How My Grocery Budget Works

May-grocery-shop
*My most recent grocery shop last week*

Grocery budgets are tricky things. There are so many variables that come into play: family size, special dietary needs, family members appetites, where you live (which country, what part of the country, urban or rural)…

I’ve been wanting to share how my grocery budget breaks down for quite a while now, but feel that it’s important to state up front that I know there are so many variables that affect what our budgets look like. This is simply my budget, that works where I live, with the resources I have available to me, and the needs of my family.

A few things to note about our family and what makes my budget distinctive: I live in Canada, the Vancouver area to be exact (a fairly large, urban area with surrounding farmland). I have a husband who is a somewhat lighter eater as far as men go, two young kids (2 and 4) who are excellent eaters, and I happen to be eating for two at the moment (I’m pregnant). We entertain or serve food to others in some manner at least once a week. We don’t eat wheat products (we all have wheat sensitivities) which raises our costs for baked goods significantly because we only buy alternative grains. I would guess that I buy at least 70-80% of our food either organic or naturally raised, which costs more, of course. We eat a whole foods diet and very little that is packaged or processed. I cook almost entirely from scratch. We live in a rental house, but I have a decent sized garden out back.

Now that my caveats are through, I hope that this can give you a little glimpse into how a whole foods diet (done frugally) can look, and it will give you a better idea of what I buy and how/where I buy it.

Monthly Grocery Budget:

$400 CAN (based on today’s conversion rates, this would be about $343 US)

How it breaks down:

$72

Raw milk cow share (this gives me 1 gallon of grass-fed raw milk per week)

$10-15

Free-range/Organic eggs (generally about 5 dozen). I usually buy “seconds” (non-perfect eggs) from a local organic farmer, which are a great deal for me. Every spring/summer there is a window of 2-3 months when he transitions to new hens and doesn’t have any eggs for me. At the moment, I’ve just found a woman who raises about 20+ hens in her yard, about a 10 minute drive away, and will sell me free-range eggs for $3 a dozen.

$70

This is for 2 trips to my produce market, each totaling about $35. This gives me 2-4 large bagfuls of wonderful, fresh produce every two weeks. The one that I choose to shop at also brings in some organics, and in season, grows much of their own unsprayed and organic produce. I’m excited this summer to also try out a fairly local (30 minutes away) Farmer’s Market that I just learned about, since there isn’t one truly near me. I may shift some of my spending to that market, while things are in season here.

$50

Grass-fed beef and free-range poultry (chicken/turkey). This looks different every month. I try to set aside a minimum of $20 each month towards a large purchase of beef, and more if I can manage it. About every second month or whenever I’m running low, I make a trip out to my local meat shop in the country, where I usually spend between $50-80 on whole chickens, ground chicken and turkey, preservative-free sausages and deli meats, soup bones, etc.

$100-175

Azure Standard Food Co-op. This is where I am spoiled. My MIL lives in Seattle, WA, which gains me access to this fantastic natural foods coop. We generally see her about once a month, whether she comes up or we go down, so that’s how I get my orders. I have, on occasion, had my order sent to a pickup location just across the border (we live within 20 minutes of the USA border) when I knew I wouldn’t get it as fast as I wanted it. This used to be an amazing deal for me, when the dollar was at par. Now, it’s only so-so and some items aren’t actually worth buying anymore.

Nonetheless, this is still the place where I buy all of my bulk grains, baking supplies, raw honey, raw cheese, sometimes pastured butter or colostrum, some natural concentrated cleaning supplies, dried beans and lentils, some spices and herbs, dried unsulphured fruits, etc. If prices continue to rise in the US, and the dollar gets any worse, I will be purchasing my grains and other bulk grocery supplies in Canada, from places like Anita’s Grains and Spud!.

This is also where I would take money from to do a large order like buying Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions.

