The Nitty-Gritty on The Real Food I Buy and Where I Buy It 10

The Nitty-Gritty on The Real Food I Buy and Where I Buy It

dried tomatoes

Today and tomorrow, I simply want to share where I buy what, the best prices I’ve found, and some of the excellent deals that help our family to be able to eat plenty of wholesome, real foods on a tight budget. This isn’t a “how-to” post necessarily, because most of you don’t live where I live or even eat all of the same things that we eat. Rather, I thought that by sharing some of the details of where and how I shop, it may give you some ideas or inspiration for sourcing out the things that you want to buy.

In the comments section below, I would LOVE to get a discussion going on the best food sources and prices that you’ve found, making this a valuable resource for us all. We can always learn from what someone else is doing (myself definitely included!).


I am currently buying my grass-fed beef in bulk from a local farm (Ennis Farm Meats, if you’re local to me). I buy about 100-150 lbs at a time, and pay a little less than $3 per lb. It’s mostly utilitarian cuts (ground, stew, roast) but some steaks and ribs as well. My farmer also gives me the option of buying a front, side or back (front is even more utilitarian, back is prime cuts, side is a mix). I opt for the front because it is a lower cost per lb. I also use the bones from the beef to make bone broth and to render beef tallow.

We have also purchased some sausages this year from Nature’s Prime Organic Foods, using a Groupon that I purchased. They have a great beef summer sausage (although it’s not on their site right now, I’m not sure why) and beef hot dogs. They don’t use any nitrates or preservatives. With the Groupon and by spending $100 so that I got free shipping, the cost was decent. We also have two local places that make nitrate-free sausage with free-range meat, so we buy those sometimes and try to really stretch them out in dishes to make it cost-effective.

ice cube and muffin trays with tallow


This has been a more challenging area for us to find something we’re happy with. I tend to buy whole chickens because I find them to be a better value,  and then I have all the bones that I need for ensuring that we have plenty of chicken bone broth as well. Very occasionally I will buy ground chicken from my local farmer, because it’s quite economical and a nice change from ground beef.

The best poultry that I have been able to find comes from 3 sources:

  1. The farm where I buy my beef carries free-range whole chickens for $4 per lb, raised by someone else in the city next to us. I don’t know exactly how they’re raised, because I’ve never been able to speak to that farmer, so it’s not my ideal but it’s local and the cost is reasonable.
  2. When I make orders from Azure Standard co-op, I sometimes buy the cases of whole frying chickens from Shelton. They are free-range, and a 10 lb box is only about $28 (less when they go on sale once or twice a year), making them only $2.80 per lb, a great price. But again, I’m not sure exactly how much these chickens get out on pasture.
  3. Last year my MIL’s friend began raising her own chickens, to sell to her friends. I believe we paid about $3 per lb, and they were fully pastured. Only thing is that we had to place orders months in advance, and I didn’t have the money set aside to order as many as I needed. Next year, I’ll plan better and try to order a whole lot of them.

Raw Milk

For two years, I was part of a local cow share, which I loved being able to support. Problem was, it was costing us $18 per gallon and with a growing family, we simply couldn’t do it. The alternative that I have found that works for me is to cross the border (we have family in Washington) and buy raw milk there at $8-$10 per gallon instead, which feels cheap to me now in comparison. I stock up on 3-8 gallons at a time, use what I can fresh and freeze the rest, as well as make yogurt, kefir, etc.

We also buy raw cheese, in 5 lb blocks, from Azure Standard co-op. This is the cheapest that I can find a natural raw cheese. Some months I can’t get it (because it’s a popular co-op items and is sometimes out of stock) and my cheese-loving family insists that we eat cheese anyways, so I buy regular white cheese (to avoid food dyes) and try to find brands that are organic and/or raw when they are on sale or discounted.

spinach feta scramble


I am fortunate to have become friends with the daughter of an organic egg farmer. I am able to purchase the “seconds” (imperfect eggs that they can’t sell to stores), $5 for 2 1/2 dozen. I’ve been to the farm, seen the chickens running around outside, and I’m really happy about this deal. 2-3 months every year the eggs are unavailable, so then I try to buy from other small, local farms that sell their eggs on the side of the road, because the cost is usually less than the good eggs in the grocery store.

Coconut Oil

Buy it in bulk! There’s no other way to make coconut oil truly cost effective. The best value is a 5 gallon bucket. If you can’t afford to do it on your own, go in together with friends or family and split a bucket up. My MIL’s church has been placing wholesale orders together and they’ve been getting blow-me-away deals by doing it this way. But before that, we (my MIL, SIL and myself) would go in together on an order from Tropical Traditions (when they had a sale) and split the oil up.


I decided a little over a year ago that it was a high priority for our family to eat not just organic butter, but pastured butter (from cows grazing on green grass, preferably in the springtime) for the high nutrient content. I was worried it would kill my budget, but here’s how I did it:

  1. Because my coconut oil got cheaper by buying in bulk, I began to substitute some of my butter use with coconut oil instead. Less butter in my baking, more coconut oil. I use coconut oil more often for cooking things like eggs or potatoes. I try to save our butter for putting on bread or other baking, and for adding to things like steamed veggies or hot rice.
  2. I figured out that by buying it by the case from Azure, and particularly trying to only buy the months that it was on sale, the cost became a lot closer to the organic butter that I had been buying from Costco (the Kirkland organic brand). It was hard at first to spend almost $40 on a case of only 6 lbs of butter, but it just slowly became an expected part of my budget and since I rationed it out more carefully, it began to last longer. I buy the Organic Valley Pastured Butter in a case of 12 1/2 lb sticks.
  3. When I absolutely can’t afford it, I buy the Costco organic butter.

baked salmon patties


These are the 4 ways that we currently buy fish. They’re not 100% ideal, but they allow us to consume some of the safer fish at least several times a month, sometimes more.

  1. Fresh, wild sockeye salmon filets (skin on) from Costco or our local grocery store. This is a once-in-a-while splurge. I cut it into 2-3 large pieces, so that we don’t go through the whole $15-$18 fish at once.
  2. Fresh whole salmon during the salmon runs in the summer, because we live on the West Coast, making them slightly more affordable (but this is still a splurge and a rarity for us).
  3. Canned wild sockeye salmon (with bones and skin). I’ve found a brand that is certified sustainable. I buy it whenever it goes on sale, or if I see it for sale at a store I don’t shop at, I bring in the flyer to get it price-matched. My goal is to pay less than $2 per can. This is what we use most often, for salmon melts, fish cakes, salmon chowder, etc.
  4. Frozen white fish filets, like tilapia, pollock, halibut and cod. I buy these when the bags at my local store go on sale, and then try to stretch them out as far as I can.

Tomorrow I’ll continue with grains, fruits and vegetables, spices, nuts and grocery basics…

Where do you buy things like your meats, fish, eggs, dairy and fats? And how do you balance quality and cost?

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  1. Coconut oil is tricky for me. Prices, and probably quality, vary so much! I have a hard time finding five gallons now. Also, what kind do you recommend? Expeller, organic, there are so many different types. I did like Nutiva on facebook and got $10 off the first gallon I bought, but they don’t even have gallons anymore.
    We do have a great source for beef, pastured but not certified organic. It’s Wheelview Farm in Western Massachusetts. Works out to about five dollars a pound if you buy 100 lbs.

