My monthly grocery budget is huge. And it’s mind-boggling for me that I’m willing to spend so much of food-buying considering that I was a coupon queen long before people ever hear of extreme couponers. It was absolutely normal to walk in my side door, through my laundry room, and see at least 40 tubes of toothpaste, 40 4-packs of toilet paper, 2 cases of baby wipes, 12 or 15 packages of diapers, 20 toothbrushes, more shampoo and conditioner than we could use in 2 years, and a freezer full of milk, apple juice, cheese, hot dogs, meat, and Lunchables – most of it purchased for 75-90% off, and some purchased for just the amount of the tax. But even back then I wasn’t into buying prepackaged food products. I’ve cooked from scratch for a long time.
Shortly after my youngest daughter was born, just over 6 years ago, I made the decision to only buy/service all natural, antibiotic and hormone free foods in my house. This decision meant that I wasn’t going to find many sales on the foods I buy and that I was going to spend more – a lot more – on meats, vegetables, and fruits. I didn’t find many people in Cleveland who ate like we did. Most thought I was crazy. Many do too, here is Columbia, SC, but I haven’t found as many naysayers.
Here it’s relatively easy. You see, our All-Local Farmers Market’s vendors are small, local businesses, and the farmers have pledged not to use antibiotics, hormones, and unnatural feed to feed their animals. The fruit and vegetable growers do not use pesticides and chemicals on their plants. In turn, I pay a LOT more money for my food than the average person. For example, ground beef is $6/lb., chicken is at least $6.95/lb., and pork is at minimum $7/lb. I paid $5 for a quart of strawberries yesterday and the same for a smaller amount of blueberries. I pay $3.75 for a dozen eggs. You don’t even want to know what I pay for raw milk.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find local farmers markets when we travel which don’t use chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics. But I will diligently search them out. I will have to remember to use Local Harvest to help me locate small farms.