Wallet Closed, Mouth Open: Wrap Up Summer on a Budget

by Ope Omojola

Summer is basically over, and after all the weekend trips, weddings, and wine-fueled late nights, you might want to rein in your spending in the coming weeks. That said, keeping a stricter budget doesn’t have to mean giving up the best parts of still-warm weather. Here’s a list of a few ways to spend less, but enjoy more:

1: Buy damaged goods.

[caption id="attachment_38385" align="aligncenter" width="600"]57db07981800006f32bd1b83 "Ugly Greens", available at Whole Foods Brooklyn. Image courtesy of Gotham Greens.[/caption]

Gotham Greens, the company turning urban rooftops into arable land, has launched a new program selling their “Ugly Greens”. These greens, available only at Whole Foods Brooklyn stores, are slightly bruised medleys of Gotham Greens’ leafy produce. They come in a massive 12oz bag, great for salads but even better for juices or smoothies. To round out a refreshing blended drink, throw in some frozen fruit: often flash-frozen right after picking, frozen fruit can be even fresher than its out-of-season counterparts in the produce aisle.


2. Befriend your butcher.

[caption id="attachment_38386" align="aligncenter" width="400"]57db0a5a130000140039c4d4 Image courtesy of Heritage Foods USA[/caption]

Grilling season isn’t over yet! As luck would have it, buying ground beef is not only inexpensive but also a very sustainable way to eat meat. Ground beef promotes whole-animal butchering, and if you buy grass-fed meat from a smaller or local purveyor, you can trust that what you’re getting is high quality. In his book, The Carnivore’s Manifesto, Heritage Foods USA’s Patrick Martins discusses how grinding meat is important for independent farmers. “If you want to get serious about being a part of the sustainable food movement,” he explains, “Now is the time to eat a burger. Or a meatball. Or make a ragu, at least!” Your options are limitless; The New York Times’ Julia Moskin compiled a handy list of ground beef-based recipes. Check it out!


3. Drink well, drink cheaply.


What’s a late summer meal without a crisp, cold drink? With so many options at the liquor store, how can you even know what’s good? Fear not! The kind and knowledgeable folks over at Food & Wine compiled an exhaustive list of high-quality and low-cost wines. Grab something celebratory before rosé season is over; we’d recommend the 2015 Mulderbosch Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. At only $11, you can’t go wrong.


4. Wake up on a dime.


Sick of dropping $4 every time you want an iced coffee? Making concentrated cold brew is so easy, you’ll pinch yourself for not having done it earlier. The instructions are simple:

     Step 1: Combine 1 part coffee grounds and 2 parts cold water in a pitcher. Stir.

     Step 2: Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter for 12-24 hours

     Step 3: Strain out solids and store the coffee concentrate in the fridge.

     To serve, pour over ice, dilute with milk or water to your desired strength, and sweeten however you like. It may take a little time, but it definitely doesn’t take a lot of money.      Enjoy.

That’s it! For more information on Gotham Greens, listen to their interview on Heritage Radio Network’s The Farm Report.

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