The Cost of Food - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-08-2008, 11:39 AM
 
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It was embarassing, dd kept asking me 'why are putting that back?' 'why are we not getting that?' 'but i REALLY WANTED THAT!'.

I shop 'on sale' only at this point. It makes for some fun meals. We also eat to satisfy not fill up.
Im kinda finding the fun side of this.
This is us, too. I hate to disappoint ds, but there have been many times we criss-cross the store and swap our choices, or ask the cashier to put some things to the side to see how it all adds up. I can get ds a fresh bakery roll for 40 cents, so he always gets that, and that has made it easier for him to not get other things.

I am trying to find the fun side of this too. I'm losing weight, I kicked my Diet Coke habit completely, and I'm being a very resourceful mama. We have *just* enough money (and credit--) that going hungry is not a real issue. It takes the fear out of it and makes it feel more like a "fun" challenge. But I always have to try to find a silver lining if I can. It annoys my dh sometimes actually.

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Old 05-08-2008, 11:46 AM
 
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Because we are vegan, I think the impact has hit us less - though our rice supply is dwindling and I here that the price of that has gotten really bad. I just want to make it through another month - our CSA starts then, and I'm hoping to live almost exclusively off of that.
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:52 AM
 
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I've been buying primarily local and almost 100% organic for a few years now, and the only price I think is notably high at the moment is avocados - and they've fluctuated so drastically in all this time, I'm not sure that's due to any unusual factor. They've been $1.49 for an organic avo for about 2 months now. They've been that expensive before within the last three years, but usually only briefly.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:02 PM
 
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Oh, and - I think our grocery prices would be *much* higher if we didn't eat meat. I and my girls find meat to be a very filling, fulfilling food - our meal sizes are much smaller when there is meat with them. Produce prices are so high, doubling the amount of cauliflower we eat with a meal definitely costs more than 3\4 pound of ground beef; a big salad for breakfast cost far more than two slices of bacon. We do love our meat here, but moderate the cuts we buy because of cost, but I do think our costs would be higher if we were even more produce heavy. Mind you, this is partly because we (and especially I) just do not do well on very high carb diets - beans and rice are ok sometimes, but not as a huge part of our diet. So a vegetarian diet here would be far more vegetable and fruit based than bean and grain based. Oh, and two of us are wheat sensitive, and the cost of spelt pasta and bread is tremendous (and spelt flour to make our own isn't any cheaper, I've tried - it cost about as much). So more pasta and sandwiches doesn't help us any.

The OP mentioned the cost of butter and margarine: I've gotten into the habit of saving fat from meat to use in cooking. It's primarily been bacon fat and chicken fat from the top of homemade stock. This has cut down on our use of butter and olive oil *drastically*. At this point, we use butter mostly for bread and popcorn, occasionally for baking, and under normal usage a pound is lasting us several weeks - long enough that I can suck up and afford raw butter in our budget. I also have a huge hunk of fat from a side of beef in the freezer that I'll get around to rendering one of these days, but the fat byproducts of our chicken stock and bacon usage have been more than enough for us lately.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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Is anyone else a little suspicious that maybe grocery stores are hiking prices more than they strictly need to, because people are expecting food prices to rise... not quite a self-fulfilling prophecy, but close...
Sarah, I know this is true in our area - I shop a "discount" grocery, which saves me at least 25% over the pricier place I used to have to shop, even though I have to drive 25 miles to get there. And while the prices have gone up when I go to the pricier place, I see that their prices have gone up too - and when they are charging $1.25 more for the same loaf of bread, you know they didn't really have to raise that price, right?
I can't even shop there anymore - when I saw they wanted nearly $4 for the same loaf of bread I can get for $2.59, I almost fainted.

And I am another one buying only what we need, no treats or extras, and still struggling with our food budget running out before the month does....

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Old 05-08-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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I was just so shocked at how MUCH things went up. Like I said, I knew it was coming, but I didn't expect it to be so sudden and dramatic. I hope it's not going to go up any more (or at least not much more!!).
Yes, this. When the price increases hit us, the jump was dramatic. I think the increases are very regional and when they come, they come on strong. And the increases are hardest on basic food items -- milk, bread, eggs.

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Old 05-08-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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I think one of the ways to survive this is to focus on finding LOCAL food sources. Go to the farmers market, grow your own garden (yes, tear up that lawn!!, get a load of manure, compost, or whatever you need to make your soil useable), Rely on your neighbours and yourself, and you should be fine. I just found out that my neighbour has goats (pretty rural, and I just moved here) so now I have a raw goat-milk source!

p.s. for store-stuff, I'm one of those people who only buys stuff on sale.. lol.. My receipt is always a mile long cause everything on there has extra lines for the sale discount. I've lived on little for years.
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:32 PM
 
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I think one of the ways to survive this is to focus on finding LOCAL food sources. Go to the farmers market, grow your own garden (yes, tear up that lawn!!, get a load of manure, compost, or whatever you need to make your soil useable), Rely on your neighbours and yourself, and you should be fine. I just found out that my neighbour has goats (pretty rural, and I just moved here) so now I have a raw goat-milk source!

p.s. for store-stuff, I'm one of those people who only buys stuff on sale.. lol.. My receipt is always a mile long cause everything on there has extra lines for the sale discount. I've lived on little for years.

