2

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Produce from grocery stores have gotten so expensive...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 18, 2011 at 4:18 PM

A lot of people like to say, "It's just too expensive to eat so much fresh food!" After browsing through the greens section of the grocery stores I can see why! A bag of turnip greens costs $3, a pack of summer squash and zucchini for $3, lettuce, carrots, root veggies etc...by the time you load up your cart for the week, you're spending $30 alone on produce!

Increasingly I've been doing my shopping at the many farmer's markets in my area (Clearwater, FL). Just yesterday I went to one at the local fleamarket (Wagonwheel) and there were a ton of Vietnamese vendors there, all selling unidentifiable greens, vegetables and fruits for dirt cheap. I bought a huge bunch of sweet potato greens (which I didn't know what the heck they were at first), 4 ginormous carrots, a bag of navel oranges, asparagus, a small bag of red potatoes, and a small bag of shallots, all for around $8. I could have bought more but didn't have enough room in my tote bag. They were also selling whole fish on ice there, bags of mussels and shrimp, but I'm always a bit leery of meat that's been out in the heat for half the day (despite being on ice). Baskets of colorful peppers, eggplant, apples, potatoes, onions, melons, avocados, crates of ginger root, you name it. Dirt cheap.

If only these places sold meat, I think I'd be set! Unless there aren't any markets (doubtful), how can anyone bother with going to places like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's? Unless of course they carry something specific...I'm also trying to buy/eat more local stuff, and the climate down here in FL is perfect for so many foods. Blowing my money at Publix or Sweetbay is just stupidity, IMO.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:10 PM

Cost and availability definitely depend on your where you live! If I were still living in Ohio, no way would I be able to get the variety of foods I can get down here in Florida. I also try to eat seasonal, and while asparagus is not in season in the US I bought it as a treat to myself :) I think it's buying non-seasonal foods which can break the bank, delicious they may be!

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:08 PM

@WordVixen: Have you ever checked out Asian grocery stores? We have a sizable Vietnamese population in my area and there are a TON of them. They have so much fresh food for so cheap, it's just that 90% of it is unrecognizable to the average shopper. I figure, if it's there, it's edible! Might as well try it :) I refuse to eat the stuff in their seafood section though. It looks scary, lol.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on July 18, 2011
at 11:40 PM

+1 for the 'true cost'

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

(1303)

on July 18, 2011
at 05:49 PM

I live in the middle of farm country, but there are only three local farmer's markets, and all with crappy hours (I work second shift) and they charge as much or more than a grocery store. Much of the produce actually is the same as what's sold in the grocery stores. The local roadside stands often have better deals, though not as cheap as you describe, but they're kind of out of the way for me and also keep lousy hours. It kind of sucks being an hour away from a big city- all the local farmers know they can get better prices without going out of their way.

Medium avatar

(12379)

on July 18, 2011
at 04:27 PM

haha - come to Canada for an eye-opening food price experience - $30/week is cheap for veggies!

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2 Answers

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3
776bb678d88f7194b0fa0e5146df14f0

on July 18, 2011
at 05:21 PM

I think part of it is dependent on having an immigrant population. I live in a gentrified "rural" college town, and the farmer's market (for upper middle class yuppies) is just as expensive if not more than Whole Foods. There are farm stands on the side of the road, but they know the prices set by the farmer's market and stick to that. A bunch of asparagus in springtime was $4, everywhere, and pastured eggs are $6 a dozen, everywhere. I started growing my own food to get around this. Zucchini for basically half the summer is the cost of packet of seeds and the werewithal to compost kitchen waste. I shouldn't complain about the cost of organic food because farming is so hard to make a profit doing, but it IS hard to afford in many places. I do make the effort to buy local and organic for stuff I can't grow myself.

When I lived in Palo Alto, CA (still a gentrified area) there were Mexican and Asian grocers with similar prices to what you describe. It was always so awesome to fill my backpack with good quality (but not organic) fresh fruits and vegetables for less than $10. I miss it!

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 20, 2011
at 12:10 PM

Cost and availability definitely depend on your where you live! If I were still living in Ohio, no way would I be able to get the variety of foods I can get down here in Florida. I also try to eat seasonal, and while asparagus is not in season in the US I bought it as a treat to myself :) I think it's buying non-seasonal foods which can break the bank, delicious they may be!

5
E910d39b083c599428c106d3c69f6bf1

(50)

on July 18, 2011
at 06:14 PM

i spend $120 per week on vegetables and i buy direct from the farmers. they have small farms. i've assisted them with their financials. selling all their vegetables, they aren't even breaking even, their workers are interns that don't even get paid, just a place to live and food. the real question is, "what is the true cost of food?"

Medium avatar

(12379)

on July 18, 2011
at 11:40 PM

+1 for the 'true cost'

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