By Charlie McKenna, Staff Writer

Shopping local is something everybody seems to aspire to. It’s not just a trend; efforts to shop local have broad effects for local business, and unite conscientious people from all walks of life, from twenty some year-old hipsters with eight tattoos to Catholic homeschooling moms with eight kids. 

I don’t have to start listing the benefits of buying local; we’ve all heard them a thousand times from that one friend, and they’re pretty obvious. In an ideal world, everybody would be able to shop local consistently. However, as I have found, shopping local can be time-consuming and costly. Like, worse than Walmart. So here’s a few tips on how to make shopping local a little bit more wallet-friendly. 

Learn about what’s local to you.

Shopping local often means heading to a farmer’s market. But that’s not the only place you can find local produce. If a certain type of produce is local, supermarkets will oftentimes source it locally. Do your research, and see what produce is native to you. Know when it’s in season. When you’re at your local supermarket, if you aren’t sure where an item is from, go ahead and ask. If you’re worried about looking like “that person,” don’t worry, you will.  Hey, you’re the one who wanted to shop local.

Find the Right Vendor

Shopping local usually takes place at the closest farmer’s market. In order to get the best bang for your buck, you should hang around for a while, and know what times the best vendors are there. That way, you can be sure to get your fresh produce from the cheapest source. This means the first couple of times you should make the full loop of the market, experimenting with different times and places until you find the right fit.

Buy In Bulk, then Freeze

The best way to get a bargain? Buy in bulk. Vendors will often give you a discount for buying in greater quantities. Just store the food in your freezer, and it'll keep!

Buy What You’ll Use

Find out what you like, and stick to those items. Buy what you know you’ll use, because too often you’ll buy an item that will just stay in the fridge until it goes bad. Plan your recipes out for the week so that you’ll only buy what you need. 

Buy in Season

Whether it’s at the farmer’s market, or at a supermarket, one of the most important things is to buy in season. Items in season are always cheaper and more accessible, and you don't want to buy something that won't be ripe. Plus, eating and cooking is often more fun with varied ingredients for the different seasons.

Buying local can actually be pretty easy, even for people with budget restraints. Using these types as a guide, you’ll find yourself eating healthy, fresh, local food in no time, with little strain on your wallet. Bon appetit!