Follow the Harvest Calendar
It’s when the season is in full bloom, when fruits and vegetables are abundant and at the peak of their freshness, that you’ll make the biggest savings. Plus, using seasonal foods means adding more local products to your menu. The supply period is relatively short, so a harvest calendar, such as the Manger Québec availability calendar or Équiterre’s availability calendar for fruits and vegetables (both in French only) can prove to be very useful in planning your purchases—and your meals!—better.
Become Friends with Local Producers
Local purchase initiatives have multiplied in recent years. Consumers are welcome to shop directly from the producers through local markets, such as public and farmers markets, farm stands, pick-your-own schemes or subscriptions to weekly produce baskets. For producers, that means fewer intermediaries and more profits. For consumers, that equals direct access to more fresh products and the possibility of educating themselves about cultures and methods of production. Everyone’s a winner!
Stock up for Winter
During the summer and in the fall, take advantage of the fact that fruits and vegetables are less expensive and buy larger quantities to stock up. It’s the perfect time to make jam and preserves, or to freeze foods that you’ll be able to cook with for the rest of the year. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as enjoying the berries you picked in July in the middle of January, especially as they don’t lose any of their nutritious properties once frozen.
Eat Local, Even in Winter
Meat, dairy products and local root vegetables are still available in winter, but what’s on offer actually goes well beyond these food categories. In addition to cranberries, mushrooms and cabbage that are available year-round, Quebec has many greenhouses that keep growing all kinds of produce even in the dead of winter, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers that add a bit of variety to your plates. Other vegetables could be added to this list in the near future, if we are to believe the winter harvest project of Ferme des Quatre-Temps and other similar initiatives that are popping up everywhere.
A 2022 comparative study conducted by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University for Aliments du Québec is contradicting the persistent myth that local foods are more expensive than imports. Answering the question “Does eating Quebec-produced foods cost more?” the analysis revealed that, in 70% of the categories examined, the price of local food products was either lower or comparable to that of products from other sources.
A Bias towards Local Products
It’s very good news that local food products, including fruits and vegetables, are competitive with their foreign counterparts. It’s also an excellent reason to add them more often than ever to your grocery basket. Not only is it great for your wallet, but it’s also a good thing for our food self-sufficiency and a stimulating contribution to our economy.
To learn about other ways to save money at the grocery store, check out the following tips: