The $ of Food

As my wife called out in her blog today, we bought a ton of local produce at the farmer’s market and we are in the process of converting it into frozen pasta sauces and soups for the colder months.
This raises an intersting question about the ($) cost of preparing local food for use later in the year versus buying your food at the store. 
Potato Leek Soup (Fourteen 12oz portions)

Potatoes (4$), Leeks (1.5$), Onion (1$), Green onions from the garden (worth 1$), 3 boxes of Chicken Stock (9$) = 16.50$ for 168oz (5.25$ for 32oz versus 3.69$  in a grocery store.)
Verdict: A little more expensive, although a major ingredient was store bought anyways.  Do it for the taste, not the savings.

Tomato Basil Soup (Six 12oz portions.)
4 lbs tomatoes (3.75$, due to negotiated bulk price with market employee), Basil from the garden (worth 2$ or more), Onions (1$), garlic (.50$), chicken broth (2$) = 9$ for 72oz  (4.00$ for 32oz versus 4.29$ in a grocery store)
Verdict: Actually saving a little money to eat locally, although the price is biased by the low negotiated price for the tomatoes.

Pasta Sauce (Fifteen 12oz portions.)
16lbs tomatoes (12.50$), 4 peppers (2$), 1 onion (1$), Basil from garden (worth 2$) spices & oil (.50$) = 18$ for 180oz. (2.40$ for 24oz versus 3.79$ or more at the grocery store)
Verdict: Decent pasta sauce is expensive in the grocery store.  There is money to be saved here if you can find cheap enough tomatoes, and almost everything is local!

Note, three important costs are not being accounted for:

  1. Storage: We bought semi-reusable glad and tupperware containers for this project at about 75 cents a container, but they are reusable so their cost goes down over time. besides, we could ahve just as easily used reused butter tubs or similar.
  2. Power: Running your existing freezer with a few extra items actually saves power over the long run, but running a second freezer is not free.  We might invest in a chest freezer for next year, so this is a cost that must be considered.
  3. Time: If you value your time even the slightest bit, and you don’t enjoy processig and preserving food, then this would be really hard to justify.


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