    1. @Christina, I’ve been happy with my coconut oil source for a few years now. They sell 7 lb jugs, which is close to a gallon, for under $4/lb. for organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil. (The good stuff) They also have refined oil for $18 for the 7 lb. jug. It’s actually a soap maker’s source, but the oils are food grade, and I had a lengthy conversation with someone high up there and emails with their chemist, so I feel good about the quality.

      Hope that helps someone! 🙂 Katie

      1. @Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship, Hi Katie, that is very helpful to me! I’ve bought from Tropical Traditions before, but the prices at the site you mentioned are much cheaper and more local to me. Is their refined coconut oil comperable to expeller-pressed coconut oil? I remember reading that the expeller-pressed stuff is really good because they mechanically separate it rather than using chemicals. Thanks a bunch!

  2. All I can say is , “Wow!” I buy local raw milk at $2 a gallon from a grass fed Jersey. I make my own butter, buttermilk, yogurt, ricotta, sour cream, yogurt cheese and mozzarella. There is no way I could pay what you are paying. Last fall we went in with three other families and purchased a grass fed Angus and had it slaughtered. We will probably do it again soon. I can get eggs for 1.25 -2.00 a dozen fresh from the farm. Goat milk is $4 a gallon from my friend down the road and I use it for soapmaking. I still buy chicken and other meats from the grocery store, but we do have friends who sell pastured chickens, but the cost is too much for us. We hope to soon have our own chickens for meat and eggs and to have a cow or two for meat and milk. I also want our own pigs!

    1. @Anita Chamblee,

      Wow! So…I’m totally jealous. (But only in the “gee, I wish my state gov’t/local food set up was as rad as yours is! 😉

      As far as I can gather (only been doing real food since October-ish when I first ran across Nourishing Traditions), raw milk of any sort appears to be illegal in NC. I attempted to contact a WAP rep, but never heard back. (I was a bit miffed, but then kept reading about federal stings going on…now I get it. It’s so sad.) I buy what meat I can afford from a local store that orders from a great farm about 1.5 hours away. It’s $5-$6/lb of pastured ground beef or sausage, $10 for about .5 lb pastured bacon, $20 for a whole chicken and, $5/8oz of raw milk Amish cheese that they import from Ohio. I love being able to support a local business, but…dang! It’s a good thing we were mostly vegetarians before NT! 😉

      1. @Jessica B,
        Huh, from Ohio. Do you know where? I live in the NE area and would love to get my hands on some raw cheese. I’m bit more north than a lot of the Amish areas, though.

        1. @Beth,

          Hello, Beth,

          The address on the wrapper is in Millersburg, OH. It says that it’s manufactured by Bunker Hill Cheese Co., Inc.

          It’s delicious! 🙂

      2. @Jessica B,
        You can get raw milk in NC from The pick up is in Raleigh. We lived on the coast of NC (Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune) and it was a 2 1/2 hour drive for us, but we picked up once a month or sometimes every two months depending on what was going on. The milk was good it is ordered from an Amish farmer named Amos Miller. Hope that helps. NC laws are crazy though. So glad we are out of there!

        1. @Katie,what were the prices like for all those healthy items? And according to the law I am not supposed to drink the milk? I sure would like to have access to all those healthy foods!

  3. We have an organic delivery service that services our region (Indiana) – so it’s a combo of local and regional. I find it very affordable for organic meat and produce. We’re pretty lucky that we have quite a few small local farms that contribute to this service. It is wonderful to get most everything I need delivered to my door and my grocery costs have diminished as well. I couldn’t be happier!

  4. I have been considering the use of coconut oil. I went to the websites you showed. One is having a sale 🙂 But, since I’ve never used this before, I wonder what type and size would be the best to get. There are only 2 of us at home. And I rarely use oil anymore. But I can see that I would use more C. Oil because it is healthier than crisco (don’t cringe!) Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you!!

    1. @Trish, I’d start small. You can get a 15-oz tub of the Nutiva organic extra virgin at most grocery stores these days. Try it and see if you use it and then try buying it in bulk.

      I use it to bake with mostly. It has replaced my vegetable oils. You have to melt it, though.

  5. I am really just starting out in my search for local food. We recently put in an order for 1/2 a cow from a local farm (Victory Acres in Upland, IN) that will be butchered in the fall. They also sell it by the 1/4 and it’s grass fed. They also sell pastured chicken at the end of summer for $10 a piece – something I look into. I do a lot of shopping at Trader Joe’s. We grow a nice sized garden, so that helps with produce. I’m really curious about the coconut oil. What’s the difference between buying in bulk and the LouAna coconut oil you can buy at the grocery store? Any insight would be appreciated.

  6. I used to live on the West Coast and miss all the easy availability of fresh, raw, natural, organic…..I am now in Michigan and we can do pretty well considering it’s the Midwest. If we live in IL with our extended family, I don’t know what I’d do! I grew up on canned green beans for heaven’s sake!
    My son has multiple food sensitivities, so we can’t do gluten, dairy, and everything else is in rotation and moderation: egg, garlic, honey, beans, all grains containing gluten….ANYWAY. We have beef from a local farmer and it’s grass fed organic. That’s the best we’ve done, and I avoid pork (except bacon YUM) and buy an Amish brand of chicken. Not organic and probably not free range, but about the only thing we can get around here. We also do COSTCO salmon (our family eats the whole thing in one meal though) and Jennie O’s Turkey….wish it was organic. Everything organic is more expensive in the midwest, but we try to do it when we can, or use those veggie sprays if we can’t buy organic. ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO RESEARCH TO GET MORE ORGANIC MEATS OR VEGETABLES/FRUITS? thank you ~

    1. @Jodi Strassheim, I’ll talk about fruits and vegetables tomorrow! Unfortunately, I don’t know as much about the midwest, as far as specific resources for you.
      In my book, Real Food on a Real Budget, I talk a lot about the different strategies for sourcing out real food options wherever you live. Some of the best advice I can give is to ask, ask, ask. Friends, neighbors, any farmers you meet, random people at the local health food store or the naturopath’s office, etc. Google for resources in your area. Check sites like Local Harvest for more ideas, or at least, starting places.

    2. @Jodi Strassheim,
      Michigan here too! Not sure what area ur fro
      But you can get organic meats, cheese, eggs, etc from It’s a family farm. They even deliver for free

  7. I buy Nutiva coconut oil when its’ on sale at Amazon for around $5/15oz. I buy Kerrygold butter at TJ for $2.80.

    1. @Annie,
      I couldn’t believe how cheap the Kerrygold Butter was at TJ!! I am ecstatic! We have been paying almost 5.00 for 1/2 pound and rationing it out. I don’t know why I had the idea that TJ was expensive – we had quite an eye-opening shopping experience there last night and will be going back often!

  8. Thanks for the great post, Stephanie! I’m fortunate enough that in my area (Toledo, Ohio) there is a local farmer who sells pastured beef, chicken, turkey and pork. We save on the beef by splitting a side once a year with my in-laws paying just a little over $2 a pound for everything from ground beef to t-bone steaks. We also belong to a herd share. They’re located about 2 hours away, but are gracious enough to deliver to our area every other week. We pay $5.50 for a gallon of milk (an AMAZING Deal!) and are also able to purchase raw butter, pastured chicken, pork and beef, soup bones (if I need more than my yearly beef and quarterly chicken purchases provide), various animal innards (like liver), deliicuos raw cheeses and almost every organic item you could want (coconut oil, beans, etc.). THEN we have 2 “health food” stores that meet our needs for other items like nitrate free meets and a sticktly local grocery store that sells our farmers eggs and cheese as well as additional nitrate free meats. When we started going tradiational in our eating habits I was terrified I’d never be able to find what I needed in our area. But once I started REALLY looking, I found it’s everywhere I turn!

