I talk a lot about frugal shopping, specifically my dirt cheap buys at the farmers market, mainly the grade b veggies and fruit. (Now I must admit that while I write farmer's market on my blog that's mainly for ease of translation, because it's really an open air market with a variety of vendors selling a variety of things and lots of competition, not 100% a farmers' market.)
It's a busy place and can be confusing, hard to know your way around let alone where to find the best deals, like which vendors sell their 'seconds' cheaply, but over the years of shopping there I've discovered the way to get the best bargains and usually end up paying only 20-40 cents a pound for my produce. People get inspired by me to do the same but can't figure out where to shop to get the deals I do, so they asked me to please take people around the market and show them where to find the best prices.
Today I led a group of about a dozen or so people around the market, and they were so excited to now know where they can also get amazing prices.
After they finished I did my own shopping with a few of the people who I'd shown around earlier tagging along with me to watch me 'in action' and I have to say I impressed myself even!
I spent only $17.50 on all this produce and then another $15.40 on ~6.5 lbs of jaggery bringing my total for this shopping trip to a grand $33 which is not bad at all if I may say so myself. And all this is in addition to the few pounds of slippery Jack mushrooms that the kids and I harvested in the forest near my house this am.
Here's what I got- I don't remember every price, so I'll just write approximates when I don't remember.
I bought tomatoes from two different stalls, at one I got ~2 lbs for 60 cents, so thirty cents a pound.
At another stall I bought 2 lbs of tomatoes, 5 lbs of apples, and 2 lbs of zucchini, for $2.85, averaging out to 30 cents a pound as well.
I got 1.6 lbs total of cucumbers, carrots, and oranges from another place for 74 cents, so 46 cents a pound.
I bought a bunch of celery for 70 cents, not the best price but cheaper than they usually are locally.
I bought 5.3 lbs of melon and 8 lbs of turnip for $4.85, so 36 cents a lb, and then the stall owner threw in a few hot peppers free. Then that stall owner turned to the stall owner next to him, saw his huge box of overripe bananas, and made a deal with him that I'd buy all those bananas for $2.85. It was a huge amount, so I asked the people with me if they wanted to buy some off me, and each person took a few bunches, paying me between 25 and 50 cents, so that in the end, I paid only $1.42 for the lot, and when I got home, I weighed it- 20 lbs!!! That worked out to only 7 cents per pound!!! That is unbelievable! Some of them are a little smashed up from the ride home, but that's fine for me since I like bananas best for smoothies! They're going into the freezer soon as I finish this post.
I bought 6 lbs of apples for 64 cents a pound, and 4.2 lbs of cucumbers and 3.2 lbs carrots, I forget how much they were per pound, but total at that stall was $6.37, working out to 47 cents a pound on average.
After I finished my shop, for a total of $17.50, I noticed them throwing out some veggies, so I rescued 3.8 lbs of fennel bulb parts (the outside part, which we eat at home, nothing wrong with it) and a bunch of scallion greens- probably half a pound of that.
When you average that into the total amount, that makes a total of 64.7 lbs of produce, for $17.50, working out to 27 cents a lb on average for this shop, which is pretty amazing, given that nearly every single thing I bought generally costs either twice or triple or even quadruple the average price I paid today.
And this is why I love the market.
Not to forget the 6.5 lbs of jaggery for $15.40, working out to $2.33 per pound, which I'll then use to make a low cost (vegan) honey replacement.
I certainly had a great shop today!
Have you gotten any terrific deals lately? What were they and where were they? What would you say is the average price per pound you pay for produce locally?