Monday, October 6, 2008

Tribune Story on Food Clubs

In today's paper, Shop Around the Block tells of families getting together to buy groceries at wholesale prices.

Their first example is getting a box of cereal for $3.75 instead of $4.53.

Wow, that really shows what good deals we are getting when we go for loss leaders. I have a pantry full of boxes of cereal I got for $1 or less! I don't know that I've ever paid $3.75 in my life. OK, the article says that the coop concentrates on natural and organic foods, so I guess that's a high-end cereal, but still. That's a lot of money.

So I think I'm better off grabbing grocery deals than joining or starting a neighborhood buying club.

However, the article also goes into two options that interest me: Organic produce CSAs like Angelic Organics, which says it costs $620 for a 20-week subscription, where you get 3/4 bushel of veggies each week. That's $31 for a week's worth of organic vegetables, which I think is pretty good, and of course you either pick it up or get it delivered so you don't have to go to a store for it. One reason I think joining a CSA will save us money is that having a large amount of vegetables in the house pushes me to serve more vegetables, which means more veggie-based dishes and less meat. It also does a lot for helping me stick to my goal of feeding the family organic -- I don't have to get sticker shock for each individual item.

They also mention buying a cow portion for meat. I'm interested in this -- as a possibly more affordable way to serve hormone-free meat -- but I also have concerns.

For one thing, the woman in the article says her quarter cow will feed her family for more than a year. However, the USDA only recommends you store steaks, etc ., for 4 to 12 months, and ground meat only 3 to 4 months. The Web site says it's not food safety but quality that dictates the recommendations.

For another, I'm worried that if we invest in a basement freezer and a bunch of meat, we'll lose our investment if we lose power. Power outages are not uncommon in our old town.


CB said...

We have organic produce delivered every week and I LOVE it. It takes absolutely no effort on my part to have a variety of fresh fruits and veggies in the house every week and it's much more cost effective than getting it from Whole Foods (which is the only place around here that has decent produce).