  9. We raise our own chickens for meat & eggs, just before Easter we had 75 chicks in our living room! 25 meat birds & 50 layers. Happily they are all outside now, and in another 2 weeks the meat birds will be in my freezer 🙂 We get enough eggs to use for our family and sell 2 dozen a week. Our goal this year is to raise enough chickens to not have to buy any from the grocery store, so we have another 25 meat chicks coming tomorrow and 25 more in 6 weeks. We’re hoping that my husband & son will have a successful deer hunt this fall so that we can have grass fed red meat.

  10. What a wonderful post Stephanie! Thank you!! What a wealth of information you provide…it is a blessing. I live locally and have gotten my beef from the same supplier…it is wonderful! I am part of that same raw milk co-op you used to be a part of (I am assuming it’s the same) and wonder if you would share info about the WA supplier you use? Would you mind sending me the info by email? (Only when you get the chance…and only if you are at liberty to do so…I understand if not!)

    Many blessings to you!

  11. Not long ago, I purchased the whole chickens from Tropical Traditions–when they were on sale and free shippping–I’ve enjoyed them. As yet, I haven’t tried anywhere else, so I can’t really compare, but I thought I’d mention it since it might be of interest to others as a possible alternate source.

    Also, I get my pastured other meats from Eight O’Clock Ranch, which delivers within a small region of Northern states. We really love them and highly recommend them to anyone within the region.

  12. I get my wild salmon frozen from Kroger (Dillons here) when they go on sale (here at least once a month). I can feed our small family twice with about $8 of salmon that way or guests and sometimes have leftovers.

    I actually don’t buy much meat, poultry or dairy because it’s hard for me to afford the good stuff I have access to. We eat a LOT of organic or FM vegetables and organic grains. I don’t have trouble with wheat if it is fresh ground.

    I have a friend who raises eggs. They aren’t ideal, but they’re better then what I can get at the store. I sometimes buy pastured from a local farm at over $3 a dozen.

    Supposedly there is somewhere near here (Wichita) where I can get raw milk for 2.5/gallon but I’m not sure where. I usually get goat milk for $5/ gallon.

  13. Great post and resources–especially since I live on BC’s west coast too! I want to point out that if supporting local, small-scale farmers who are raising livestock on pasture is a priority, then price cannot be the bottom line. Pasturing animals has much higher production and labour costs and of course the scale of the operation drives cost up too. We farm and we make almost nothing on eggs sold at $4/dz and pastured chicken sold at $4/lb. (not even incl. our labour) We do make money on the broilers we raise 5000 at a time in a barn and are sold for much cheaper in the grocery store. That’s the reality. If pastured farmers are to make it, then we as a culture have to collectively decide that spending 30% of our income on food (like they do in Europe) is more realistic than the 11% we spend income. I’m all for budgeting and good deals but I vote for sustainable farming with my pocketbook.

  14. we get raw milk, eggs, grass-fed beef and pastured poultry from a family a mile or so away. what a blessing! the milk costs us $3 a gallon which isn’t that much more than supermarket prices. and we make our own butter from the cream! i want to find a good source of bulk coconut oil, i’m still buying that at sprouts when we go to the city but that’s expensive!!

    for fresh fruits and veggies we’re a part of a food-coop. for $15 we get 20 – 30 lbs of produce once a week. i hope to do a bit of gardening too but won’t get too much done with that this year.

    as far as costs go, we sacrifice other things so our grocery budget can be a bit higher. we average around $300-350 a month for a family of four (2 adults, a 3 year old and 1 year old). our health is more important to us than going to the movies or buying expensive clothes. in fact, it’s hard to even say sacrifice because it doesn’t feel like one…

  15. Our transition to whole foods has been a slow one. We have a tight budget, and the whole foods movement hasn’t really hit our area as much as we would have liked, so finding the things we want has been costly and difficult.

    We buy our fish frozen, and stock up when its on sale – its either that or canned tuna. We started our transition after our farmer’s market closed last fall, but discovered yesterday that we should be able to switch to hormone free meats this summer, because their prices are competitive with most things in the store.

    We mostly buy white cheeses now, and try to avoid the cheap store brands – our cheese consumption has decreased significantly since we made that switch. We literally visited every store in town to find the least expensive eggs, because we rely on eggs a lot during the week – surprisingly our tiny health foods store had the best price on local pastured eggs – although I’ve seen a few signs up at small farmhouses around that may offer us a better price and would be a known quantity – we pay about $2.35/doz. Our low-temp pasteurized, non-homogenized milk comes from a small shop that stocks pricey meats and wines. We’re paying about $9/gal – but just got a tip that may save us a few dollars on the real stuff.

    Its been hard for us to justify the expense of switching from the “cheap” stuff that we can get on one trip to the store – especially my very frugal “make-do” husband who was unemployed after being laid off and has only been recently working again. But we’ve just started TTC, and know that its an important change for our family, so we’ve cut a lot of spending in other areas.

    1. @Amanda Z, It does feel really hard to make the changes at first, to buy things that cost double when you’re used to the cheaper stuff. I totally get that. But it sounds like you’re starting to make some wonderful changes, even if it feels slow at times. Don’t let the slowness discourage you. Focus on the fact that change is still happening and that is the important thing. 🙂

  16. Unfortunately I live in an affluent area of the country where it is very popular to eat local and all-organic. I say unfortunately, because I have found that this has driven prices on healthy food way up. We have a great local farmers market, but the prices are extremely steep because they know people will pay for it. I’ve looked into local grass-fed animal CSAs, but they are extremely hard to get into because “everyone’s doing it.” Even at my local grocery store, the “organic” ground beef is close to $9.00 a lb. I just can’t afford that on my tight budget. It’s unfortunate that eating healthy has to cost so much. I attribute the unhealthy eating habits and obesity in our country, in part, to this. This summer I’ll be growing my own herbs and veggies and buying eggs locally, but beyond that, I think I’m going to be stuck with the “bad” meats for a while. 🙁

    1. @Emily, Are there farmers in your area? I can’t afford the meats in the grocery store, either. They’re more like double or trip what I pay at the farm. If you do have farms on the outlying edges of the city where you live, I would try to search out individual farmers to buy uncertified but still grass-fed beef from.

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, There are, and I’ve actually contacted one about buying a 1/4 cow and pig this fall. Their prices are much better than the supermarket, I just have to wait a few more months. 🙂 They were going to send me some information but warned me that their order quota was filling up fast, so I hope I can get in. If not, I’ll keep looking!

  17. Thank you for your post! I am planning my first azure order, and will now be adding cheese now! After the 15th I’ll be ordering my product. I found recipes for 3 items needing similar ingredients… Breakfast cookies, granola, and bread. We will also finally be ordering raw honey and coconut oil. Love your posts coming! I love them!

  18. I’ve just moved to become local to you and would love to know more about where you get your eggs. I haven’t had any luck finding a good source yet!