$50

This is the amount left over for picking things up from my local grocery store or from Costco, and it is a bit higher on the months when I make a smaller co-op order. This includes items like discounted organic milk for making yogurt, organic lemon juice, nuts and seeds, teas and coffee, some spices, toilet paper, ziploc bags, brown rice, sour cream, butter, coconut milk, fresh or frozen fish, canned salmon, tomato paste, bananas, organic tortilla chips, olive oil, the odd treat like Knudsen Juice Sparklers or Kettle Chips, etc. Though it’s not always possible, I try to stretch this through coupons and/or store sales or discounted items.

If it sounds like a tight budget, it is! There are many months that I struggle to stay within this budget, and occasionally I go over, though I do my very best to avoid this using my cash system.

I have definitely been feeling the crunch lately, as my Azure co-op orders have gone up in price by almost 30% due to the exchange rate alone. That’s not to mention the general rise in grocery prices, in both the US and in Canada. As well, I’ve recently upped our cow share by $13 a month, in order to have more milk for myself to drink (most of it was going to my kids before and we never had enough to really go around).

My budget changes in the spring and summertime, as my garden begins to put out fresh produce and I try to limit my produce shopping by focusing on what we have on hand. I also try to reduce the other areas of my budget in the summer (by stocking up pre-summer when possible), in order to make room for purchasing about 150 lbs of fruit to put away in the freezer and through canning. This includes picking blueberries and raspberries (mostly for the freezer, a bit for jam), canning and freezing peach slices, as well as foraging for wild blackberries to freeze and make jam, etc. The past two years we have also gleaned (ie. picked for free) apples from a wild orchard, which I used to make canned applesauce, fruit leather and dried apples.

I do my best to put away garden produce as well. Last year, this included a lot of frozen zucchini, frozen pumpkin puree, winter squash, dried herbs (mint, basil, oregano, dill, parsley and thyme), cucumbers (dill and sweet) and a whole lot of canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Though it sounds like a lot of work (and it is, I won’t lie to you), all of that summer preserving really pays off. I haven’t had to buy a single can of tomatoes this year, less herbs than usual, barely any squash, and not a speck of frozen fruit. We’ve still got zucchini and pumpkin, which I need to use up now. There’s still a bit of jam, one can of peaches, and the applesauce only ran out recently. The pickles were long gone, sadly. We like pickles in this family! πŸ™‚

That, my friends, is how my grocery budget works!

Do you have any more questions about the specifics of what I buy, or why I do it a particular way? Care to share a bit about how your own budget works?

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47 Comments

  1. I loved reading about your grocery budget! It sounds like you have it set up really well. πŸ™‚

    So, then, is the raw milk about $18 a gallon? That sounds like a lot, but organic free-range eggs for $3 is a great deal! πŸ˜€

  2. Tammy, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one up at a crazy hour. πŸ™‚ Couldn’t sleep, so I might as well get stuff done! Yes, the raw milk turns out to $18 a gallon. Insane, isn’t it? If we ever need to cut a portion of our budget, that will sadly be an area that we decrease. But I’m happy with my egg prices!

  3. Thanks for sharing! That is great info. I would love to change how we are eating, this year I am focusing on growing our own vegetables, planting blueberries shrubs and a raspberry garden. I am also going to be hitting the Farmer’s Market weekly and preserving as much as I can to last until the next harvest.

    One question for you – are your pickles dill? I would LOVE a good dill pickle recipe!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. Food budgeting and menu planning is really one of my biggest hurdles. This was encouraging and I think I really need to get more organized and detailed. I love the cash system but have a tendency not to use it…gets me in trouble.
    I love just outside of Seattle and LOVE Azure Standard!!

  5. Thanks for the reminder that it pays of to have a garden. I had a garden for years, but never really enjoyed it and found it alot of work. Yet there are benifits of having fresh produce at your fingertips! I have a large family, with 3 teenage boys and one pre-teen girl and let me tell you, my food bill could make a person faint! Like you, I make almost all of our food from scratch, and I am always on the look out for good deals, great money saving ideas and inspiration from other moms who want to serve healthy food to their family on a budget! Thanks for sharing your budgeting story!

