Organic Food Savings: Buying in Bulk and Watch those Price Labels!

June 30th, 2008

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The notion of bulk purchases often conjures up images of huge warehouse stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. While the savings there are great, the huge quantities you’re normally required to purchase and the far-flung suburban and exurban locations are turn-offs for many people.

Too often in our rush to pick up the weekly groceries we forget that bulk options exist in conventional grocery stores and organic markets alike. Back in April, OrganicMania posted 10 Tips for Saving Money on Organic Food from one of DC’s top organic grocers, Scott Nash. Despite my near-weekly trips to My Organic Market, until that interview with Scott, I never realized that MOM’s offers 10% case discounts on foods including 3 pound wheels of cheese, nuts, grains, granolas, beans, and more. Those discounts can really help you to save money on organic food.

Similarly, sometimes we forget the old rule of thumb to buy in bulk when our favorite foods are on sale. And frankly, the signage in some stores doesn’t help get the message across very clearly either. Take this sign for a sale on Horizon organic cheese. (Horizon cheese is not my personal favorite, but when it comes to kiddie lunches and snacks – particularly on those long car trips when it’s A Dilemma to be Organic & On the Road – those little individually wrapped cheese slices are a godsend.)
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A quick first look at this sign had me thinking that it was a decent sale, 2 for $5.00, a savings of $1.49 off the regular price. After all, that’s what the sign says, as you can see. But that sign doesn’t clearly illustrate the savings. Think about it. The $1.49 savings is on each package of cheese, now on sale 2 for $5. So when you buy 2, you’re actually saving $2.98, not $1.49. A better way to think about it? Horizon organic cheese: 40% off. You don’t normally think of Whole Foods as a bulk purchase store, but we certainly stocked up on this incredible savings at DC’s Tenleytown Whole Foods. But hurry – this sale ends tomorrow, July 1.

Other great deals? There are some terrific non-organic savings from Whole Foods private label Whole Pantry collection, on sale at $3 per package, a savings of .99 per package. These easy-to-prepare couscous and veggies and other entrée frozen vegetable meals are great as compliments to simple salads. While they’re not organic, they’re imported from France, so they’re non-GMO, which is one key reason many people buy organic foods. And they’re delicious. Try the goat cheese and eggplant dish. Too big a carbon footprint? Well, some of the 365 Brand frozen organic vegetables are imported from China! That’s even further from this East Coast store. But ya gotta love Whole Foods – organic, conventional, local, domestic, imported, and any combination of those – there’s something for everyone.

And yes, it’s still a great time to buy organic strawberries. The incredible sale we discussed last week is still on – and so these delicious organic strawberries are still cheaper than conventional strawberries. And now the organic raspberries are finally on sale too, at $2.99 per pint, a reduction of $1.00 per package.

And finally, given that it’s summer time, what a great excuse to try some organic iced tea, now on sale. Can’t wait to try the new Rishi Organic Artisan Iced Tea I picked up on sale. Remember, as Seth Goldman of Honest Tea told us in this OrganicMania interview, those nasty pesticides aren’t washed off conventional tea leaves until they hit your hot water!

Did you find any good deals this week? Leave a comment and share! And if you want to hear about these deals – and more – live, sign up here to follow me on Twitter. It’s micro-blogging about organics, green living, kids and more. It’s fun!

Happy Shopping!

Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Looking for Organic Food Savings Friday?

June 29th, 2008

Sorry I’m late with this…this Friday turned into “Welcome Back, DH” Friday instead of Organic Savings Friday. Lots of great finds and observations to share, but they’ll be coming tonight or tomorrow….In the meantime, you can get organic food savings updates by following me on Twitter.

OrganicMania tweets Live! What the heck does that mean? I’m taking my mobile phone with me on my shopping rounds and blasting out “microblogging” updates on all my finds – like this one on Horizon organic cheese 40% off or this morning’s warning about incorrect signage or this great find on organic strawberries – cheaper than conventional. You can register here to follow-me on Twitter and get all these updates as they happen. I’m normally in the stores twice weekly. Plus, I send out updates about all kinds of other “green” things – everything from Bethesda Green updates to Montgomery County’s new carbon reduction plan to discovering a new organic café! Check it out and come join me! Plus, Twitter is two-way, so you can message me and I can easily get back to you!

And in the meantime, I promise to get this week’s post up soon – thanks for bearing with me. Single parenthood was rough this week – I have no idea how people do it on a regular basis (and I say that as someone who was raised by a single Mom!)

Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

A Bakery’s Simple Reminder to Us All

June 25th, 2008

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Green Biz: Do the Simple Things

June 24th, 2008

We all know businesses are trying to go green. Some are even going to incredible lengths to run “green promotions” that are really not authentic representations of their businesses. This type of self-promoting “eco-PR” will likely only get them nailed in the blogosphere as “green washers.” It’s a shame, really, when the right green path can consist of very simple steps, even for the smallest local businesses.

It came to me on my morning walk. As I passed by the local church’s summer camp, I noticed that the kids were drinking water from styrofoam cups.

How many kids across the US are drinking from styrofoam rather than recyclable or biodegradable cups? Wouldn’t it be great if local businesses could step up and donate eco-friendly cups to the camps? The kids would learn a valuable lesson about environmental stewardship, and the businesses would get a three-fer: helping the local community, building goodwill, and taking a simple step to help the environment.

No one needs crazy “green campaigns” that consume more resources than they save. If you’re a small business owner, take a walk, clear your head, and look around your community. You’ll probably come up with your own great green ideas.

And if you’re a parent dropping your kid at camp, tell me – is your camp a bit “greener” this year? Or are things the same as they’ve always been?

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Organic Food Savings Friday: Look Up, Look Down & Strawberries All Around!

June 20th, 2008

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Funny headline? Well, think about this: finding the signs that display pricing in an organic market can require as much flexibility as a yoga routine. You have to look up high above the veggies bins, then you have to squat to look at knee-height to read prices, then you have to bend over a veggie counter to read tiny price stickers. Yikes. But you know what? It can really be worth the extra effort.

Take just one example: organic romaine lettuce. This is a staple item for many. Most often, people just push the cart up, reach in and grab whatever it is they’ve been grabbing for years. I had been doing that too, picking up my 9 oz. box of EarthBound Farms pre-washed romaine lettuce, while trying to ignore the $4.99 price tag. But this week, I happened to overhear a woman asking the Whole Foods produce manager where to find the local organic romaine lettuce on sale for $1.49. That sounded good to me, so I followed her over to the other side of the produce aisle and craned my neck up to see the sign announcing the sale – $1.00 off the regular price. Then I put the romaine on the scale and saw that each bag contained 21 ounces, so this romaine was just 7 cents per ounce, as compared to 55 cents per ounce for the EarthBound Farms box!

And even more exciting this week was the most fantastic deal on organic strawberries! Less than conventional! Can you believe it? DC’s Tenleytown Whole Foods has 2 pound packages of Driscoll’s organic strawberries on sale for $5.99 each, as compared to conventional 1 pound boxes of Driscoll’s for $3.49 each. That means that each 2 pounds of organic strawberries are $1.50 cheaper than the conventional equivalent. Amazing! And really, really delicious. Baby Boo was digging his fingers into the air holes in the container to try to get into the strawberries. I had to run upstairs and wash a few off before we left the store!

Last week, we discussed the great deals available at Target on organic milk. Well, as if $3.44 per gallon wasn’t good enough, Target slashed the price even further and through Saturday, you can buy Archer Farms organic milk at $3 per half gallon (actually, 2 1/2s for $6).

And still more good deals on organic milk at Target! Those handy little Horizon organic milk packages, perfect for summer camp lunch? On sale at $5.48 from $5.98 for two packages of three 8 ounce containers. This sale is on through July 21st.

Did you see any great deals this week? Leave a comment and share! Happy shopping!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Just a Glass

June 18th, 2008

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Wednesdays are one of my favorite days in the blogosphere because of a great carnival over at RocksInMyDryer. Each week, hundreds of Moms share tips about what “works for me.” The tips can be everything from the organic and green living tips yours truly contributes to just about anything having to do with parenting. Today, for example, the tips include “limiting TV,” “toy storage,” “toddler bathtime and pedicure in one,” “chore system,” and “managing a sick family” – along with more than 200 other suggestions!

There’s a simple issue that really bugs a lot of Moms, and it’s something that’s always puzzled me. The whole cup / sippy cup thing. Why do we think kids need sippy cups? Who among us grew up with sippy cups? And does anyone really think it’s cool to watch a kid chew on plastic? It doesn’t matter if its BPA-free or #5 or whatever the “acceptable” plastic alternative is these days.

It’s still plastic.

Your little darling’s teeth are gnawing on this plastic.

How can that possibly be healthy? It doesn’t matter what the plastic’s number is or if it’s made of recycled corn! It’s still plastic, and if you look closely, you’ll no doubt see tiny teeth marks all over the spout.

