Farm Fresh Eggs

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on July 6, 2010

You won’t be seeing eggs in my Kroger photographs in the weeks and months to come. We have decided to start buying Farm Fresh Eggs for $2 per dozen from our friends from church who raise chickens. And sell their eggs!

While it’s a bit more than paying for a dozen eggs, I’m in it for the quality of eggs. I am making baby steps towards eating more locally grown foods, while staying within my monthly grocery budget.

Baby Step #1 – Farmer’s Market: I have really enjoyed some of the great deals ($1 giant zucchini) on food from the farmer’s market.  I also appreciate that it forces me outside my comfort zone and makes me try new foods or new cooking methods. Like sauteing radishes and rolling and slicing Swiss chard like a cigar.

(I have not joined a local CSA yet. Yet. I’m going to track prices at the farmer’s market this summer to see if it’s a better deal to get the CSA box. Jury’s out on that one.)

Baby Step #2 – Farm Fresh Eggs: I only wish I’d been getting eggs from our friends for the past few years rather than weeks!

Baby Step #3 – Grass-Fed Beef: I waver on this one.  More on that another time.

What about you?!?  How do you manage to fit free-range chicken and eggs, locally grown produce, organic foods, and grass-fed meat into your grocery budget?!?

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

The Happy Housewife July 6, 2010 at 6:47 am

I am wondering why you are wavering on grass fed beef? Is it the price? It is more expensive, but it is so much better for you, tastes better, and is better for the cow. They are designed to eat grass, not feed. Better food for the animal usually means better taste and better quality for the consumer.
Glad you found a source for farm fresh eggs. When we lived in WV we had lots of friends with chickens, but in Maryland they have been harder to find from a trusted source.
Another tip, don’t refrigerate your eggs. They don’t in Europe and they taste so much better. :) But you know me, I like to live on the edge.

Toni

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom July 6, 2010 at 7:12 am

@The Happy Housewife,

LOL! They didn’t refrigerate in the Dominican Republic either. Must be the overly paranoid FDA making that recommendation?!?

And yes…the price of the beef is the current issue. I’d love to do it, but need to start setting aside some of our grocery budget each month to do so. And of course, it would mean $4/lb ground beef…which would make $5 Dinners impossible at that price!!! ;)

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Kimberly July 6, 2010 at 8:06 am

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom, From what I understand, refrigerating the eggs has to do with how the chickens are raised (fed) and how the eggs have been cared for so far. If they have been washed, then they should be refrigerated because that removes the “seal” on them. If they’re fresh from a farmer you trust and haven’t been washed, they really don’t need to be refrigerated.

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Serena July 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom,

They are not refrigerated in the stores, but are traditionally in the homes. At least in germany. Also when you buy them it has two dates, one for shelf life and one for fridge, obviously the later is longer. I never noticed a difference in taste. And the egg quality freaks me out half the time its covered in gunk or feathers.

They also have forms of H milk that does not need to be refrigerated. But that by no means makes it better. It is cooked to a warmer temp and as a result is runnier and has a texture very different to what we are used to stateside. I buy the normal pasteurized or what the germans call fresh milk.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom July 6, 2010 at 8:18 am

@Serena,

Yes…I encountered quite a few “gunk and feathered” eggs in the DR! And every now and again, we’d crack one and found something not so pleasant inside. We had a rule that we cracked one egg at a time in a separate bowl before adding into the recipe or baking mix…just in case!

I used “unrefrigerated eggs” for years and turned out just fine!

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Paula July 7, 2010 at 9:29 am

@The Happy Housewife,We purchase a half a beef twice a year and love the taste and that the burger is almost fat free. The way we budget our beef is that my husband is paid biweekly and two months out of the year he gets a third paycheck so that is when we plan our beef purchase. It is definately worth it, can’t hardly stand store bought burger anymore. I was just shocked the first time I made a meatloaf from the fresh beef and it didn’t shrink at all! There wasn’t even a teaspoon of grease in the pan.

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Abbygail July 7, 2010 at 11:09 am

@Paula, It’s awesome to have meatloaf and burgers that don’t shrink isn’t it? We buy a grass-fed quarter of a cow once a year from a friend and have plenty of wonderful steaks and hamburger throughout the year. He charges .90/lb which is much cheaper than even commercial beef! We are very lucky!

