Remember how I told you about how I grocery shop when I shared our 2011 Grocery Budget? I don’t usually buy much at grocery stores; I buy in bulk from co-ops; I purchase from local farmers. Some months I hardly buy anything, some months I buy a lot. This month, February, would be an example of me buying a LOT…and you get to witness it here today! Everything just sort of hit all at once this month, but that’s okay. There is money in our grocery budget. I just wait to spend it until I need it!
Here are a few pictures and some details about my grocery purchases this month. Some of this will last us one month. Some of this will last six months. Some of this will last for a year. Some of this will be gone before you read this post. ;)
Here is our Azure Standard food co-op order for this month:
This month’s order was a pricey one because I ordered a case of butter. See that box up there with two pounds of butter on top? There are 28 more pounds in that box. It’s a hefty investment all at once, but we go through a lot of butter and it’s nice just to have it in the freezer for when we need it. I can avoid going to the store as often this way, plus, this butter is much higher quality!
What else did I buy from Azure Standard? Well…10 pounds of oranges, three packages of frozen broccoli, 2 big bags of frozen peas, five pounds of peanuts (to make peanut butter!), a case of raw white cheddar cheese, a bottle of red wine vinegar, 10 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes, 20 pounds of Fuji apples, a little bag of avocados, 25 pounds of whole corn (to grind into cornmeal), 6 half-gallon jars for milk and other food storage…and three jars of Hain Safflower Mayo. Yep, that would tell you that I haven’t attempted the Homemade Mayonnaise part of the Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Challenge yet. Hey, a girl can’t do everything at once. :)
My co-op order total (with delivery fee included) was $254.00…quite a bit more than I normally spend on an Azure Standard order. It was the butter. The cost of butter is rising I’ve noticed. My case of 30 pounds was $108. Ouch. And yet, I’m paying for high quality butter, and this will last us a while. By “a while”, I mean that I really have no idea how long it will last us. Three months maybe? Maybe not that long. Depends on how much baking I’ll need to do.
Beyond our large Azure Standard order, we also got our year’s supply of wheat last week. Remember how last year I ordered 500 pounds of wheat? It has lasted 12 months and I still have some left over, so this time I held back and only ordered 300 pounds. :) Total cost for my year’s supply of wheat which will make all of our bread, tortillas, muffins, quick breads, cookies, brownies, cakes, pie crusts, pancakes, waffles, and everything else that needs flour: $144.00. That’s only $12/month for ALL of our high quality, organic, whole grain flour!! Have I proven to you yet that investing in a grain mill WILL save you money? :)
In addition to all of this, I was almost out of chickens and hamburger meat, so I ordered 60 pounds of ground beef and 6 whole chickens from the local farmers we love and trust. That was a hefty (yet reasonable) price tag too: $362.00. This meat will last us for a few months, depending on the amount of company we feed and how many times I’m in the mood for sloppy joes. :)
If you did the math on that, you would have found that I have spent $760 on bulk groceries (so far) this month. This isn’t including what we’ve spent on milk and eggs, or what we will spend on bananas and a few other little things that we do get at the grocery store.
Sound like a lot?! :) Maybe. But this is how grocery shopping and spending works for us. We buy food when we need it, we don’t buy food when we don’t. We are blessed to have three freezers and plenty of pantry storage for bulk purchases. I am amazed at how much money we save by buying our food this way.
And can I tell you my little secret? I love having a wide variety of all of our staples on hand at all times. Rarely am I out of any basic ingredient, which means that at just about any time, I can cook up any recipe I have a hankering to cook up. This makes meal planning so much easier for me and helps me run my kitchen so much more efficiently.
So, how do YOU buy groceries? Share what works well for you!
I would love to be able to shop like you do.. in bulk. And hopefully one day we can. We don’t have an extra deep freezer, so our space is limited. We also don’t have anything like Azure Standard :(. We are on a very limited budget as well! So, our groceries are bought once a week with a budget of 100.00 a week. I actually just sent my hubby to the dairy for 2 lbs of grass fed beef, local sausage and local honey. Ironically, no dairy! We do what we can and we eat pretty well. We get assistance from WIC and I’ve battled with not getting it because it’s grocery store milk, peanut butter, eggs, cheese, ect. But right now we need the help. And with the $12 fruit and veggie checks we do get help with produce! Like I said, I do the best I can with what we have and we are blessed!
Sounds like you’re doing great! I love that WIC is now offering fruits and veggies checks too. I was so proud of them when I heard that!
Yes, I was too! We get an extra 100.00 from our in-laws and that is what we use to help with lobuying local meats, butter, honey! That is such a blessing!
Your site has been so helpful! I actually shared some of your recipes (taco seasoning mix and ranch dressing mix) to a friend of mine who’s husband is gf because he has MS. THey eat super healhty because of his illness. She was so grateful for the recipes! I sent her to your page! I know you have many recipes that she could use!
Hang in there Crystal. It sounds like you are doing great. We started out with a very low food budget many years ago and would put some aside to buy one bulk item (like a large bag of organic brown rice or organic beans). Eventually we built up a stock pile of bulk things. Now, 25 years later, we are pretty much all bulk except for our dairy, fruits and vegies.
I was able to do this last year on an extremely low grocery budget. It took a long while to get there, but even $5.00 allocated to your “pantry” will allow you to stock up on some items.
We are choosing some grocery store items (milk, cheese, etc.) for various reasons as well. If I stress out about it, I know that’s not good for my health either.
