Eating Local for Urban Families. Gluten-free and Dairy-free, too!

Tuesday, September 11

Too Much of a Good Thing

As part of this month’s Eat Local Challenge we pledged to try to limit our spending to $144.00 per week, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (I’m trying to find the exact citation of this). I was worried about sticking to this, because I regularly spend that much or more in one trip to the store, and I go a few times a week.

And…we did go over by a good chunk, mainly because of poor planning and actually over-buying. But we still have spent much less than we normally do and eaten really well. I wonder what the hell I’ve been spending my money on all this time.

I started the tally on August 29th because that was the day I did shopping at the farmers market for food that would carry us through that first weekend. By the end of the week we went over by $27.00 on groceries, mainly due to the sweet generosity of my husband (more on that later). And there was one desperate trip to Burgerville, a fast-food joint dedicated to local foods, to the tune of $11.50.

Then that Sunday evening Aaron and went to dinner at Pizza Fino, a locally-owned Italian place down the street from us, but that was not family food, that was marriage maintenance. (I am a huge believer in date night.)

Also, my loving husband, bless his heart, ran to the store to get wine for our dinner that first Friday night, which happened to be our 11th wedding anniversary. I gave him a budget of $8 per bottle, but he assumed I’d want Pinot Noir, my favorite type of wine, and it’s hard to find a good Pinot under $20. He did find one that was pretty decent, if a little simple, for about $15 on the Jezebel label from Daedalus Cellars in Dundee, Oregon. He also bought their Pinot Blanc, which was also nice and dry, very refreshing after a long weekend of yard work in hot weather. And local! Though around here local wine is pretty commonplace.

This second week I went to the farmers market and automatically got $40 in tokens. I can see now that was a mistake. I bought $40 worth of food and now I have to frantically figure out what to do with it all before it goes bad. It’s too much, even though I’m freezing some. I have to cut back.

Then, at the Alberta Co-Op, I was starting to feel deprived of quick, protein-rich snacks and bought too many hazelnuts and this super expensive trail mix. All local! But more than we needed. And just too expensive.

Here’s our breakdown for the first two weeks of the Eat Local Challenge:

Week One:
Veggies & fruit from the Interstate Farmers Market: $40.00
Groceries from Alberta Co-Op: $43.53
Groceries from New Seasons: $23.71.
Groceries from Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger): $33.82
Lunch at Burgerville: $11.50

Total: $152.56

Week Two:
Veggies & fruit from Hollywood Farmers Market: $40.00
Groceries from Alberta Co-Op: $55.00
Groceries form New Seasons: $71.00

Total: $166.00

I'm super glad that our problem is buying more than we need rather than feeling deprived and going over budget. This next week, I'll be a lot more on top of the planning.


Kristin said...

This is very inspiring -- I've really got to get my food budget under control. It's nice to see that you can do that and still buy local/fresh.
Believe it or not, my second to last post on my blog had a "foodie" slant, but in a really weird way. I'd like to know what you think of it, (if you're willing to comment) and if you've even heard of it.
Hope you're doing well!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristin that your post is inspiring. What's more, when I read further to see the one explaining the Eat Local Challenge, I saw that you provided a blueprint to follow. (I thought that I was stopping by weekly since we met at BlogHer but it would seem it's been longer than that.) I'm going to have to figure out what I can manage for this challenge - and, of course, bring into my usual way of living. Thanks for describing the path.

Anonymous said...


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