  6. Wow – $18/gallon! That is crazy! I guess I’m blessed to get my raw milk for $6/gallon, which is good because we go through 2-3 gallons a week.

    Thanks for posting this. I have a grocery budget, but I’ve never thought about breaking it down like this into food categories/buying locations. Definitely something to think about, and I’m sure it helps to see where most of your food money is going.

  7. I have several questions. Sorry, I am quite nosy πŸ™‚ First, do you ever eat out (at restaraunts, either with your husband or as a family?) Fast food? When you eat at others homes, are you particular about which items prepared you will eat (for example, if something is pre-packaged or doesn’t fit within your daily eating system) or do you eat everything (except things you have sensitivities to, obviously).
    I guess these things don’t necessarily have to do with your grocery budget, but I have been wondering and since you said you make almost everything from scratch…
    Also, do you add extra to other categories when your produce expenses go down due to your garden producing?

    Thanks,
    Kelly

  8. wow-what a thourough budget! We also have similar things we “can’t live without” that we pay extra for, but I can’t imagine $18 for milk! (I love organic milk, but since we get regular./off brand milk for free its just not useful for us to buy organic when we could put the money elsewhere–same with eggs, although I do think organic eggs taste fuller).
    Our huge hurdle every month is also produce, but that is what we choose to spend our money on, instead of tons of packaged items as well. It just satisfies more, I think. We love our farmers’ markets,too!
    Sarah

  9. I recently found your blog and am loving it!
    Thanks for this great post! I have been thinking about and trying to figure out how to move my family towards a more whole-food/from scratch diet, with less/no processed food, while still keeping our grocery budget low. One thing I would love to hear more about is how you freeze/can/preserve your fruits, veggies, tomatoes. That is something I would LOVE to start doing this summer, but have no idea where to start.

  10. Oh wow. Your monthly budget in BC for four people is less than my budget in California for two people! I feel challenged to improve!!

  11. Thanks for this post! I’m with Emily and would love to know more about preserving/canning. I have never done it before (I am new to cooking in general and am glad I’m starting off learning the right way!). I absolutely love your site and have learned so much!!!

  12. Hi Stephanie! I recently found your blog and have enjoyed the bit I’ve read. My husband and I eat a vegan diet at home (we do occasionally splurge on “non-vegan” foods when we rarely eat out), and our grocery budget (including vegan personal care and cleaning supplies) is $290/mo. for the two of us. We live in upstate NY. I make just about everything from scratch (grinding my own wheat for bread products, rehydrating dried beans, etc.). I am always looking for ways to cut back, but think I’ve just about reached my limit. We purchase local as much as we can, were part of a CSA last year, but unfortunately don’t use coupons as there are rarely any for store brands and natural food items.

    My question is… We are on a bi-weekly pay schedule. How do you suggest I budget for bigger ticket items that I do not purchase on a regular basis (such as 50 lbs. of wheat berries at $40.45)? On weeks where I have to buy one of these items, I end up having to skimp on the usual purchases and we eat a lot of beans and rice for two weeks. πŸ™‚ Any suggestions?

    For Michelle: I have a GREAT refrigerator garlic dill pickle recipe if you’d like it!

  13. Excellent Post Stephanie! I love the outline of the good food (and why) you serve your family!

    So, instead of wheat…what do you serve? πŸ™‚

    Blessings…Lylah

  14. I can’t imagine not having a garden and an herb garden of some sort. I, too, dry all my own herbs (well, some I freeze), can as much as I possibly am able to . We are a big “pickle family” too and those pickles go fast! Doesn’t matter how much I make, it is always gone before new cucumbers come in! We are so used to fresh canned tomatoes and making our own sauces and vegetable drinks, I think if I ever ran out and used a jar of spaghetti sauce my husband would choke! LOL
    We are hoping to gather a lot of fresh berries this year and freeze/can them. And we hope to pick a lot of morel & beefsteak mushrooms to freeze/dry as well.
    Love your blog!!