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Paula July 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

@Abbygail, We pay $1 a pound and buy a half twice a year. I feel it is cheaper and the meat is so much better. Also I like that I can get things packed how I want them, for instance size of roasts, lbs of hamburger in a package, even steak thickness. Don’t even like buying meat at the store anymore.

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Robbie @ Going Green Mama July 6, 2010 at 6:47 am

I found that the CSA we chose did not work well for our family. We’d get such small quantities of things (1/4 to 1/2 cup) that we spent more getting enough together for any kind of recipe.

Plus I like the relationships built at our local farmers market.

And don’t discount growing. It’s not too late for lettuces or even green onions! (Or if you’re more adventurous and have space, a fall planting!)

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Lee October 31, 2010 at 7:41 am

I think the CSA is a great thing, but Robbie has a point. Depending on which one you join, the time of year, and the particular crop, you never know what you’ll get from year to year. It is expensive, but is probably worth it assuming you would typically be buying all those things anyway. The one my mom and I joined, for example… one week we got two large bundles of garlic scapes (the green curly tops of garlic plants.) What on earth to do with that?! I’ve never even seen it in a store and it seems that the farmer just wanted to fill our box with something else. We made pesto with the scapes… not bad, but VERY garlicky. Anyway, if you can know ahead of time what you will get each week and how much, then it would be easy to compare to your normal produce budget. But overall I thought it was a great experience and a lot of fun, since we had to go to the farm each week to pickup our box.

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autumn July 6, 2010 at 7:20 am

I have found that bartering works well for my family. I bake gluten free angel food cakes and other items and trade them for real milk, eggs, and other items. We also have a circle of friends who have large gardens so we trade some of our excess for things we need.

We’re also raising meat chickens at a friends house. We should end up with a years worth of pasture raised chicken for about $75!!!

Maybe you could start a barter system with your friends. Course it helps that I live in rural Ohio!

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Lucy Chapman July 6, 2010 at 7:41 am

I joined a local food coop about a month ago (Miami River Food Cooperative out of Troy, OH). It’s more than just the produce – I get meat, milk, butter, cheese, paper towels, dried beans, etc. Most products are made/grown organically and locally. After the initial joining fee (necessary to keep the coop/grocery running), I have found that I am spending an average of $60 – $70 per week on groceries (family of 4). While the individual items may cost more, I am spending less overall – I’m not buying pre-made things or things I don’t need. It forces me to cook seasonally and locally (something I’m a huge supporter of!). We’re not eating as much meat, but we do buy meat through the coop. We just eat smaller amounts on a daily basis (a healthy way to eat anyway). The produce through the CSA is $25 a week for 20-25 lbs. We use most of it in a week, but last week we got a ton of carrots and cukes – I went on a pickling spree and put up enough pickles for the year. Eggs I get right around the corner from a farmer for 1.50 a dozen. They’re fresher than the grocery store, and taste so much better.

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The Working Home Keeper July 6, 2010 at 7:45 am

We only buy local, pastured eggs from our farmers markets. As well grass-fed & finished beef and pastured chicken and pork. I so much prefer buying from the farmers that actually raised the animals. I know the animals are allowed to roam and be on pasture (which you can’t guarantee by buying things labeled free-range in the grocery store). And I know the animals are eating a diet that is natural to them (and not just corn – chickens aren’t vegetarians!). It is a wonderful experience to know and develop a relationship with the person that is growing your food.

During the Spring and Summer when our farmers markets are in full swing, we try and buy as much local foods as we possibly can. It is more expensive for us to eat locally and organic/organically-grown. But we make it fit by eating more meatless meals (to counter the increased cost of grass-fed and pastured meats), planning meals around items in season at the farmers market, going to local, u-pick organic farms, cooking meals from scratch using simple whole foods and even developing those relationships with the farmers has gotten me free veggies or discounts on grass-fed beef. And we’re frugal in other areas of our budget (no cell phones, shopping second hand, no consumer debt, etc.) which allows us to spend more on the areas which are important to us (eating local and organic/organically grown!).

