Students at Seattle University recently conducted a price comparison between the prices offered at the market and the prices of produce items at chain grocery stores. What the students found was that most vegetables sold at the market had lower if not comparable prices to their grocery store counterparts.
Collard greens for example, sold for $0.75 at the U-District Market, $2.49 at Metro Market, $1.33 at PCC, $2.49 at QFC and $1.87 at Whole Foods. Carrots, however, were $3.00 at the U-District Market, $1.99 at Metro Market, $1.29 at PCC, $2.49 at QFC and $0.99 at Whole Foods.
Another SU comparison of the U-District Farmers Market versus Whole Foods and QFC conducted in January 2009 showed an average saving of $0.62 cents on a number of items including squash, potatoes, apples, free-range chicken, carrots, cabbage and other leafy green vegetables.
Shoppers looking to stretch their grocery dollars can also benefit from buying locally-grown produce, which has a shorter travel time and consequently a longer lifespan after purchase, says Curtis. Produce sold at grocery stores are shipped an average of 900 miles prior to purchase, drastically shortening their shelf life.