So Wal-Mart says it’s going to lower prices of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Produce is cheap, America

Pamela Riemenschneider
Aisle Wandering

If their efforts are successful, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company says it can save its 140 million customers “approximately $1 billion per year on fresh fruit and vegetables.”

I think the problem here is that consumers don’t realize — or refuse to come to grips with the fact — that fruits and vegetables are already cheap.

We’re too lazy to take advantage of the great deals we can find in the produce department because we don’t want to take the time to plan and prepare meals that make the most of our grocery budgets.
 
Or maybe we’re not educated enough to use what we’ve got.

I’ve got a crisper drawer full of two-week-old clementines that snicker at me every time I open the fridge.

I wasted the $7 I spent on them because I chose to eat some other snack instead of finishing what I’d already bought. That, and the 2-year-old in the house decided grapefruit was his new must-have snack.

Look around

I took a look at this week’s grocery ads after I read the news about Wal-Mart lowering prices.

This week, in Austin, Texas, I can get:

  • A cantaloupe for 98 cents;
  • A pound of strawberries for $1.88;
  • A pound of sweet potatoes for 47 cents;
  • Six — SIX — hearts of romaine for $2.97;
  • Organic gala apples for 98 cents a pound;
  • A grapefruit for 25 cents;
  • A pound of navel oranges for 69 cents;
  • A bagged salad for 99 cents;
  • Kiwifruit 3 for $1;
  • Celery for 99 cents;
  • Asparagus for $1.37 a pound;
  • Bell peppers for 77 cents each; and
  • Winter squash for 88 cents a pound.

This is just a sampling from H.E. Butt, Randall’s and Sprouts Farmers Market. There are several other stores, including Target and Wal-Mart, to choose from.

Come on, folks, how is this a budget buster?

Value-conscious

Moreover, if I were really serious about getting the most value out of the food I buy, I wouldn’t just be looking for a great deal at the store.

One of my favorite co-ops, The Wedge in Minneapolis, shared a link on Twitter that I thought was a fantastic way to stretch your grocery dollar.

It’s Expendable Edibles, which bills itself as “Gourmet Recipes for Perfectly Good Food.”

You can search for recipes based on several categories:

  • Stems, Skins & Stalks;
  • Past Peak;
  • Once Cooked;
  • Negligible Quantities;
  • Ill-fated Creations; and
  • Nearly Expired.

Maybe I can find some ideas there to shut up the snickering clementines in my crisper.

E-mail pamelar@thepacker.com

What's your take on Wal-Mart's fresh produce cost-cutting effort? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.