Foraging for Free Food – Where to Find the Good Stuff

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Foraging for Free Food – Where to Find the Good Stuff

Have you ever wanted to go foraging for food but didn’t know where to start?  Now, there is a map that shows you all of the places around the world that you can score free food.  NPR featured an article recently that told about how two committed foragers created a map of the world that leads you to places with public fruit trees, free veggies–and for the really brave, dumpsters with a steady supply of food.  Fallingfruit.org even allows locals to add to the map as they find free food sources.

At first, I thought this was going to be a dumpster diving sort of deal, but when I clicked on the map, there are tons of fruit trees on public land, blackberry locations, and really fun not-so-common scores, like currants.

And the best part?  It’s totally FREE.  Woohoo!

In the land of plenty, foraging just got a little bit easier.

~Mavis

Backyard Foraging 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Food Waste In America – Would You Eat This?

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food waste in america

I just about passed out when I saw all the free produce boxes this week.

For those of you who don’t know already, this all started a little over a year ago when I walked in to our local grocery store and asked one of the produce guys {whom I refer to as Mr. Produce Guy} if I could stop by once a week and pick up some vegetable scraps for my chickens.

Although he was a little hesitant at first, he finally agreed {others had promised to pick up scraps but never showed, or they would come only a handful of times and then stop coming and leave him with rotting produce sitting in the back}.

blueberries in clam shells

Since then, {with the exception of a few times when we were on vacation}, we have picked up the produce as agreed to each week {I’ve always let him know ahead of time if I was not going to be able to pick it up}.

ears of corn

The salvaged produce we bring home is taken off the shelf the same morning we pick it up. The produce is simply the cast offs from the produce department as they re-stock their shelves and pick over their produce for their customers each morning.

raspberry with mold

After all fresh, quality produce sells. Bruised, expired, and moldy berries do not.

food waste in america free food

For those of you wondering why don’t they just pick through the containers and pull out the stuff that’s still edible, the answer is easy. It’s more cost productive for the store to just throw it away.

food waste in america garbage

Some stores compost their produce, some are willing to give it to food banks if they will pick it up, and others simply toss it in a dumpster. Each store if different.

Food waste in America pictures

My store lets me pick up the scraps. And I’m grateful. I cannot imagine how much all of this food would have cost had my family if I would have had to pay for it.

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past year?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you have just stumbled upon this series and are wondering how I got all this food for free, you’ll want to read this story first.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mondays with Mavis – How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month

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pine apple carrots bananas

Fred Meyer $11.76

Fred Meyer had pineapples on sale for a buck a piece this past week. How could I pass that one up? I also grabbed a few bananas for Monkey boy and some carrots for snacking and soups.

I am beginning to think our shopping habits are weird. After looking at this weeks photos of the food I purchased four our family, from the outside looking in, we look like a bunch of vegetarian health nuts.

Am I the only one who thinks this? Well, in case you missed it, we do eat other things besides pineapples and carrot sticks. I posted a show and tell of what we’ve been eating lately. While it wasn’t super exciting, it just goes to show that if you are patient and stock up when things go on sale, and make a lot of things from scratch, you can still feed your family really well on a budget.

red peppers

Safeway $5

Red peppers. Safeway had those on sale for $0.50 each. They sale is good through tomorrow so I think I’ll go back and grab a few more and freeze them to use later in the summer in some stir-fry dishes.

target market pantry milk

Target $5.58

I ran in for sharpies and grabbed 2 gallons of milk while I was in there.

food waste in America dumpster diving

There was also quite a bit of free fruits and veggies we got for free from Mr. Produce Guy.

fresh eggs

And of course, lot’s of fresh eggs and produce from our backyard garden.

How did you do with your grocery budget this past week? Did you stock up on pineapples or anything else this week?

Mavis wants to know. :)

Total Spent This Week $22.34

Total Spent This Year $1,025.57

Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $893.99 {I bought a Meyer Lemon Tree, Rhubarb crowns, 6 Fruit Trees , 16 yards of soil}, Walla Walla Onions and 90 pounds of seed potatoesPlus, supplies to make my own potting soil. I also picked up a boatload of heirloom tomato plants at the Seattle Tilth sale.

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Food Waste In America – Is it Trash or Treasure?

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food waste in America

This past week we found quite a few treats in the fresh produce boxes we picked up from Mr. Produce Guy. Now that summer is right around the corner I have  feeling we’ll be seeing lot’s of watermelon and tropical fruits in the scrap boxes we pick up every week for our backyard chickens.

green pear

Slightly bruised pears don’t bother me one bit.

pineapple smoothie

I simply turn them into smoothies. Pineapple + Pears+ Ice = Perfection.

food waste in America dumpster diving

$20 worth of free produce plus a boatload more for my chickens, heck ya I’ll take it!

sliced fruit

It all looks the same once it’s sliced up and in the refrigerator.