Good luck with your baby steps towards going local!!!

Mary Ellen
Eating Local in NC!

http://workinghomekeeper.blogspot.com/search/label/Eating%20Local%20NC

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susan July 6, 2010 at 8:16 am

erin~ i need to work harder on local produce. we do grass fed beef for about $1.50/pound only because my uncle raises it and my parents get a cow and give us a reduced price for what we take. chickens/eggs. mom has eggs too but we don’t get them too often as she lives an hour away. good luck & enjoy your healthy/local eating adventure.

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Kathleen July 6, 2010 at 8:22 am

I have good friends that sell their free range eggs…..$2.50/doz and they are the best. We also buy a half of a cow each year and split the cost with my brother….it works out to $2.56/lb. I would rather shop at Aldi for my other groceries and save money than go without our farm fresh eggs and grass fed beef…it may cost a little more but we know where the foods coming from and how it was treated. It all works out in the end

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Crystal July 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

we’ve already placed our order for a side of beef and a side of pork from our farmer who we purchase from..Grass fed, completely organic.. We also buy our whole chickens and our eggs from the same farm… and we purchase our raw milk from a farmer who lives 5 minutes from our home.. its great..

We have our own garden plus a garden we have a friends that we help tend to and get half of everything..

We purchase our Honey and such fromour local farmers Market as well..

Try to stay away from the grocery store as much as possible except for those things we absolutely have to buy there… like TP

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Trista July 6, 2010 at 8:31 am

I’ve been working hard over the past month or so to switch our family over to more local, organic, healthy foods. While we did bump our budget up from $300/mo (family of 4, including 2 little ones) to $350/mo, it surprisingly wasn’t much of a challenge. It’s actually easier… I budget $75/week for groceries, then the $50 left over goes towards sales events (triples, super doubles) and stocking up on items at the co-op that are on sale and have coupons (the co-op sales last the entire month, so there is plenty of time to email companies to inquire about coupons and then I just go at the end of the month or when they have owner appreciation days (an additional 10% off your order).

Before, I was averaging around 15 visits to various stores per week. It’s now much more simple: the local co-op on Wednesdays to stock up on fruit/veggies/bulk items for the week (and pick up our CSA box that we split w/ another family, which works out to $11/week for us!), farmer’s market on Saturday for any additional fruit/veggies we may need and that week’s meat (free-range, grass-fed beef for $4.99/lb, free-range chicken $3.99/lb, plus more exotic things like goat, rabbit, etc.). This meat lasts us for the entire week as we supplement a LOT with beans, but it is still a hefty price tag… And then I make one small trip to the grocery store for that week’s good deals on the foods we’re now eating.

We were buying local free-range eggs, but they were $4/dozen!!!!! We decided it was worth getting some chickens and paid $75 for 9 hens and a rooster. We now have 7 hens laying (2 more will start any day) and get around a half dozen each day! We love eggs, so it’s definitely worth it. And after purchasing our first chicken at the farmer’s market the other day though (for $18!!!!!), we’re thinking raising them for meat isn’t a bad idea either…

I don’t get the saving percentages that I used to with coupons, but the quality of the food and the peace of mind is so worth it.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom July 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm

@Trista,

Great work Trista! It’s the peace of mind that I’m after…without sacrificing too much of my budget. I like your suggestions!

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JodieMo July 6, 2010 at 8:39 am

I’m with you on this one. It’s hard to fit organic, locally grown, grass-fed stuff in the already tight budget. All the prices I am seeing here are ridiculously cheap compared to the farmer’s markets here in my area. A dozen farm eggs is $4, grass-fed (ground)beef is $6/lb. The other cuts are much more expensive than that. Produce is a little better, but not much. They are typically twice as much as grocery store prices if not more. I have actually found that it is cheaper for me to drive 6 hours to visit my family in rural TN and buy from the tiny little farmer’s market up there.
Sometimes I wonder how the prices for these things are determined. Is it really that much more expensive for these local farmers or are some jacking up the prices because they know someone will pay that much for them?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom July 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

@JodieMo,

Good question JodieMo!

At least in my area, I know it’s cheaper by the pound to buy a side of beef…around $4/lb.