Amanda Y. says
We are just starting to buy some things in bulk and we don’t have anything like Azure standrad sadly, and I’m still working on baking more homemade things, but that is an incredible job you did!
I agree, I’m glad that WIC started in the right direction–I still think you should be able to buy local milk or just pay the difference to upgrade to organic milk, etc.
Hannah @ Treasuring It Up says
I buy a lot in bulk as well and try to avoid the grocery store as much as possible. In December a local chicken plant had a fabulous deal with chicken quarters only $0.50 a lb then tenders and whole chickens $0.99 a lb. I bought a TON of chicken and they are in our deep freeze! My husbands parents give us a lot of pork each year and we swap pork for beef with a friend. We also hunt so that gives us venison which we grind and use in place of hamburger.
Last summer I had a bumper crop of bell peppers and flash froze them in strips. I try to incorporate them into as many dishes as I can (with pizza, eggs, potatos, stir fry…). I learned about Azure through you and was excited to find a drop an hour from here (pick up is at 7am – BLECK! but it’s worth it). I will usually buy 1-2 cases of apples and a box of squash to use as our fruit and veggie of the month. I also get dried beans and rice through them and buy their potatoes and onions – they keep a while since they are fresher :-)
I love my NutriMill (yay!!!) and buy wheat in bulk. The only stuff we buy on a regular basis are milk, eggs & cheese (I haven’t found a good local source for these yet) and then the bananas, oranges and peanut butter (although I’m going to buy some peanuts this coming Azure order for making my own!)
God has blessed us in always providing even when our deep freeze looks empty :-)
For those in Oklahoma, I got my chicken through DARP Processing here: http://www.greatchickens.com
Laura, do you have a “starting point” for your homemade mayonnaise recipe challenge? One of my cookbooks has a recipe for mayonnaise, and directions for making it either in a blender or with a mixer. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send you the recipe.
Mary, I have looked into several different recipes, but if you have something to send me, please do! I really haven’t started yet…too many other recipes to try! Thank you!!
Sarah @ Mum In Bloom says
This month’s Everyday Food Magazine has lots of recipes for mayonnaise as well. I’ll link when I make it :)
I having been following your site for a few weeks now and love it and your recipes. I have tried many recipes and all have been great! Thanks for helping out moms with your ideas.
Have you ever had tiny,tiny bugs in your bulk flour? If so what are they and what did you do? This has happened to me several times. (Maybe it’s an Alabama thing.) Now I store everything in the fridge and the problem has stopped, but there is only so much room in a fridge.
Lynn Riddle says
Shellie, I keep all of my flour in our freezer. Usually in a ziplock back and its kept up well there.
Well, I don’t buy bulk FLOUR…I buy bulk WHEAT, which I grind into flour…so that may be a difference. Here’s how I store my wheat before grinding it: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-to-store-bulk-grain After I grind it, I either use it right away or freeze the rest until I need it.
I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to put basil leaves with your grain to avoid bugs.
Keeping a couple bay leaves on top of your flour supposedly keeps the bugs away. Works for me, never had bugs!
Bugs will grow in flour, esp. in higher humidity. I have read that mint is supposed to keep them at bay. Also, putting your flour (or anything else with a tendency to get buggy) in the freezer for 4 days or so is supposed to kill off the bugs. I have also been keeping my freshly ground flour in the freezer until I use it.
Honestly, the bugs aren’t going to hurt anyone.
You just have to get past the yuck factor. I have found bugs in
wheat, pasta, etc. I try to get as much out as I can, then just cook it up.
And I also don’t advertise the bugs to the rest of my family.
While living in FL we had trouble with weavils getting into any type of grain, pasta, etc. Sometimes these actually came in the generic pasta from the grocery store. Check for small oval while spots on the pasta. The weavils larva grow inside, then come out as adults to lay more eggs in all your other grains. Totally gross!
White spots, not while spots. Sorry (:
Hi Laura. I love the way you shop! I have a few questions on your wheat order. How do you store your wheat? When you order it does it ship UPS or USPS? I would be very interested in stocking up as I have heard that the price of wheat will be on the rise. Thanks in advance.
Here’s how I store my bulk grain: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-to-store-bulk-grain
My wheat order actually comes on a big truck at my friend’s house. She has organized a HUGE truck delivery (which is how we get such a good price on the wheat). We order once a year and all the wheat (for like 60 families) comes on flats in a truck.
Aha! =) I was wondering if that’s how you got that price. Good for you!
If you’re near a Honeyville Farms retail location, they have awesome prices on bulk wheat. Online is expensive, but in the store a 50-lb bag is less than $15.
Thanks, Amber ~ I’m in Iowa though =)
How come you do not buy your wheat from azure? I was planning on ordering 50lbs white wheat berries next time. when I calculate their price it seems about the same as what you pay, maybe $5 more for 300lbs. Is there wheat not as good? Or do you just like buying that much at once and saving $5? Thanks
Oh…the wheat from Azure is great, no complaints from me on that! I buy it from Wheat Montana through this bulk order mainly because it’s EASIER! I buy my wheat once a year then forget about it. I don’t have to worry about it coming in or not coming in through Azure. I don’t have to think about whether or not I need to order wheat each month. It’s just easier to do it this way since I have the option. Azure wheat is great quality though, so if you have that option, go for it!