  15. I was wondering how much that milk share would cost. Wouldn’t it be easier to own the cow? Someone is getting off pretty well in that deal, and I think it is the cow and it’s owner. Well, I admire you for doing so well. Sometimes I spend in a week what you spend in a month. Then again, have you seen my large kids? I have three teens, one 12 year old, one four year old and two adults. And we feed everyone and their uncle Bob who walks through the door.

  16. So many great questions… I’ll have to answer them in a Q&A post next week. I’m taking the weekend off from blogging since my Mom is here. πŸ™‚

  17. Fruit leather? I’m intrigued! How do you make fruit leather?

    We have about $270/month (US) for groceries for our family of 3 (and a half! Fourth is due in October). When I was on bedrest early in my pregnancy, we ate a lot of processed, prepared foods. Once I was off bedrest and started making things from scratch again, we saved a lot of money. We came in $50 under budget last month just by meal planning and making from scratch! Meal planning is KEY to saving money. I have been doing it since I had my daughter, and it has saved us a ton. I wrote about it here http://everyurlwastaken.blogspot.com/2009/04/menu-plan-monday.html
    and here http://everyurlwastaken.blogspot.com/2009/04/food-update.html

    Not about saving money, but about the season in our life where we lived off of processed foods, the effect it had on my daughter’s little body, and our transition back to cooking from scratch (and the wonderful outcome!). πŸ™‚

    Love your posts!

  18. It amazes me how many times I have been considering or pondering on something, I come to your blog and you have a post about it! Definitely a God thing. I’ve been thinking about our food budget again (or actually my laissez-faire attitude about it) and how I need to get this area under control, especially as I have moved towards buying more whole foods & organic over the last year. The cost of the food is a bit of a shock to my husband, but then I haven’t taken the time to compare my old shopping habits with the new and to explain it to him.

    And since we’ve been throwing out prices for raw milk, I can get mine for $5.50/gal (2 gal/wk), using reusable glass containers.

  19. Erin:
    I would love your pickle recipe! Please post it or email me at: mystrix1(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks so much!

  20. Glad I’m not the only one flipping out about the $18 per gallon milk! I can’t imagine! I only pay about $3.50 for a gallon of raw organic milk.
    I do have one question though…what do you say about the warnings about drinking raw milk while pregnant? Aren’t there a lot of risks to that? I’ve been staying away from it since I’m pregnant…just to be safe.

  21. Hello,
    I recently found your blog and really enjoy reading it! I am new to eating whole foods, organic and we just joined our cow share. I really need all the help I can get as I learn to convert our families life style over. I was wondering if you could recommend any books on preserving fruits and veggies that you have used? We are starting a garden this year and I’ve never preserved things like squash and dried herbs. Thanks for sharing so much on your blog and for your help!
    Vicki

  22. Hi, Stephanie, I just wanted to say how helpful this is. I’m very frugal and we eat a whole foods diet. I’ve recently decided to go organic in spite of the cost and this (along with your Menu Mondays) is extremely encouraging and useful for me. THANKS!!! πŸ™‚

  23. Stephanie,
    We just made the switch to organic and reading your breakdown was also very helpful. I think it is interesting that in different parts of the country or even in different countries we all have access to different things and less access to others. All of us have things that are a blessing to our budgets and some things that are more expensive that others in another area are much cheaper. For example, right now I do not have a source for local organic berries at a reasonable cost. I can buy some frozen, but they still aren’t that cheap. I also live in an apartment and we cannot have an extra freezer- so it is hard to freeze things. However, I am able to put in a garden and we are just starting to get some things from it. Also because of where we live, I can grow things almost all year round. God has placed us where we are and it is amazing how He provides, sometimes with great bargins and sometimes with the means to pay a little more (even if it hurts a little) for the things we need (like your raw milk πŸ˜‰ But both ways it is the Lord who provides!!