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past year?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you have just stumbled upon this series and are wondering how I got all this food for free, you’ll want to read this story first.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mondays with Mavis – How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month

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mondays with mavis butterfield

What a crazy week it’s been with Ryan, Amberlina and Lola in town for the Mother Earth News Fair. I was so busy this past week that grocery shopping kind of took a back seat and freezer meals and crock pot dinners were on the menu quite a bit. I did manage to snap some pictures though of the meals we ate so as soon as I get some extra time, I’ll be posting those so you can see what the heck we ate.

I need to make a run to the store today to stock up on milk and a few other things but here is what I purchased this past week:

costco butter and whipping cream

Costco – $15.78

Have you seen the weather forecast? It’s suppose to be in the 70′s all week up here in the Pacific Northwest so ice cream is clearly on the menu. And butter? I don’t think I could live with out it. ;)

Fred Meyer Shopping trip

Fred Meyer $8.41

I grabbed a few boxes of cereal for the kids and a bunch of Fred Meyer yogurt that was on sale for $0.40 each. Have you tried it yet? The HH really liked it.

food waste in America pictures

Mr. Produce Guy – FREE

Free corn and broccoli, heck ya I’ll take it!

Last week we also enjoyed a boatload of eggs as well as fresh radishes and herbs from our little backyard homestead. Being able to walk out the pack door and pick something is pretty neat-o if you ask me.

~Mavis

Total Spent This Week $ 24.91
Total Spent This Year $1,003.23
Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $893.99 {I bought a Meyer Lemon Tree, Rhubarb crowns, 6 Fruit Trees , 16 yards of soil}, Walla Walla Onions and 90 pounds of seed potatoesPlus, supplies to make my own potting soil. I also picked up a boatload of heirloom tomato plants at the Seattle Tilth sale.

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

What Should America Do with Their Food Waste?

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food waste in america

A big thanks to One Hundred Dollars a Month reader Em who sent me an article from the L.A. Times, with this description,

“Mavis, I thought you’d be interested in this article on how a grocery store chain is using unsold produce.”

Umm, yes, yes, I am interested. We’ve been collecting “unsold produce” for just over a year now. Each week my daughter and I sort through the fruits and vegetables, keeping some for ourselves and feeding the rest of the quality produce to our chickens. When we come across something that’s past it’s prime, we simply compost it in our backyard. We then work the compost into our soil in late fall after all our crops have been harvested.

But the article Em sent me describes how one store is taking care of their food waste differently.

ear of corn

Ralph’s Food Stores are using their unsold leftovers to convert them into a methane producing sludge that generates power to their 359 stores in Southern California.

There is a lot of detail to the how, but the basic idea is that they take the food they cannot sell {wrappers and all} and put it into a huge composting facility, which turns it into liquid sludge and deprives the sludge of oxygen.  Without oxygen, the sludge produces methane gas, which in turn powers the stores.

The whole process appears to have very little waste, because they use the leftover sludge as fertilizer.

food waste in America pictures

What do you think?  It is a responsible way to manage food waste?

Do you think there is really one simple solution to food waste in America?

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past year?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you have just stumbled upon this series and are wondering how I got all this food for free, you’ll want to read this story first.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mondays with Mavis – How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month

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albertsons shopping trip

I only went to the store once last week, but here’s what I picked up:

Albertsons $16.98

I ran in for milk and weenies {for the boys} and was cruising past the meat section to look for manager markdowns when I spotted $3.00 off stickers on a couple of packages of chicken thighs and drumsticks. Normally I just stick to Zaycon boneless chicken breasts but decided to pick up the discounted meat on a whim. Stay turned for some recipes.

food waste in america pictures

Mr. Produce Guy – FREE

Seriously, who needs to shop at the grocery store when you can get all of this fresh produce for free? I made a few loaves of banana bread, grilled some corn, made a blackberry cobbler, whipped up a batch of strawberry smoothies, used the tomatoes for chicken soft tacos and snacked on everything else.

fresh rhubarb

Farmer Ted – FREE

The Handsome Husband came home with a 30 pound box of free rhubarb for me.  His co-worker Farmer Ted had given it to him. Ted knows I’m all into gardening and growing food and thought I’d like to have a box. But 30 pounds? Holy stalks! What am I suppose to do with all of it?

I did end up giving about 10 pounds of it away to my neighbor Hudla, she has guests this week so I’ll have to find out what she’s doing with hers, unless YOU have some recipes for me. I know a rhubarb crisp is on the menu but I’ll have to do some digging in my cookbooks to see what else I can whip up.

Please, if you have any suggestions, let me know.

Total Spent This Week $16.98
Total Spent This Year $979.04

Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $893.99 {I bought a Meyer Lemon Tree, Rhubarb crowns, 6 Fruit Trees , 16 yards of soil}, Walla Walla Onions and 90 pounds of seed potatoesPlus, supplies to make my own potting soil. I also picked up a boatload of heirloom tomato plants at the Seattle Tilth sale.

