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Know Where to Go

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When you eliminate the middle man, you save money, help local merchants, help protect the environment, and get better tasting food. Although you can get all the items by going to a supermarket, consider the following suggestions for the various types of foods. Most of the suggestions below are cheaper than a supermarket. You just have to know where to go.

 

Middle Man

Additionally, as the general public becomes more educated, health concerns have begun to outweigh the convenience of one-stop-shopping. Today, people are concerned about the chemicals that are included in the food items they purchase as well as in the containers that the food items are packaged in. It is for those reasons why farmers markets are making a huge comeback (history repeating itself).

 

Many people are discovering that farmers markets offer fresher produce at comparable prices to supermarkets, and in many cases are even cheaper. For those reasons, supermarkets have begun to run 4-day “loss leader” specials on their produce. This never happened previously. However, this is another example of how consumers force merchants to change how or what they offer. See History.

 

NOTE: it is important to know the difference between Public Markets and Street Markets. Public markets have morphed into a version of supermarkets with a smattering of farm products. However, many items are shipped, which means that the vendors must include shipping in their prices as well as electricity, taxes, and all the other expenses that supermarkets pay. Although you can get some great deals at Public Markets, you get more great deals AND fresher produce at Street Markets. This is another reason why I say that you must know where to go. Refer to Step #3: Buy Local for more details.

 

Check out at supermarkets is often more expensive

Check Out

Check Out
Interestingly, in many cases, I find that some of the best deals (freshest foods, cheaper prices, better quality, etc.) are at small merchants that are dedicated to selling just fresh meats (butcher), fresh breads and baked goods (baker), fish and seafood (fishmongers), fruits & veggies (farmers markets and some co-ops), and canned goods (supermarkets). The difference today (as opposed to the early 1900s) is because the competition became so fierce within supermarkets that the only way the small merchants could be successful was to focus on what they do best.

 

Consider checking out farmers markets, butchers, and fishmongers BEFORE the supermarkets and only get the items remaining on your shopping list at supermarkets, since those prices will be the highest, with the exception of sales cycle items. Stop by a butcher or bakery or fishmonger if it is on the way home from work, even if you must adjust the way you return home from work. However, it is critical that you know what the regular prices of items cost at the supermarkets that you frequent. Therefore, be sure that you have completed step #1: THE Most Important Save Money Tool before you make these pit stops.

 

Buy direct from a fishmonger

Fishmonger

Fishmonger
Seafood is also cheaper at farmers markets; however, not all farmers markets sell FRESH seafood. A healthy diet includes a variety of seafood.

 

  • Another place to get FRESH seafood is at dedicated fishmongers. If you live near a shoreline anywhere in the United States, this is a snap because fishmongers will be all over the place. However, for those of us who are not near a shoreline, an excellent resource is Manta.com and search for “seafood stores in _ _ _” (your location).
  • Consider Oriental grocery stores for seafood items, which are also usually great places to stop for seafood items at cheaper prices.
  • One other novel place to find FRESH seafood is to contact your local Natural Resources and Environmental Control Agency. They will provide locations where seafood is caught locally and sold locally. Check out the Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources example for the type of info that you can get such as: how to select fresh seafood, what time of year to expect the different types of seafood, etc.
  • Some stores such as Whole Foods has excellent seafood and their sale prices are great. Although Whole Foods tends to be more expensive than other stores, they also offer some items such as bulk sales and specials. Once again, it is critical that you know the regular prices for the food items that you use. However, Whole Foods is a great place to get food items that are NOT GMO.

 

References to help learn about seafood:

 

Fruits and Veggies: many times, fruits and veggies are cheaper at Street Markets. You can also find fresh produce at roadside stands where people who have grown the products in their gardens, pick the produce at set up a booth or tent along the side of the road. Additionally, as people are becoming more focused on healthy foods as opposed to those with chemical additives to extend shelf life, places to buy fresh produce are popping up all over the place.

 

Farmers sell directly to the people

Farmer

Farmers Markets: As with everything else, you must know your prices because produce is not always cheaper at farmers markets. However, the benefits are significant:

 

  • In many cases, produce is cheaper
  • You avoid shipping/transportation fees
  • They usually offer a huge variety of produce
  • Reduces the footprint left by trucking companies
  • Money goes directly to your local farmers (as opposed to another country)
  • Fruits and veggies that are eaten soon after being picked taste better
  • Helps the community

 

If you use farmers markets, be sure you choose bona fide farmers markets

 

Pick Apples with Your Family

On a side note, you can also build quality family time into doing this. Rather than buying applesauce, consider taking the family to a pick your own orchard and spend the day taking a hayride to the apple orchard, picking your own apples as you and your family laugh and have fun. At the end of the day, you will bring the apples home and make applesauce, apple cobbler, caramel apples, apple bread, Waldorf salads with apples, etc. Not only do you eliminate the chemicals used in prepackaged applesauce, but you also spend the day making memories with your family, and have a boatload of healthy meals when you return home. That is my idea of a win/win situation!

 

Buy meat directly from a butcher

Butcher

Meat (Beef, Chicken, and Pork): Get to know the deli counter at the supermarkets where you shop. In many cases, once the staff gets to know you, they will flag you with what the newest upcoming sales will be. However, many times, meats and seafood items will be cheaper at your local butcher’s establishment. You will have to research that on your own because butchers are all different in ever section of the country. If meat is a significant portion of your foods, it would behoove you to check out several butchers in your area.

 

Buy baked goods directly from a baker

Baker

Bread: in many cases, bakeries reduce the price of the bread items they made that morning to minimize their losses. They start fresh the next morning. In many cases, you can also get rolls in addition to loaves of bread.  Although you can get bread at the supermarket, the flavor of fresh baked bread at the bakery is totally different. One of my favorite routines used to be to stop at a local fishmonger followed by a bakery on the way home and I would serve fresh cod and warm fresh-baked bread on Friday nights.

 

Honey Bee

Honey is one item that is NOT cheaper at farmers markets. Conduct a search of local beekeepers in your area or where to buy honey locally. While on this subject; if you have not looked into using honey before this, consider making time. Honey is an amazing health food substance. More research is being done to document this. In fact, I have been so amazed at what I discovered while I was researching for this article that I intend on providing an article in the near future all about why honey is such an amazing substance.

 

Check bulk bins. Stock up on your favorite groceries at stores that offer a discount for bulk orders. As long as you have ample room to store your groceries and you only non-perishable items, you can save a good bit of money by buying in bulk. Keep in mind that if the bulk items you purchase are grain-based, to stash the items in your freezer for 3 weeks to extend the life of those items. See: How to Keep Foods Fresh Longer.

 

Take Action

TAKE ACTION #1: Locate one or two:
  • Fishmongers
  • Butchers
  • Street Markets (unless you live in a tropical area, these will only be available in late spring, summer, and very early fall)
  • Local honey suppliers in your area

 

Take Action

TAKE ACTION #2: Over the course of the next month, make it a point to visit at least one of the Fishmongers you found, Butchers, Local Honey supplier, and Street Markets. Find out for yourself what types of foods each of these vendors offer

 

Updated: August 8, 2015 — 9:21 pm

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