Sunday, October 24, 2010

Produce: Supermarket vs. Local produce stand/market

The truth is, if you are buying your produce from a Supermarket, Supercenter (i.e. Walmart, Target, etc.), or Natural food store (cough* Wholefoods*cough)  you are spending way too much.  I'm a regular consumer.  I make the weekly trip to Super Target to buy my groceries with the hubby (because it's cheaper than Publix,  better quality than Winn-Dixie and I refuse to shop at Walmart).  Until recently various produce items were always on my grocery list I brought on our weekly treks. Easily $10-$15 was spent weekly on said produce items.  Maybe that's chump change to some people, but for my husband and I that's a lot to add to our already high grocery bill.  Lately, however, I discovered something amazing that helped save me money:  a local produce market?

Sure, I've seen them before, but did I ever go to one?  No.  Why would I?  There's plenty of fruits and vegetables at the supermarket.  I had no idea the amount of money I could be saving by going to a produce stand. 

Recently it's come to attention that many Americans cannot afford fresh fruits and vegetables and would instead opt. for a Double Cheeseburger off the $1 menu at McDonalds.  Can we say "obesity problem"?  That's mostly because produce is just two expensive at Supermarkets.  Think about it.  Supermarkets and Supercenters probably don't grow their own produce, do they?  Of course not.  They pay some farm company AND their workers to grow and harvest the produce, not to mention the people who have to sort, distribute and ship the produce the many locations of which ever store you buy from.  Also,  these corporations need to turn a profit right?  So all of these factors go into the price you pay for produce at the Supermarket.

Buying from local produce stands or markets makes more sense.  In the case of Rorabeck's Plants and Produce, where I recently started to buy my produce, they grow many of the items themselves locally, therefore not having to pay for all those extra costs the grocery stores do and the prices reflect that.  For example:  at Super Target, green peppers are $0.99 while yellow, orange and red peppers are $3.99 EACH! and limes are about $0.33 each.  At Rorabeck's, ALL varieties of bell peppers are the same price, around $1.29 per pound, and limes are usually 10 for $1.00!!  As you can see, there is a significant difference in prices between Super Target and Rorabeck's and you don't have to sacrifice quality.  The produce is just as good, if not, better than the produce you'll find at the Supermarket.  "But it's outside and not refrigerated, is that ok?"  Of course it is.  It doesn't need to be refrigerated because it's FRESH and last time I checked, fruits and vegetables grew outside, not in some warehouse.  Rorabeck's is under a covering so you can go rain or shine, it's open everyday and it has a few locations throughout the county.

Where ever you live, try to find a produce stand near you with lots of variety and reasonable prices.  Don't count on saving too much money by going to weekend green markets and such.  The vendors at those things usually charge too much because it's once a week and they have to lug all their stuff to the market location and they are usually only seasonal.  Find a stand or market that is always in one location and is open almost everyday throughout the week and all throughout the year.  

This week I went to Rorabeck's and bought a bunch of apples, a whole bucket of grapes (the bucket deals there are the best, but only if you can eat that much produce before it goes bad)  a bunch of green onion, a Spanish onion, two potatoes, a cucumber, a red bell pepper and a green bell pepper for only a total of $6.27!!  I probably saved about half of what I was spending at Super Target.  It's a trip worth making on a weekly basis.

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