Savings challenge: Eat local, seasonal produce

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Summer is nearly here, and grocery stores are bursting with fruits and vegetables. Some of the produce may be from farms nearby, while some could be from another continent. With the bountiful summer produce rolling in and prices dropping, is it possible to save money by choosing only locally grown food?

“It can be, but isn’t always,” says Kerri-Ann Jennings, a registered dietitian, nutrition consultant and health writer in Vermont.

“In terms of flavor and quality, I would argue that buying in season, locally is generally the best way to go,” she says.

Though produce in season will nearly always be cheaper, the economics of buying locally grown food are complicated. Specialization and economies of scale can drive down the cost of veggies grown for larger shipments. But cost is not always the most important aspect of food. Taste, for many, is even more important than cost, and some locally grown produce will just always be better.

Each week, one of Bankrate’s personal finance reporters is investigating new ways to save and chronicling the journey. This week, I tried to buy only local produce to see what would happen to my budget.

Read on to find out.