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.