Since I’ve started drinking my green smoothies, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade:
1. Use 80% greens 20% fruits
2. Lemon and grapefruit make everything better
3. Lots of water or coconut water makes blending easier
3. Too much broccoli can make bedtime awkward and uncomfortable especially with those that have to smell you
4. Make sure you buy nice fresh produce at a good price because you literally go through truck loads weekly
For the first few years of making my smoothies I spent hundreds, and had to make a few trips to the supermarket weekly to top up. If it were not for the super powers my green smoothies gave me I would have given up saying it was too hard work. I searched regularly for different options to the supermarket – I tried little fruit and veg shops, farmers markets and online stores, all of which saved a few dollars here and there but the produce once again did not last the week. One day I was chatting to a girlfriend who told me about a great place called Erbacher’s, a fruit and veg shop out in Diddillibah. I raised my eyebrows and said, “That’s 20 minutes away from home and such a muck around for me to go to multiple places to do a shop.” My girlfriend laughed and said, “Try it, trust me, once you shop there you won’t go back”. One Sunday I found myself with a bit of time on my hands so we decided to take a family drive out to Erbacher’s to see what all the buzz was about.
With the kids loaded in the car we arrived at Erbacher’s. Miss One is not a great shopper so Mr Tink took both kids to explore while I got into the shopping, I grabbed my trolley and started on my list.
As I entered I saw a haven of fresh produce direct from the farms – I could smell the freshness. My first stop was greens: kale, spinach, broccoli, snow peas, sugar snap peas, beans and bok choy. I stood looking at the prices confused, ‘was this price for a kilo or for the bag?’ A lovely staff member must have seen my face because she rushed over to help me and quickly reassured me the price was for the bag. $2 for a bag of snow peas! $2 for kale, $2.50 for spinach – I was gobsmacked! I had saved $10 in three footsteps. I couldn’t believe how much cheaper it was than the shops. I then moved onto lemons, grapefruits, strawberries, watermelon and blueberries. Once again I was astounded. In the supermarket the week before, I was paying $1 per lemon and here a whole bag was $2! Then I saw the limes and suddenly I pictured margaritas!! I loaded up and was so proud that I felt the need to share with all the other patrons: “How cheap is it in here?” After frightening the other shoppers with my excitement I was ready to leave, when – hello sailor! Erbacher’s sold seeds and nuts! I found a bag of chia seeds for $6, which I usually paid $20 for at the health food store! Flaxseed $3.95, LSA $5.50 – these were products I usually spent a fortune on. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted cold cut meats: ham, salami, roast beef and chickens. All packed in great sizes perfect for school lunches, and once again, a fraction of the price at the supermarket. Suddenly I felt like dancing, food shopping had never been so fun or cheap! On the way to the registers I spotted dairy so I loaded up on cheeses, milk and free range eggs, all locally made and at a great price.
I rolled up to the registers like a pokie player who had just hit the jackpot, boasting to anyone who would listen about how well I’d done. A lovely young man carried all my goodies to the car when it suddenly dawned on me, while I was in my savings splendour I’d forgotten about Mr Tink and the kids – where the devil were they? It was too quiet, I had not been nagged once. I went back to the car to search for them and started to panic, until I heard, “Muuuuummmmyyy, cows, cows”. As I turned to where the voice was coming from, I could see my lot down in a paddock talking to a herd of gorgeous cows. I felt like I was on another planet, how on earth had they found cows? Miss One was in her element, having never seen a cow let alone chatted with one, and Master 6 thought seeing an ‘actual real cow’ was epic. We made our way back up to the car with the kids completely spellbound by the cows. After such a great experience I knew we would certainly be coming back. I chewed Mr Tink’s ear off all afternoon about my bargains and the savings I’d made buying everything there, all that was left to do was to go to the butcher. We had managed to shop local and completely skip the supermarket all together.
Over the course of the next week my green smoothies tasted better than ever, and even on day 6 my fruit and veges were still crisp and fresh. I couldn’t believe I didn’t need to do any top up trips and the produce was better than ever. The kids’ lunches were eaten each and everyday, packed with lots of fresh fruit and veges, it was a big win-win all around.
That shopping trip was quite sometime ago now, and I’m thrilled to say we never miss our Erbacher’s shop. We have saved a fortune, I can feel a difference in myself drinking produce that is fresher, and my kids actually ask for fruit now. Certainly one of the best lifestyle changes we’ve made and shopping locally with a great local business feels a lot better than spending hundreds with a national supermarket chain.