But I see the same prices ($6/lb) at the local farmer’s market for the beef and aboue ($3-4/lb) for chicken. There is a market a ways from me that has whole chicken for $2.19/lb. That’s about 3x as much as the grocery store, but not a terribly expensive…like the $6/lb beef!

I’m hoping to squeeze as much in as I can into our $60/week budget!

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Gert October 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Surprisingly well-written and ifnomraivte for a free online article.

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Cheryl July 6, 2010 at 9:03 am

I would love to find farm eggs for $2/doz that is a great price. I live on the east side of Columbus (Ohio) & all I can find is $3.50 & up ….I can’t justify that for our budget right now.
Also Tara, look around I know that there wee some places from Fredericktown, Zanesville area, I think Kenton area (I just remember it was NW past Marysville) & I know up by Akron that sell grass-fed beef for less that $5/lb & for 1/2 a cow it was closer to $3…..but that was about 2yrs ago when I was also working

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Ros July 6, 2010 at 10:30 am

I live in NJ (am actually English and lived here for 3 years) and the first thing on my list of things to do in USA was to get chickens!
We started with 5 then added more last year. We now have 12 plus we got 4 ducks – 2 males and 2 females. The female ducks lay too and their eggs are very good.
We give eggs to friends and the local ladies half way home.
It costs me $13 for a bag of food for them which lasts just under 2 weeks. I figure that I get 12 to 14 eggs a day so I don’t think thats a bad return.
I love having my own chickens – they are really easy to care for and are fun to watch in the back yard.

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Alta July 6, 2010 at 10:32 am

You do have to shop around (if you have the ability to) from farmer to farmer. There is one farmer that sells grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and free range chickens in our area that is well-known locally, and he charges really high prices. He’s certified organic. I recently found another that is not certified organic, but practices organically – and their prices are much more reasonable. They’re generally higher than the grocery, but only by $1 or so a pound. And if you get to building a relationship, you can get good deals – they had beef short ribs on for $1.99/lb last weekend (you better believe I bought all I could!!!), and that price can’t be beat, grass-fed or conventional! Also, if you can buy in bulk, you’ll save. Buy a side or a quarter of beef. Or a whole lamb. Or see if you can get a deal if you buy a dozen chickens at a time. And of course, practice frugally – use every bit of those animals for stocks, soups, etc. And you can always stretch the meat further to lower your cost and supplement beans, veggies, etc.

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WendyW July 6, 2010 at 11:00 am

I’d love to buy locally from our farmer’s market but simply can’t afford to. The vendors *all* have the same prices for their goods and those prices are outrageous. We eat well and I spend a fair bit on groceries, but I simply refuse to pay $6/lb for tomatoes, $8/pint for honey and so on. Given that I live in Alaska and groceries are costly any way, you’d think local produce would be cheaper, but it is many times more expensive. What really bugs me is that they accept food stamps at the farmers market, so to me, anyone using food stamps there is simply wasting their “money”.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom July 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

@WendyW,

Oy Wendy…that is expensive!

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Sally Kuzemchak July 6, 2010 at 11:42 am

I just purchased a half of a grass-fed cow from a local farmer and then split the meat with a friend. In the end, it came out to about $3.50 a pound which is much cheaper than the grass-fed beef at our farmer’s market or natural foods market. Buying in bulk like that made it worth the cost.

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Karen July 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm

one of my friends does the farm share but since its just the two of us and hubby has weird hours…its makes it tricky to find something like that. we are also in a smaller town so I don’t know if they have something like that here….

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Larissa July 6, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I buy seasonal veggies from a local “hobby farm” and visit the farmers market in the summer. (I used to get eggs and limited quantity meat from trusted friends before they sold their little farm.) We could still buy farm eggs but I worry too much about food safety…call me crazy but I prefer to buy eggs and other perishables from the grocery store. I have recently met a farmer who does the organic beef…I just can’t come up with cash right now to purchase a side of beef but would like to in the near future. I wouldn’t worry about food safety for that as it is government mandated that they have to be butchered and packaged by a local licensed and inspected facility.
I am a city girl originally and am slowly starting to adjust my outlook on food sources.

