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Food costs very high - thoughts?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So we spend a lot every month eating in a way we feel is the best we can. We sort of follow WAP/Nourishing Traditions.  We are a family of 4 in NJ.

I get raw organic milk from pasteured cows in PA, eat 80% organic foods, most meat is organic & pasteured from PA - The costs are very high. Also about every 6 - 7 weeks I am making a trip to PA (1 hr +). I think I spend about $800 in food & household supplies maybe more. I am starting to wonder if it is really worth it. I dont think I could every go back to 'regular' milk, but the meat is just sooo expensive.

How much do you spend on food per month, how big is your family, how much is organic/raw/pasteured/etc...? Do you follow this way of eating, but just use grocery store meat?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

post #2 of 8

I don't know where in PA you are getting your meat (we are in PA) and for example - grocery store (we are a border town and shop in NJ at Shop Rite- could pay $5.99 fro organic ground beef) if I buy local I pay the same for "local" organic but I travel 40 mis and pay $4.00 for organic beef and it would be cheaper if I bought 1/2 or 1/4 cow-------may be you need to look around a bit more

 

we don't do raw milk but do organic and I pay around $5.00 a gal - currently paying $1.00 a dozen for free range eggs and veggie were SUPER cheap this past summer---$1.00 for 5 pepper the other day 

 

whole chicken I pay $8.00

 

I don't know what else you are getting but you should contact the PA chapter of WAPs and find cheaper prices

 

 

I can't give you a per month cost--that varies greatly - ex in August I spent $50.00 just on tomatoes but none on meat (we were stocked up) but generally we spend about $50 to 75 per week for "basics"-this includes yogurt/butter-organic and paper items, etc (family of 3) and every other week we get milk ($15) we don't like "drinking" milk - sorry that doesn't help you

 

we get meat every other month

post #3 of 8

prolly about $1200 to $1600 a month.  that includes wine and good beer.  we are in alabama.  

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

I don't know where in PA you are getting your meat (we are in PA) and for example - grocery store (we are a border town and shop in NJ at Shop Rite- could pay $5.99 fro organic ground beef) if I buy local I pay the same for "local" organic but I travel 40 mis and pay $4.00 for organic beef and it would be cheaper if I bought 1/2 or 1/4 cow-------may be you need to look around a bit more

 

we don't do raw milk but do organic and I pay around $5.00 a gal - currently paying $1.00 a dozen for free range eggs and veggie were SUPER cheap this past summer---$1.00 for 5 pepper the other day 

 

whole chicken I pay $8.00

 

For meat I go to Hendricks Farm & Dairy in Telford, PA (also have milk, eggs, yogurt) every month - I am in a ride share so I only drive myself every 4 months. Gr beef is $4 lb here too, of course other cuts are more expensive. Do you have a source for 1/4 or 1/2 a cow? A whole chicken is around $15+ - I think it is $3.50 a lb or something close to that.

 

For milk I go to Birchwood Farm in Newton, PA - 2x a month also in a ride share so I drive here every 6wks or so. Mainly for milk ($8/gal) & the best rice pudding ever!

 

I would love to know what farms you use.

 

 

 

post #5 of 8

We hunt for our red meat. Moose and bear are almost free.
Raise our own poultry for eggs and meat. $25 a month and all the eggs we want to eat with a few to sell.
We also have goats for milk. one goat in milk* right now, plus her nearly grown kid and a billy for breeding costs about $60 a month. Plenty of milk right now for drinking, and next year we will have enough for cheese making too.
We also garden.
 

So in the end, actual grocery costs is under $200 a month.

I would advise looking into hunting for venison. Large parts of the US are having trouble with too many deer. In fact, and this makes me MAD, they are starting to use vaccine style birth control with deer.
I say more people need to start hunting. It is super low cost, and a very healthy meat.

*Our does are not fed much grain. A little bit at milking time, plus plenty of carrots.
Otherwise, they eat hay in winter, and hay and browse in summer.

post #6 of 8

First of all, I shoot for one really nourishing meal a day, maybe five days a week.  What is that, maybe 50/50?  If I am anywhere around that - sometimes more, sometimes less - I feel pretty good.  And I try not to stress too much about it because I believe I am doing the best I can with what we have, given that I am not superwoman.  I especially don't worry about what we eat outside of the house or at relatives, as long as it is gluten free (DD and I are intolerant).  Dp takes lunch a few times a week and a few times a week his boss likes to cook.   So that is very nice for our budget too.

 

I work on a farm for pay plus food bonuses and I forage a lot of stuff.  I get a lot of wilted, alot of excess veggies.  Abundance in one type, then another.  Occasionally get meat bonuses.  Its an organic/pasture farm so that is great. 