What to use instead? Well, your glass model above, aka Boo, is holding a small juice glass, courtesy of Crate and Barrel. He’s proud to hold it, and he’s been perfectly capable of doing so since he was about a year-old. His older brother started at an even younger age.

When glass seems to be a bad bet, I sometimes whip out something akin to Dixie cups. Simple paper cups. Remember them?

So next time you’re stressing out about whether or not your plastic sippies are “safe,” give it a rest. Try a regular glass or even a paper cup.

Works for me!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Money Can’t Buy Me Love…

June 13th, 2008

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m laying off the blogging this weekend. So sorry, but no Organic and Green Savings Tips today! (Although I can’t resist…if you know a really hip Dad, check out H&M’s organic tees at only $14.90!)

Meanwhile, think about Dad and make sure he doesn’t get a Bum Rap on Father’s Day. Does he really want to do all the grilling?And if you do grill, Grill Green!

And remember, the best gift of all is the gift of time. Pay attention to the Dads in your life. Cuz Money Can’t Buy No One Love.

Happy Father’s Day, Everyone!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Do Dads Get a Bum Deal on Father’s Day?

June 12th, 2008

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“Just look at this!” DH exclaimed, gazing at the selection of grilling guides artfully arranged in the bookstore in anticipation of Father’s Day .

“You Moms get spa outings and retreats on Mother’s Day! Us Dads? We’re expected to fire up the grill. And now, we can’t even do that right! You Green Moms are telling us we have to learn how to grill green!”

I laughed, but then I reconsidered. Gee, I realized, school’s even out for Father’s Day. No artfully decorated gifts from the kiddos, carefully project-managed by the kids’ teachers. No, it’s all up to the kiddos and/or Mom to figure out how to commemorate Father’s Day.

What do you think? Do we need to reinvent how we celebrate Father’s Day? What are your traditions?

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Green Spider Webs: Cleaning Fun for Kids

June 11th, 2008

Like many Moms, I’ve been trying to get my son to take on more household chores. When we first made the transition to non-toxic, “green” household cleaners, it was a revelation. Finally, he could fully participate without any worries about exposure to household toxins. He loved spraying the cleaning fluid all around — which turns out to be the Real Reason to use green eco-friendly cleaners!

How quickly things change! Just a few months later, this newly minted kindergarten graduate thought himself too cool to help clean the downstairs bathroom. By the way, that’s the bathroom that’s every Mom’s worst nightmare: the gross downstairs little boy bathroom.

So I gave him another chore, whipped out the GreenWorks toilet bowl cleaner, and went to work on my own.

When he came by to check out the scene, he was furious.

“You didn’t tell me!”

“What are you talking about? I asked you if you wanted to help spray the new green toilet bowl cleaner.”

“NO! You didn’t tell me you had GREEN SPIDER WEBS!!!”

“You mean this?,” I asked, pointing at the dripping mess over the toilet.

“Yes, those are green spider webs!”

“Ok, well, when someone invites you to do something new, you should never say no before checking it out,” I admonished him. “You might be missing something cool. Remember that.”

And in the future, Moms, remember that the way to get your little boys to help with the toilet bowl cleaning is to say, “Hey, come help spray green spider webs down here!”

Works for me!

And don’t try this with your typical toxic toilet bowl cleaners, which can harm you and your little darlings. Stick to eco-friendly products like GreenWorks or this “Earth Stone” my bloggy green friend Anna reviewed here, or the Shaklee stuff my bloggy friend Mother Earth sells here. What green cleaning products do you use? What works for you? Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Suffering in the Heat Wave? An Energy Saving Tip

June 9th, 2008

Blogging is pretty hard tonight with the temperature soaring to 87 degrees – indoors! Seems our trusty air conditioner is not so trusty anymore.

When the friendly a/c repairman came by, we were in for a big shock. If you’re prone to allergies, you may have purchased the newly popular “filtrettes” that offer “microparticle reduction.” Slightly thicker than regular air conditioner filters, they claim to remove indoor allergens.

Well, Mr. Repairman informed us that these thick filters just put a strain on a/c units, particularly in hot weather. They reduce your air conditioner’s energy efficiency.

“Pollen shouldn’t get inside anyway,” Mr. Fix-It pointed out. “I think it’s just marketing.”

So stay cool, save money, and reduce your carbon load – buy regular filters and change them every 30 days!

Stay cool, friends!

Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008