December 9, 2013

Stocking the Larder: Buying from Fruit Stands, My Favorite Way to Save Money

I am working on a series that will begin next week detailing how we budget and save for our homestead dream… but in the meantime here is a preview.

For many families, especially those that are committed to eating whole foods, the food budget can be one of your biggest expenses. Nathan and I have found many little ways to cut costs without compromising on quality.

Our favorite fruit stand in the Hood River Valley. Still plenty of fruit even in December.

Fresh, sustainably-grown produce in particular can be quite expensive. We try to grow most of our vegetables and we are able to harvest some fruit from the Kailash Ecovillage's group orchard and from other fruit trees in the neighborhood, however by this time of year we usually have run out of our stores of fresh fruit.

To store apples through the spring you need to make sure to only pick fruit without bruises or blemishes.

For the last few years we have made a trip up to buy apples in bulk from the fruit stands in the Hood River Valley. The Hood River Valley is one of Oregon's most prolific fruit growing regions and it happens to be less than 2 hours away. (It is also near some excellent hiking opportunities, so we also use these trips as an excuse to get in some hiking). We usually buy between 50-100 pounds of apples each December and then store them through early spring in our basement.

Our favorite fruit stand.

By buying directly from a farm stand we are not only supporting local farmers, but also saving quite a bit of money on high quality sustainably-grown fruit. We usually buy our apples from a small family operation at the Kiyokawa Family Orchards fruit stand. This time of year, their fruit stand is self-serve and most of the apples are $0.59 per pound! And they are delicious!

(This post was also shared at The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, and the Simple Lives Thursday Hop).  

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