We get used to buying from the grocery, but there are many other options.
Farmers’ markets: During the growing season, you can find a farmer’s market on nearly every corner. My hubby’s work has even started a farmer’s market for employees. Now that’s the way to think outside the box! It would be great for more employers to follow their lead and give employees easy access to fresh produce. Check out Eat Local Cincinnati to find a farmer’s market near you (some are open even in winter).
Speaking of farmer’s markets and SNAP benefits budget, Ohio has a program for food assistance recipients to access locally grown produce at farmer’s markets (2010 Ohio list has 41 farmer’s market locations listed that accept the benefit card, hopefully this program will grow).
CSAs: Pay ahead, work or both to get a share of the farmer’s harvest. You can search for CSAs near you.
Order for pickup: There are places that allow you to order your food and they will pack it up to be ready for you to pick it up. There might be member fees or minimum order amounts required. With this option, you don’t get to personally select items for purchase (which tomato looks most appealing to you), but it might save you some time shopping. You might also have access to items not available at the grocery store.
Sam’s Club Click ‘n’ Pull — variety of grocery available
Grassland Graze — grass-fed beef
Locally Harvested For You — meat, dairy, produce and other locally produced food items
Order for delivery: You order the food, they bring it to your door. There is generally a delivery charge and may be member fees. You don’t get to personally select items for purchase, but this might save you some shopping time as well as driving time and gas use.
Meijer — variety of packaged, shelf stable foods available for delivery.
Green BEAN Delivery — like a CSA, local produce and other items available.
Grow your own: Couldn’t get fresher or more local than straight from your own garden. You control what food to grow and how it’s grown. Cheaper than the grocery, but more work involved. You can find plenty of options to purchase organic, heirloom seeds or plants with an internet search.
We have tried all of these options (though not all of the places listed) and I believe they all have advantages worth considering. Where have you shopped Outside the Box?