Home grown produce: How you can save on increased grocery prices

The Consumer Price Index estimates fresh vegetable prices will rise nearly 5% this year and fresh fruit prices will increase almost 7%.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Food prices are only expected to keep climbing.

The Consumer Price Index estimates fresh vegetable prices will rise nearly 5% in 2022 and fresh fruit prices will increase almost 7%.

A small packet of lettuce seeds can cost around $2. That’s less than the price of a single head of lettuce at most stores right now. In the long run, it could save hundreds of dollars.

Growing your own produce could be a savvy solution to rising food costs.

Berry Good Farms Farm Manager Jordan Williams said it’ll get you the most bang for your buck.

“You’re just going to get several harvests off of one plant. So, you’re not having to make multiple trips, you know, spending that gas, spending those extra costs on the produce,” Williams said.

Let’s break it all down by price.

Berry Good Farms sells starter plant pots for first-time gardeners like a tomato one for $2. Bigger pots cost $3.50 apiece.

At Walmart, a pack of tomato seeds will run you $1.96.

Meanwhile, the Publix on Atlantic Boulevard at Bartram Road is selling tomatoes for $2.49 per lb.

Growing a full garden of vegetables and fruits from seed to harvest can take several weeks.

If you’re looking for a quick option, Williams suggests buying larger produce plants that have already sprouted from stores like Lowes and Home Depot.

He says it’s worth it long-term.

“It may be a bigger up-front cost but once it’s established there’s nothing better than being able to go right out into your yard or garden and harvest that fresh produce,” Williams said.

Williams said there are more benefits to growing your own food aside from saving money.

“Local is better,” Williams said. “Everybody says that if you can get your produce locally it’s going to have higher nutrition, it’s going to be fresh and there’s that added perk knowing where your food comes from.”

Before you start a home garden, it’s important to know which is the best produce for the season.

Right now, Williams suggests getting plants suited for hot weather, like okra, eggplants, sunflowers and peppers.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.