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Jamie July 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Erin, if I remember correctly (and forgive me if I don’t), you live in or near Dayton? We’ve found that the grass fed locally raised ground beef at Dorothy lane market is outstanding in flavor and they put it on sale for 3.49 per pound about every other week. We live about 35 minutes from their springboro location and I go there about once a month to stock up on meat. I’m now buying all beef, chicken and pork there. The chicken is by far the most expensive and I’ve learned to use less if it in recipes and fill in with inexpensive starches to stretch it (beans, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc). I do that with the beef too. But I’m telling you, once you’ve made burgers with that meat, you’ll never go back. It is so delicious. My husband says it’s as good as any fancy burger joint and I agree. It’s fabulous!!

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Shannon July 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm

hmmm….I always thought the emphasis was really the no hormone and nor antibiotics, the grass fed part was just added later. Grass fed meat has a green tinge to it and a difference in flavor, at least it does if it is slaughter while the grass is still green. I’m from cattle country Ca and cattle country Tx, and all the cattle are grass fed until about a month before slaughter, when they are fed out on grain. It would be more cost effective to NOT feed out on grain but I think some larger opperations add things to the grain to keep a healthier herd.
we bought a slightly older calf that was missed in the round up and spent an extra couple of months on the pasture and he had some health problems from missing nuitrients her wasn’t getting from dried up yellow grass. Just throwing that part out there. You might ask your local butcher if he could get a whole cow NOT fed out on grain for you, You’ll be paying more per lb that for cheap hamburger but you’ll get cuts you’d never otherwise buy as a trade off, maybe you can find a family or two ta split the cow with.

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Linda July 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm

We buy eggs from the store but also from local farmers. I enjoy the farm fresh eggs so much more. We have a small garden of our own and just recently harvested our first zucchini. We have lots of green tomatoes and harvested some small radish. We ate the greens too. Saute them with some garlic and seasonings or chop them up fresh and add to pasta salad.

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alexis July 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm

We have about $75 a week grocery budget for all local or organic (if local is not an option) ingredients for my family of 5. The extra $$ is like an insurace program, my theory is that cancer treatments are more than I’m going to spend buying organic/local. We did join a CSA this year and get a 1/2 bushel of organic produce for $16 a week, so far my average estimate of produce we are getting as about $25 worth of organic produce for the $16. I get local farm fresh eggs, near our Kroger store for $2.50 per dozen. I’ve gotten to know the farmer so well, they let me go get the eggs myself from the chickens if they’re not home! Quite an experience for a once city girl! LOL! :)

Once per month I go to a local farm in Clarkburg (not far from you Erin) http://www.thatguysfamilyfarm.com to get my chickens (they were killed that morning and are fresh not frozen). If you saw the movie Food Inc. or read The Ominvores Delimma, these farmers learned from the chicken farmer that is referred to. We bring home the chickens and cut them up into breasts etc. and boil the rest for homemade stocks (huge money saver right there!) They also have 2 additional farmers set up with their pasture feed beef, lamb and pork. I have my meat budget for the month and buy all my meat there each month. Then I supplement with local farmers markets if need be or go to Kroger for what organic ingredients I can’t get. If I’m in Cincinnati or Columbus, I’ll run in Whole Foods and grab organic tortillas or other inexpensive items that I can’t get at Kroger. I have a local amish farmer who sells to me in bulk when items come in season (corn for example) and we have a processing day where we put that item in the freezer. We have already stocked up on strawberries and peas!

We started our own organic garden this year, its been a ton of fun!

I hope this helps you with your start on your journey! Good luck, I hope to see more posts about this topic on your site!

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Tara @Just Devine Style July 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm

We have 21 chickens and I really love having fresh eggs. The kids sell them and it is their own little business. I think the little extra cost is so much worth having fresh eggs.
As far as grass fed beef it is worth the extra cost and the flavor is so much better! I really love it. I love knowing that our range beef don’t have all the extra hormones and such. We recently had some that our friends had hung for an extra week and the taste was out of this world! Don’t waiver it is worth it.

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Condo Blues July 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm

When I shop at my summer farm market I find that the prices are comparable to the fresh vegetables I buy at the grocery store. Maybe I’m just cheap or a good shopper. Most of the vegetables my family eats are fresh.

