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Scoring deals at the farmer's market and buying organics

Farmers-market
Total price: $43

One of the things I love about living in Florida is that we have wonderful year-round farmer's markets. For several years I used to go every other Wednesday morning to the one at the Volusia County Fairgrounds. I loved going and always got great deals, but didn't care for the 20 minute drive each way. Today, I go to the farmer's market at the Pavilion at Port Orange regularly (held every Saturday morning). While I'd like to go weekly, I can't always fit it in with our weekend schedule. So I end up going once or twice per month. It's great, because it's just a few minutes down the road from me and I always get good deals.

When you shop at a farmer's market you can save a lot of money on produce. We are a vegetarian family, so I buy a lot of produce during the month. Being able to buy it a farmer's market can save me a lot of money throughout the month. Yesterday I got everything in the picture above for $43. That's a good deal! I lots of fruit, veggies, some portobello mushrooms to make fajitas, and I got a little pound cake my son was begging for (which was $2.50). 

I know one of the questions I will immediately get is if it's all organic. No, it's not. There are a couple of things that are organic, but most of it is not. There are some things that I try to always stick with buying organic, such as apples, potatoes, spinach, and celery (some of things from the "dirty dozen" list that you should try to buy organic). We also always buy organic bananas, because non-organic ones are often sprayed with chitosan (which is made from shrimp and crab shells and used to delay the ripening of the banana). There is also the "clean 15" that lists produce items that are safer to purchase being non-organic, and these items are often readily available at the farmer's market. These include things like avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, kiwi, pineapple, sweet corn, etc.

Do I wish I could buy all of it in organic? Absolutely! But not only would I have a hard time finding all of this in organic, I may not be able to afford it! So I do what I can, buying organics when available and not bank-breaking. I was thrilled the last time I was at the farmer's market and scored some organic Swiss chard (my favorite!). I'm always excited when I am able to get some good organic produce that doesn't drain my wallet. 

Between going to the farmer's market and hitting up the farmer's stand behind my community, I'm able to save a lot of money on produce. Then we usually buy our organic staples at BJ's, where they do offer quite a few organic produce options.

Visit your local farmer's market and see what kind of deals you can score! See a list of them around the county here.

- Jacqueline

Here are the Environmental Working Group's 2015 dirty dozen and clean 15 lists:

Dirty-dozen

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