Local vs. Commercial Groceries

I did a little experiment this past weekend.  After writing about what foods we buy and why it seemed as though the food topic followed me around all week.  I ended up visiting with a group of like-minded women in which the discussion for the evening was “defining an obstacle and creating a positive goal for improving food choices.”  One obstacle brought up was the cost of healthy food.  This has always been something that frustrates me.  I have a love/hate relationship with places like Whole Foods for that very reason.  Healthy food options should be available for every budget.  Unfortunately, the average consumer finds themselves shopping at Walmart, Target or the like in order to save on their monthly grocery bills.  They exchange healthy food choices with cheaper prices and good deals.  This obstacle kept replaying through my mind all weekend.  And then I had an idea. As I was driving away from my weekly Saturday morning farmers market visit – car full of fresh produce, creamy milk and a few pounds of beef – I found myself driving to Walmart to do a price comparison.  I wanted to see just how accurate this obstacle was, and what ways consumers could possibly work around it.  I got to Walmart and priced out the items below based on the cheapest, conventional option available.  As I started comparing the prices, I was amazed.  You can see the break down of each item listed below to understand what I mean. The prices for many items were comparable (some even more than those at the farmers market!).  But more importantly to me, is the value of knowing where my food comes from and having the option to talk to the growers about their products as opposed to being completely disconnected and eating food trucked in from hundreds of miles away (can you imagine what they have to do to your food in order to make it last that long?).  And a negligible difference of only $1.95…I am sold!  If you made the switch to eating the majority of your diet from local producers every week just think what a difference that could make in your overall diet.  I’d say that’s a positive goal to improving food choices for you and your family!
The items in the image above are my purchases from the local farmers market for the week. This comparison is based on seasonal items and what is offered at the Walmart in closest proximity. I encourage you to do a comparison based on your town and options available. What other obstacles do you face in regards to healthy food choices for you and your little ones?

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  1. Amy

    Thanks so much for this post!
    I’m going to make a point to visit the market this sat, I need to stop making excuses and start making it a priority. The cost has been one of my obstacles, but even more so is the inconvenience. I live a good 45 min away from the nearest farmers market. I think I’ll make it a treat though, to get up w/o the kids and spend some time in the city.

  2. k jane

    well done , hol. it truly does make a difference. choosing farmers markets and local foods also forces you to try new, creative ways to cook 🙂

    1. admin Post author

      Yes, that is the fun in it! We ate lots of turnips this week…raw, steamed…mmm!

  3. Shreya

    I saw you and Tori pin this and wanted to read more! So glad I did. I switched to a CSA delivery soon after moving to Seattle because I found that I would spend the same amount of money (if not more) at a Walmart-type store, but on unhealthy options instead of fruits and veggies. I love it! Plus, eating “in season” forces me to try new things and I’ve discovered so many new recipes.

    1. admin Post author

      I completely agree, Shreya. It’s surprising to see where our money is actually going when we stop to think about it. And trying new things is the most fun (and challenging:) part of it for me! Thanks for stopping in. Hope you are enjoying Seattle. xoxo, *h.

  4. Jen B. G.

    I love this! But what are you doing with all those eggs???

    1. admin Post author

      We eat eggs almost every day! They last a few weeks, and since we get them through a co-op, I just buy ‘in bulk’ if you will. Remy eats egg yolk now so they’re part of his solid food rotation as well.

  5. Caryn

    This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing! I too get so frustrated when people treat me like I must have gobs of money because of the food we buy. It’s really a matter of priorities. I want us to eat well and healthy without breaking the bank, so I have to shop smartly and make time to prepare food. You have a lovely blog!

    1. admin Post author

      Caryn, yes, I feel the exact same way as you. And thank you for the sweet words! Enjoy the day, *h.

  6. Ashley @ Happy Penguin Press

    We just recently did the same experiment, going to Whole Foods for our groceries and then to Walmart to price compare. We had the same result! Here’s to eating well affordably!

    1. admin Post author

      Happy healthy eating! Thanks for the comment, Ashley. Your site is lovely. xo, *holly.

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