Stretch Your Meal Budget
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Stretch Your Meal Budget

Stretch Your Meal Budget

Rising food prices have everyone thinking of creative ways to stretch their meal budget. One of the easiest ways to start saving on your grocery bill is by purchasing locally and in-season. Foods that are grown locally are fresher and retain more nutrients, they also taste better, as they are picked and consumed nearby the… Read More »

Rising food prices have everyone thinking of creative ways to stretch their meal budget. One of the easiest ways to start saving on your grocery bill is by purchasing locally and in-season. Foods that are grown locally are fresher and retain more nutrients, they also taste better, as they are picked and consumed nearby the source. Eating locally grown also supports your local economy and fosters a connection with the people who grow your food. All of this benefits the environment too, as money spent at a local farm helps maintain farmland and open space in your community. You can eat locally by visiting farmers’ markets in your town or by shopping directly from your local farm store.  Our farm store is open year round! Another way to stretch your budget and strengthen your community is to connect with your local farmer via a community supported agriculture program. 

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way of connecting families to farmers and increasing local food accessibility. Today’s CSA model consists of a weekly box of farm fresh produce delivered to your home or picked-up from your local farm. The box contains fruits and vegetables that are in season on the farm which is the eating-in-season lifestyle. Eating in season provides your body with all the nutrients along with vitamins and minerals it needs at that period, as mother nature intended. Eating seasonally not only creates healthy meals, but it also helps keep the environment healthy by reducing the need for transporting goods from farther away places and climates. We on the farm have always believed in the practice of eating in season for its numerous benefits including; a healthier lifestyle, and reducing your carbon footprint, and because we’re farmers and live close to, and are in touch with the land.

Eating whole foods in harmony with the seasons is better for you. Processed foods are less economical as you are paying for fillers and packaging, whereas fresh field fruits and vegetables are all-natural they provide more value for the dollar.  Eating in season allows you to enjoy the freshest produce picked at the peak of ripeness which makes them more flavorful and nutritious. Following the natural harmony of the seasons means that you are getting local foods that do not have to be picked unripe and transported and provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs in that period. 

Essentials are items that you should have on hand in your pantry and replenished as needed. These basic items are the building blocks of homemade meals. Keeping a well-stocked pantry with staples means that you always have the basics to prepare virtually anything and reduce the trips to the store, saving you money in the long run. Your basic pantry should be stocked with dried beans, herbs & spices, vinegar & oils, rice, and a few more staples. Read more tips on how to stock the perfect pantry on our website by clicking this link.  Checking sales and stocking up on items when on-sale is a great way to be cost-effective. Did you know that we offer a weekly sale item in our farm store? You can check out our weekly digital sales circular on our website here

Eating at home and cooking your meals is the best for your health and monthly food budget. Cooking your meals allows you to monitor ingredients and portion sizes and make healthier choices.  Meal planning is a great tool to help maximize your weekly groceries by getting as many meals as possible. Repurposing leftovers is another great way to save money. A great way to use up leftovers is to keep the vegetables, greens, potatoes, meats, and all the bits leftover from dinner and create an egg dish or a rice or quinoa bowl, a wrap, or even a salad for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. It not only helps reduce waste, but it also makes for a flavorful reinvented meal. Another tip you may want to try is to save your potato, leek tops, or root vegetable peels, and turn them into chips easily in your air fryer. Roast chard, spinach, or kale stems to soften them and turn them into something delicious rather than discarding them. Save nearly expired veggies and fruits before they turn bad by freezing them. You can then use them in various dishes to add flavor, fiber and vitamins, and minerals. Add the frozen fruit to a smoothie in the morning, toss cooked veggies into soups or sauces, or add frozen chopped veggies to omelets or casseroles to amp up nutrition and flavor! 

Eating less meat & reducing portion sizes is another way to stretch your food budget and eat healthier. Integrating more beans and legumes into your diet is easy by swapping out meat for these protein alternatives.  A fun way to start going meatless is to participate in meatless Monday or choose any day of the week that works for you. It’s a reminder that reducing meat is not only good for you, but it’s also good for the planet and your wallet. When using meat in recipes, plan to utilize different cooking techniques such as braising which low and slow cooking process that allows you to use lesser (and therefore less expensive) cuts of meat to create a flavorful meal. 

Hearty Pumpkin Vegetable SoupReducing food waste is an obvious money-saver and can be accomplished by eating the tops and bottoms of your vegetables.  Saving the green tops of root veggies is a wonderful way to avoid contributing to the landfill while reaping all the benefits of consuming the entire vegetable, top to bottom, (or some say Root to Stem). Top to Bottom or Root to Stem eating strives to use as much as the veggie to reduce waste and increase the nutritional value of your food. Some examples are; carrots & beets where you can consume the root portion of the veggie and also find new ways to enjoy the tops. Our culinary and educational specialist has curated a wonderful recipe for using carrot top greens, check out these ideas for making carrot top pesto, carrot top juice, carrot top soup, and more by visiting this link on our website. Other examples of vegetables that you can consume the tops and bottoms are broccoli and cauliflower, beets, and leeks. There are creative ways to use all the parts without anything going to waste. Find more inspirations here

Planting a small garden at home allows you to have freshly harvested items for your dinner table. An easy starter garden can consist of herbs, lettuce, and tomatoes. The rewards at the end of the harvest season make it so worthwhile. Several herbs are annuals and while others are perennials, meaning they come back year after year. You can learn more about herbs on our website by clicking here. You will want to know how to preserve your bounty to enjoy throughout the season. Find tips for savoring spring produce on our website by clicking here

When in doubt, make more soup! Soup is an excellent way to reinvent leftovers, use about to expire produce, as well as incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Besides being an economical meal, there are so many different kinds of soup that you can enjoy a new variety with every meal. Don’t have time to make homemade soup from scratch? Stop into our farm store and pick up our soup of the week made fresh with love.

Best wishes from our Farm Kitchen to yours! XO