I was excited about the Azure price ~ and the idea of buying 50#/month instead of 300#/6 months
But I am almost through our first bag… and while it’s fine, it has more trash … and for some reason it’s making my grain mill filter very unhappy. I need to try a batch of Wheat Montana again and see if my mill has a problem, or if it’s the wheat. This bag came from N. Dakota actually
I’m a fairly new reader here who loves your posts. I have been slowly transitioning over to similar methods over the last two years. I am also an Azure Standard customer who gets most meat from local farmers. This is all working so well for us. My grocery runs are smaller and smaller all the time.
I also made a switch over to all homemade sourdough (whole wheat) bread since I seem to have stomach problems with any bread products baked with bakers yeast. I gradually began to feel much better. I rarely need to “pop some Tums” anymore.
My daughter is lactose intolerant so we’re also drinking raw milk now which is SO much easier on the stomach.
Life is such a great adventure. :)
I have been ordering from Azure for a couple of months now and it is SO exciting when drop day comes! We finally got them to come down south to Texas! So much fun to see all that beautiful food. I love that butter, it’s so creamy and yummy.
We normally spend about $500 a month on groceries for myself, my husband and our 14 month old. We are currently living in a trailer (NO ROOM!!!) but next year when we purchase a home my husband is going to build me a pantry and we will invest in a few deep freezers so I can start buying in bulk! =] Eric, my husband, thinks its funny with I come home with 20 pounds or so of hamburger and then complain because I have to store it at my parents house thats 20 minutes away… Not one of my brighter ideas =] My family has done it for quite some time so I really cannot wait to keep the tradition alive! =]
Thanks so much for this post! I just noticed that my green beans won’t be delivered from Azure this month so I wish I would have ordered the peas instead. Maybe next month.
Anyway, I have a question. I’m trying to get away from a strict $400 monthly budget – sometimes I spend more and sometimes I spend less. The average needs to stay at $400 though for our current budget. I seem to be confusing myself with the money part.
Previously we used cash for everything bought at the grocery store. Now that we’re not spending much at the grocery stores, writing a check works better for me when I pay the local people for food.
Do you separate your grocery money from your other money so you always have an allocated amount for groceries?
Ooh, I agree…the money part gets complicated.
We used to keep a VERY strict budget, recording every single penny spent. After a few years, we got into a system of just knowing how much we needed to spend or could spend, without recording every cent.
We’ve never done the envelope system…we’ve just had our budget outlined thoroughly on the computer. I think what I’d do if I were you, since your grocery money is going to local people, etct…I’d write down exactly what I’m spending and how (for groceries). Maybe subtract it out of your $400 monthly allotment, so that you know what you have left for the month. If you have anything left at the end of the month, put that onto your next month allotment. That means you could start with $456 for the next month if you didn’t spend all of the previous month’s money.
Does this make sense? This is how I’ve done it in the past and it works well so that I can see it on paper exactly where I’m at in the budget.
Makes sense – I’m a very visual person so I have to be able to see where I’m at.
I have long bought bulk from Costco for as much as I can. But after seeing your Azure Standard post a while back, I went to check them out and wow, they deliver here! Just got my first order, but my ORANGES and CORN didn’t come in… I see you got yours. Bummer for me.
Hubby had a stretch of overtime, so we had some extra cash to buy bulk wheat (just got a Country Living grinder with an unexpected check in the mail), lentils, brown rice, and some other stuff. Once I get more situated with storage, we’ll stock more. However, I am VERY happy to say a new Costco will be only about 5 minutes from us rather than 30!!! I hope to cut that trip down to every other month rather than twice a month. Would love to not have to go to the grocery store, too!
I also discovered, through an Azure droppoint, that we have a produce delivery co-op very local to us, which I play to try this week if I can. That’s a weekly thing, so if I can do that weekly or semi-weekly, then Costco every 2 months for big staples, then Azure… I’ll be happy with my shopping. Just got to remember to put money aside monthly for bulk purchases.
Trying to get the most for our money here, too. We have a tiny extra freezer, but maybe another one will come our way. Oh, some renters did leave us an apartment sized fridge at our other house… maybe that will work for storing extras like butter, frozen chickens on sale, etc. “Hmm” she said, thinking out loud…
Our family is considering buying a Country Living grain mill with our tax return money! I’d love to hear how you like yours!
Hi there – I started following your blog a couple of weeks ago and just love it! I have a question – I notice you bought some of your produce and potatoes in bulk. Do you just freeze it until you need it? Any special freezing instructions? I really appreciate all your insights. Can’t wait to try some of your recipes!
Well, since we’re a family of six big eaters, we’ll eat all that fresh produce within the month. Sometimes I buy 50 pounds of potatoes at once and if they start sprouting, I make them into frozen hashbrowns like this: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/make-your-own-frozen-hashbrowns
Holly in Virginia says
If you’re an East Coast person, Azure Standard will ship to you but the UPS shipping is VERY expensive! If you are in VA, MD, DE, or NC try http://www.quailcovefarms.com/index.html They don’t have as much selection as Azure Standard, but the basic concept is the same and they are a Christian owned, family run small business! I really like getting my bulk foods from them, I buy bulk flour (saving for a grain grinder) and sucanat, raw vinegar, butter, chicken, and all sorts of other things from them.
Anyone know of anyplace like Azure or Quail Cove Farms that will ship to Ohio?
What kind of butter did you from Azure? What makes it different from grocery store butter? I usually buy Kerrygold, but it is expensive. Thanks.
