Eating local doesn’t have to be expensive

From my last post you can see that the weekend was spent in a central Washington journey – searching for local foods of all shapes and sizes.

I tried to keep track of prices, quality and quantity as I went along and I will share the high points here.

This project is becoming more popular and I got a lot of food for free so in observance of tact, I refrained from inquiring about the cost of everything I was being fed.

On Saturday I stopped by Jones Farm fruit stand in Zillah, Wa. The Jones family farms about 400 acres, both organic and non organic, co-owner Barbara Jones told me. She said they ship almost all of their organic produce to the Seattle area because that’s where they can get a better price. This is a trend I’m seeing in many organic producers on the east side.

“We sell most of our organic stuff on the west side because there aren’t many people who are willing to pay for it around here,” she said.

Jones said that from what she sees, people on the west side shop smaller, planning their meals on a daily scale while people in central Washington plan for the week and shop accordingly. Thus, they are less willing to pay the higher prices.

At Jones I found one gallon bags of beans and lentils for $5. Comparatively Mike’s Meat & Farmer’s Market in Wenatchee sells the same size bags for $5.95.

At Jones’ I got Yakima Valley honey, cantaloupe, tomatoes, corn, garlic, lentils, beans, cucumbers, onions and assorted fruit including peaches and pears.

The bill was about $23. Compared to my bill from Farmhouse Table last week (about $32) I got more food for less money – though none of it’s organic.

On Sunday afternoon I was invited to a “locavore cook out” by a friend of the family in which we feasted solely on local foods. We had goat cheese from Tieton Farm & Creamery in Tieton, Wa. It’s an organic operation and the cheese cost $8 for 4 oz. Staying true to organic fashion, the creamery sells mostly to markets on the west side and the biggest retailer they do business with is PCC Natural Markets.

We also drank hard apple cider from Tieton Cider Works and ate locally grown organic beef.

I also stopped by Tefft Cellars in Outlook, Wa. The best deal I found was their 4 liter boxes for $26.95. A 4 liter box equals a little more than five bottles of wine. And they even sell the boxes at Costco.

In addition to wine and produce, I also stocked up on locally grown meat. Having cousins involved with the FFA means there’s always an abundance of proteins.

I picked up ground beef, T-Bone steaks, pork chops, sausage, bacon and even a leg of lamb while visiting family and out of curiosity I took the list to Safeway and had it priced.

Safeway employee Jake Yager in the meat department said I had between $150 to $200 in meat there – depending on the cuts.

So thank you to everyone who fed me and gave me provisions for this project – so generous of you!

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