I do agree with you and shop locally at local health food and produce stores, farmers market 2x a week and so on and that helps a LOT. But not everyone has those luxury Berkeley options. Not everyone lives in areas where all those amities are right there literally minutes (or seconds) from home. With the cost of gas, it makes it extremely difficult for a lot of people.

I myself can’t garden to save my life. I can grow sprouts which are very cost effective and highly nutritious but anything in the ground dies.

I never see sea veggies on sale.
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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Prices here are mostly still OK, but anything remotely related to grains or flours have gone up significantly. Like the bread we usually bought went from 1.79 to 2.79. Rice price has also gone up a lot, and they limit the number of bags u can buy. I'm sure other foods would eventually follow the prices of grains and go up as well.

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Old 05-08-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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I hear ya. I know not everyone can shop locally, or grow a garden, but you can try. I used to be a horrible gardener, but every year, I learn more and I think it's getting to be necessary information to have. If you live in the city, maybe get out! or grow food on the roof. all I'm saying is try to make things better, so we don't have to rely on the big corporations to supply our food to us.
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...I myself can’t garden to save my life...

Me neither! I can't even get a plant home from the store before it dies usually!


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...I know not everyone can shop locally, or grow a garden, but you can try....If you live in the city, maybe get out! or grow food on the roof...
But it's really not that simple either. I live in an apartment. I have a balcony and I could probably try to grow in pots; but the sun would never get at them and they'd die. I can't get to the roof. I can't move either, because then I wouldn't be able to get around (no car at the moment). Truth is; my situation is a reality for many people. Options are limited for many!

WARNING: The comments and opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of the community in which I reside; or those of the internet parenting network.
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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What I'm gathering from a lot of posts is that the people who are already buying the most expensive foods like grass fed meats and specialty items like gluten free foods, for example, are not being hit as hard by the increase in food costs as people who tend to buy less expensive food. I'm making an assumption that people who are buying these foods are better off than the people who buy foods like rice and beans as their staples, as a whole (yes, I know that some people who are gluten free and eat grass fed meat are not that well off, and some people who eat lots of beans and rice are very well off - I am generalizing here, bear with me).

Anyway, my point is this: Once again, those who can least afford it are taking the brunt of this financial crisis. (Is it a crisis yet, or am I overreacting?) Just like how the price of gas affects the poor a lot more than the rich, the price of food does, too. And since foods that were already expensive aren't increasing that much, it's like adding insult to injury.
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:04 PM
 
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Me neither! I can't even get a plant home from the store before it dies usually!




But it's really not that simple either. I live in an apartment. I have a balcony and I could probably try to grow in pots; but the sun would never get at them and they'd die. I can't get to the roof. I can't move either, because then I wouldn't be able to get around (no car at the moment). Truth is; my situation is a reality for many people. Options are limited for many!

How bout a community garden? I know lots of cities have those. You don't have a farmers market downtown either? Friends in the rural area who can bring you local foods a couple times a month? I'm just trying to help you find options. I know that lots of people just can't do it, but what about if the prices just keep rising and rising? Everyone has to find a way, unfortunately.
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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I have never been one to coupon clip, shop the ads, etc. but now I am going start. I've also read before about keeping a price notebook in order to compare prices and see if things are really a good deal and I'm going to start that. I just went to Fred Meyer (Our version of Kroger's) and spent 200$ today, but a lot of it was stocking-up on what was on sale. Dh stayed home with kids, and I found it *a lot* easier to look for bargains without two kids in tow!

I am also really trying to get creative and make sure nothing goes to waste! I'm not much of a gardener, but we're going to grow tomatoes, carrots lettuce, green beans, and zucchini this year. We'll see how it goes.

I have a bad feeling that this is just the beginning!
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:29 PM
 
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I shop the local farmers market for fruit & veggies. Then I regularly shop Trader Joes & suppliment from WinCo (low cost, bag your own type store) but to be honest I haven't seen much of a price jump. I did notice that the rice bulk bins were empty the last time I was at WinCo & the price of eggs went up dramatically. Other than that not too much change.