  19. We buy 1/4 grass fed beef each year from a local farm, but soon we will have to go to 1/2 per year. It averages $3.05 per pound hanging weight, which is a great deal considering I ask for all the bones for stock. We also buy a 1/2 pastured organic pig for just under $300, and 12 soy-free (!) organic pastured chickens for around $20 each, per year from a different farm. I know many choose not to eat pork, but we love it, and I was SO excited to find a farm that sells organic and pastured! The same farms sells pastured organic chicken “broth pieces” for only $3 per pound. I have found this to be a great money saver for broth and soups! Each package has 2 chicken backs and costs about $6. I pull the backs out a few hours after starting the broth and pick all the meat off. I usually get a few cups of meat that I can use in soups or casseroles. Our total bulk meat purchases run about $1200/year, or $100 per month. Not bad for a years supply of high quality, organic, pastured, grass-fed meats and broth.

    We also live in Indiana, and probably use the same organic delivery service as Annie Page for all our raw dairy purchases. Raw milk, cheese, butter, and pastured eggs… yum! I do buy a grass fed, but pasteurized cheddar from Trader Joes for a great price. I also purchase Kerrygold butter from TJ’s.

    My coconut oil purchases vary according to price, but I’ve ordered from Tropical Traditions, Wilderness Family Naturals, and Mountain Rose Herbs in the past. I buy both expeller pressed, and extra virgin.

    We purchase frozen wild sockeye salmon, wild shrimp and wild scallops from Trader Joe’s for decent prices. About once a year I also purchase canned tuna, canned salmon, salmon roe, king crab legs, mussels and clams from Vital Choice. It’s pricey, but the quality is out of this world! I reserve all but the canned fish for special occasion dinners for my seafood loving husband.

    About once or twice a year I order Italian sausage, Polish sausage, hot dogs, liverwust and brauenschweiger (sp?) from US Wellness.

    We do spend a lot of money on high quality food, but we sacrifice many other things to afford it. I can’t remember the last time we saw a movie in a theatre, we don’t have high end electronics, phones, or other popular tech products. We make due with what we have as much as possible to afford our good food, and it’s so worth it!

    1. @Jen,
      Would you mind sharing the name of the organic delivery service in Indiana? I’m also from Indiana. We’ve been slowing changing over to real foods over the past year, and dairy is next on my list.


      1. @Kelly, Hi Kelly! Send me an email at j foutch (at) wowway. com, and I’ll be happy to share. Don’t want to post it publicly just in case the raw milk police see it. So many small farms and services offering raw dairy are being harassed by federal “authorities”. I don’t want to bring unwanted attention to this awesome service that delivers right to your door!

    2. @Jen,
      We are going to be moving to Indiana this summer and would LOVE that information, too. Would it be okay if I emailed you too?

  20. Stephanie – if you’re down in WA frequently, during salmon seasons there is often salmon for sale off the boat at Squalicum harbor in Bellingham on Saturdays. Usually around 2.50/lb. During the runs I have bought a whole salmon for $18 from local fishermen selling them during the farmers market at nearby Terra Vida on Cornwall. The fishermen just sell them out of a cooler in the back of their truck. usually frozen at sea. It’s fun to be able to talk to the fishermen and it’s surprisingly affordable. We also go crabbing with our kids during the summer. Even doable off of local docks without a boat, it’s great fun for the kids and is a yummy, basically free way to get food.I wanted to start trying clam digging this summer, but we’re moving to CA so it will have to wait.

  21. For coconut oil, those who are interested may want to check out:

    They sell all kinds of oils, some are for human consumption and some are meant for soap and other crafts. I got this information from the Merry Heart Medicine site (owners of Beeyoutiful products and Super Mom vitamins) and they had a helpful discussion on coconut oil, and the best places to buy it:
    A quote from that site:
    “Interestingly enough as a side note the FDA standards for what can be used in cosmetics is actually higher than the criteria for what can be used in foods which is why I do not have a problem at all consuming the Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil from SoapersChoice intended for cosmetic purposes. The containers they send it in is food grade plastic. You have the option upon receiving it to store it long term in glass containers if you wish. They are a company that obviously keeps their overhead extremely low (something I am grateful for since it is reflected in their prices! ) and their website is very hokey and difficult to navigate.”

    1. @Katie,
      I actually get my CO from Soaper’s Choice too. I’ve been really happy with the Extra Virgin Organic, but the Organic refined had a smell and taste that was off putting. But the price is so great for the Virgin that I’m just using that now.

  22. Also, in the lower mainland. Here are some of my sources:
    -grass fed beef from local guy who has lots of pasture so keeps a couple cows a year for extra income. It’s wonderful, the best tasting beef we’ve ever had, 100% grass fed and we get a side for under $3/lb. We get a lovely mix of cuts, from tenderloin to ground, along with all the organs and tallow.
    -butter – Kerrygold from Trader Joe’s, we buy in bulk about every 2 months.
    -salmon – CSF – Skipper’s Otto, I’m sure it’s not the cheapest way to eat salmon but it is the best, fresh off the dock and wonderful community.
    -milk – the local cow share, of course it’s not the cheapest but for one, I love the sense of community too much to leave, secondly, I prefer the taste of it to the Jackie’s Jersey milk I tried from WA and thirdly, I hate driving so I don’t want another reason to have to cross the border than I already have.

    I haven’t tried them yet but for chicken maybe you could try K & M Farms, their chickens are pasture raised. The only downfall is that they are fed conventional grain and with all the GMO grains nowadays, it’s definitely not the best option. We also don’t get to have chicken as much as we like due to cost.

    Also, I’d love some more specifics on your eggs, if you don’t mind sharing. We used to get them from the cow share but we haven’t been lately since we go through 3-4 dozen a week and $6.50/dozen is getting a bit steep. In the summer, we get them from our CSA Glorious Organics for $5/dozen and they are pasture raised.

    Thanks for all the local resources.

    We also use Azure standard quite a bit, we make bulk orders about every 3 months or so.

    1. @Alexis, I think I have a friend who buys from K & M, though I’ve never tried it. I am definitely wary of conventional grains, esp. GMO corn.
      I do also agree that the local cow share milk is the nicest we’ve ever had, and it makes me sad that we don’t get it anymore. For us, we go to the US a lot to visit family anyways, so the drive isn’t as much of a sacrifice for us.
      I’m hesitant to share too much about the eggs as the supply is limited so it’s usually a friends and family thing. If you email me, I’ll give you the info to you as well (already offered to one other reader) and then probably not to anyone else. I hate to be stingy with it, but it’s just a small family farm and I would go nuts if I spread the word about the eggs and then I couldn’t get enough anymore! 🙂

  23. I wondered about freezing raw milk – how does it freeze for you? Do you have to pour some off? Can you freeze it in smaller quantities (quarts, etc.)? Does it change in composition when thawed? I’d been wondering about this, as our raw milk dairy is 40 minutes away, and we can’t afford to go every week! 🙂

    1. @Diana, I can thaw it without pouring any off, because the plastic jugs have a bit of give that allows for that. In glass jars, I would definitely have to pour some off. I usually buy mine in half gallons, or gallons, and I freeze it as is.
      It does change once thawed. It isn’t as nice for straight drinking anymore. We still don’t mind it poured over oatmeal or granola, and it’s totally fine for smoothies, baking, making yogurt, etc.