    Erin, I would enjoy your recipe for garlic-dill pickles as well. Here is my email pinecone304 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  24. Thank you for posting your budget! I find it very helpful. I am glad to see I am not the only Azure Standard fan… we live in Minnesota which is about the end of the line for their deliveries! I find that many things are VERY good deals such as oats, honey and flour as well as seeds and some nuts. It’s a great company!
    I too am shocked at the price you pay for raw milk! I am blessed to be able to buy raw milk from a local farmer for only $2.00 per gallon – we go to the farm and serve ourselves.
    I too would love the garlic dill pickle recipe! If you wouldn’t mind emailing me….
    Knittingmom918@ymail.com

    Thank you again for your wonderful blog!

  25. Like previous posters, I am glad for your breakdown. It is helpful. We maintain a fairly healthy lifestyle (have the occassional fast food, cookies, etc) but I have been wanting to take it a few steps further. As of recent I have been reading Nourishing Traditions and am loving it! I made out my list of things I need to buy/order from the whole foods store and YIKES! Sticker shock! I had to scratch out most items….that left me with sea salt and pumpkin seeds. I already buy whole grains (will start grinding my own this summer), organic when I can. It’s the other things like coconut oil, rapadura, raw honey and flax oil that I just can’t simply afford. Those are the things I really want and what we don’t currently use. I have purchased sucanat in the past and baked with it, but we go through too much sugar right now in our baking and tea drinking. That is one area I want to work on and my husband doesn’t think we can afford to switch over to organic sweeteners. I told him we’ll just have to cut back, lol. I am a major couponer and save over $300 a month. Again, I don’t buy too much processed…we get cereal, organic granola bars, organic oatmeal, some chips, crackers, etc. But, there aren’t coupons out for this stuff and it seems we would need to replace it fairly oftern. Any suggestions?

    Also, I would love to see a post on canning/preserving. We have the equipment, just never used it. I am always hesitant that it won’t seal correctly and we’ll all get food poisoning. Thanks so much!

    Sorry for the long comment. Happy Mother’s Day!

  26. Thank you for sharing this. I really appreciate it, and appreciate seeing it in CDN funds too. You’re doing much better than I am for better food, which is hard for me to hear, but like we all know, we have to do our best with the resources God has given us and the place he has us living in. I’m going to work out my budget in the same way to figure out where my money is going too in a simpler form. Its so hard to budget. We recently upped our budget $20 but also have had to cut back on buying some things organic at the same time.

    I would love to hear about what raw honey is, vs. not raw, sometime…I’ve been trying to find the answer and can’t figure it out.

    I’d also love to hear more about your system for saving up for the big things like for us its saving for the chicken and turkey we can only get once a year, stuff for canning that I can’t grow or pick myself, etc. Its the upfront and all-at-once costs that really get to me. I know I will save money AND have better food in the long run but its all up front.

  27. Thanks for posting the details of this! I post my grocery bill each week, and we are on a slightly tighter budget (I spend about $500 US per month for 10 people). The only way this is possible is to make most things from scratch (we don’t eat artificial food colors or sweeteners, MSG, or petroleum based lard substitutes, so really that’s the only way we CAN eat!)

    I am not able to obtain raw milk here, and we were buying organic but right now I have had to go to regular, as it is 1/3 the cost (we go through 4 gallons a week.)

    One area I really struggle with is meat. We’ve cut back to eating meat 3-4 times per week (breakfast and lunches are meat free, usually). I’ve been buying regular meat from the groceries, but am quite unhappy with the quality; unfortunately, the nearest health food store that carries free range organic is quite far away. (Even though I live in one of the biggest US cities!) How much on average do you pay for beef, whole chickens, etc., and do you eat them for every meal? How much do you eat?

    If you don’t mind my answering another commentator’s question, how I save up for big purchases (i.e., holiday meals, party, etc.) is to use a cash budget. I budget $140 in cash; on average this year, I spend around $120 a week. That extra $20 stays IN THE FOOD envelope to be applied later, for stocking up, etc.