I get Rumiano Sweet Cream Butter, no salt. I don’t know the ins and outs of that company to know exactly what makes it better than store bought, but it just smells and tastes fresher. It seems more pure overall!
I emailed Azure and asked them about their butter. Unfortunately now I can’t remember what they told me, but I know they contacted the company to ask them if their cows were grass fed or not.
After I received the reply from Azure, I decided that the butter was worth the price. There’s definitely a taste difference between Kerrygold and Rumiano, but there’s no way I can fit Kerrygold into our budget. We go through a lot of butter!
I’m sure if you email Azure they’ll be able to give better details.
I get Kerrygold butter and Trader Joes. If you have one close, might be worth it to check it out. Though when we move there isn’t a TJs close, so I will have to travel a bit to get my butter, but certainly will stock up and make it worth the trip. Just a FYI, I bought Kerrygold before at a health food store and it was $5.99 a pound, at TJs it is $2.49 a pound!
Our Kerrygold is $5.00 for 1/2 pound! Your prices are great. We don’t have a Trader Joes anywhere near where I live.
Is $2.50 the normal price at Trader Joes?? We have one within 50 miles now, but haven’t visited it yet.
Central Oregon Trader Joe’s is $2.69 for 1/2 pound of Kerrygold.
I can’t find the rumiano butter on the Azure website? This is my first time ordering, so I admit to not knowing what I am doing!
Looks like they switched brands! Here’s what I get: http://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/7036/
We just picked up our beef for the year from “our local farmer we love and trust” (my dad!). He gifts us beef every year so I feel really blessed. My husband works for a chicken processing company so we get our chicken from them when they have truck sales. They aren’t organic, but I know everything about the chicken from the moment they’re hatched to when they’re processed and I feel pretty good about that. The rest we get at our local co-op, or the grocery store. I’m actually surprised at how many things are available at our Wal-mart that I used to only be able to get at our co-op.
OH, and Laura, I believe that would be MY box of fuji apples on your table… j/k! All I got yesterday was the in-season apples ~ so I’m glad I ordered a lot. And they are yummy =) My grocery store also just started carrying organic apples… and has had them on sale for $1.19/# the past 3 weeks. Isn’t God good!?!
Oh, sorry I took your apples! We’ll think of you while we eat them!! That is awesome that your store is now carrying organic apples…and at such a great price!
Danielle B says
We’re Costco/and BJ shoppers. Azure doesn’t come to PA. We get some local fruit and veggies in the Summer. What we don’t get at Costco or BJ we go to a local grocery store. I had a HORRIBLE experience w/Walmart and will NEVER EVER step foot inside one again. YUP ONE TIME! It’s all it took! Our budget is around $700/800 a month.
Yes, please do share what kind of butter it is! I’m looking for a good butter to supplement my small stash of raw butter. I used to buy Organic Valley, but now that they won’t allow their farmers to sell raw milk on the side I don’t feel good about buying their products. Their policy seriously threatened the raw milk supply for a lot of people.
I get our groceries from local farmers, UNFI co-op, Country Life co-op, and just a few things from Whole Foods and a local natural food store. Our budget is $1200/month for 5, but I’m trying to decrease it. Milk itself is $133 per month and eggs $48 per month. I definitely envy the prices you get on raw milk!
I get Rumiano Sweet Cream Butter, no salt.
As with some of the other moms, I have a question! :)
Do you know how your friend organized the truck delivery? I’m wondering if Wheat Montana has any coming my way that I could be a part of now that I have a Nutrimill. I buy their wheat at my local Wal-Mart supercenter, but it isn’t the organic (its the no chemical, no GMO) and I pay more than you do for the organic. I’m not complaining too loudly as it costs less by a huge factor than any other places I’ve found, but it would be great to buy the organic and I’m not afraid of 500 pounds at once!
I’m really not sure how it all works…just go to the Wheat Montana website and I believe it may describe how to go about it, or you could contact them. You would just need enough people to divide the amount of wheat with so that it would be affordable!
I just got my first order from azure!!!!! They just started coming to Texas. My question is if you know about how much you spend on food a year? I know it is very hard to tell monthly, but I’m curious if it would average out the same over a years time. I too have 4 boys–a little younger than yours, but they are growing fast. Thanks for all you do.
Hmm…I’ve never figured it out for the year. But I guess since we spend an average of $500/month…that would make it $6000/year.
That is how much I spend now, but it includes dog food, diapers and toiletries. do you lump those type of items with your grocery money? Or is that separate?
We don’t need dog food or diapers, but toiletries, health and beauty items, detergents, etc. come out of a separate budget for us!
Where in Texas do they come? Is it the Dallas area? I live in Amarillo and was hoping that maybe they come to the North Texas area.
They do come to the Dallas area – there are several drop locations out this way now.
You can email Diane at [email protected] to get more info about the locations.
Thanks for the info. I just sent my email. I am in East Texas.
I’m in Houston. Hopefully there is a drop in your area as well.
You can grind your whole corn into corn meal with the Nutrimill also? What brands do you suggest? I will have to check out Wal-Mart for a big bag. Unfortunately we are not on the drop list for Azure Standard. :(
Yep…it works great! I’m not sure what brands are available…I just us the Azure Standard variety.
What about regular corn from a producers grain? This is so wonderful
because we love corn bread and muffins and it seems we are always out
of corn bread mix/ mill because it is sooo expensive.
