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Organic food prices continue to drop to an average of $1.65 per meal per person since the high of $1.88 in February, using the Cook for Good menu plan. Regular meals are up a penny to $1.16. You can go green for $0.52 a meal or 44% more total for the month.

See more details below, plus learn why splurging on strawberry shortcake is an affordable indulgence after all.

Price changes. — Changes came mainly from produce prices dropping as spring arrives, plus a fall in organic dairy prices. The regular food prices stayed approximately the same because the prices on eggs went back up after Easter, erasing the drop in produce prices.

For the Cook for Good Top 20 Foods, the total cost for the regular servings would be $3.56, down from $3.32 last month. The green servings would be $5.58, up from $5.27. Per serving of the Top 20 Foods, going from regular to green would cost $2.12 or increase your grocery bill by 60%.

I had thought that we'd be well into the spring menu plan by April, but of course it takes several weeks of warmer weather for the plants to grow enough to show up in the markets. The spring menu plan will come out mid-May, after I get done testing the recipes and tuning the menu plan to work from the most thrifty shopping list. For now, just add some asparagus, sugar-snap peas, and Swiss chard to your meals in place of winter squash and collards. And load up on strawberries while they are in season ...

Fruit splurge: Strawberry shortcake.
— One of the reasons I started doing the research for Cook for Good was because I couldn't believe the common statements about people on limited budgets not being able to afford fruit and vegetables. Case in point: strawberries are in season here in North Carolina now. Regular strawberries are only 37 cents per half-cup serving and 68 cents for organic berries. And these prices are for relatively small two-pound or one-quart sizes; you can save more by buying a five-pound bucket or four quarts at a time. Just freeze some for later in the month or for February when you really need a fruit fix.

Given these prices, you can make strawberry shortcake for only 59 cents a serving with regular ingredients or from 76 to 79 cents for organic ingredients, with the higher price for the version with white whole-wheat flour. So feast on fresh strawberries and strawberry shortcake during this brief sweet season.

Originally posted to Cook for Good on Wed May 06, 2009 at 07:47 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I couldn't believe the fauxrage (10+ / 0-)

    several years back when a woman on goverment assistance was excorated in the media for trying to buy strawberries with food stamps to feed her kids, rather than the gov't-approved sugary treats (whatever they were, I don't recall). How hard is this to get: fruits and vegetables are NOT a luxury item. They're better for humans, especially immature ones, than 99% of the processed foods out there.

    Radarlady, who doesn't consider hummos a processed food, even though it is

    •  Sugar (0+ / 0-)

      is one of the major reasons so many people are overweight.  The only way your body will be able to use the energy from sugar is if you start exercising or doing some hard work right after eating the sugar, otherwise your body is likely to store most of it as fat.

  •  Your Strawberry shortcake recipe sounds yummy! (4+ / 0-)

    Will make this weekend-thank you.

    There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it. ~Author Unknown

    by VA Breeze on Wed May 06, 2009 at 08:11:41 AM PDT

  •  Strawberries here are $11/half-flat (6+ / 0-)

    (six baskets).  A local couple sets up a truck near my house every day with berries that were picked that morning.  I'm in strawberry heaven!

    Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays at 5 PM PDT

    by indigoblueskies on Wed May 06, 2009 at 08:17:23 AM PDT

  •  Let's ask why prices are dropping (9+ / 0-)

    I understand that this is a feel good diary but there is another side to dropping organic food prices. Aside from the recession which itself puts downward pressures on price (owing to reduced demand and increased consumer price sensitivity), the other factor driving declining prices is the rise of corporate organics. Now, just because it is corporate does in of itself make it bad. However, corporate organics relies heavily on goods grown and imported from Mexico and China, where organic standard enforcements have long been suspect. Google on Ronnie Cummins (founder of the Organic Consumers Union) and you can find plenty of info here. Always labor conditions on corporate organic farms are another point of concern.

    Food politics is a complicated issue but I promise your organic strawberry shortcake will taste better and give you a clearer conscious if you buy from a local organic producer. The food will have a much smaller carbon footprint and you can have more certainty that goals of the organic food movement are being served.