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Food Waste In America – Saving Fruits and Vegetables From the Dumpster

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food waste in America

It was another fantastic week gleaning from the free chicken scrap boxes.

puggle puppy

Lucy discovered she likes watermelon!

food waste in america strawberries

There were so many strawberries to go through this week it was crazy! We made a few smoothies and ended up freezing the rest to use later in the year. If I remember correctly this is around the time we start to see a lot of those giant California strawberries start to hit the stores.

Lucky for us they have a pretty short shelf life so we are able to fill our freezer up all summer long with “seconds” to enjoy during the winter months.

spotted bananas

Spotted bananas. Who wants to buy those? No one apparently. But we love them. Here is a recipe for banana pancakes. Make a stack of those and they’ll fill you up until lunch.

corn on the cob

Check out the corn. We pulled the husks back and a few of them looked great.

mutant corn

Others, not so much.

food waste in america pictures

This is the food we kept for ourselves and the rest went to the chickens.   The hens will pretty much eat anything but they really love pecking and the corn and lettuce.

What a bounty and all for free thanks to Mr. Produce Guy.

If I had to guess, I’d save that’s about $30 of fresh fruits and vegetables for free. What do you think?

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past year?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you have just stumbled upon this series and are wondering how I got all this food for free, you’ll want to read this story first.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mondays with Mavis – How to Feed Your Family for $100 a Month

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mondays-with-mavis

I stopped by Albertsons twice this week to grab some deals. I’ll admit it, one of the things I miss about Extreme Couponing and Albertsons Double Coupons {do you think they’ll ever come back?} is being able to stock up on boatloads of stuff in one shopping trip.

Even though it was a lot of work to gather all the coupons, calculate the deals and wait in line, it was kind of fun to come home with a car load of food for under $5. But them again, we are eating a lot healthier now and growing more of our own fruits and vegetables so there is really a lot less to buy.

I only had 2 shopping trips this week:

albertsons english muffins

Albertsons – $2.39

English muffins were only $0.50 a bag so I grabbed two of them plus some sour cream for the Asparagus Salad I made the other day.
albertsons shopping trip

Albertsons – $13.77

I can explain. Ha!

I picked up 30 {yes 30!} boxes of cake mix and 9 boxes of brownie mix for a committee event. I have a $100 budget to provide dessert for 600 people and Albertsons had a deal that if you bought particular items in sets of 10, you could get them for only $.49 a box.

Now, you and I both know cupcakes and brownies taste better from scratch, but if you had to provide dessert for 600 people would you make them from scratch, or go the boxed route. Hmmm. It’s a tough one, I know.

Because I am being reimbursed for the items I buy for the dessert I am not including them in my total.

I paid $13.77 for 2 gallons of milk, 20 boxes of pasta {I think I’ve got enough now to last me the rest of the year} mustard for $0.19 and a free jar of pickles {Vlasic coupon NLA}.

food waste in America

Mr. Produce Guy – Free

Last week I hit the jackpot. There was a little of everything. Bananas for power smoothies, broccoli for stir-fry and broccoli salad, plenty of fruit for breakfast, corn for the grill lot’s of other goodness. Between the garden, Mr. Produce Guy and my bulk purchases, I rarely have to buy anything these days.

Total Spent This Week $16.16

Total Spent This Year $962.06

Total Spent This Year on Garden Seeds/Supplies $893.99 {I bought a Meyer Lemon Tree, Rhubarb crowns, 6 Fruit Trees , 16 yards of soil}, Walla Walla Onions and 90 pounds of seed potatoesPlus, supplies to make my own potting soil. I also picked up a boatload of heirloom tomato plants at the Seattle Tilth sale.

Go HERE to read more Shopping Trip Stories.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Food Waste in America – What Does it Look Like

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food waste in America

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past year from picking up free chicken scraps at our local grocery store, it’s that you never know what, or how much produce you are going to go home with on any given week.

We picked up 3 boxes of produce that was headed for the dumpster and were thrilled with what we found. Hiding under the heads of organic lettuce and asparagus were quite a few treasures.

do dogs eat letuce

Is it me, or does Lucy look like a stuffed dog right here? The dog will eat anything I tell you. Anything. She even ate fennel for Pete’s sake! Lucy is totally nuts.

ears of corn and tomatoes

At the bottom of one of the boxes was a bunch of corn. As I was pulling back the husks to see if any of them were keepers, I started to wonder where the corn came from. What state/country has corn in season right now? Does anyone know?

mutant corn

Clearly, no one was going to buy this mutant ear of corn.

food waste in America

Holy crack.  Look at all the goodness. Chard, asparagus, corn, broccoli, melon, pineapple, carrots, lettuce, peppers, radishes, cabbage and beets. I’m not sure what the retail value on all this is, but since it was going to be thrown out, I’m glad we were able to save it.

chicken scraps

And the chickens were happy with their boxes of scraps this week too.

Thank you Mr. Produce Guy!

What do YOU think about all this food waste? If your local market gave away their scraps would you take them?

~Mavis

Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past year?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you have just stumbled upon this series and are wondering how I got all this food for free, you’ll want to read this story first.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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