According to this source, the huge storms in the south over Super Bowl weekend are expected to cause produce prices to soar in the coming weeks. I was interested to hear this news, but I wasn’t terribly alarmed. The shopping rule that saves me money every week on groceries will help me out here too.
My rule is simple: don’t buy the expensive stuff.
I know — on one hand it sounds too easy, and on the other as prices go up, also impossible, right? You’ve got to have veggies, after all– and what if everything gets expensive?
But here’s the thing. Some veggies are always priced more reasonably than others. The video that I linked above mentioned peppers, lettuce, and asparagus as particularly hard hit by the snowstorms. None of those items are staples in my family’s diet anyway. Yes, sometimes I buy peppers when they’re on sale, and occasionally I buy lettuce. But they’re not in my weekly rotation because I can usually find cheaper produce.
I have a very short list of produce that I serve routinely: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, apples, oranges, bananas, spinach, and cabbage. They are affordable most of the time, they’re versatile and healthy, and most of them will last for at least a week in the fridge or pantry, which means fewer trips to the store.
If ALL produce prices go up, of course we’ll feel the hit. But even then some options will be cheaper. I may need to look closer at the freezer case, at canned goods, or at the farmer’s market. I’ll stock up when I see good deals. This summer I’ll also keep an eye out for over-producing apricot trees– often tree owners are glad to have folks come pick their excess. Some folks have found such trees by inquiring on Craigslist.
I’m like anyone– occasionally I’ll splurge on some gorgeous strawberries or a not-quite-in-season watermelon. But in general I’ll just keep methodically choosing the cheapest options, thus keeping produce relatively affordable for my family.
For additional ideas, check out: