only make them excited but also willing to show you around!

Buying at the End of the Day

When shopping at a farmer’s market, it is best to go towards the end of the day when stalls are looking to clear out their produce. Prices tend to be lower and you’re more likely to find fresh in-season items that are also more nutritious than out-of-season options.

When purchasing vegetables, use your senses to pick them up, smell them and taste them – when in season they will have the best flavor! Plus, buying more than needed can save money; for instance if you buy a large basket of green beans at the store and freeze half for later use, that will maximize your purchase and extend its shelf-life in your freezer. It’s also wise to watch out for grocery store specials which could further reduce expenses.

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