Monday, April 8, 2013

How to Shop Seasonally and Save Money when Nothing is Growing Locally

I had a Facebook conversation (Like my fan page pretty please?) about how much money our families spend on groceries each month.  The conversation eventually turned, as it usually does, to complaining that   fresh fruit and vegetables cost a lot more money.

I used to think that way about buying fresh fruit and vegetables too.

I also got frustrated when the media told me to eat locally and in season. Well that is all very well and good if you live in an area with a year round growing season. I don't. I shop Ohio grown as much as I can in the summer. I can’t during the winter and spring. Ohio has six months out of every year where nothing grows – including root vegetables.

How to Shop Seasonally and Save Money when Nothing is Growing Locally



From winter to spring, I sucked it up and paid the extra money if I wanted a summer squash or whatever. My grocery bill fluctuates seasonally. Less in summer, more in winter. I didn’t like it but I didn’t want to eat canned vegetables to cut costs either – yuck.


Then I started really reading the grocery store sales fliers each week on line instead of quickly flipping through them. I started planning my shopping list according to the fresh fruit and vegetables on sale that week. My grocery bill stayed the same year round because I accidentally started shopping seasonally.

The only difference is I have to shop seasonally by the growing seasons nationwide if nothing is growing in Ohio that month. That means I buy summer squash only when it is in season and not whenever I feel like it.

 My grocery bill - and our stomachs - couldn’t be happier.


Low Cost Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Shopping Guide


This is a general seasonal shopping guide for nationwide growing seasons. Some of these in season items may cost more in your area due to shipping, organics, etc.

January Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Seasonal Produce - broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, kale, avocado, cabbage, spinach
Seasonal Fruit: oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, clementines, pears, kiwi, apples   


February Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


National Canned Food Month – Canned food, fruit, and vegetables, etc.
Chinese New Year - Asian vegetables such as bok choy, daikon radish, bean sprouts
Seasonal Fruit - oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, clementines, raspberries, strawberries
Seasonal Produce -   broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, kale, avocado, cabbage, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, parsnips, potatoes, turnips

March Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Frozen Food Month - frozen vegetables (plain and in meals
Lent – meat free food, fish, cheese, etc.
Passover – brisket, matzo, etc.
Easter - candy, ham, eggs, vinegar, etc.
 St. Patrick’s Day – corned beef, cabbage, Irish soda bread, etc.
Seasonal Fruit - oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, clementines, raspberries, strawberries, lemon, lime, grapes, strawberries
Seasonal Produce -  broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, kale, avocado, cabbage, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, fennel,   leek, mushrooms, onions, peas, radish, rhubarb,    


April Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Earth Month/Day - organic foods, plant based cleaners and healthy and beauty products, recycled products
Lent – meat free food, fish, cheese, etc.
Passover – brisket, matzo, etc.
Easter - candy, ham, eggs, vinegar, etc.
Seasonal Fruit - grapefruit, strawberries
Seasonal Produce- broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, avocado, cabbage, artichoke, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, peas, radish, rhubarb


May Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Cinco De Mayo - Mexican/Hispanic/Latin food and vegetables
Seasonal Fruit- raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pineapple
Seasonal produce– Carrots, Avocado, Artichokes, Asparagus, onions, peas, green beans, beets, corn, potatoes



June Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


National Dairy Month - eggs, milk, ice cream, cheese, cream cheese, butter, yogurt, whipped cream, and other dairy products
Seasonal Fruit - raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, grapes, peaches, honeydew melon, watermelon, nectarines, apricots, 
Seasonal produce– Onions, corn, potatoes, eggplant, summer squash, cucumber, tomatoes

July Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


National Ice Cream Month – ice cream
Seasonal Fruit - raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, peaches,   watermelon, nectarines, apricots cantaloupes, plums, pears figs, oranges,
Seasonal Produce– onions, corn, potatoes, eggplant, summer squash, cucumber, tomatoes, green beans, garlic, bell peppers,   


August Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Fresh fish
Vinegar and canning supplies
Seasonal Fruit –peaches, apricots,    berries, cherries, grapes, peaches, melons, apricots, plums, pears figs, apples,
Seasonal Produce - onions, corn, eggplant, squashes, cucumber, tomatoes, tomatillos, green peppers, avocado, green beans, beans, salad ingredients


September Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Vinegar and canning supplies
Canned goods
Seasonal Fruit
– grapes, pears, apples, Valencia oranges, pomegranates
Seasonal Produce- Onions, corn, eggplant, summer squashes, cucumber, tomatoes, tomatillos, green peppers, beans, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, chili peppers, winter squashes


October Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


National Seafood Month – fish and seafood
Halloween – pumpkins
Thanksgiving (end of October) – turkey, canned pumpkin, cranberries, sweet potatoes,
Coffee
Tea
Hot chocolate
Apple cider
Nuts and dried fruit –
for holiday baking
Seasonal Fruit –
grapes, pears, apples, cranberries, kiwis, lemons, oranges, almonds, chestnuts, pomegranates, pumpkins,
Seasonal Produce– winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, artichokes, carrots, celery,  argali, chard, spinach


November Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Thanksgiving, Hanukah, and Christmas – see the categories below
Main dish meats – turkey, ham
Seasonal Fruit – apples, pears, kiwis, lemons, oranges, pumpkin, grapefruit, dates, kumquat, cranberries
Seasonal produce– winter squash, white potato, sweet potato, yams, turnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, beets, carrots, celery, bok choy, cauliflower,   avocados, kale, rutabaga, spinach


December Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Vegetables


Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s – see the categories below
Main dish meats – turkey, ham
Seasonal Fruit – Pears, apples, Oranges, grapefruit, Lemon, Kiwi, Dates, Kumquat
Seasonal produce– winter squash, white potato, sweet potato, yams, turnips, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, celery, bok choy, cauliflower,   avocados, kale, rutabaga, spinach

How do you save money on fruit and vegetables?

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