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Spending a Fortune on Fruit and Veggies

After watching Food, Inc roughly ten days ago I asked readers for their input on purchasing organic products. I’m happy to report that the comments on that post convinced me to pursue a more organic lifestyle. I discussed the goal with my husband and began my quest this week.

Unfortunately, the chain grocery store closest to my home offers a very small selection of organic products, so I went to Mom’s Organic Market in search of greater variety. I walked around the store for about twenty minutes, focusing primarily on the selection and prices of produce, nuts, bread, cheese and dairy products.

Overall my quest for a greener diet has reinvigorated my desire to eat more fruits and vegetables. Awhile ago a friend introduced me to The Color Code: A Revolutionary Eating Plan for Optimum Health, which opened my eyes to the health benefits of a plant based diet. The book creates a color chart for good eating. It groups produce according to it’s color including red, yellow-orange, green and blue-purple and discusses the health benefits of each group.

After reading the book I immediately incorporated more fruits and vegetables into my diet. This was an easy task during the summer when nearly every type of fruit is in season, but as the leaves turned and the snow fell I nearly halted my produce intake. As I searched through the store I thought long and hard about including a variety of fruits and veggies back into my diet.

While I was pleased with the the amount and variety of organic and all-natural products at MOM’s I was also shocked by the prices. For example, four, mid-sized tangerines cost $6.16. Despite my new goals I had no intention of paying $6.16 for four tangerines.

I knew that I would pay more for organic and all-natural products and the cash register receipt was certainly confirmation of that fact. I spent more in produce in one trip to the store then I would during a whole month at my typical grocery store. For the time being I do plan to proceed with my goals, but as the weather warms up I will certainly seek out farmer’s markets and cheaper alternatives for organic products.

One Frugal Girl

Wednesday 20th of January 2010

@Mrs. Money - You know I have the same issue with Costco. I'm afraid I'll buy all that produce and never eat it. Do you find a lot of your food goes to waste or do you make concerted efforts to eat all of it?

Mrs. Money

Monday 18th of January 2010

Do you have a Costco near you? We LOVE Costco's fruit and veggies! They are very reasonably priced too.


Sunday 17th of January 2010

Whole Foods' prices are decent. I got a crate of clementines for probably about $6.00. Also, check out for the closest CSA to you.

CSAs aren't cheaper than buying fruits and veggies at the store, but the value is often great because of the amount you get for the money you spend. Plus it's local (without the long distance cost of shipping, plus it supports local businesses and jobs. And, on top of that, it introduces produce that you might not have otherwise tried. So, you learn new ways to cook what you receive. You're likely to get more than enough produce to cover your needs.

Our CSA was 22 weeks of the year for $550ish.

One Frugal Girl

Friday 15th of January 2010

Thank you for all the wonderful comments.

@sara, anon & les - I'm concerned that I won't eat all of the produce that comes from a CSA. Do you find food going to waste? My husband is not a big fruit and veggie eater so I'm worried that it'll cost less to buy, but that I'll find most of it going to waste. What has your experience been?

@BeeARawFoodie - I absolutely love the idea of thinking about green food as a luxury. I never thought about it that way, but it does put a completely different spin on it.

I started a box garden last year and had quite a bit of success. Right now garlic is growing in it. I plan to add another two boxes this year and expand on the varieties of vegetables we grow.


Thursday 14th of January 2010

Those 'cheaper' fruits and veg have a much much higher actual cost when you figure in soil depletion, heavy damaging pesticide use, toxins leeching chemicals into the drinking water supply, migrant worker conditions and more. Those actual costs are never listed on the veggie code sticker, if you know what I mean.