As  you know by now, we have two CSA shares, love to go to U-Pick farms, and frequently visit farmers’ markets.  People always ask me if I still need to go to the grocery store.  I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about our shopping trips.

A couple of years ago, I was a crazy couponer.  I learned from some of the best couponers in NEO.  At that time, I would go to a store 6-20 times in a given week.  I frequented Giant Eagle, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and more.  I was great at saving money and spent a ton of time on it.

Over the last couple of years, my focus has changed.  We eat lots of fresh, local food and those are not coupon or sale items.  I still use coupons for appropriate items, but my usage is much less than it used to be.  When we start getting low on an item like pasta, I’ll watch for a coupon and sale and try to stock up.  It’s not uncommon for me to buy 40 boxes at a time.  After I stock up, I don’t need pasta for a long time.  I still have lots of toiletries in my stockpile, so I’ve been ignoring those items for a while.  Thankfully, I am almost done buying diapers.  There was a time where we had well over 1500 diapers in our house at one time.  I was actually paid to buy some of them.  In those days, all of my couponing efforts definitely paid off.

In the summer time, with our local growing season, I don’t need much at the store.  I typically get butter, eggs, yogurt and sometimes milk through our CSA.  At the store, we end up buying fresh fruit.  We get some fruit at our CSAs, but we aren’t happy with just one fruit at a time in our house.  We eat lots of the fruit that’s in season, but we still supplement with others (like bananas) even with our home-canned products.

We also buy tortillas, tofu, whole wheat lasagna and other staples that go well with a variety of our CSA items.  We try to buy most of our cheese locally, but many times we will buy some kind of bread and cheese if I am out with the kids at lunch time for a quick bite.

We fill in with other items like condiments, nuts, oils and specialty items as needed.  We have quite a few staple items in our pantry, so our actual trips to the grocery store are small and easy most weeks.  I love eating what’s in season and planning our meals around our CSA bags is getting easier and easier now that we’ve had 3 years of practice

In July, when I return from vacation, I’m going to do a post every week or two about our shopping trips and meal planning around our CSA and pantry items.  Hopefully, you will pick up some new ideas about what to stock in your pantry.