Eating local organic food within budget

(This is a re-post from May 11.  Blogger ate this post and I had to re-do it.  Many of you have already read this one!)

I have recently made some changes in the way we shop and cook. I am moving toward raw, unprocessed goods and a lot more homemade items. I am also making a big shift to find local farmers that do not run farms on as massive a scale as we find at the grocery store. The goal is fresh local produce and goods. But you all know how cheap I am. It has to be at an affordable price.

I see recipes all the time that call for "rapadura sugar," "coconut oil," or "organic blah blah blah." You get the idea. It is all soooooo expensive. I couldn't justify the prices for most of the organic items. Some shoppers have found success with coupons to stores like Whole Foods or shopping sales on Amazon but none of the prices looked good to me. So I just tried to cook as healthy as I could and work within the budget I have. But I was itching to get back to nature and as far away from processed foods as possible. I would just get started using more beans and then find out that dry beans are better??? I would start to cook with honey and find out raw honey is better! I just can't win! The research is fascinating though and I thought that I would like to use all these items, but I can't afford them.

Then my friend Jennie invited me to join our local Coop. This stuff is crazy affordable!!! I can't believe the prices. I am finally able to purchase a lot of the items I would never be able to touch online or in specialty stores. And even when an item isn't organic, I don't mind because the local farmers don't use near as many pesticides as the huge farms tend to use.

Next week I am picking up a gallon of Coconut Oil for $33.15. Try finding one that cheap on Amazon!! I am also picking up affordable maple syrup and raw honey from local farmers. The raw honey is $4.05/lb (Amazon lists it as $10-25 per pound!) The maple syrup is what I am most excited about. Maple syrup for $8.75/qt. (Amazon lists it as $15-25 per quart!)

Here are some things I picked up yesterday:

Coop - Organic Beans
Black: 2 lbs for $3.24
Great Northern: 2 lbs for $3.09
Kidney: 2 lbs for $5.38
Cannellini: 2 lbs for $4.91          
Golden Split Peas: 2 lbs for $5.11   
Total: $21.73 for 10 lbs organic          

Online Organic Beans
Black: 2 lbs for $6.40                
Northern: 2.3 lbs for $33.42     
Kidney: 2 lbs for $6.67  
Cannellini: 2 lbs for $10.71
Golden Split Peas: 2 lbs for $
Total: $69.18 + shipping!!! Wow...

I bought huge quantities of organic coconut shreds and rapadura sugar

Coop - 11 lbs Rapadura Sugar for $23.68 (on the right)
Amazon - 9 lbs of Rapadura Sugar for between $57 and $73 plus $9-15 for shipping!

Coop - 5 lbs Organic Coconut Shreds for $11.19 (on the left)

I also picked up fresh asparagus, portobella mushrooms, diced mangos, raisins, dried apricots (and nevermind that little jar on the right. I'll get back to that soon!)

...tons of apples for freezing...

...10 lbs of oats for homemade granola, granola bars, and my new favorite Simple Baked Oatmeal

And 10 lbs each of hard spring and soft winter wheat berries!

The possibilities are endless with this Coop!! If you are looking for a Coop near you, check out Heavenly Homemakers blogpost "What Health Food Co-op is near you?" for a huge list.

Doesn't everything look better in a jar??

So, now that I have all the items in my house and most of the research on soaking beans and grains is done, I just have to figure out how to use this grain mill????

Wish me luck!!

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