  28. I had two more quick comments/questions…

    Firstly, my daughter, through my husband, got me your e-book for mother’s day! I’ve just skimmed through it so far to see what is in it but it looks great!

    My question is that in the last part you say you have $50 left and list some things including toilet paper, ziplocs etc. do you also buy all your other household supplies out of that? Like I am talking for me that would be things like the natural cleaning supplies, vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, kleenex, the odd thing like that? Currently I have a seperate budget for those things but keep them minimal like we don’t buy paper towels or diapers or feminine products etc. but the other things still add up.

  29. Got a recipie for your pickles? πŸ™‚ I made pickles for the first time last year from our garden stuff and I’m afraid I’m hooked.

    It’s a trick from my greatgrandmother– if you don’t have a whole lot to serve at dinner it helps to have a lot of little dishes of pickles and jelly and crackers and cheese and olives etc., just little picky things that make you feel like you’ve had a lot to eat (because there’s so many of them). It’s the best “company dinner” trick I know–you know, for that company you weren’t expecting and you’ve only got half a chicken and three potatoes? πŸ˜€

    Homemade pickles make that even more successful. I’ve been collecting recipies for this year.

  30. You would fall over dead if you heard what I spend on groceries each month. I’ve had a hard time cutting back, cooking is my husband’s turf… it’s his hobby and also the way he personally feels like he provides for the family (even though he works too and I stay home with the kids!). We eat organic and all natural, just on the gourmet side. Having a Whole Foods within a mile from our house does not help. I know the only solution is to put it in God’s hands, which I am trying so hard to do πŸ™‚

    Anyway, I love your posts on groceries and recipes. They are always fun and inspiring to read πŸ™‚

  31. Thanks for answering my question from a previous post! Amazing, really. I don’t know how you do it. Well done!

  32. Wow – I’m in awe of your grocery budget. My family has only recently started to eat natural/organic foods and we’re amazed at the difference in taste/texture of much of the food.

    Having said that, we’re also spending $1000.00 a month (CDN) on groceries for a family of 5 (two adults, 6 yo, 2.5 yo and infant) – this budget includes diapers, formula, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. I feel like our ‘budget’ is killing me and am striving to lessen it.

    I recently found a local farm that produces UMPTEEN varieties of fruits and veggies – organically grown- and supplies dairy as well from another local farmer. We’re working on the meat. I hope by bypassing the stores and buying direct from the farmers we may save some $$ – will be trying that out this month and hopefully by starting to live by cash and not debit card, we’ll be more conscious of our spending.

    Wow, I ramble – regardless, thank you for your detailed info – much appreciated! Great blog πŸ™‚

  33. Hi Stephanie,

    I am grateful that you shared this budget with your readers! It’s very helpful.

    I am just getting ready to start buying raw milk. There is only one place in our town that has milk from 100% grass-fed cows. It’s $36 a month (1 gallon per week). There is another place that offers milk from cows that eat a lot of grass…but they also have about 2 pounds of grain per day. It’s $10 cheaper.

    I think it would be best to go with the grass fed cows…what do you think?

    It is such an big investment, but a worthy one. I am excited to start on it.

    And I have to say…you are so blessed to be able to order from Azure Standard! I often look longingly at their catalog. Hopefully they will deliver to an area near me sometime soon πŸ™‚

    Thanks!
    Stacy

  34. Hi Stacy,
    Yep, I’d go with the 100% grass fed cows. I know it’s a lot of money, but the nutrition really is worth it! I actually think you’re getting a good deal, lol! Half of what I pay! I’m excited for you! And yes, I’m blessed with Azure, and I don’t take it for granted at all. It’s a wonderful company!