      1. Hm. I might have to look into this – although I did discover that Walmart carries coconut oil now. Who knew! Time to compare to the bulk pricing…

  24. I live in Orange County, California and can find no pasture fed chickens for eggs and all the cows have moved on with the orange groves. Other than one or two organic farms which only sell produce, I have to buy organic, pasture raised eggs ($8/doz) which is an occasional treat. I have yet to find grass fed meat. In the city where I live, it is against the law to own chickens. Maybe I’ll move for the chickens!

    1. @Sharon, Yay a CA post! I’m in Santa Monica. Tons of beautiful organic food here but everything is seriously expensive. I can’t believe the low prices being listed on other comments. If you’re willing to drive, I get my eggs at the Saturday Torrance Farmer’s Market for $3.75/doz. It’s the best deal I’ve found by far for chickens that actually eat bugs. We go thru a lot of eggs because it’s my cheapest protein source.

      Raw Milk is $16 a gal. CSA veggies don’t tend to be cheaper than FM veggies. I buy frozen wild fish and org or kerrygold butter at Costco. I buy bulk grains and grass fed meat from Azure. Chicken and grassfed hamburger go on sale at Whole Foods once a year if you have freezer space to stock up. We don’t have room for an extra freezer in a small apt though.

      I would love to find a pastured pork source but haven’t had any luck. We splurge on nitrate free bacon but I’d really like to find something pastured.

      1. @Deanna Mason,

        I am in San Diego, and its be a journey. We have a wonderful source for pastured beef and pork. We found them through the farmers market, we also get eggs there, pastured for $6, best we have found. I also get the kerry gold butter from Traders Joes or in bigger packages at Costco. We supplement our meat with organic chicken and ground beef from Costco. (We are family of 6) We get our Coconut Oil from the Commissary (We are a Military Family) as of right now and its a decent price. We have just started incorporated it in our cooking. My biggest issue right now is a good milk source. We are on whole milk(from costco) or non-homogenized milk from Whole Food of a Regional Dairy. Any help with the a good milk source would be wonderful. I would like to be able to use cream to make my own butter.

        1. Hi Melanie,
          I also live in San Diego. I was wondering if you would share your source for beef and pork with me. I would greatly appreciate it!
          Thank you.

      2. @Deanna Mason, Thanks Melanie for the info. I do drive up to Torrance every now and then so I will definitely check out the Farmers Market. Do you know off hand when Whole Foods has their meat sale?

        1. @Sharon, I’m pretty sure the WF sale on hamburger was Labor Day weekend. They had the whole chicken sale a few months ago (March maybe?). We were moving so I couldn’t stock up. I’ve also gotten whole chickens from Azure Standard on sale for a good price. The raw milk we use is Organic Pastures.

      3. @Deanna Mason, oops sorry Deanna…typed in Melanie instead of your name….hmmm maybe that’s what happens to your brain over time from eating quasi organic eggs from TJ’s and suedo organic beef from Costco! I am definitely going to check out Azure. 🙂

    2. @Sharon, I know I am posting on this comment a couple months late, but I live in Southern California (Riverside, to be exact). I too have had a heck of a time! There aren’t exactly a lot of farms in this area offering beef, chicken, and/or dairy…I buy my eggs from La Bahn Ranch (Temecula) for about $6 I think for 20 eggs…they have bright yellow yokes. The farmer says they are pastured and fed some grain (he didn’t say it was organic, so I am assuming maybe it’s not). He also sells whole pastured chickens for about $10, and they are pretty good. I mainly buy from him because he is convenient (comes to my local farmer’s market). I bought some grass-fed beef from Dey’s Dey’s Best Beef Ever at the Orange farmer’s market last weekend. So far so good – they are located near Santa Barbara, which is about as local as I think you can get for grass-fed beef in Southern California. I also tried one of their pastured chickens – it was phenomenal, bigger and better than La Bahn’s, but also more expensive (I think I paid $25). I forgot to ask if he supplements with feed – waiting to hear back on that. They offer a 20% discount for buying beef in bulk (e.g. 1/4 cow), and he said he could deliver to the Orange farmer’s market for me, so I am thinking about doing that. Another cattle ranch I am considering is Watkins Cattle Company. They are in Ojai – in fact, one of the steaks I bought from Dey Dey’s had their label on it – I am waiting to hear back from them to find out if they might be affiliated somehow. I buy Organic Pastures raw milk. I wish I had access to Claravale’s just to have a second option, but so far as I can tell from their website, the closest place it is sold is in Orange County, and I try not to make that drive often. The pro is their milk comes in glass bottles, and they seem to be against the “organic” hype and more about focusing on responsible, traditional family farming. The con is obviously availabilty and that because they aren’t certified organic, you have to rely largely on what they are telling you about their product. Anyway, there is a nutritionist in town who I order Organic Pasture’s products through – the milk is $7 per half gallon (that’s $14/gallon, folks), and I can get 5 pounds of their truly raw cheese for $45 through her, which is close to half what you’d pay in stores, I believe. I think being able to buy raw milk in stores in California is both a blessing and a curse – obviously it means it’s more accessable, but it also seems to mean that instead of having a cow share or buying direct from small local farms, we are left with two big players serving the entire state (or at least all of Southern California) – Organic Pastures and Claravale’s, and OP clearly has a corner on the market. Unless you find a source of raw goat’s milk from a small farm (which I may just have to look into), you are kind of stuck. I truly hope the demand drives more farms to start offering raw milk since we have some of the most raw-milk friendly laws in the country in California (oddly enough), though I am sure having your milk available in stores comes with a lot of regulatory costs, which I am willing to bet is why there are only two (or in my case, one) sources. Azure Standard delivers throughout most of the state, and I just picked up my first order last week – yay! Anyway, glad to see some other Southern Californians on here. In my experience, most of the people I meet just don’t care about what they eat or where it comes from here. Maybe that’s because our “local” food is still usually shipped in from central or northern parts of the state, and most people living here don’t have any concept of farming and agriculture. I have no idea – just a theory. The rest of the people I meet have enough money to shell out big bucks for the commercialized good stuff from Whole Foods/Henry’s/. It just doesn’t seem like a lot of people (okay, none of the people I know) are trying to circumvent the supermarket and deal directly with farms. I am going to check the box to notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail if any of you other Southern Californian’s want to swap information on sources of real food…I only began my search about two months ago, and while I have learned a lot, I am always looking for more options.


  25. I have gone to the Mountain Rose Herb website to check out their prices and it seems they are good. It is a lot upfront but you have to think how long that will last you. Can you tell me the difference in Virgin Unrefined and regular refined?

  26. Thank you so much! I love the practical Ho-to posts like this…Your blog has been so helpful!

  27. We live in northern MN. I guess we’re blessed to buy raw milk at $2/gallon. We travel 30 minutes to get it at a farm. We must do all the work though in getting it from the stainless bin into our glass jars. I can’t imagine $8/gallon. Yikes! We don’t have many stores here so I greatly appreciated the web sites listed. Thanks.

    I wanted to share an easy way to extend butter. With a large family, we were going through butter way too much and at the price of it we needed another way to extend it’s usage. We’ve been doing the following recipe for years……

    Mix 1 lb. butter (make sure it’s soften) with 1 cup grape seed oil (or whatever oil you’d like). Mix this for about 30+ minutes (I use my KitchenAid) It becomes a whipped buttery spread. I usually double the batch. I store it in glass canning jars. It lasts a long time!