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Old 05-09-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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I haven't really noticed much, .10 cents here and there. I started the grocery game about 2 months ago and have cut our grocery bills from 200 a week to about 100-120 a week, which includes tolietries and cleaning products, so I feel like we are doing well. I use coupons, buy only on sale and stock up like crazy. Some weeks I can just buy milk and bread, too because I have such a stock. Oddly, we are eating more meat than ever. I used to just pay whatever it costs that week,not noticing that every 6 weeks chickens are .55 a pound or steak is a .99 a pound if you just wait for the sale and stock up like crazy. I just got 10 lbs. of bacon for 4 dollars! I hit the .99 cent store and Big Lots once a week to check out their organics and the farmers market once a week. We have a veggie/herb garden going and I'm careful that nothing goes to waste. I feel like I'm bracing for some big increase, but I haven't seen it yet.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:18 AM
 
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I like the idea of a grocery diary, but it really would do me no good.

The prices are changing too fast.

I only grocery shop once a month and so far, for the last six months, the prices have gone up every time I shop. Just the generic white bread (I know not very healthy), went up from $.79 to $.89 to $99 to $1.09 to $1.49 (today's price). At least I can occasionally find milk for less than $3 (today it was $3.18). But that good price is countered by other things like potatoes that I used to get for $1.98 for 10lbs and are now running about $5.

BUT, we will survive! I am a surviver!

Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:19 AM
 
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Groceries and household supplies are such a game to balance around here. While we grocerygame and maintain a healthy stockpile (3-6 months of most items) prices overall are increasing. plus my brood is getting bigger and eating more...
Sometimes its the little things like soap, TP, bleach etc that get you in the end. I did well at CVS today, see my other post.

We dont eat organic, grass fed etc and we do use many prepackaged items but with GG they are free or pennies on the dollar. Produce is very expensive here so we usually get frozen. I watch for sales on chicken and pork then buy massive quanities 30 lbs or so at a time.

Things just keep going up and up and I have to get creative at managing the funds.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:30 AM
 
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Farmer's markets aren't always an option. We only have farmer's market 6 weeks out of the entire year here. It doesn't start until mid-june and ends late july, that's it. Our CSA's that I looked into are $1300 for the full season or $715 just for the summer and they are completely FULL. I can't grow a garden on the property we are on right now. I so plan on looking into container gardening some small items though. I feel like I am running out of options. We're doing fine as I am pretty good with a budget but I wish I could use some of the things people here are always talking about.
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:30 AM
 
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I think one of the ways to survive this is to focus on finding LOCAL food sources. Go to the farmers market


I would love to shop at my farmer's markets... but the reality is I live in the desert LOL Last week I took a chance and deviated from Costco and Fresh and Easy and went to the Farmers Market instead. Not only was the produce pretty sucky IMO they were twice the cost I typically pay Obviously that is partly because everything at the farmer's market is from california or utah and gas will affect their prices. Local/farmers market aren't always an option. Heck we don't even have a grocery store that doubles coupons or anything here LOL.


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Old 05-09-2008, 12:13 PM
 
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Yup, I am in central NJ and our farmer's market gets going around Memorial Day, and then I will be a regular. And I plan my meals based around what we buy there, it helps tremendously. This year we are putting in a big garden, and I am really hoping that I can can some salsa and tomato sauce for the winter.

I had sticker shock on coffee the other day--my "cheap" fall back has jumped from 3.99 tp 5.99 per lb. (That's 8 O'Clock coffee, fyi--which isn't bad, but at that point I'd rather pay 3 more dollars and get what I really like.)

I do buy bulk, but in a small way as we don't have a lot of storage. I am always BLOWN away though, even on small things like a 1lb of oats or rice, what the mark up is between the bulk bag and the prepackaged stuff. If I could get back all the $$ I've spent over the years on boxes of oats and bags of rice?!!?!

I like what someone said upthread about getting creative with their budget and meals, and my heart goes out to everyone who is having a tough time making ends meet. Hang in there, mama's....
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Old 05-09-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies yet so sorry if I'm repeating everything.

I've noticed that prices have gone up as well. I think the gap between them and organic foods is getting smaller. I've decided to switch over to more organics now. I haven't noticed a big increase in organics yet. When I wasn't buying organics prices were going up left and right.

store brand cow's milk went from $2.69 to $3.29
eggs went from .77/doz to $1.69/doz
store brand bread went from .99 to $1.29
store brand sugar went from $1.27 to $2.77
yogurt went from .40/container to .59/container
box of perogies went from $1.99 to $2.69
bananas went from .44/lb to .69/lb
store brand pretzels went from $1.50/16oz bag to $2.50/16oz bag

Meat has also gone up. Even the cat's food went up last week. I was buying a small bag for $3.89 and now it's $4.49.