I know it has to be field (or dent) corn instead of popcorn (which some mills can grind). The nutrimill does great with dent corn – I think I ordered mine from Honeyville but that was before we had an Azure drop point so I haven’t checked there.
I do my groceries in a similar fashion that you do. Monthly Azure order, game meat in the freezer, local milk and eggs, and Costco for their great organics in bulk. I noticed the raw cheddar you ordered from Azure and I just wanted to let you know, in case you don’t already know, that the 5lb. bulk block of white cheddar is cheaper per pound than the 1lb. block and it is so yummy. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and information! Love your blog!
Good to know. Is it the same brand? We really like the flavor of Landmark!
What part of TX are you in? I live in Tyler and was just wondering if the drop site is close.
Way to go, girl! I am very much impressed. Just wondered…how do you make your peanut butter? Do you use a special grinder? Enjoy your food! :-)
Here’s a post describing how I make peanut butter: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/how-to-make-peanut-butter
Sarah @ Mum In Bloom says
I placed my first order with Azure last month and I’m completely hooked. So much so, that I’m the new Drop Coordinator for our area now. We live in a rural area almost an hour from Whole Foods or any such store so organic options are expensive and bulk options come from Sam’s Club. For us, Azure is a much better and more affordable choice. I am going to research your flour company though. I ran out of flour this month and it hurts :(
Thanks for letting us peek at your groceries – I just love hearing how others get their groceries (sounds kinda nerdy, but it’s true!)
I wish Azure was in Tennessee. But I do belong to a food co-op that I just got wheat from for .77 lb. It’s not as cheap as Azure but cheap enough!
It’s at http://www.morningsidefarm.com and they deliver in middle tennessee.
I’m still looking into buying a whole beef so that we can stock up. Don’t have a raw milk supply yet. Here in TN people are not as health conscious as I wish we were! Hopefully we’ll get on the band wagon soon. Our wal’mart barely has any organics. Kroger has a little more so I get things there weekly. I can’t wait to get my garden going soon!
Not sure exactly where you are, but I live in Nashville,
and I just wrote about where I get some of my things here:
I’m going to look up your link to morningsidefarm. Thanks!
Maybe we can keep swapping information! :)
Glad to see your post on items in the TN area! We are in northern middle
TN, too far from Nashville to shop regularly, but not so far that
I don’t ever go! I am fairly limited on the more healthy items as we are not
close to health food stores or even grocery stores that offer good natural options.
I plan to look into morningside soon! If either of you
are in my area, I have a great source here for sweetners (honey,
sucanat, dehydrated cane juice, etc.) and other things. She does wheat
as well, but we haven’t tried that part out yet since I don’t have a wheat
[email protected] says
I wish that raw milk products were not illegal in my state. We just went in half on a pig, even though i cannot stand PIG. It has saved money on meat purchase. Ick. Though. Ick.
Stocking up is something I wish I could do. But with the limited budget…I can only buy what we use in the week and nothing more. I do try to make a little extra of a dish when I can and freeze for a quick meal. BUT fortunetly, and thanks to God, we are moving to the country soon. We are going to be renting a house on a shared 7 acres with my husbands friend (his mom own the property and both homes). And the rent will be whopping $500 (plus a few free months). That is less than half we are paying now, but will be able to have more animals and garden and network (hopefully) with other farmers. I will also use the break in rent to help stock up on food. The only downside of the house, it is a tad smaller and it needs a lot of work. So we work on it everyday and have made great progress, my husband and his friend are working on the roof this weekend. It was bad..leaked alot. But we calculate and know it will be worth it given that we plan to stay awhile.
Our order doesn’t come in until this week. I have mixed feelings. I’m excited always to get this, but dread coming home and putting it away.
Wic is okay, my daughter gets it, but they only let her have low-fat milk and I think that’s not right for her two yr. old.
I felt criminal when I poured him some. I told her that I couldn’t do it again and she ran out and bought him some organic until we could get better.
I found that the apples at Azure are a bit cheaper if buying the apples in season in the 3 lb. bags. I never know which ones I’ll get, but so far have not been disappointed.
Foods don’t always come in, have no idea why. It took me three months to get my sucanat. It was amazing how long I made my little bit last.
Azure is family owned. They only order and stock what they think will
sell fresh. They have in the last two years added many stops and are
adjusting to the new wishes and wants. I always had my stuff until
they added new routes. Be patient, they will catch up with what we like
and keep more in stock of those regular items as they realize the
need for them.
I do what you do but we can’t order from Azure Standard because I am too far east. I tried a co-op but it is a lot of trouble so I go to Trader Joes and such but I can’t get much organic produce in bulk – do you have any alternatives for Azure Standard that would deliver east?
I’m not familiar with what co-ops or bulk grocery options there are outside of my neck of the woods, but if you read through the comments in these posts, you may find someone that has left a comment that lives close to you! https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/feeding-the-family-more-organic-food-resources
So I was making Giant Breakfast cookies yesterday, and ran out of vanilla as I was making them. Ran to the local Piggly Wiggly, purchased a large bottle of vanilla extract, and arrived at home, only to find out I did not have baking soda, but baking powder, b/c I’d used all the baking soda in my baby girl’s bath for her diaper rash. My question, then, is do you stock up on herbs, spices, etc, as well? Or are those generally grocery store purchases? I’m still trying to acclimate myself to using SayMmm for shopping lists, and still need to get in touch with our local co-op for bulk orders.