  28. Okay, jealous on your price on ground beef. 🙂 We pay $3/lb only if we buy a whole cow (though since we don’t do steaks much I think next year we’ll look into some other options), otherwise it’s $4.50. Chickens, though, are $2.50/lb from our farmer. We also can buy a whole pig from him for $1.75/lb. so we do this, too. Eggs are $3/doz. and I never thought to ask him for “seconds,” but maybe I should…. Milk from him is $5/gal.

    Coconut oil is cheapest on Amazon. I bought two 54-oz. jars from Nutiva for around $35, I think. That lasts a long time. Butter, I’ll start making here really soon since the grass is growing. I’ll buy any raw cream I can from my farmer (he doesn’t “officially” offer it, but he said if he had extra I could buy some) and use that. Otherwise, I’ll use cream from a local, grass-fed, organic farm where it’s low-temp pasteurized. I’d prefer raw, but that’s second best for sure. Price AND nutrition.

    Other fats I usually get when we buy our animals — I render lard or tallow myself after we purchase a cow or pig. That way it’s VERY cheap!

    My farmer once gave me 5 packages of beef bones (about 20 lbs.) just because he “had too many.” Literally free stock!

    I also ask him to save me feet, backs, necks, and any other parts people don’t want to make stock with, and pay around $2/lb. for all of that. I don’t mind. We have a good relationship. 🙂

  29. hey! i have a friend who has a fabulous farm in Lynden, WA.
    (steph, this might be a great option for you.) they have great standards for pasture raising their animals (chickens, cows, pigs) and consequently the product given on our end is amazing. you can go and visit their farm and see the animals any time (plus, they are super nice!)! check out ben & jessica elenbaas’ farm:

  30. Hi Stephanie,

    Another terrific post! We do a lot of what you do, in terms of buying real food, as we live in the same area, except I haven’t yet started to buy beef in bulk from the farm, mainly because we don’t yet have a chest freezer! This is a purchase I’m hoping to make this year. Thanks for the tip on your local meat place, I’m hoping to be able to get beef from them as well once we get the freezer.

    For chicken, I noticed that the Costco down south had a package of two whole organic chickens last time for around $20. I don’t know if they are pastured, but at least they’re organic and this seems a cheap price compared to prices up here.

    For butter, I also used to get the Costco organic butter, but it didn’t seem very pastured at all to me (probably because it wasn’t, lol). Instead now I am planning to buy the Kerrygold butter from Trader Joes every time we go down, as they have it for a great price…something around $2.84 for a half pound. I think one of your readers above mentioned this too. This makes it far cheaper than any butter I can get up here, plus, I know it’s super high pastured quality. Amazon sells this same butter for over $5! When I don’t have butter from down south, I do splurge and buy the Organic Meadows butter (in a gold wrapper) and the cultured one if I can get. It’s terribly expensive at almost $10 per pound, but like you, we try to use more coconut oil when we can and save the butter to use more like a condiment (I do cook eggs in it though).

    The last time I ordered coconut oil I got it from a local place, Real Raw Food, and they sent it to me with free shipping and very quickly. I guess you could say it wasn’t that cheap, it’s $50 for one gallon, but the quality is extremely high and it’s very much a raw food product (has not been extracted with heat). I also like the taste. You do have to order $100 worth from them at a time, that’s the only thing.

    For eggs, I pay quite a high price but I know they are high pastured quality. I get them delivered to me from a local family who has a small flock. I pay about $5.50 per dozen, delivered. I feel good about this even though the price is a bit high, because I know the eggs are really nourishing us, and we’re supporting the small, local farmer as well. I buy 6-8 dozen every two weeks, and we use them liberally!

    Because I don’t really have any family in WA, it’s harder for me to order from Azure Standard, so for bulk products I find the cheapest way for me to get some things right now is to order from SPUD. I get things like steel-cut oats, rolled oats, dried fruit, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried beans, etc. I don’t buy much else there, as I find much of what they have is simply organic junk food!! I do like their bulk dry goods though. For nuts I’ve been buying them from the Costco down south. Not ideal perhaps but they are (mostly) raw and affordable.

    For milk, we’ve tried Jackie’s Jersey milk and LOVE IT! I plan to start doing what you do, except I think I’ll transfer the milk and cream to glass bottles to freeze instead. I’ve been saving the Avalon glass liter bottles for this purpose. I’ve heard freezing in plastic releases chemicals. Jackie (from Jackie’s Jerseys) told me they also sell their cream separately now too, which is great news.

    Can’t wait for most posts like this! Thanks! 🙂

    1. @Jana, Just want to mention that you don’t need family in WA to order from Azure, they have a drop off point very close to the Aldergrove crossing. I save so much money by buying 50lb bags of grains, 5lb bags of dried beans, seeds, nuts, & dried fruit. I also order my coconut & olive oil from them as well.

      I think $5.50 for a dozen pastured eggs delivered to your door is a great deal. I’d appreciate if you can pass along the info as I’m still looking for a more reasonable source for eggs.

      1. @Alexis, thanks so much for the info! I will have to look into that! For the eggs, please send an email to: I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to start delivering eggs to you, depending on where you live of course. I believe they are out in the Abbotsford area, but they deliver to Vancouver and other areas.

  31. Does anyone have a suggestion for an alternative to Azure Standard East of the Mississippi? They don’t deliver this far and it’s hard to find an alternative for ordering.


    1. @Amanda,
      Amanda, where are you? I’m in GA and Azure does deliver here. You can’t order perishables, but I get my CLO, grains, starches, Rapadura, salt, etc. from them all the time.

    2. @Amanda,
      Check into United Food co-op (UNFI) … I live in Georgia and am always so jealous of what I hear folks can get through Azure, but to my knowledge Azure doesn’t deliver this far south and east. I have been pleased with UNFI on the things I get from them – but I can get quite a few things they offer more cheaply through other sources. You just have to know your prices.

  32. Hello Stephanie!

    Not sure where you live in Vancouver, but i’m out in the Fraser Valley, and there are two places that raise and sell meat directly from their farms.
    1) Lepp Farm Market – Abbotsford
    2) Hopcotts Meats – Maple Ridge

    Looking forward to any local places for produce for tomorrow!

  33. What a fun post. It’s always interesting to see how others buy their food. I am so blessed to now be able to buy from Azure. It’s changed the way I shop!

    I went in with a friend and bought a 1/4 cow this year. It was a much better deal than buying meat from the store! And it’s so nice to have it on hand.

    Would love to find some more local resources though.

  34. You know – I JUST learned a few weeks ago that there is colouring in cheese… there’s always SOMETHING I don’t yet know in the real food world!

    1. @beth@redandhoney, And the coloring drives me nuts, because the only un-colored cheeses are usually the mozzarella or the extra aged cheddar. My kids don’t like the really strong cheddar, but my hubby finds something like mozzarella too mild. I wish that there was just a medium cheddar that wasn’t dyed, for those times when our white raw cheddar isn’t available!

      One other option that should be mentioned with cheese is the fancy deli cheeses. Many of them are imported from Europe, and they are generally of a much higher quality than the typical blocks of cheese. Most aren’t dyed, and many are actually made with raw milk (look on the ingredients to see fresh milk or just milk rather than pasteurized milk). Of course, they’re crazy expensive, but they are a better choice when you’re in a pinch (and I watch for them to be discounted near expiry and then I snag them).

        1. @beth@redandhoney, I’m trying to remember which cheeses are GAPS legal. Is Monterey Jack or Farmer’s Cheese? Those are usually white if you can find them.

