I love the Summer months because everything is so laid back, the weather is warm and nurturing, and there is tons of produce ripe for the picking.
Here are my top tips for shopping for Summer produce.
Set a budget for the Summer months
Your budget for Summer should go up slightly for the simple reason that you'll be eating more fresh produce! Many people have no idea what to spend on groceries and end up spending way too much. While others spend way too little on groceries in general. Assuming your a family of 4, I recommend spending anywhere from 8 - 10% or even 20% of your monthly income on groceries. So if your monthly income is $2000 then $200 is very little to spend on a family of 4. Be flexible, check in and treat your budget as a living, breathing thing.
Join a CSA
This will not only save you money, it will also guarantee you're getting local and seasonal produce. Plus, in many cases all the hard work is literally done for you. These boxes of fresh and lovely produce can even be delivered to your door. Find out more about CSA's in your area here.
Shop at your local farmer's market
Get to know your farmers and learn about how they grow food and what they're growing. Enjoy the atmosphere of local food culture. This is a great time for the whole family!
Check to see where your grocery store produce hales from
Did you know a lot of apples come from South America? This is not a bad thing. It simply means you'll be making a choice to buy and eat apples that are several weeks old and have made a long journey to get to you. Choose what's best for your family and meal plan.
Buy produce that is in season, is clearly fresh and alive, and is crisp, bright, and firm
You are what you eat so choose wisely when selecting your produce. Avoid any wilted, brown or squishy produce. Eat living foods to feel alive and super charge your energy. Summer is the perfect time to do this.
Try one new seasonal produce item each time you shop
Simply chop it up and eat it raw to introduce yourself to this new item and what it's all about. Also, ask your produce guy or gal to let you try it in the store. They're usually very obliging and want you to buy what's in season. Get to know the flavor and texture of your food before you cook with it.
Buy organic when possible and stay away from the Dirty Dozen
In order to save money you can shop from what's known as the Clean15 list. This list helps you to know which conventionally grown foods are less affected by pesticides, radiation, and genetic engineering. Find out more about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15!
When you shop in season, you're buying foods that help you live at your best within that season. Nature provides cooling and cleansing foods for Summer and warm and hearty foods for Fall and Winter. Now go out there and try some new and refreshing Summer foods.
To your health!
Now I want to hear from you. What is your top tip for Summer produce shopping? Or what is your biggest struggle with shopping for produce? Let me know in the comments below.