Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Have I Lost My Mind? - Store Bought Veggies

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Most of the time, I will do everything in my power not to buy vegetables from a grocery store.  I am sure this is just something inherent to gardeners.  Well today I kind of had a break down and then an enlightenment.

My butter beans were a complete bust this year and I have been really craving them.  So today after work I decided to drop by a local farmer's market and pick up a bushel, but of course they were all out.  The lady told me that a bushel of shelled butter beans goes for about $30 bucks.

Discouraged, but not beaten I decided as a last resort to go to the grocery store and buy a few cans of butter beans.  I was at Publix and for some reason (divine intervention maybe), I decided to check the frozen food section instead of the canned goods.  Much to my surprise, they had all Bird's Eye brand frozen vegetables on sale for 50% off.  Not only did I load up on butter beans, but I also picked up some broccoli and green beans.

The crazy thing is I weighed my butter beans and I got the equivalent of 2.25 bushels for only $20 dollars.  That would have cost almost $70 at the farmer's market.  My total haul was only $32 bucks.  We had some of the butter beans for dinner tonight and they were excellent, even better because of the awesome deal.

It got me thinking about all the time, effort, and money I spent trying to grow and shell my butter beans.  Maybe for certain items I won't waste valuable garden space and resources on high maintenance veggies and just buy them in the store.  I know this is crazy talk to all your gardeners, but time is money and the reality is I have a career and a family.  My time is so precious right now and I am trying to balance my garden passion with my family life.  Makes me question whether I should grow any peas, beans, or things that are high maintenance and focus on just plants that are easier like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, etc.  Any thoughts?


Annie*s Granny said...

I say that about peas every year, but then I go and plant them anyway. I can never grow enough for more than just a very few meals, so I still end up buying frozen peas from the store. I actually think the frozen petite peas are every bit as good as my home grown peas. Maybe better, as I always manage to harvest some that have become too large and starchy. I've found my green beans to be a money saver, as well as the winter squash and root vegetables (except maybe carrots). Most of the other veggies are grown for the freshness and flavor, rather than as a means to save money.

Kris said...

I agree with you on the flavor Granny, that is why I grow so much corn, there is no comparison on taste. If the butter beans would have tasted bad it would have been easy, but I could not taste a noticeable difference.

I have always thought frozen vegetables were better than canned and tasted fresher. I am pretty sure they are flash frozen right after harvested.

I guess I am evolving and learning that certain things don't taste noticeably different in the store and are much cheaper in the store so why bother growing them.

The Stay @ Home-Gardener said...

There is a fiscal/time balance to gardening. IE if you make more doing something else than the cost of the food etc then it doesn't look appealing on paper. However, gardening encompasses a lot of other things than simply economics. Stress relief, perhaps self food security, or any number of personal things. Today I was remarking after bringing in 7lbs of ripe heirloom tomatoes that going on the pricing of a local 'whole foods' type store at $6.99lb organic heirlooms meant that over the season its amounted to over $80 bucks. :) I was alright with it. Made them taste psychologically all the better.

Bernadine said...

I understand needing to purchase from the grocery store. However, I try first to support the local Farmer's Market. Though it's more expensive, it's fresher, it can be organic, and it's better for the economy. I struggle buying fruits and veggies from California and other countries and now, rarely do. When I do purchase frozen veggies, I buy as locally as I can too. I purchase all my field peas at Publix or Walmart but the field peas are from a local farm from the next county over. For me, gardening has to do with taking care of the land, less dependence on oil, growing without chemicals and enjoying nature. The more I learn about how our food is produced, the more I realize how important it is to know what goes into the food we're eating. When I grow my veggies, I know exactly what has gone into them. That knowledge makes everything taste better. Anyway, I think your garden is just amazing and I always get inspired looking at the beds you've created and your outcomes. You're in a very busy time of life raising a young family so you know better how to allot your valuable time. Best wishes.

Crafty Cristy said...

I think that if you don't notice a discernible taste difference, go ahead and buy the frozen butterbeans! I hate shelling butterbeans and I remember that from childhood.

I do agree with the previous poster (Bernadine) who said we need to take care of the land, use less oil and all that, but we have to take care of our families, too, and we have to find the right balance for us.

I can't imagine that you will let all that garden real estate go to waste, so if you choose to grow something other than butterbeans in the space, so be it. And now you know where to buy them for your family. You can stock up when they have a sale. You have a freezer. Use it for the stuff you stock up on.

That's my take on it. :)

Jenny said...

I don't see anything wrong with buying from store if you don't have space to grow something. I've been buying watermelons and cantaloupes all summer long because I love them and mine are only the size of the baseball so far so I didn't want to wait until October to enjoy it.

Kris said...

Stay at Home - Holy smokes, that means my 100 pounds of tomatoes has been worth over $700 bucks. That is what I am talking about.

Bernadine - Thanks so much for your kind words, you are so nice to say that. I wonder if my local Wal Mart or Publix stocks veggies from local farmers the way yours does? I guess I could call the produce manager and ask them. That is good to know.

Cristy - I couldn't taste a difference and the amount of work that butter beans require is almost torture. Thanks for your input. Unfortunately I am going to lose all my garden space pretty soon, more on that in a future post.

Jenny - I buy watermelons from the roadside stands also because I have never been able to grow a watermelon that taste is good and they take up so much space.

Brabee said...

I totally agree that a plot of veggies must be cost effective.
For example: I have NO IDEA why dried beans are so cheap. They take up so much space and take a long time to mature.

For that reason, I grow asparagus. A small plot of 5 plants produces so many spears we get sick of eating them each spring. (two people) but I point and laugh when I see them in the grocery for over $4/lb. I recomend to all my friends that they grow asparagus.

P.S. I confess that I grow purple hull peas-but they produce twice for me. An early summer crop and a later (smaller) crop a few weeks later.

P.P.S. Don't sweat the small stuff-you got bigger fish to fry. Have a great day.

Kris said...

Barbee - I love asparagus, but have never grown it. I have some huge fish in the fryer right now, more on that in the future. :)