Eat Conscious

How to find cheap/free produce: Part 1: Foraging!

How to find cheap/free produce: Part 1: Foraging!

Hello there!
So if you know me personally you will know I am passionate about eating fruit and vegetables and I get a real kick out of finding them cheap or better yet free. 
I'm a forager at heart and an eternal bargain hunter when it comes to produce, so I thought I'd share my top tips and tricks and secrets to the trade!

A lot of these tips are common sense, but put together they are really powerful. 
By following these simple practices, I am able to eat a variety of delicious, (mostly local) produce year round. 

Oranges ready to juice


Let's get into it!!

Today I'll share my absolute favourite tip and something I think can really help anyone who wants to eat more fruit but finds it hard to afford. 
The bonus with this tip is that you will also be eating locally grown, most likely spray free/organic as well, so even if affording fruit is not an issue for you this can still be something really beneficial and also fun to do. 

So my number one tip to finding free produce is this:
Become a professional forager!
This is probably my favourite tip, and the one with the most reward when you get it right. 
If you want free fruit you have to be prepared to look around and not be afraid to ASK. (The principle of asking for what you want will be a common theme here.)

I am constantly looking out in my neighbourhood and around town for fruit trees.
Everywhere I go I keep an eye out for fruiting trees and make a mental note. 
This has become a great excuse for me to go for walks or runs so you are really killing two birds with one stone. (Bad choice of metaphors for a vegan page.)

If the fruit trees are on public land, like on the side of the road or in a park, foraging is as simple as finding and then taking what you want!
If you find trees that are on private land, please do not take the fruit without permission. 
What you CAN do, and what I have done many times is politely ask the property owner if they would be willing to give some fruit away. 
A lot of the time people are very happy to give away fruit because they cannot eat it all. 
In my own experience most people are not massive fruit eaters, so especially if the fruit in question is slightly unusual like persimmons or tangelos, it will often go to waste. 
There is absolutely no harm at all in asking. The worst that can happen is they say no. 
One tip is to ask if you can come back multiple times and help yourself.
This will not always be suitable, so use discretion, but it's a good thing to have in the back of your mind. 

Quite a few years back I found an absolutely loaded persimmon tree that had a variety of persimmons that are very bitter until they are really really ripe. Like soft and squashy ripe. 
I don't mind that at all but a lot of people turn their noses up at this variety. 
The tree was right out the front of someone's place without a fence and very accessible. The lady who owned the place was so happy to have someone enjoy the persimmons and she was more than happy for me to bring a bag or 5 around whenever I wanted. 
At other times I've come away with loaded bags of tangelos because they are a hard fruit to eat so the owners just weren't getting through them. 

Also don't be afraid to ask around on social media or your friends. 
Quite often people are keen to swap resources or have fruiting trees and want to get rid of some of the fruit. 
This is great for things like lemons and grapefruit which even I can only eat a finite amount of!!
At the end of the day the takeaway is that you can definitely find free fruit if you keep an eye out and don't mind asking. 
Some of the best fruit I've ever tasted has been found this way. It's such a buzz and it really does taste better. 

If you have any tips or tricks to add I'd love to hear them!!
Help us all out and share your favourite ways to forage or best foraging stories. 
Here I am foraging for figs a few years back

Smoothie Bowl made with foraged feijoas

If you want to have a look at some of the fruit that grows in Whangarei, check out this link:
Click HERE.

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