smart spending

Price war: 5 ways to fight food inflation

Stick to seasonal fruits and veggies
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Stick to seasonal fruits and veggies

If you're craving fresh summer fruit such as blueberries and mangoes but it's December, hold off on the purchase. Buy produce when it's in season. You'll save money because the product wasn't shipped from halfway around the world.

"We've gotten to the point with transportation technology that we can get whatever we want from anywhere in the world at any time," Beggs says. "It's just a matter of how much it costs."

Fresh-vegetable prices decreased at a pace of 3.6 percent this June over last year, and fresh fruit is up 3.3 percent from last year, according to the USDA. So to fight food inflation on produce, shop for what's "seasonally strong," Volpe says.

When the weather turns chilly, it's not only your cue to get ready for the holidays. You should know to purchase pears, turnips, grapefruit and collard greens in the winter, according to the Fruits & Veggies More Matters website.

Buy oranges, asparagus, broccoli and corn in the spring, and cranberries, grapes, mushrooms, squash, pineapple, pears and sweet potatoes in the fall. Summer produce includes berries, bell peppers, cantaloupe, eggplant, peaches and tomatoes.

Don't be afraid to take a step beyond the grocery store to buy local, cheap and in season. Visit LocalHarvest.org to find farmers markets and community-supported agriculture, Kay says.


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