I stock up on herbs, spices, sea salt, baking powder and soda, etc. also. I usually buy these through Azure Standard. Of course, I don’t always keep track of when I’m getting low and I do sometimes run out and have to run to the store, but usually I buy a large amount and put a smaller amount into a labeled jar. Once I pour the last of my bag into the jar, I know to reorder!
We bake a lot and store large quantities of supplies. We have a
delivery from Azure once a month and one from United Natural Foods
every eight weeks. I keep a list on the frig of what looks low in my
jar as I go along. When it is time to order, I check prices and go
with the lowest. I also chart sales, spices are usually cheapest right
now because spring is around the corner and producers are looking into
storage for next years crop. Baking supplies seem to be cheapest in
October to November, that sort of thing.
I shop much like Laura, except no Azure here. :( We live 3 hours from a city, so I have 600 pounds of wheat, 125 pounds of oats, and numerous other bulk purchases stored. Honeyville Farms retail locations are an excellent source for bulk grains- much cheaper than online. Most of our meat comes from hunting or raising/butchering our own- we’ll be cutting and wrapping our steer in April! :) We grow a huge garden and can/freeze whatever we can. Raw milk is not available here, so it’s storebought until we can get a milk cow. Then I will make all our dairy products. I currently go to town every 2-3 weeks, but when we get a cow, I should be down to a monthly trip. Sam’s Club/Honeyville we usually make 3-4 times a year. I’ve been thrilled with our grocery budget going way down- raising/growing our own food has made a huge difference!
I have been looking into doing some bulk grocery shopping. I would love to jump right in but think it is best if I start small. I was just curious though how you store the produce? I know you have a large family so it may not last as long as it would for my family of 4. I know for the apples I would use some to make applesauce and apple butter and we do love potatoes but just not sure how/where to keep that many.
The 20 pounds of apples are just left in the box in our kitchen. We’ll go through all 20 pounds within the month, so I don’t have to worry about it. Or, if they start to get squishy, I’ll put the rest in the fridge. The potatoes will also be eaten up, but if I ever have potatoes we can’t get to, I make them into hashbrowns: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/make-your-own-frozen-hashbrowns
In general, I only order enough fresh produce to last us for one month. If we happen to not be able to go through it all…I can the extras or freeze them or make them into something (like apple pies!).
Regarding the apples, we generally buy several boxes in the fall and store them in the garage (up off the ground). The variety of apple we get (Idared) stores well and even though the apples freeze sometimes in the winter, I still have edible (slightly soft) apples into June. Unfortunately not this year. We tried a new variety and they spoiled quickly.
Niki Nowell says
I wanted to respond/encourage Samantha but the site wouldn’t let me reply directly to her comment.
We live in a trailer too, so I understand having to get creative with bulk food storage. We have an enclosed patio and though it’s not the ideal place for one, it holds an upright freezer we found on Craigslist for under $100, and it saves us a few thousand dollars a year. We have a very small coat closet inside the front door that we converted for food storage by adding shelving (from free wood on Craigslist). Like Laura, I store most of our food in glass jars. I purged our kitchen and dining room of the dishes and gadgets we rarely use so I could store more jars. I gave up trying to hide all the food in cabinets and pantries, and some of the jars look great out in the open with their different colors. I’m always looking for small space storage ideas because buying food in bulk is one of the best changes our family has made.
Laurell Barton says
Do you know any co-ops like azure that deliver to Georgia. I have found a couple of small ones, but not one that you can order like you can from azure.
Linda D. says
I have some things bulk but I do not have the storage space nor extra freezer space for buying large amounts of anything. I do have quite a bit of meat from Costco in our freezer and just made up 6 pounds of spaghetti meat. I haven’t been able to get my husband to like the whole wheat yet…what are some good websites for a grain mill? do they sell white whole wheat flour that isn’t so dense? I have a lot of dry beans and rice…we buy jasmine rice by the 20 or 25# bag…can’t get my husband on the brown rice either. I am limited by our freezer and storage space but would love to do more…some months I hit a high with buying toilet paper and other similar products in addition to stocking up on meat…I am buying more at Earth Fare or Whole Foods and Costco vs the regular grocery store…actually saving more this way but wish I could do more…
I wonder how you make all of this stuff all the time…it takes time…I make a lot of stuff but you really make a lot of stuff. It is amazing to me!
I’ve been trying this thing lately where I MUST spend at least $20 on produce at our farm co-op every week (prices are half that of the grocery stores too!). I scramble to figure out how we can use it all up without waste. I am joyfully learning though! The surplus of veggies in our lives are really showing on our waistlines and in our energy levels too!
If you are close to the end of the produce items life either freeze
it quick or make soup. All vegetables work in soup and then you won’t
feel guilty for wasting.
http://www.unitedbuyingclubs.com delivers all over the east coast. They have everything! Go to their website to find a drop in your area.
I belong to the United (UNFI) co-op as well. They have bulk for grains, beans, sucanat, etc. And they have all the kinds of things you can get at Trader Joe’s, but for a much better price. They have dairy and frozen items as well. As far as I can tell, they don’t have any fresh produce though. I would love to belong to a co-op that has fresh produce, but Azure doesn’t deliver to Ohio.
Oh, I forgot to add that I bought Organic Valley raw white cheddar cheese in the 5 lb. block from United, and shredded it in my food processor and froze it in 8 oz. portions in Ziploc bags. This has come in handy for so many recipes.
