I used to take part in a produce co-op and we'd get about $70-$80 worth of fruits and vegetables for just $25. We would meet the first Friday of every month at about 8 am, but with two toddlers in tow (and now an infant), it became too much work, and too much of the produce would go bad before we were able to use it.
I was disappointed to lose such an inexpensive source for fresh produce for our family, but a good friend of mine, Trina, told me about the Chicho Boys fruit market near downtown San Antonio. I checked out their website and decided to give them a try. I've found great discounts on everything from blueberries to pineapples, and potatoes to squash--I've been going back ever since!
After checking out their weekly specials online (I love being able to comparison shop ahead of time), I saw that they were having some great deals on pumpkins and made it a point to make it out this morning. So, with my $20 in hand and the kids rounded up in the car, I drove the whole six minutes it takes to get there from our house.
I may have gone a little overboard on the pumpkins, but I couldn't resist having some to decorate the house for fall. Here's what I came home with:
- 2 jack o' lantern pumpkins @ $2.50 each
- 2 pie pumpkins @ $.50/lb for a total of $2.52
- 6 mini pumpkins @ $.50 each
- 1 butternut squash @ $.79/lb for a total of $2.10
I also picked up some fruit:
- 5 pears for $1
- 4 apples for $1
- bananas @ $.44/lb for a total of $1.18
- green seedless grapes @ .$50/lb for a total of $.94
- and 1 lb of strawberries for $.99!
- 3 yellow onions @ $.50/lb for a total of $.93
- and a 5 lb bag of russett potatoes for $1.79
Granted, not everything I picked up today was the best deal (I think the bananas may have been less at HEB this week)--but I do know that carving pumpkins were $3.88 at Walmart as opposed to the $2.50 at Chicho Boys, and strawberries and grapes were definitely not going for $.99 and $.50 a pound anywhere else!
There are some other pluses and minuses about shopping at Chicho Boys:
- they often have a bigger selection than my HEB plus--this week there were still pineapples and watermelons, and also pomegranates and coconuts! (I would name some others but I was so busy wrangling in Liam and Eleanor while carrying Amelia in the sling--those are the only extras I can remember!)
- their prices are usually much less than the grocery store (I've found blueberries for as low as $.50 a pint!)
- their selection isn't always of the same quality--sometimes their prices are cheaper because the produce is a little riper than you'd find it at the mainstream markets.
- and their prices aren't always less than the supermarket--that's why I check online for their weekly specials so I know ahead of time if there's anything worth making a trip for.
Overall, I really like the Chicho Boys fruit market--I like that it's small, the workers are friendly, I can find some great deals, and the kids have fun going--they even had a pumpkin patch this time!
As for buying pumpkins so early in the season, I found this great website that has some great pointers on how to keep them fresher longer, and anything else you ever wanted to know about pumpkins!
How about you? Do you have any great money-saving tips for the grocery store? What about favorite pumpkin recipes? I can't wait to try out some pumpkin bread!