Discount Produce – Is It Worth the Savings?

posted by Andrea | 02/28/2011

I’m ALWAYS looking to get a good deal…especially at the grocery store!

I create a weekly meal plan around what’s on sale. I make my grocery list, clip coupons, and try to find the best deals possible while still maintaining a healthy diet — I have my system down to a science!

I keep our freezer full and our pantry stocked so we always have enough food in the house to last us several weeks. Then each week, I simply restock based on the sales and coupons.

However I always run into issues when it comes to fresh fruits and veggies.

Even though I preserve much of our own produce, it’s still nice to have fresh fruit and vegetables all year long. But they are SO expensive when out of season.

Lately, I’ve been shopping the discount produce rack at our local grocery store and am always happy with the bargain prices I find, but often I have to throw out some of the produce if it’s over ripe. And I also wonder about how much nutritional value I sacrifice for these bargain prices?

Is discount produce worth it?

?

Or should I just “suck it up” and pay full price for higher quality produce?

How do YOU find the best deals on produce?

All ideas, suggestions, and opinions are welcome!


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11 comments

  1. Racine

    02/28/2011

    For out of season produce, I go frozen. They pick it at peak and freeze it immediately. It’s more economical, and you are actually getting a fresher product, as out-of-season produce weakens during import time.

    Costco has great prices on huge bags of frozen, organic veggies.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Racine,
    I don’t have a Costco membership…but I think Dave’s mom does. Maybe I’ll have to look into that!

    [Reply]

  2. Sue

    02/28/2011

    It depends.. like here they have a rack at the store that has stuff that is getting over ripe.. yea well they have peppers alot.. so I buy them.. chop them and freeze them.. fruit.. if I want to make say bananna bread.. will pick them up..

    I buy apples cause they last longer.. when I buty fruit in the summer.. I freeze alot of it when I know we are not going to eat those 5lbs of strawberries, Even though my 8 year old would if I let her.
    Sue in NJ

    [Reply]

  3. Antoinette

    02/28/2011

    I buy discount if it still looks good in the store (i.e., if I can see yellowing, molding, etc., it does NOT come home with me).

    if it starts to go bad faster than I can use it, it gets chopped up and thrown in the freezer or quickly cooked and throw in the freezer for use in casseroles, soups, stir fries, fried rice, etc.

    Toying with the idea of playing the “gleaning” game where I ask the grocery stores if I can have their “throwing this out” stuff :-).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hmmm…I’ve never thought of “gleaning” before!

    It’s good to know there are other frugal souls out there too :)

    [Reply]

  4. Krystal

    02/28/2011

    We have been trying something new the last couple of weeks. We have been getting organic produce delivered every other week. It cost 35 per delivery and we get a ton of stuff. Enough that we split it with my parents and, therefore, pay 17.5 per delivery. And because it is every other week it only takes 9 out of my weekly grocery budget. We start out with a given basket and customize it before the delivery. I was super hesitant to do it but it really has been awesome because it forces me to step out of my comfort zone with cooking and the produce is great quality so far. I continue to shop the discount bins for stuff I can freeze (peppers, onions, bananas, apples, etc).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Krystal…what a GREAT system! Your organic produce sounds like an excellent deal!

    How did you find your “produce deliverer”? Where do you live? I wonder if they have similar programs in West Michigan…I’ll have to check it out.

    Thanks for the tips :)

    [Reply]

    Krystal Reply:

    We use green bean delivery. I think they only cover parts of Ohio and Indiana. I actually found them via Groupon. When I was trying to figure out wheather or not to take the plunge I googled produce co-op and my city and found some other ones for price comparison. You may be able to find on that route.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Krystal, this was helpful. I’m definitely going to look for some co-op programs around here.

    [Reply]

  5. Janelle

    03/03/2011

    I don’t really know how to go about gleaning in the area where I live. I called the local grocery store and they throw out the produce – it seems like I would have to be part of a charity in order to get this produce. They already give their meat and bakery items to other charities. I just try to buy things on sale and produce is the major part of my grocery bill.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, you’re probably right.
    I know lots of charity organizations that get free produce and bakery items from local grocery stores. At least it’s not all going in the dump!

    [Reply]