Michele Swingle says
For those who live in the Eastern part of the states.
I get bulk food from Frankferd Farms you can get the information at http://www.farmferd.com. They service PA, WV, parts of OH and VA. We have a homeschool co-op that we order together and get a better rate. I live in South West Virginia.
We also use Azure. United Natural Foods also delivers to our area. We started buying in bulk over 10 years ago. My advice is to just simply stock up on sale items. Instead of 2 cans, get a case or so that way you never have to pay full price for that item. We only by sale items unless it is from our meat guy or our milk gal. By buying extra while it is on sale you can usually store enough till the next time it is on sale. We cook from what we have, not what sounds good. Like Laura we avoid the trips to the store as much as possible, this prevents spontaneous spending because something sounds good at that moment. We save thousands in a year just by only getting sale items and getting everything in bulk. If I shopped just for a week or a couple days at a time I would have to go back to work outside of the home to pay for the difference it would cost us.
Do you have to have some kind of business or wholesale license to buy from United Natural Foods? I see they deliver close to my area, but it doesn’t look like just anyone can order from them.
Your right about buying ahead on sale items. In it’s way, it makes meal planning a bit easier for me. This is our pantry/freezer items so this is what we are going to make.
A group of us formed a buying club. We get discounts if our minimum
group order stays at a certain level. My club gets 10% savings. We
have 15 families that order together. We work in teams for drop off
days. Each team splits the cases that we choose to spilt when it is
their turn to work and it only takes us about an hour to ‘break down’
as we call it. We tell the non-working teams to pick up about 2 hours
after deliver arrives. I work only when it is my teams turn, so
depending on group size you work every other or every third time.
I cook the same way. We “shop” the freezer every Monday and plan our
weekly meals. Call the company and see about setting up a buying club.
Our club charged a 3% mark up for new members for the first couple
years to cover bags for split items, tape for our family signs and
that sort of thing. We also split the fuel sur-charge between those
Malissa C. says
I am SOOO excited right now! I have been following you for about a month now, and love love love your recipes and philosophies! I usually have to go to three or four stores every week to purchase whole foods – although usually not organic, due to the price – every week. After this post I decided to check again to see if Azure Standard was delivering to Colorado Springs yet, and THEY ARE!!!! YAY YAY YAY!!! This saves me time and money, plus I can now afford organic:) Thank you so much for sharing them with us. Now I just have to find people to share a bulk wheat purchase with…once I started cooking from scratch my family just doesn’t like store bought baked items anymore.
I am also so excited that Azure Standard has a drop in Amarillo on Soncy Rd.!! I also see that they sell wheat berries. In the past I have just ordered Praire Gold from Natural Grocers and they cost around $20 for 25 lbs. I see that Azure also sells them for a whole lot less. Have you tried them? What is the difference in Hard White Winter Wheat and Soft White Winter Wheat?
Soft white winter wheat is considered pastry flour; it is not suitable for yeast breads, only for quick breads. I have tried both and don’t care for the soft white wheat- it seems to make everything very crumbly. I’ve gone back to using hard white wheat for all my baking.
Thank you. This is helpful.
I’ve tried Azure Standard’s wheat and it’s great!
Linda D. says
Does anyone know of a co op drop group in South Carolina around the Greenville/Spartanburg area?
Linda D. says
Just out of curiosity, where do you live? The state? The south is a little hard to figure out all the new places that have more organic meat, dairy, produce, co op bulk buys, etc…Can you point me in a direction?
I live in Nebraska. Look up LocalHarvest.com to see what might be available where you are!
We have been buying from Azure Standard out here in Washington for awhile now and even though I don’t always get all of my items, I think the trade off is well worth it. We love, love, love them and appreciate you, Laura for turning us on to such a treasure. Thanks!
I feel like we have so much in common. I also have four boys who are ages almost 5 – almost 13. I have a question about your homemade peanut butter that I’m sure you’ve answered before, but I haven’t found it. Do you use roasted, unsalted peanuts or salted peanuts?
I use organic roasted.
Laura, I think you should look into setting up a tab that people could add places they buy organic foods from. That seems to be a frequent question you get. Maybe divide it into regions. Just a thought, I am sure it would take a little (or a lot) of work. In Denver we use Golden Organics. They sell bulk organic grains and lots of organic spices and sweeteners. I also read that they deliver, I Do not know where though. We just bought organic sucanat and I was wondering, is it more like brown sugar or white sugar? I noticed you seem to interchange them, does sucanat work for both types of sugars?
That’s a good idea…I’ll have to look into seeing how I can do that!
Sucanat replaces white or brown sugar. I use it anytime a recipe calls for either one. Sucanat really has a look all it’s own and doesn’t resemble white or brown sugar really.
I have also been buying the Azure Rumiano butter. However, it doesn’t really give a guarantee of coming from pastured cows, and Rumiano’s website says nothing about their butter. Have you researched this?
I notice you buy unsalted. Could you explain why?
I decided to answer my own question. I e-mailed Rumiano and found that the butter they sell to Azure is not even theirs, and is made by a huge dairy co-op, California Dairies, which makes no claims to pastured cows. I am so disappointed that I’ve been buying this butter that is in fact no more healthy than what I could buy at Aldis.