    •  Agreed, farmers need to eat (5+ / 0-)

      Madtownpopulist, I agree absolutely that dropping dairy prices and other food prices can be a big problem. Dairy farms are going out of business across my home state of North Carolina and elsewhere.

      I guess you could call the Cook for Good diary a "feel-good" one, since it tries to provide information that will help people make changes that have a positive effect. I'm trying to show that my "green" menu is very affordable and that by choosing to eat little or no meat, you can make better choices for the rest of your ingredients. As my faq says:

      The green prices are for goods that are bought with health, sustainability, and kindness in mind.

      and

      If you can, use the money you saved to buy meat that has been humanely raised and not loaded with hormones or antibiotics.

      I'm a member of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and will be going to the Farm-to-Fork Summit next week. Watch next week's diary for an update from that event.

      •  We are on the same page (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EthrDemon, miss SPED, Thassa

        Reducing meat consumption definitely lowers the carbon footprint of the family meal. And these massive pig, chicken, and beef factories are a ecological and ethical nightmare.

        My own view is that the game is not in food politics is to break the cycle (really driven by corporate forces) of emphasizing the cheapness of food.

        I get irate when I hear people rail against the prices of locally grown organics and then go and buy
        highly processed foods that carry a massive mark-up, little nutritional value and a huge carbon footprint.

        A pound of "expensive" organic potatoes is a much better value than a pound bag of potato chips.

        I am a big supporter of Community Supported Agriculture which manages to emphasize values over Wal-Mart style price value. CSA is not for everyone but it is one good model for showing how values and economic value can be effectively balanced.

  •  Industrial foods - tied to price of oil. eom. (0+ / 0-)

    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

    by smartcookienyc on Wed May 06, 2009 at 08:58:43 AM PDT

  •  eating in season veggies and fruit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED

    as much as possible is a good idea also. It is better for you and cheaper and less shipping is involved, giving your local economy a boost. Bananas are an imported essential that I buy regularly. Most organic bananas are from huge ag companies like Dole. They may be organic but the growers don not use good sustainable practices, like crop rotation.

    What a great diary, Cook for Good. Is this a regular feature that I have missed? I probably don't have the time or skill to cook totally from scratch like your web page suggest. I will however adapt your program and cut down my grocery bill. Who knows I may even learn to bake.

    I discovered a great grain this year, Quinoa. It has a high protein content which includes all the amino acids.  I make Tabouli with it, and use it as a substitute for rice. You need to soak and rinse it well or it is quite bitter.          

    "And if my thought-dreams could be seen They'd probably put my head in a guillotine" Bob Dylan

    by shaharazade on Wed May 06, 2009 at 09:12:05 AM PDT

    •  Yes, it's a relatively new regular diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, miss SPED

      Thanks, Shaharazade! I've been posting this diary for about two months, mostly on Wednesdays.

      Kudos to you for making whatever changes you can to move towards more home-cooked, greener meals. Just making a pot of beans a week to replace a few meat meals can make a big difference. And as you said, eating in season is essential. Good luck!

  •  In the long run it's inevitable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED

    that the price of going green will become cheaper than the price of damaging the environment. If something isn't environmentally sustainable then it's not economically sustainable. All we need is to get rid of the special privileges the government gives to environmentally destructive businesses and just sit back and watch the green industries flourish.

  •  I bought Organic strawberries (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED

    two days ago for three cents less than the regular strawberries that were supposedly 'on sale'.  I had to go back and look at the prices to be sure and was I pleasantly surprised.

    Strawberry/rhubarb tart is where they ended up...

  •  My local farmers market opens tomorrow :-) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED

    Strawberry season is still a month away, but I'm looking forward to buying local eggs, cheese, and salmon.
    It is salad season here and I have more lettuce and other greens than I can possibly eat right out my back door. I've been giving it to friends but in the next few days I will harvest and wash a big load for the local soup kitchen.
    Interesting website. I do a lot of cooking. But bread making is something I haven't done. Your recipe looks simple, I may give it a try.

  •  Thanks. i hope this is a regular diary. nt (0+ / 0-)

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