Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

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Quality Versus Cost

How do you shop for food? Is it for quality, looking for the best in produce and protein and getting to know their source?  Or is it based on price, trying to make your grocery budget go the farthest?  Are the two incompatible?price_is_what_you_pay__value_is_what_you_get__by_lord_nothing-d4r2lly

There have been a few times when my food shopping budget was lower than low and I was thankful that there was an Aldi nearby. A Midwestern chain with the parent company in Germany, Aldi is a small grocery store that has no-name store brand canned and packaged goods, produce and and meats. Sometimes there are name brand items on deep discount. Sometimes there are nonfood items for your home or usable as gifts, also with deep discounts.  It also has stollen in December.

shopping cartYou need a quarter to release the grocery cart from the corral and you need to bring your own bags or boxes. Expect a long check-out line because there are only a couple of employees, but hey! the cost is low because of that also.  So be prepared and be patient.

mature green beansPrices are low because things are not always equivalent to name brand quality. I had an issue with the canned green beans personally. When I served them as a side dish they were “woody”…..a bit too thick and chewy. Now that I am working on a farm picking green beans I know how that happens. When a bean is not picked at the right time and allowed to get over-mature, the fibers get tougher. When I used the canned beans in a stew, the extra cooking time seemed to help break down that toughness and the beans had better texture.  But back at the factory, farmers bringing over mature beans for processing do not get as much money for their product as beans in prime condition. This is one way Aldi keeps their prices low.

While they don’t have the best mouth texture, however, they are still nutritious.  Cooking from scratch always provides better nutritional value than microwaving a frozen something in a cardboard box.  So, even if your food budget is tight, you can have a quality meal when you take the time to cook.

Also check out the farmers’ market in season. You will be surprised how much food you can purchase with the same amount of money.buy local