          And I adore brie… the best is a grilled or toasted sandwich, with brie, chicken, and some sort of thinly sliced fruit like apple or pear, maybe some chutney. Amazing!

  35. My husband and I just finally watched Food, Inc. last week (don’t laugh!) so I’m brand-spankin’-new at this whole foods thing. We are trying though! So far, the biggest step we have taken is to sign up for a CSA. Before, pretty much the only thing I did was try to avoid the “dirty dozen” or buy them in organic forms, and to buy hormone-free dairy products. Now I am learning more about buying locally, considering farms that aren’t certified organic, etc.

    We do quite a bit of our shopping at Trader Joe’s. Do you have any insight about the best products there?

    Thanks so much for sharing this info with us. We’re eager to learn more.

    1. @Shari, Nope, no laughing! Welcome to eating whole foods! 🙂

      I don’t do Trader Joe’s too often, since I’m in Canada, although I do know that they sell Kerrygold butter (from Ireland) and it is a wonderful pastured butter. They also carry things like sausage and hot dogs that are nitrate-free and many made with free-range meat, but much more affordable than certified organic ones. I believe they also sell (and perhaps this depends on which location you shop at) milk that is lightly pasteurized and non-homogenized. I know that many real foodies like shopping there!

      Perhaps some other commenters have tips for you?

  36. Interesting post! You’ve inspired me to write my own. 🙂

    I am always amazed at what you pay for raw milk. I can get it for $5.50 a gallon, and I’m so very thankful. I don’t like the raw butter I’ve bought at the farm, so I usually just buy Kerrygold at Trader Joe’s. I know it’s not raw, but is it true that it is grass-fed?

    We do the half cow (organic, grass-fed) and I get organic pastured chickens at a farm that is about an hour away. I drive out there about once a month and stock up on chickens, chicken parts (I still haven’t learned how to cut up my own chicken – pathetic, I know) as well as raw local honey, maple syrup, and a special treat – potato chips fried in lard! 🙂 I get my lard there, too, and sometimes I buy sausage and bacon from them. I buy pasteurized cream, but it is local.

    Very interesting post!

    1. @Musings of a Housewife,

      Hi Jo-Lynne,

      Living in Ireland, I can answer the “Is Kerrygold butter grass-fed” question.

      All Irish cows are grass-fed. There might be a little supplementation with grain but it is by no means their main food (It would only happen if it was a very bad winter & the farmer is running low on silage). We do not have factory farmed cows in Ireland at all (I didn’t even know they existed until I started reading about real food). They are all pastured. I live in the middle of a town & I can see cows in a field from my upstairs window. That said, Kerrygold butter would not be organic at all. HTH

  37. Here we go with my list. I’m in Atlanta, GA. I also work full time so I’m somewhat limited when it comes to CSAs, etc. since I can’t go pick up and I’m not home to accept delivery. I balance it all and do the best I can – as we all do!
    Meat/poultry: local pastured beef (just tried a new farm, delivered 1/2 a cow to my house: AWESOME), pork and chicken (local and pastured – great couple I’ve been buying from for years, I also get lard from them; I get the organic chickens from Costco, sometimes organic ground beef and occasional chicken cuts from Whole Foods)
    Fish/seafood: mostly from WF, some from Costco, always wild; I can get local GA shrimp and I stock up when I can
    Veggies/fruits: local market when I can get to it, mostly local at WF, some at Costco; I occasionally buy nonlocal organic produce for my kids – I’m trying to limit that and stick to local in season stuff
    Dairy/eggs: I do have a local delivery but it’s during the day when I work so I can’t get there a lot. I’m not doing dairy right now but I do get raw milk for my son. I buy local eggs at a HFS and I also get eggs at WF (I find Latta’s eggs – 18 carton – are orange, have hard shells and taste great so I stick with these). I buy cheddar and KerryGold at Costco and WF.
    Others: I use Azure, Amazon, Mountain Rose Herbs, Vitacost, etc. for ordering CLO, coconut products, raw cacao, etc. I have a local farmer’s market where I stock up on ghee, nuts, etc. I’m in GAPS so no grains, starches, etc. right now. I’m trying to cook more simply and eliminate boxes and cans as much as possible. I’m turning to Costco more and more for almond butter, butter, cheese, organic produce, fish, etc.

    1. @Magda Velecky,
      I’m just north of Atlanta and didn’t realize that Azure delivered this far east! Where is your drop-off point?? I have been terribly disappointed in the local farmer’s markets around my area … I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t spray their produce. I would love to find out what your sources are … if you want to reply on here or email me privately at bbenson_5328 at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

    2. Hi Magda!
      I know you wrote this a long time ago but I live North of Atlanta and would LOVE to find local beef, chicken and pork. Would you care to tell me who you order from?? Is the meat organic?
      Thank you soooo much for your answer:)

  38. Does anyone use sources for meats, raw milk, fresh produce
    Near Vancouver WA? I’ve been looking and
    Looking and not finding anything. We are starting
    a small garden this year. I have 2 boys
    with severe allergies, and we are starting the Gaps
    diet. If anyone could share what farms/sources
    they use, it would be such a blessing to us! Thanks!

    1. @Candice, Do you know the site She’s just moved from that area (I think she’s officially in Portland now, but the move was recent) and I bet she would have some ideas, in some of her posts about what foods she buys, or if you just emailed her.

  39. Had no clue that my cheese has food coloring in it? Is this every cheese like mild cheddar? Even if its organic?

  40. I know living in Ireland not many of your readers would benefit from me listing my sources but I want to anyway just in case.

    I get all my meat (beef, pork & lamb) at a local farmer’s market from an great local organic farmer. He sells his organic meat for similar prices to the meat in the stores. Also he is the only organic farmer in Ireland that does all 3 so I am very lucky. I get my free range pastured chicken eggs off him too for about $3.50 a dozen.

    I buy raw cheese from a local cheese making company. Not much raw cheese in Ireland so again very lucky to have a local business selling it. I also buy my raw milk from her for about $1.80 a gallon.

    I just buy whatever butter is on offer in the local store. I’m lucky that all butter is grassfed so I don’t need to be fussy. I cannot buy Irish organic butter. There doesn’t seem to be any of the Irish creameries making it yet. I can buy English organic butter but it tastes funny to me (does kerrygold taste different to American butter?) & it’s expensive.

    I live near the sea so I can generally buy freshly caught fish from the fisherman himself at really good prices.

    I do not have a good source for organic pastured chicken. There is a farm locally that sells them but with prices starting at $20 for a small chicken that will only do one meal, I can’t afford them. On the plus side, I can buy the legs, thighs & wings from 2 of his chickens for $6 and he sells chicken carcesses for stock for 50 cent.

    I am a soapmaker so I have lots of coconut oil at a reasonable price, not as cheap as in the U.S though.

  41. Can you tell me what you look for when you buy packaged fish? I’ve looked around and not been able to find decent stuff but maybe that is since you live on the coast and I don’t. The only way we currently eat fish is wild canned salmon on sale. I would love to eat more fish but it seems that most packages at my store are product of China and I am not so sure about that…or some have preservatives in them. We do have local lakes and such and people do go fishing but no one sells it its just something people do on their own. I am not even sure I would completely know what I was getting even if I did want to go fishing (which I don’t). Do you buy packed fish from Superstore or Extra foods and what brands (since the store I shop at is the same family of stores).

