Summer is one of my favorite seasons. As a kid, I loved the freedom of summer and being outside all the time. As a mom, I still enjoy all of those things, but now I also really enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in my garden, and at local farms and markets. Part of the beauty of this is that during the season of plenty, items often sell at a lower price than in the off season.
That leads me to one of my best grocery budget tips: Buy/Grow in bulk, in season.
The beauty of the summer is that the local fruits and vegetables are the tastiest in season, and many of your local farms have pick-your-own options. The beauty of this is that you are picking the fruit off of the plant at it’s peak. It’s why strawberries you pick taste much better than strawberries you buy in the grocery store. Food that you buy in the grocery store is picked very early, before it is ripe, and ripens off the plant. This not only means that the fruit does not taste as good, it also means that the fruit is not as nutrient rich as the fruit that ripens on the plant. A better grocery store option for fruits and vegetables are the flash frozen ones, because they are picked at their prime and frozen immediately.
Last month, June, was the month for strawberries in my area. There is a local farm where you can pick your own for $2 a quart. Talk about a deal! That same quart would cost me $5 at a local farmers market.
My little guys were troopers on the strawberry fields, too. They picked away singing, “Puff the Magic Dragon,” their new favorite song, up and down the rows. We picked 8 quarts of berries that cost me $16 instead of $40! That’s an amazing savings, and you just can’t beat the taste. We froze a few for future smoothies (You don’t even have to pull of the little green tops if you use them in smoothies!), enjoyed strawberries over buttermilk biscuits with whipped cream, and ate them in salads and by the handfuls. Yum!
To find out what is in season in your area, head to your local farmers market or pick your own farm. You can also google "pick-your-own farms" and farms in your area will come up. On the website for each farm they will often have a list of what is available and how much they are selling it for (and a phone number so you can call to check for sure before you leave the house). I know in our area July is the month for peaches and blueberries are ripening at the start of August. Those are just a few of our favorites.
In case you’d like to try our Buttermilk Biscuit shortcakes I’ve included the recipe for these delicious biscuits!
---1 cup flour (unbleached)
---4 tsp baking powder
---1/2 tsp salt
---1 Tbsp. unrefined sweetener (like sucanat)
---1/4 cup cold butter
---1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sucanat in a large bowl.
Cut in cold butter until you have pea sized butter chunks.
Add just enough buttermilk to make a heavy biscuit dough.
Knead dough lightly only 6-8 times until everything sticks together. Pat out on a floured surface about 3/4 inches thick. Use a mason jar ring to cut into circles.
Place, touching, on an un-greased baking sheet.
Bake for about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
*Do not overknead or over bake!
*Serve warm topped with freshly picked strawberries and either milk or ice cream and whipped cream. Enjoy!!!!!
Bethany Newcomer has been married to her husband Derek for almost 10 years, and has 3 little boys, David, Luke, and Ben. Before deciding to become a full-time Mom, Bethany was a third grade teacher. She previously taught first, second, and fourth grades as well.
"I never thought I could have as much love for others as I have found since having my boys. They have also taught me a lot about how God loves us. Since I first found out I was pregnant I've been hooked on natural parenting, saving money, and living as preservative/chemical free as possible. In my free time, I enjoy playing my guitar, singing, tennis, traveling, and just being outside."