I've decided to make some changes in our house though. My budget has always been $400/month. I used to go over that on a monthly basis. I started making a monthly menu, started stocking up on the loss leaders to last me till the next sale, and started looking for coupons on the items I did buy. I do most of my grocery shopping at SuperTarget since they have better prices in my areas. They have store coupons on their website that I combine with manufacturer coupons. I've found tons of printable coupons for items I already use as well. Now I'm no longer struggling to keep it under $400 for a family of 5.

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Old 05-09-2008, 02:27 PM
 
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I always get big bags of grains in the caselot sale at the end of summer. I got a bag of orgainc oats for 20.00$ CAD last fall. I'm still working on it. I also get bags of organic white flour and rice. It's alot up front, but I'm still working on those bags.

You can get bulk dried fruits and nuts/seeds from distributors too. I've done that in the past, and want to do it again this year.
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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My mom is fairly wealthy and tends not to panic about things like this, but she was worried enough about our family that she bought us 50lbs of flour and 50lbs of rice to have "just in case".

I've noticed the prices rising, but they seem to be rising the most in the normal supermarkets. We've been doing more shopping at the mexican and oriental stores in town and their prices seem to be a bit more stable.

We're also aggressively looking into other ways to get food -- I know it's really easy to say that you "can't" garden, or buy local meat and cheese, or go to the farmer's market, and for some people that's really true. But when I hear that I also hear myself circa about 18 months ago saying that I can't garden because we live in a rented house, and I have two kids, and it's too hot, and I have a black thumb and on and on and on. At this point though, I don't feel like I have a choice. So we have containers, and a community garden, and buy meat by the half-cow and I have plastic buckets of flour and rice in my corners and canned tomatoes under my bed. Eventually, you do what you've got to to keep yourself fed.

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:49 PM
 
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Belleweather, could you tell me more about buying meat by the half cow? How much does this save. How do you go about finding someone who sells it that way?
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:03 PM
 
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Farmers Markets here are more expensive than in the stores & by quite a bit so I tend to not buy much there. Anything that isn't super expensive I grow myself.

The only thing that has gone up here is flour. I used to get it on sale for $7/22kg, now it's $11. If I bought it on sale before it was $4, it hasn't been on sale since it went up 2months ago.

Everything else(knock on wood,lol) is the same price or it is so small I haven't noticed.

Rice was on sale last week which I found interesting with this shortage that supposed to be going around. Of course that probably means the price will be jacked up once that stuff is out of stock.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:31 PM
 
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I went to the farmers' market today and the prices aren't that great. No better than the grocery store. On the other hand it is all local and organic so I will make it a weekly trip this spring and summer for sure.

Here's what $37 got me at the farmers' market today:

4 pounds of tomatoes ($2.50/lb)
2 pounds of peppers ($2.50/lb)
1 long english cucumber ($1.00)
1 package bison sausage ($6.00)
1 loaf olive bread ($5.00 ... sooooo good!)
6 smallish cookies ($2.00)
4 strawberry plants for the garden ($4.00)
2 bags of BBQ flavoured dry roasted corn ($4.00)

It'll all be gone by midday tomorrow.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:33 PM
 
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We're also aggressively looking into other ways to get food -- I know it's really easy to say that you "can't" garden, or buy local meat and cheese, or go to the farmer's market, and for some people that's really true. But when I hear that I also hear myself circa about 18 months ago saying that I can't garden because we live in a rent
It's actually in our lease that we can NOt plant a garden. We can grow flowers in the front but that's it. I don't mind trying but it's not allowed.
I want to do some container gardening though gotta go to diggin in teh arth and find out how though. I know nada.
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Old 05-09-2008, 10:00 PM
 
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I went to the farmers' market today and the prices aren't that great. No better than the grocery store. On the other hand it is all local and organic so I will make it a weekly trip this spring and summer for sure.

Here's what $37 got me at the farmers' market today:

4 pounds of tomatoes ($2.50/lb)
2 pounds of peppers ($2.50/lb)
1 long english cucumber ($1.00)
1 package bison sausage ($6.00)
1 loaf olive bread ($5.00 ... sooooo good!)
6 smallish cookies ($2.00)
4 strawberry plants for the garden ($4.00)
2 bags of BBQ flavoured dry roasted corn ($4.00)

It'll all be gone by midday tomorrow.
youre right that the farmers market is not necessarily a better deal. I got confused with the idea to buy local=cheaper. Not always the case. But the long term benefits are great, supporting a local organic farmer, so they have more incentive to grow more, etc. I'm just thinkin if the whole economy crashes, and we end up without any more regular grocery stores...
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:01 AM
 
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Just got back from the farmers market. We have a year around market and it's local, some organic. It isn't cheaper than the store, but it looks better, is fresher and the farmers are nice! Lots of people skip the Friday "farmers market" and go to the Saturday swapmeet. I have no idea where the produce comes from but it is dirt cheap and super ripe.
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