I got a CSA share this year as experiment. The price is much higher but my CSA delivers which is unusual for CSAs. If we can’t eat through our weekly vegtable share I freeze what we can’t get too for later AKA – Winter :)

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Noelle July 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

We have been a part of a CSA for 5 years now. I don’t buy much at the grocery store other than fruit in the winter when I can’t get it at the farmer’s market. Our CSA is the oldest in CO so they have it down really well. We get enough to feed our family of 8 (including 2 teens and 2 tweens) from a full share. We also work there once a week for 4 hours for a discount AND the ability to bring home the cast off’s…things like zucchini that are getting soft or cucumbers with spotty skins. We bring home a lot of extra’s each week just from being out there. I’m able to can and freeze a ton of food as well, so that cuts down on the grocery budget for the rest of the year too.

We have backyard chickens for our eggs, but we get our beef, pork and lamb from our CSA. It does cost a little more, but we are also helping the local economy by supporting a local farm. And we are helping a family do the work they love, farming. That has a very high value to me.

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Amanda July 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm

@Noelle, Where in CO do you live? I am in denver!

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Noelle July 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

@Amanda, We are in Littleton. Our CSA is in Kersey, up near Greeley.

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Cheryl Smith July 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

I buy a mixed quarter of grass feed beef from a local farmer and it ends up being about $3.50 per pound. I cannot go back to eating grocery store beef. I get my eggs from a cousin for $1.50 they are beautiful and my honey from a relative for free. I also love my local farmer’s market and my first garden is coming along nicely. I picked my first green beans and zucinnia(sp) yesterday. We are very lucky in the midwest to have so much available to us.

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Stephanie July 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I’d love to find farm raised eggs for that price in our area!! Sadly, good eggs are hard to find on a budget and living in the city I can’t raise chickens:)

We do have a wonderful CSA. Instead of the usual weekly box it works on a debit system. You pay for a full or half share and then you shop as you normally would just deducting your purchases through the season. This way you can shop as many markets during the week [they set up at 3 currently] as you want or as few [in case you're on vacation] and you can experiment if you want or you can leave the weird veggies to others. Also, if you want 50lbs of tomatoes or cukes you can get them – including the ‘second’s that make great salsa or spaghetti sauce, etc. Also, if you volunteer to work a shift at one of the markets you get a nice discount on your veggies that week. The produce is fantastically tasty and I love that I have the flexibility to plan my share for the season as I want. I know I’m lucky to have found this farm. It’s the only one in our area using this system and they max out on their shares every year.

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Becky L. July 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I can get fresh eggs free from my neighbor who works at an egg farm. 2.5 dozen worth. All I have to do it call him. I love it. He usually gets me the ones with less cholesterol in them which is fine since I like eggs.
I have a couple roma tomatoes coming in our garden. They weren’t there Sunday but were Monday evening1 Guess it’s the warmer weather we are finally having.
Congrats on Tyler crawling! Another step in baby land! :0) Hugs!

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Julia in WDM July 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm
Suz July 7, 2010 at 9:51 am

Two or three summers ago the chix and I read a book by Linda Sue Parks called Project Mulberry. It covered a girl and her best friend and their silkworm project. It was amazing how the author interwove sustainable agriculture, local farming, composting, recycling, and even racism into the story.

OK, the point of this whole thing is: in the book, the girl & her friend decided to try farm fresh vs store eggs. “Happy Eggs” came from chickens that were raised on a sustainable farm. The taste, color, size were completely different. My girls were intrigued, so we tried it. And we’re hooked. We used to buy the eggs through a co-op with friends, but now get them from a local feed store (!), so we’re supporting a local business which in turn supports a local farmer, which in turn supports the local feed store….

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Jennifer Lorenzetti July 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Erin:

As someone pointed out, I think you live in the Cincinnati/Dayton area. About twice a year, my husband and I go to Landes Meat Market in Englewood and stock the freezer with grass-fed beef and pork; this is the same family as the Bowman & Landes brand you find at Dorothy Lane market, but for a lower cost.

