We had our monthly meeting for our Once A Month Cooking Club last night. Lately, we have been trying to do different things during that night. Last month we made a bag (sewing). This month we had a guest speaker show us how to make and can applesauce. She also gave us some tips on where to find free produce.
Here are her suggestions:
- Obviously, grow fruits or vegetables yourself. She has quite a big garden. She had also gotten 4 apple trees as a gift a few years ago. We used these apples to make the applesauce with. She also planted a few blueberry bushes.
- Be a scavenger. She advised us to find produce where we can. She gets wild raspberries from some bushes right on her property line. She gets them a few other places like by the railroad tracks as well. She also suggested we go to orchards and pick up the apples that have fallen from the ground. Make sure they are not rotten, but she said you can get these for a reduced price and sometimes for free. She also suggested just asking people. She has often knocked on someone’s door that might have a peach tree that looks like the peaches may go to waste. She just asks them if she can pick some (ALWAYS ask first!). Then she will offer to bring them back some preserves or whatever she might do with them.
- Ask friends and neighbors who might have extra produce. Many people will grow tomatoes in the summer and a lot of them usually have an abundance. Ask them if you can trade some produce or offer to do something for them in return.
- You could also possibly trade or get some free produce on FreeCycle.org. I have personally never done this, but I have seen others that this has worked for.
Here is a personal story of my recent scavenger finds. Heidi (the creator of this blog) informed me that there were wild blueberry bushes in front of our local Chick Fil A restaurant. She asked the manager if she could pick them and he said yes. When she wanted to pick them they were not ripe yet. So she told me about this and another friend and I went to pick quite a few yesterday. Of course we asked first, and they said we could. Heidi was still out of town, but we may have to go again when she gets back because we left plenty more.
So you can get free (or very cheap produce) if you are creative. Especially now when crops are being harvested and there are still places to find corn, green beans, peaches, blueberries and many other things. Leave a comment if you have also done something like this.