Here is the quote from Rumiano: Thank you for contacting us regarding our butter. I apologize for the confusion but we distribute butter to Azure Standard from another manufacture, which is California Dairies Inc. The butter is labeled as Rumiano is not made by us. We do have pasture based butter that is sold in our retail store at our plant and can be purchased by calling our toll free number Monday-Friday 9-5:00PM at 866-328-2433. All of our milk comes from small family owned dairies that allow access to pasture year-round. The cows average 300+ days on pasture and you can see it in the color of our products with the rich natural yellow color. I’m not aware of any 100% pasture based dairies other than in New Zealand, though we are close because it doesn’t snow here. We also have organic cheese and butter products which are the first in the world to be Non-GMO verified. Please check us out on http://www.facebook.com/rumianocheese for more information, articles, and photos about our company.
I buy unsalted because I think most recipes call for that. If you use salted you have no idea how much salt is in your recipe and whether you should add more or skip it. I prefer to choose if I use salt and what kind and amount. That’s my personal thoughts though, I’m sure there are more expert opinions out there.
Since I’ve been on a whole foods diet I’ve used only celtic salt for myself. I hadn’t used salt for years believing it would cause me to have high blood pressure. My mother, sister and brother are all on heavy BP meds, and I was working hard to avoid that. I was keeping it maintained somewhat, but a month ago when I had an allergic reaction and the paramedics arrived, one good thing. My blood pressure was 125/80 and I’m 54. I really believe the celtic salts and my whole foods diet has done the trick. The bad news, I’m allergic to raw honey and bee propolis and I just had received my 1 gal. of raw honey from Azure. I’m laughing at the irony, but so sad when I look at that honey on my pantry.
looks great! Because of how our budget is set up (we follow DR and have an all cash/envelope system), I cannot get more than one month’s grocery money at a time-which is currently $340 for our family of five. So I’m not able to buy large bulk purchases like this yet, but I have found that Costco has some really good prices on organic items. I can spend $200 a month of my allotted grocery money there, and get my weekly/monthly needs plus stock up on some things for later months. The remaining $140 I use for small trips to get produce at Meijer, but as soon as the farmers markets and U Pick farms open back up in the summer, I’ll stop going to Meijer and hit the markets for our produce :)
And I’ve also started using my swagbucks to get bulk organic food off of Amazon-next week I’ll be getting organic oatmeal and popcorn kernels :)
And I’m starting a container garden this spring too-first time I’ve ever gardened and I’m so excited to try it!
I do something similar, except slightly cheaper. I hit loss leaders at stores, hit the u-pick and other local farmers hard in season, get bulk deals like a 1/4 cow or 40-80lbs of fresh chicken at a time, and use my freezer, canners and pantry in a way that could either make my Depression-era grandmothers proud or a little afraid. :D It’s nice to rarely run out of something – last minute grocery store runs aren’t an emergency like they once were.
adam's wife says
when you make your mayo – try adding lime juice instead of lemon. it makes a wonderful tasting batch of mayonnaise. you’ll just love it.
Sarah @ Mum In Bloom says
I posted what I received on our February order today. How blessed we are to have Azure Standard delivering in Kansas :)
Do you have a back-up system for your freezers?
I was doing really well stocking up on food and freezing it and then the breaker on the freezer was tripped and we didnt know about it until it was too late and lost everything.
Then, just as I started to get a good stock going again, we had an ice storm last week.
So frustrating and expensive.
I would love to buy in bulk, but only have a small freezer above the fridge. We are very energy efficient in the way we run our home, which is largly why we don’t have a large freezer. Does anyone have comments on how much they think it costs them per month to run a large deep freeze?
I don’t really have numbers, per se. We had been borrowing an old large chest freezer from a friend, and noticed a sharp increase in our power bill (dare I say $20-$30/month?). We then decided that we should afford to purchase a new, energy efficient one, and it made a big difference. Couple an energy efficient freezer with the savings of being able to buy in bulk, and I think it’s worth the plunge.
We bought a used upright freezer for $70 and got rid of our old freezer that was 25-30 years old and our electricity use actually went down. So I don’t think a freezer has to be brand new to be somewhat efficient. You can get some good deals on Craigslist and the freezer might not even be that old. I recommend that every family own a freezer. We have saved thousands and thousands of dollars in our 36 year marriage. :o)
I get organic butter at Costco for $6.89 for 2 lbs. Pretty good price!
Kate B says
We shop like this too. A little Azure, a little farmer’s market, a little local food co-op, a little grocery store. All supplemented by our gardens and chickens and goats. We are still working on trying to figure out a budget and make it work. Right now we are in a long term stock up phase and within the last few monthes have mostly given up eating out and boxed type convenience foods so we are still working it out as well as trying to get used to making nearly all meals from scratch. Sounds like you have it all down pat.
Joy at The Liberated Kitchen says
We’re big on bulk shopping, too! One of the biggest hurdles to getting started with bulk buying is handling those expenses when you’re still shopping at stores for most of your food. I’ve just started a series on how to do it:
We spend more than you because we are now grain free. Back when we ate grains we actually had the bill well under $500 a month. Now it’s more like $1000. But still, that’s not too bad for a family of 4 with two growing tweens! (Not to mention the critters we keep around)
Just thought I would mention…Laura…thank you for recommending Hain’s Safflower Mayo. We really like it. The kids haven’t liked my attempts at mayo yet so this is a great alternative. Also I have found that I can reuse the jar as a canning jar. I’m sure it’s not recommended by the manufacturer to reuse the jars but for 10 min for pickles it has been perfect….and cute too! I love that the only trash it creates is the lid and seal. :)