Also, you should be able to get beef, pork, chicken, and turkey from the farm at Aullwood while allowing the kiddos a fun farm visit. Their prices are really nice and low, although it has been more of a hit or miss thing rather than a stock-up source.

The reality is, there are fewer farmers right now doing the more labor-intensive but far more natural grass-feeding and free-ranging cows and other animals desire, so the prices are higher. It is well worth switching, but if it is important for you to do $5 meals (and I know it is), then you will have to design meals for which meat is a condiment.

PM me if you want more local info.

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Nikki July 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

I tried a CSA last year, but won’t do it again. We had to drive 30+ minutes to pick it up, we did not get enough of the vegies that we really wanted, and I was always scrambling to cook up the unusual (to me anyway) things we got in our bag before the next week. So now I stick with local vegie stands, Farm Markets, and grocery store stock-ups when prices are low (and local). I live near Chatt TN and we have 4+ healthy grocery stores in the area as well (Earthfare, Fresh Market, Greenlife Grocery, Village Market). As for eggs, we have a neighbor with chickens, so that’s $2/dozen, and when I’m at work (public school) there’s a teacher who has chickens, so I can get some from her. I’m not opposed to grocery store eggs, but usually the free range, cage free, organic ones. I’m a vegetarian, so I can’t help you much on the meat, but if I did eat meat, I would for sure do local grass fed humane etc. etc. I guess I would try to coupon my way through the other “essentials” of my grocery budget and put toward the organic, green meat purchases. I like a lot of the suggestions here.

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Carissa July 12, 2010 at 9:19 am

What a great post! Not sure that what our family does will help. But here is goes. We did a CSA for 2 years. It was awesome and we received a ton of food. We also have a great farm near us that is a pick your own – pay $15 and get to come home with 6 50lb bags worth of veggies…priceless in my book. For the meat we hunt. Not that everyone will or is able to but in my opinion it is the best grass fed meat there is. We process our own so it cuts the cost considerably. We stopped the CSA because we started our own garden and have the space to do a large one…I’m thinking twice on this with the hail damage we got on the 4th…but should still produce plenty.

Can’t wait to hear more about buying local on a budget!

Thanks again.

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Trixy July 13, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Wow, your grass-fed/free range prices are very cheap compared to what we pay here in Australia (even taking into account exchange rates). We would pay over $4 per pound for just regular non grass-fed ground beef and free range eggs would be a bargain if they’re less than $5 per dozen… :)

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Ramona Newton August 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

All I know is this…………..My brother gave me some eggs from a friend who raises chickens. The first thing I noticed is that the yokes were orange. I ate the eggs and I enjoyed them. After they were gone I bought a dozen eggs from Kroger’s. I cracked an egg into my skillet and it just didn’t look right anymore. The yoke was pale yellow, the rest of the egg looked thin and watery. I scrambled it in the skillet and it looked as though it was so lacking in substance. Now, I can’t go back to eating store bought eggs anymore. I don’t even want to eat the Kroger eggs I have left. I’m searchin now for a place to get farm eggs from now on.

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Kendrick January 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I am 26 years old. I am a gardener. I grow everything organically. I have many fruit plants ranging from apple tree, cherry tree, strawberries, raspberries, black berries, grapes and a lemon bush inside. I just planted a peach tree last year and plum trees(5) and even some persimmon. I have 3 gardens. 1. approximately 30ft by 30ft. It grows the asparagus, and rhubarb. I than have a 60 ft by 100 ft garden and a 200ft by 80 ft garden for everything else. I tend to this garden with my father and some friends. I would say I spent $500 last year on plants and seeds, fuel and other expenses. this does not include the used Rototiller 3 point hitch i got last year. I came out of the season with over $3,000 in veggies and could not pick it all. I have a running deal with a local butcher/farmer that i will take his manure. Its FREE. I use only that and lime stone (natural) in my garden. I love canning and even ferment my own sourkrout. I live at home still. but i love to walk out in the back yard in the summer and fall and say yep I want that that, that and that. I get my meat from the same person i get my manure from so i know its fresh. I just need someone with farm fresh eggs that is my goal this year at the county fair…. lol I have made many farm friends at my county fair. I live in north east Ohio by the way…

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