Who says organic has to be expensive?

by Dual Income No Kids on February 24, 2007 · 0 comments

Today we have a fabulous guest posting from a friend who was raving about all the great deals she has found to reduce her family’s food costs and eat better at the same time. Here in DC grocery prices are really ridiculous. You can easily go over $400 a month for two people, even if you still eat out some as well.

We know that are readers are all over the world, but this posting might inspire you to look into alternatives for finding fresh and local foods in your area, and maybe even save on your grocery bill.

Here are the food options that my friend will share about, all of these have weekly pick-ups at Capitol Hill and several other DC metro areas.

Winter CSA $600 for 26 weeks (Dec-May):
This Community Sponsored Agriculture includes veggies, fruit, yogurt, bread, eggs and lots of other goodies. I didn’t join this CSA this time around, but my friend’s house is the pick-up site. At least 5-9 people don’t pick up their share weekly so we just go after the pick-up hours and get a leftover share. Tonight I got:
1 qt. yogurt
loaf of bread
salad greens
1/2 dozen eggs
2 heads of some kind of Asian cabbage/bok choy
liter of fresh vinegar
1 doz. of the yummiest oranges ever
3 large carrots
Oh, and it’s not uncommon for the person who hosts the pick-up site to get a major discount.

Summer CSA $570 for at least 20 weeks:
You can get a reduced price for doing some work at the farm, which is always fun anyhow. I am splitting this share with a friend for half price (my half will be $250).

Grassfed on the Hill – a local resource for pastured, hormone-free, organic meat, dairy, eggs, cheese, sausage, chicken and other yummy treats. You have to join the Yahoo group to participate, but you can order as much as you like. Some people order weekly, others order just once. You pay per week.

Capitol Hill United Co-op – this is a monthly DC co-op that buys directly from the same wholesaling companies that sell to health food stores. You can get your items for a significant discount off health food store prices. I buy grains in bulk, frozen fruit, pasta, and herbal medicines. I participated in one in MT as well and loved it. Look in your area to find out about local co-ops.

I also have a 10×10′ community garden plot where I use the “Square Foot Gardening” technique, which maximizes small spaces. I expect a continuous harvest through most of the year. The garden plot cost $50/year and is completely organic.

For our family of 4, I expect to pay $100 a month for our CSA (but since we’re sharing the summer CSA it’ll be even less), $200 a month for all of our meat, eggs, milk, yogurt, chicken, sausage and cheese, and $100 for the Capitol Hill Co-op. That still leaves me $200 a month to buy additional items at the store or farmer’s market to hit our $600/mo food budget.

In fact, I might be able to even knock $150 off our monthly budget if we really plan it well and take advantage of our garden harvest! Imagine that – $450-$500 of all organic groceries for a family of 4 in a metropolitan area known for its high grocery prices. Plus, another advantage is that I will rarely have to visit a grocery store. A friend of mine only goes to the store once every 2 months!

Other resources include:
Washington Green Grocer – Organic and conventional grocery delivery. James & I tried this and really liked it, but couldn’t keep up after we both started grad school and stopped making as many meals together. :-( The prices range from $27.50 for a small mixed selection to $39.50 for a large organic box.

Pioneer Organics delivery in Portland, Oregon

Find a food co-op near you

Find a Community Sponsored Agriculture near you.

Another website to find a local CSA outside of the DC metro area

Check out the World’s Largest Eco-Friendly Directory.

Enjoy your tasty finds!


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