  35. Hello; I just thought I would share a comment. We live in Wi. and are blessed to buy milk for $2.00 a gallon. I thought I would share that the average farmer is paid .80 a gallon from the creamery. May I suggest that if you could buy a goat it’s healthier milk…

  36. I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and was really encouraged by this post on your grocery budget. Our grocery budget is right around the same amount that your is and I was really enouraged by that. I struggle every month to stay within it but felt likem gosh if she can do it in Canada where it is more expensive than I should too. I appreciate your honesty and openess to the world through your blog. I have gained much from reading it and wanted to say thank you for your time, energy, organization and obedience to the Lord. The only regret I have about the blog world is that it has replaced getting to know someone over coffee or through playdates where you pass wisdom back and forth and am so thankful for the way that God can use this modern technology to encourage us through this world of being a wife, mother and daughter of His. Thank you.

  37. I love your values, your educated and disciplined stance toward nutrition, and everything you have to say about how you keep your home happy and healthy. Is there anything especially “Christian” about your blog as opposed to having “Judeo-Christian” values? I am Jewish but you would see identical attitudes and values in my home.

    1. @Rachel, Welcome! I think that overall you would mostly find ideas and values similar to your own. Although my faith is very important to me, I don’t write too often on specific faith-based topics. It is often my motivation for the things that I share, of course, and this comes out in my writing from time to time, although as you said, the values and attitudes would be similar to yours.
      I do occasionally write more specifically about my faith in Christ, his substitutionary death, Christian Reformed doctrine, etc. However, anyone with different beliefs is always, absolutely welcome and so are their thoughts and opinions as well!

  38. I’ve just found your blog through Passionate Homemaking and love it! It’s nice to find a Canadian natural homekeeping blog. I’m in Ontario (though I used to live in Fort Langley,BC!) and though I’ve always cooked from scratch, I’m slowly adding more Traditional food practices into my cooking. One sticky point is raw milk. Because of it’s grey-area legality in Canada, I’ve found it impossible to find any within a reasonable distance. What is a good alternative? Should I just use 3.25% Homo milk? What about goats milk? It’s available in the carton around here too, albeit also pasteurized. Any advice would be great!
    Cheers, meg

  39. I know you probably already know this and really with regular prenatal checkups it shouldn’t be a problem but I thought you should hear it anyways (and maybe somebody else reading this didn’t know this). Raw milk (unpasturized) can be harmful to unborn babies IF (this is why it shouldn’t be a problem) you don’t get regular checkups throughout your pregnancy and tell your doctor that you consume raw milk. Like I said it shouldn’t be a problem because most every pregnant woman gets regular checkups during pregnancy but I just wanted you to know. If I hear of any pregnant woman drinking raw milk I try to tell them this because I know I’d want to know this if it was me.

  40. I love that you’re from Canada! Canadian blogs of your seem to be a bit tougher to come by. I live in southern Saskatchewan, and I’m finding that my quest to begin eating more whole foods and more organically is very challenging. I see that you’re still able to get in on Azure Standard, but are you aware of any Canadian equivalents? Being able to purchase food online or from a co-op of any sort would be so much more convenient. We have 5 young children (two 3 year olds, 1 two year old, 2 6 month olds), so as you can imagine, any kind of grocery shopping is a grand adventure!! πŸ™‚
    I look forward to snooping around on your site some more, and I think I’ll subscribe!!

    1. @Karen, Unfortunately, I haven’t found any good Canadian equivalents. It does seem that there are some smaller co-ops in different provinces or local areas, but nothing nationwide. The best thing I can suggest is to search for co-ops in your province and see what you come up with. I agree that it is much nicer to place an order than to go shopping with young children! Especially with all those twins- wow!

  41. Since you said you have a surplus of zucchini and a deficit of pickles, perhaps you could pickle some of your next harvest of zucchini. It makes great relish, too. Young firm zucchini makes good slices or spears.

  42. I found your blog through a pinterest search on whole/real/organic food budgeting tips. I’ve recently starting buying all real/organic food and my family budget for 4 is ~$600/month I dont think thats outragous (especially for ALL organic) but I would love to bring it down!
    I would also love to see a current update on this for 2 reasons.
    #1 I’m interested in if the “dollar” has gotten worse. WOuld be an eye opener to the US economy!
    #2 its a bit old and I’m interested to see if you’ve learned new tips

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