    1. @Nola, I don’t buy the frozen packaged stuff very often (maybe once every two months or so?) but I do buy it from Superstore. They have blue/clear packages with various types of white fish (Pollock, Cod, Halibut, Tilapia). I don’t know much about the fish and how it’s raised, I just know that the price is right, the ones I get don’t seem to have any preservatives in them (which some do- like these wild pacific salmon filets I was buying until I realized they had preservatives in them). Since we eat them infrequently and mostly just for the change of pace, I don’t stress out about them too much. I hadn’t noticed them being from China, unless I’m just blind to it. Gosh, now I want to go to the store and find the packages and look!

      The other thing I will do sometimes is when they have their fresh caught filets discounted (because they’re day old or near the time when they have to pull them off the shelf), I’ll buy those instead and just freeze them right away. But maybe you don’t have the fresh filets where you live?

      1. Hi, I happened to come across this website and I see your post about preservatives in wild pacific frozen salmon fillets. This is the first I’ve heard about the preservatives in the frozen Salmon. Can you provide any more details/explanation/insight into where you found this information and whether you know of any frozen Salmon without preservatives? Also, I’d be interested to hear of specific egg producers/farms in the area with humane/pastured/non-GMO fed chickens (for buying eggs). I live in Los Angeles proper. Thanks!

  42. Random, but hopefully helpful…Aldi, which is an international store, has line-caught/sustainable, canned wild Alaska salmon. Mine carries it for $1.99 for a 14.5 oz (I think..? The big, “normal” size) can.

    1. Oo, good to know! I have not been in an Aldi’s in some time because I get my produce at a nearby farm market and was under the impression that much of their other goods were highly-processed foods. Now that I’ve learned about my gluten intolerance, I’m sure my choices will be even more narrowed (as they are now anywhere that I shop), but if I could get salmon there, it might be a worthwhile addition to my biweekly trip into town.

  43. Gee, I guess I’m not as picky as I thought I was, LOL. Well, and here in the Dallas ‘burbs it’s not like getting local and healthy animal products is all that easy.

    I buy grass-fed beef or buffalo from Whole Foods on occasion, but usually stick to ground turkey thighs. No, the birds aren’t pastured, but they are raised humanely and fed organic food. B/c grass-fed is so expensive, and we don’t eat meat per se more than once/wk, I am willing to compromise a bit my ideal for how the animals I eat should be raised.

    As for raw milk, very sore subject w/me right now, as someone supposedly got sick drinking raw milk from the in-city farm that is 15 min. away from our house. The gov’t has effectively shut down their raw milk sales indefinitely, and we are back to having to drive at least an hour to get any. Therefore, we’ve decided to be happy with raw cheese and look forward to the day when we are homesteading in a rural setting and can have our own dairy animals.

  44. I can’t help but be disappointed with this post and the comments. I’ve read your blog for quite awhile, but this is one of the saddest posts I’ve come across here. There has to be a balance between feeding your own family wisely, healthily, and reality. There are children starving all over the world, who could be fed on less than a dollar a day. The hungry and the poor are surrounding us, and we are pleased to be spending $10 for one gallon of milk instead of $20?? This reminds me of the first chapter of Daniel where he refused the kings rich food and ate vegetables. If the milk you buy costs what could be spent to feed a child in africa for an entire month, maybe you should be going without milk. This whole discussion is so grieving to me. Jesus, our Lord, the most high King, did not live here like this. He ate what the people ate. He slept wherever was provided. He had no home. Please put a little better perspective on this whole idea of “frugal”. There is nothing frugal about the prices you have mentioned, and if you look at the rest of the world, it’s incredibly sad to be happy with spending exorbitant amounts on food. It’s just food, and the more money you consume on it the less you have to give to those who really need.

    1. Decide I’m evil and heartless. ;)Renee, can I just state thatyour comment was grieving to me? What father, if his son asks for a fish, gives him a serpent? Or if he asks for bread, gives him a stone? I understand that, yes, there are hungry people in the world – but I also believe that in the West, we have become far too accustomed to the idea that our food should be “cheap” – when you consider the myriad of health concerns that have risen up due to throwing overly-processed, sugary, empty calories into our bodies, topped off with a nice beaker of pesticides, and then look at the exorbitant expenses of our healthcare system – diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc – there is a BALANCE.

      Wanting to feed your family a healthy diet now so that you can prevent disease later… either way, you’re spending the money. Would it not be better to invest in the myriad of natural foods that the Lord created and blessed us with, rather than what our culture tries to pass off as food? The only reason that stuff is “cheap” in the first place is because of these giant food monopolies (go look up the statistics on how much of our nation’s food supply is ultimately controlled by just three or four companies, sometime) lobby our government for the subsidies to keep the corn, etc, cheap. Then they go inot undeveloped countries and promote the single-commodity farming, and these places lose their natural ability to grow, harvest, and eat their natural, cultural diets, because, after all… West Is Best.

      *sigh* I’m sorry, everyone, now I’m ranting. Helping the needy is a wonderful thing, and I am not against it… but railing against mothers who are trying to make ends meetand feed their children a health diet in the first place… is not where the problem lies. Give these people food independence, not government aid. Get out of their fields. Quit giving your money to the dictators who don’t let their people see a dime of it anyway.

      All right. I’m going to go get out my flame-retardant commenter’s suit now, in case y’all go

    2. There isn’t enough money in the world to take care of all the poor. Just reality, Renee. If you feel like giving them all that you have, go for it. God tells us to take care of our families and help each other. Not to give away everything so that our families do without. Those of us who raise our children as healthy as possible believe that feeding the best quality is important. Again, you don’t have to agree with it, but don’t get on a high horse thinking that others are dying because we don’t eat cheap, poor quality food and give all our food budget money to others. Check out NumbersUSA to learn the truth about the impossibility of helping the entire world. I also believe that people shouldn’t have children if they have no way to support them. Good old common sense and personal responsibility goes a long way for everyone.

  45. Hi! I am interested in knowing how to place wholesale orders together for coconut oil like you mentioned in this post. I really loved reading this-I have been needing this kind of practical information!

    1. @Kristie, To make a wholesale order, you would need to find a large group of families who wanted to buy in very large amounts. The group we buy with is at least 10-20 families, many of whom have 8-12 children, and so you can see how fast the quantities add up. 🙂

      But anyone can do it. If you can get that amount of people together, then you can contact a company that is a wholesaler of various kinds of health food (or even contact a direct brand of an item that you want to buy and ask if they will sell it to your group).

  46. Hi Stephanie,

    I found your blog and this post specifically by searching for a source for buying grass fed beef locally. Talk about local–I’m in Riverside as well! It seems we actually have a lot in common, but you’re keeping your home on a level I can only dream to aspire to. I keep trying, though. 🙂 anyway, I’m so excited to have found your blog, and look forward to learning from and being inspired by you. Oh, and thanks for posting all of these resources! It’s incredibly helpful.


  47. Hi-I’m new here! I’m so glad I found your site! I stumbled upon this post when googling “pastured meat in San Diego.” I could not find Ennis Farm Meats, except for a Yelp review about a ranch in Canada? Do you think you could post the link to the farmers you buy your meat from. If this information is listed somewhere else on your site, could you lead me to it? You have found fantastic prices for quality food…I’m so excited to explore your site, as it seems every post is filled with nuggets of gold! Thanks so much, Jenny (Homemaker, Chula Vista)

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