It is Valentine’s Day today, so it is a good time to write about my one true organic food store love, Vitacost.com
It is always a good day when I receive a big, fat order from Vitacost. I love this online store so very much. As a consumer of organic products and supplements, it is often difficult to source the specialty products that I want and they can be pricey. While I like to support my local suppliers, I live in a somewhat rural area with access to only one natural foods store. My local store has a limited selection and can have a very steep markup. Vitacost offers me a wide variety of packaged organic and natural foods, supplements and herbs, cleaning supplies, personal care and even pet products, which I can keep in a shopping list, order at very fair prices and have delivered to my door in a couple of days.
Vitacost’s online store is well designed and has a very functional search feature. The shipping is amazingly fast and inexpensive. Living in Hawaii, shipping is a major issue. Many online retailers will not ship here at all or they charge a shipping surcharge that is cost preventative. Vitacost charges a flat rate of $10 to Hawaii and is free to the continental US over a certain purchase point. Considering my orders are often 40-50 lbs, this is a good deal. Shipping is fast! Processed within hours and shipped via air shipping, my orders arrive in a couple of days. Selection is fantastic and their is a product request form to request items they do not carry. I have submitted a few requests, I will keep you updated on whether they add them to their catalog at some point.
And yes, you now know my dirty little secret. I don’t make everything from scratch. I love these Late July Organic crackers and a I have a couple of other packaged food weaknesses. For the most part I avoid any packaged food, but sometimes having a cracker with soup is just the best thing. My diet is not so rigid that I don’t bend the rules on occasion and Late July is one of those brands that I enjoy.
The other really nice thing about the Vitacost site is that it is targeted at health minded people who want to know the full ingredient list of every product. In the item details section there are several tabs of info about each item and this includes the nutrition facts panel, ingredients list, the company product statement and a pretty decent user product review section.
And just to let you all know, this post is not sponsored and this site is not affiliated in any way with Vitacost.com. This is just a testimonial based upon personal experience.
Items I usually order at Vitacost.com:
Bulk Organic Spices – You would not believe how cheaply you can buy a 1lb versus a few ounces in a spice jar. Buying spices in bulk really makes sense
Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk
Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk Light - I use this exclusively as a creamer for my coffee. It does not clot like full fat coconut milk will in coffee. It is affordable and shelf stable.
Organic Soy Sauce
Organic Bread Crumbs
Organic Late July Crackers
Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix
Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap
Kirk’s Castile Bar Soap
Organic Vanilla Extract
Vitacost is a great place for organic supplements. I purchase most of my supplements here now. I also buy my essential oils and other household items.
What you may not know about Amazon is that they have a pretty big selection of food products in their gourmet food section. You can find organic spices, bulk organic grain, rice, beans. Also packaged foods like crackers, chips and even canned goods. My favorite thing is to get the bulk grains shipped with the Amazon free shipping.
Great River Organic Soft White Wheat Berries 50lbs, also available in 25 lbs
Great River Steel Cut Oats 25 lbs
Madhava Organic Coconut Sugar 16-Ounce (Pack of 6) I love this coconut sugar and Amazon has the best price that I have found for Coconut Sugar
Costco is actually a great place to pick up organic foods. They have a limited selection, but quite a few basic items. Although I love pasture butter, when you do a lot of baking the price point of Costco’s Kirkland Signature Organic Butter is very appealing. My FAVORITE thing that Costco carries is the Carrington Farms Organic Coconut oil in 54oz size. This is a great product and the price is soooo good here. I stock up on this just in case they ever stop carrying it, in which case I will weep.
Here is the list of items I buy at Costco every couple of weeks:
Organic Eggs (The chickens are producing and I have farm eggs in the fridge!)
Organic Canned Tomatoes- Sauce, Paste and Crushed
Organic Olive Oil
Organic Beef/Chicken Stock
Organic Tortilla Chips
Organic Coconut Oil
Organic Frozen Blueberries, Acai Berries, Berry Blend
Organic Cane Sugar
Organic Almond Butter
Other cost saving ideas:
Buy in bulk at your local health food store: Bulk foods are a great cost saving solution. You can pick up bulk flour, oats, wheat berries, even chocolate chips at big cost savings. Be cautious that your store is selling reputable bulk products as not all products are created equal and the bulk aisle offers little product information for each item. To be labelled “organic” does not mean that a product is 100% organic ingredients. It is good to familiarize yourself with the products and ask the store about the bulk items you are buying so you are not inadvertently purchasing products that contain ingredients that you do not care for.
Find you local farmer’s markets and get to know the vendors
I just love our local farmer’s market. Every Sunday morning the day starts with a trip to the market. We stop off and talk to our fisherman and pick up some of his fresh catch. We head over to our local bakery’s booth and get a loaf of kalamata rosemary sourdough or a challah for French Toast. There are tons of fresh fruits and talking to the growers you learn a lot about the products. I needed some oranges to make a citrus fish marinade, when I told the guy what I was using it for he recommended the best oranges for juicing, helped me pick out the largest oranges and charged me $1 for 4 large oranges. You simply cannot beat the farmer’s market for price, for selection of organic produce and because it feels good to know the people you are buying from.
CSA- Community Supported Agriculture allows you to subscribe to a co-op of locally produced foods. You get a box of whatever is currently being harvested by the farms in your area. There is usually a mix and probably items you would not have normally purchased. This is a great way to get organic produce, support your local growers and also expand your experience with new foods. Having some fresh leeks means you might try out a leek soup or look up leek recipes on Pinterest. It is a fun way to push your boundaries.
Research for Producers of Specific Items You Use
Your grocery store is NOT the only place to get food. Don’t feel like you are stuck with the products on the shelves. There are tons of food producers who would love to have new customers. For example, I wanted to find a good source for grass fed beef in my area. Our local grocery store sells a very limited selection at a very high price. I got online and did my research,. In my area Big Island Beef sells local grass fed beef. I found the phone number and called them directly and asked where all I could purchase their product. It turns out that they have a little local retail outlet where you can place orders at their distributor pricing and pick up in their outlet. I can order almost any cut that I want, in any quantity and in 24 hours be able to pick up local grass fed beef for MUCH less than GMO-corn fed beef. It just came down to research. You can find local eggs, raw milk, goat cheese, honey, really all sorts of goods, by just putting in the foot work and reaching out to the producers. Trust me, they will love to hear from you.
Do you have other ideas for cost savings? I want to hear!! Leave me a comment so I can include in my own process.