 

As for buying, this is how my budget looks:

 

-per week two to three bags of local pastured bones, small or large and usually "dog bones" at $2-$7 a bag - for rendering fat from, and stock

-occasional slab of pastured pork fat, for lard (usually around $4 to make a medium sized jar) and cracklins

-per week 1-2 small cuts of meat such as stew meat, ground beef, sausage, or very occasionally, a chuck roast - $7 up to $25

-some herbs for my stew $2.50 a week but I should plant an herb garden next year

-and lots of soaked beans, and LOTS of cheap seasonal fruits and veggies bought at the farmers market to supplement what I bring home $20-$60 a week

-eggs, either grocery store or pastured if I remember to stop on the way home from the farm ... same price either way, about $2.50

-cheap cheese and lots of it

-cheap milk to kefir, but considering buying a raw gal once a month

-conventional butter in the winter and most of the time, pastured butter in the summer when I have extra money

-always organic yogurt, sometimes pastured, sometimes not

-I have an 1.5 hour commute round trip from the farm which I make once a week, and which obvs costs money

-regular plain old rice, oatmeal, rice pasta, sometimes corn tortillas, gluten free pizza. CHIPS lol.  Chocolate, and ice cream... usually cheap, sometimes nice

-we drink box wine but I also do a lot of home fermenting as a hobby and trade with other fermenting friends

-I make our own pickles, etc - as cheap as veggies and a box of salt

-we eat out about once a week but count that as entertainment rather than food budget..... usu. about $30-$40 and soooo worth it for delicious Indian or Thai food and someone else cleaning up

- I also barter

 

Anyhow this turns into:

 

eggs, fruit, yogurt, or oatmeal for breakfast

or soup

 

stew for lunch x 3 days. another stew x 3 days

 

some kind of mostly vegetables and some side meats for dinner

 

cheese and fruits for snacks throughout the day, also snack food as snacks, lol

 

leftovers and leftovers

 

nearly everything is cooked in butter and lard and tallow.

 

Finally, I think you can stretch meat into a lot of veggies and still be eating a TF diet.  For instance, one morning we ate eggs and canadian bacon.  There was bacon left over (yep, I trim the gnaw off of the toddler pieces and put them back in the fridge) so that night I made a mashed turnip and chopped the bacon into tiny pieces for that.  Added salt, pepper, butter and lard, and a side dish of kale and made a dinner that fed four adults (the toddler was sleeping) with more left over for snacks the next day.  The turnip, incidentally, was twice the size of my toddler's head, and a dollar.  I saw it at the farmer's market and knew that was what we'd be having for dinner.  My only regret was not buying a second, but they will be back next week.  A turnip a piddly fourth of that size was $3 at the local natural foods store.  I don't care if it's organic or not (tho I am pretty sure it was), I peeled it, it was a dollar!!!!!  I put lard in it! 

 

All week we also ate stew and squash and apples made with free foraged apples.  We eat leftovers and the same thing a lot.  If one veggie is cheap, I buy a lot of it.  In a few weeks something else will be cheap, so I don't worry about variety.

 

Tonight I am making a chicken neck stock and snacking on the necks.  They were a bonus... I normally consider them too expensive to buy.

 

This is how my mom did it and more and more I find this is how I am doing it.

post #7 of 8

 

 

Quote:

I would love to know what farms you use.

 

 

 

 

we are far north of you - in Northampton County so drive wise it might not be cheaper for you

 

 

here are some place  - http://harvesthomemeats.com/  he is organic and depending on how much you want the better the deal is- I get bones from him, certain things he doesn't have on his page you would have to ask

 

http://www.royalgourmetfoods.com/  this is only one section of what they do - they have an organic heard and again you would have to call - more you get- cheaper it is - 1/4's and 1/2's

 

this is Lehighton (not far of Rt 80) but 40 mins north of me - they have turkey, chicken, beef and pork http://agmap.psu.edu/businesses/4885  by the piece but they have a meat CSA

 

for chicken (I am stocked up now) I get a a local FM and they are closed for the season , the only other chicken I get this winter are stewing hens (usually $6-8 each)

 

 

 

post #8 of 8

If you are driving all the way to Telford have you looked into closer to New Hope/Lambertville area?

 

I would start by contacting health food stores in the area - near Doylestown  area too - this place is not far from there - http://haringbrothersmeats.com/default.aspx  they do "local" meats - maybe there is a smaller and cheaper place they might carry or know other's that do

 

I would also contact Bear in Lambertville, they carry lot of local stuff (PA & NJ) and might know of place (s) -

http://maps.google.com/maps/place?client=safari&rls=en&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=bear+health+food+lambertville&fb=1&gl=us&hq=bear+health+food+lambertville&cid=7005803661790804706

 

 

have you checked craig's list for the PA section?

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